Lucy Okunak's, of Euro Stone and Tile, Small Business Journey

A smiling woman stands behind a table displaying an array of decorative tile samples in a bright, well-organized interior design showroom, exuding the stylish essence of The Scout Guide.

Homeowners, interior designers and builders throughout New Jersey have a secret to their design success and that is Lucy Okunak and her magnificent tile studio, Euro Stone and Tile, located in Wyckoff. Lucy travels the world to provide her clients the most unique and beautiful selection of tile and stone. A Euro Stone and Tile home is guaranteed to be a show stopper. We recently had the pleasure of chatting with Lucy to learn more about her small business journey.

TSG Bergen County: When did you decide to start your own business?  Have you always been in the tile industry?

Lucy: My journey into the stone and tile business began by initially helping a friend who was a well-respected tile designer in Bergen County.  Tragically, she passed away, and it was then that I decided to take a leap of faith and continue her legacy.  Inspired by her passion and craftsmanship, I felt compelled to honor her memory by carrying on the work she loved.  This pivotal moment marked the beginning of my own journey in the industry.

TSG Bergen County: It seems like the trend is shifting to incorporating color.  What are you seeing?

Lucy: Homeowners are no longer shying away from color; instead, they are celebrating it, using tiles as a canvas to reflect their individual tastes and create visually stunning environments.  Bold and bright tile selections allow individuals to infuse their spaces with personality and style, making a statement that is uniquely their own. They are opting for tiles in striking shades that range from lush greens and deep blues to warm desert colors like terracotta and burnt orange. This trend not only highlights a departure from the more neutral and minimalistic trends of past years but also emphasizes the diversity found in nature’s color palette.  I am thrilled to see this resurgence of color in tile selections.  It brings such a dynamic and refreshing change to interior design, allowing each space to tell a unique story through its vivid hues and bold patterns.

TSG Bergen County: Where does it make sense to splurge?

Lucy: When considering where to splurge in your tile selection, it’s essential to focus on areas that have a significant visual impact and areas that endure heavy use.  Here are a few key spots where investing in high-quality, beautiful tiles makes the most sense:

  1. Kitchen Backsplash:  The kitchen backsplash is a focal point and an opportunity to introduce color, texture and pattern.  Splurging on high-quality, eye-catching tiles here can elevate the entire kitchen’s aesthetic, making it a standout feature.
  2. Entryway or Foyer: The entryway is the first area guests see when they enter your home.  Splurging on beautiful, durable tiles here can create a welcoming and impressive first impression.  High-quality tiles will also withstand the heavy foot traffic that entryways typically experience.
  3. Accent Walls: If you’re looking to make a bold statement, consider splurging on tiles for an accent wall.  This could be in the living room, a feature wall in the bathroom, or even a striking kitchen wall.  High-end tiles in these areas can serve as a piece of art and become a conversation starter.

By splurging on tiles in these strategic areas, you can significantly enhance your home’s overall design, functionality, and value, ensuring that you enjoy both the aesthetic and practical benefits for years to come.

TSG Bergen County: What routines do you follow each day to keep your personal life and business on track?

Lucy: Finding the right balance between my work and my personal life is challenging and something I continually strive to improve.  However, I do try my best to adhere to a set of daily routines that help me stay organized and balanced.  Here’s an overview of a typical day in my life.  I am an early riser, which gives me a head start and some quiet time before the day gets busy.  It begins by taking my dog for a walk, reviewing the day’s appointments and mornings are generally when I focus on creating and managing social media posts.  Evenings are reserved for family time, which is a non-negotiable part of my day.   I also dedicate some of my evening time to playing tennis and pickle ball, which truly helps me stay grounded and energized.

TSG Bergen County: How does Euro Stone and Tile look different now vs. when you first started?

Lucy: Overall, the journey from where we started to where we are now has been incredibly rewarding.  The move to a new and expanded location, the curated selection of unique and high-quality tiles, and the continuous adaptation to design trends have all played pivotal roles in our success.  I am excited to continue this journey and see where the next phase of growth takes us.

TSG Bergen County: What is your favorite part of your work?

Lucy: My favorite and most gratifying part of my work is interacting with clients and designers.  It warms my heart when a client calls to express their happiness with their tile selection and the transformation of their space.  Collaborating with designers to bring their vision to life is also something I truly enjoy.  Building those relationships and seeing the satisfaction of clients and designers alike is incredibly fulfilling.

TSG Bergen County: What is the biggest lesson learned in your career and running your own business?

Lucy: One of the biggest lessons learned in running a business is the importance of adaptability and resilience.  The business landscape is constantly evolving, and unexpected challenges, market shifts, and setbacks are inevitable.  Being able to adapt to change, pivot when necessary, and bounce back from failures or obstacles are crucial for long-term success and sustainability.

TSG Bergen County: You are a working mom with a daughter beginning her career.  How do you share your entrepreneurial spirit and business advice with her?

Lucy: For any young adult beginning their career, it is important to believe in yourself, your vision, and your capabilities to overcome challenges and achieve your goals.  Stay curious and committed to lifelong learning by seeking out opportunities to expand your knowledge, skills and expertise in areas relevant to your business.   Be willing to step out of your comfort zone and lean into discomfort.  Embrace uncertainty, and learn from successes and failures along the road.  Be prepared to face setbacks, challenges and rejection, and develop the ability to bounce back stronger and more determined.  Maintain your passion and stay persistent in pursuing your goals.  Embrace the journey, stay motivated, and celebrate your achievements along the way.  

“She believed she could so she did.”

TSG Bergen County: Fun fact:  What is your favorite item in your store?

Lucy: My favorite item in my store is a stunning marble and glass mosaic featuring Murano glass.  It reminds me of Venice which happens to be my favorite place on the entire planet!

Elegant bathroom featuring a gold-framed mirror reflecting a window, matching gold fixtures on a marble sink, and a wall adorned with floral wallpaper that aligns with The Scout Guide's aesthetic principles. A sconce light and a vase with blooming flowers add a sophisticated touch to the space.

Euro Stone and Tile / 648 Wyckoff Avenue, Wyckoff / 201-891-2444 / @eurostoneandtile