Written by David Silverberg

“There's something gratifying about being part of a job, from start to finish,” Mozie Elmaleh, 20, says. The student at Ivey Business School at Western University has long been enamoured with craftsmanship but now he's levelling up by launching his own company aiming to assist homeowners.

Riverlea Glass was born soon after Elmaleh finished his stint at the Summer Company Program, a City of Toronto initiative for students looking to start their own business over the course of the summer.

He recalls he was working for a glass and door-trim manufacturer of glass where he assembled glass inserts into door frames and then thought, “Hey, I can make a company focused just on this product.” 

His business is focused on a niche area of the home-renovations industry: those glass inserts added to front doors, which add some style to the first thing people when they approach a home.

While at the Summer Company Program, Elmaleh says, “I learned a lot about developing digital skills over that summer. That helped me find ways to make our business model more efficient.”

Now with 40 clients, his company employs door-to-door marketing as one tactic to reach out to new homeowners who want to spice up their front entrance. “There’s nothing like building a relationship with a potential customer face to face,” he says. “It allows us to better receive quick and meaningful responses and tailor our product to fit the customer's specific needs. “

On where his company fits in the bustling home-improvement market, Elmaleh says, “A lot of people don't have sturdy glass in their doors, and that glass can also let people see right through them into the home.” 

He adds that the privacy feature of frosted glass is often a big draw for customers who don't want to go with their default glass-inserts in their front or side doors.

Elmaleh notes the capital funding he received from the Summer Company Program helped launch his business off the ground. “To have that money really got the gears moving, to get things like uniforms and building our online system,” he says.

He recently added a crucial business partner to the company. “What I appreciate most about Adam Strauch is his patience and loyalty. The job requires a lot of patience to ensure that the glass is properly fit to the door frame and handled with care to ensure no breakage occurs during installation. We work as a team to install our product more efficiently. I work the tools while he places the glass components.”

On where he'd like to see Riverlea Glass in several years, he hopes his business “will be a major player in the custom glass space, which would be a great entryway to also be a player in the home-renovations space.

Photo credit Zlatko Cetinic, Images Made Real