Meet Andre Janus: Maker, Storyteller, and CEO of Cristaux International
Cristaux International is a full-service design and manufacturing company, specializing in custom awards and other forms of recognition. CEO Andre Janus' vision for Cristaux was to build a company that not only made a great product but also recognized people for their hard work. At a past position, Janus attended an awards ceremony in which he felt the quality of the awards given did not align with the value of the recognition.
Cristaux International strives to do things differently: they tell stories, they never leave a client behind, and they dedicate time to building an incredible culture.
Today's best manufacturers tell stories ...
Janus and his team believe every product they create holds a powerful story. "We like to capture emotion in the work that we do," stated Janus. "We fall in love with a lot of stories."
One of Janus' personal stories plays a significant role in the evolution of Cristaux. When he was younger, he would sell small kitchen appliances door-to-door. One day, a man who owned a shoe repair shop saw Janus pass up his store.
"Why did you pass my shop?" the shoe repairman asked.
Janus was caught off guard. "Oh, I'm sorry sir. I didn't think you'd be interested."
To Janus' surprise, the shoe repairman made a hefty purchase from him. However, what was more valuable — yet priceless — was the business owner's small piece of advice he shared with Janus. He told him to never judge a book by its cover. In other words, don't ever assume someone doesn't want or need something.
No client left behind …
Janus believes that no customer should ever be neglected. Cristaux's business model is based on customer relationships first. It is designed to ensure every customer, big or small, gets the attention they deserve. His way of doing business was inspired by the hospitality industry. When Janus was traveling abroad, he was awed by a particular five-star hotel. He had stayed once before, yet when he returned, everyone on staff seemed to know Janus' preferences, including extra water bottles left in his room. "It didn't matter what type of customer you were, the hotel staff treated every guest equally."
He wanted to find a way to integrate this notion into the way manufacturers operated. Janus and his team spent a great deal of time working on a process that would benefit every type of customer, as well as enable productivity and better team efficiency.
"It's about people over profit," stated Janus. As they continue to build a business model that puts people first and finances second, Cristaux continues to thrive.
Culture matters …
Cristaux's unique culture can't be ignored. As soon as you walk in the door, you know it's not your typical manufacturing business. The Cristaux culture is designed to encourage creativity, embrace challenges and capture emotion in the work that they do. Janus expects his team to embrace change and avoid stagnation at all costs: "I tell every new employee, 'get used to not getting too used to anything.'"
He also believes in recruiting only the best talent. He once was shopping for a new suit and was challenging the young man who worked at the suit store. Janus pleaded for a discount, but the young man kept his guard. "No sir, I'm sorry, it's not in our policy," the young man said. Janus admired his ability to sell with confidence, so he handed the young man a business card requesting that he come work for him.