Thos. Moser’s Aaron Moser Becomes Guardian of the Family Brand
Former Bates College professor Thomas Moser founded his famed, high-end furniture company, Thos. Moser, in 1972. This past year, leadership transitioned from one generation to the next, leaving Aaron Moser, Thomas’s son, in charge of the family business. Aaron Moser tells MH+D Inside Out about the experience of transitioning and offers his recipe for the brand’s success.
Q. You recently became CEO of your family’s company. How does that feel?
A. We’re such a close family—as kids we would go to pick out lumber or finish a project and install it for a customer. Experiencing this transition is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and it can be tough, in the sense that it’s new, but it’s rewarding at the same time. I’m entering a new chapter, and I feel like I’m starting over again in many ways. I feel honored that I’m trusted to be the guardian of this brand.
Q. How do you transition leadership in a family business?
A. I don’t think I can clearly articulate a process for it. I do know there has to be love, and there has to be a common recognition of our shared goals.
Q. You’re based in Auburn now. What is your relationship like with that city?
A. For employees, we draw from a largely French-Canadian talent pool. There’s a work ethic there, and a figure-it-out attitude. A lot of our best woodworkers had never picked up woodwork until they started. They were making shoes or maybe they were running the local convenience store, coming in from all walks of life. But the common denominator is their desire to be in the shop and learn.
Q. You used to work in culinary management. How does that factor into what you do now?
A. In my culinary career, I learned that cooking well is not just getting there, it’s about how you’re balancing various skills, materials, and methodology. Lately I have been using a Hollandaise analogy to explain what makes us unique at Thos. Moser. Hollandaise sauce is this silky, butter sauce that is very expensive. But it consists of ingredients you can pick up at the gas station. There’s nothing fancy about the ingredients—what makes it fancy is the process. It’s emulsifying sauce, incorporating acids and proteins, and you’re combining your oil and your water with egg as the protein source. At Thos. Moser, we use basic ingredients, too. What makes us unique is the way we bring craft, technology, and hand-workmanship together in a delicate balance. If any one of those come out of sync, we lose what we’re about; it falls apart, and that sauce breaks. With our employees, I’m trying to instill that sense of pride and ownership of that process.