STYLE MAKERS – Autumn
Made in America: Infinity Drain
By KLAFFStyle Editorial Staff
Elevating a Basic Style and Function with High Innovation
Who’d have thought that the lowly drain could inspire changes to the traditional ways in which we do bath design and construction? One of the KLAFFS Made in America brands not only thought it could, but also made it happen.
It took stops along the way from Europe to Australia before Long Island, New York-based Infinity Drain became a Made in America brand. The company is introducing the U.S. design, architecture and construction industry to linear drains and other new approaches to drain design that enable stunning, new interior design concepts – like barrier free baths. It is also developing innovative technologies for waterproofing in partnership with visionary companies like USG (United States Gypsum.)
In addition to transforming how we in the US approach any area of building where water needs to be drained away, the company is exporting its products and technology around the world.
Left to right: Jonathan’s father, Phil Brill; Jonathan Brill
We spoke recently with Infinity Drain founder and President Jonathan Brill, who shared the company’s fascinating story.
It has its roots in a Manhattan-based family business, Simon’s Hardware, founded by his grandmother Lillian Brills’ father, Simon, in 1909. It was the first decorative hardware store in the United States. His father, Phil, joined the family business in the ’70s.
Left to right: Jonathan’s great uncle, Bernie Golde; Jonathan’s grandfather, Victor Brill
From there his father founded an independent sales representation company, Phil Brill & Associates, that represented hardware and plumbing brands. In this capacity he met and began doing business with Maury and Mollie Klaff Passero. They developed a strong business and personal relationship.
Jonathan joined his father in the business in 1996 and the two worked together until his retirement in 2002 and Jonathan took the reins.
“In 2005, I came across linear drains in Europe,” he told KLAFFStyle. “The idea wasn’t some new, crazy thing. Think about Roman viaducts and you get a sense of how linear drains work. But we weren’t using them in the U.S., although they allow for both practical and design improvements everywhere from the bathroom to the swimming pool deck. I saw the opportunity to build something of our own.”
He started by working with a Dutch company to Americanize the installation and was first to the U.S. market with linear drains, which he began importing in 2008.
“Timing was good given increasing interest and options in tile design. Linear drains simplify tile cuts. But there is always resistance to change. In New York they make shower pans out of lead. In New England they use copper. In California they use tar and a hot mopping process. Though I found a way to adopt the imported drains to these methods, they’re all antiquated and I continued to search for new ways to effect change in the industry.”
The road led him to Australia where codes require that any room or area with plumbing have a floor drain. This highly practical idea is intended to minimize damage in the event of a plumbing mishap. He found an Australian manufacturing resource and began importing from there as well.
He ran both Phil Brill and Associates (now called Brill Associates) and Infinity Drain for about five years, during which time he searched for a U.S. manufacturing partner.
“I wanted to have control of quality, consistency and timelines and eliminate or reduce shipping costs. One day I walked into Franklin Stainless Steel in Port Washington, New York, where I grew up. The owner said that they didn’t have the capability, but suggested I see Jaxson Roll Forming in Amityville, a company founded in 1906 in the Williamsburg section of New York City.
Over the next two years we became more than 75 percent of their business and actually saved this American factory and the jobs of its long-time workers.”
Eventually, Jonathan Brill became an owner of the factory in partnership with the original owner’s son, Alan Trink. Infinity Drain recently moved into the 45,000-square-foot facility on three-and-a-half acres.
“We definitely fly the flag,” said Brill. “It’s important to us that we revived an American factory and are providing about 75 good jobs to families where in some cases multiple members are employees. We believe that being made in America with a stable workforce and labor costs gives us an edge on our overseas competitors. We’ve cultivated and have a history of accountability and responsiveness – including a lot of custom fabrication that we can turn around quickly.”
You can see Infinity Drain’s beautiful drain designs at KLAFFS and read more about how the company’s new technology can help transform your next bath renovation project.
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