M.Teixeira International, Inc. was founded in 1998 by Rogerio (Roger) M. Teixeira , who migrated from Brazil at the age of seventeen, in 1992.
The idea came from the late Mr. Sergio Teixeira, Roger’s father, who was also responsible for the company’s main supply contacts at the early stages. The company name came from Roger’s grandfather’s successful lumber business, “Madeiras M. Teixeira”, the “M” stands for Manoel.
The Early Years
The company started out of a kiosk at the Garden State Plaza Mall in New Jersey, mainly selling soapstone artifacts such as chess sets, book ends, various sculptures, etc. In 1999, Roger also started selling these items on eBay to help generate more revenue.
Not having much success in the mall or on eBay, Roger turned to the Internet to do further research on other uses and possible other markets for his soapstone. The domain name was secured in 1999 and with the help of a web site build software, Roger himself built and launched rogeriot.sg-host.com.
The company’s main product at that stage was raw carving grade soapstone boulders for the art industry, which were imported from Brazil and stored at his ex-father-in-law’s garage. These boulders came in 200 to 500 lb pieces and were unloaded off the containers by hand, basically being pushed off the back of the container.
They were also cut by hand, using a bow saw (proudly displayed at the company’s headquarters), depending on what the clients needed. As an example, one of the first orders was for a NYC university that needed a few hundred pounds cut into 5 to 10lb chunks. How these orders were packed and shipped you can ask Roger in person.
Further research of the product lead Roger to Germany, where soapstone is widely used for masonry heater (fireplaces).
In 2000, the company moved out of the garage and leased it’s first commercial space in Garfield, NJ, a 1000 Sq Ft warehouse where they distributed carving boulders throughout the US and Canada.
The Import of Soapstone Slabs for Countertops
The first soapstone slab shipment was also received that year when they began supplying sinks, countertops, tiles, etc. At that time, the company still only employed Roger Teixeira, who would occasionally get part-time help as needed. All the hard work paid off, and by 2001 M. Teixeira Soapstone started growing rapidly.