For Nikki White, a mother, wife and business owner, it’s always been about family. From the time she began chatting with Charleston Women about her career, she kept mentioning them — her father, her husband, her children, her work family. Whether she realized it or not at the time, it was clear that they are her “why.” Each of them played a role in her landing at the head of the family-founded granite, quartz and fabrication business, a place she never thought she’d find herself.
White’s father Ricky Webb founded Quality Marble when White was just a child back in 1993. The business has evolved into a Lowcountry powerhouse, selling directly to builders, contractors and developers, working with respected companies like Hunter Quinn Homes, Hovanian Homes. Lennar and many more high-quality firms. Though she grew up around the industry, she never saw herself as a part of it.
“It was construction. It was dirty. It was men. My mom ran the office, but I didn’t want any part of the bookkeeping either. It just wasn’t for me,” White offered with a grin, knowing her tune soon changed.
In 2009, the recession that started the year prior was in full swing. The recent College of Charleston graduate found herself searching for the career of her dreams when — as the good ones tend to do — family showed up. She began working in the business she’d grown up around, but had never really experienced. She assumed the gig was temporary, but that all changed when she started realizing she had amazing opportunities that others didn’t get — like attending fun conventions, golf tournaments and conferences chock full of entertainment in the name of marketing. But there was something else. The business was truly providing jobs and bettering people’s lives. It was strong, and it had a future.
“I realized it could be a good life for my family and that I enjoyed doing it,” White spoke of her “aha” moment.
The tides changed again about four years ago when White’s father passed the torch to her, giving her the freedom to build her own team, make a great thing even better and leave her mark on the family brand. White was clear that everyone on the team — old and new, men and women — were instrumental in elevating the company to the next level. However, it is unique that the new regime includes an all-women sales team (Jaclyn Kopnisky and Lauren Barr) moving granite like wildfire. White credits their success to being “relationship-driven” and believes women often excel at communication and bring fresh, unique viewpoints to businesses not traditionally dominated by females.
“We’ve changed the stereotypical ideas of what construction cultures look and feel like. We did 80 percent growth last year and are on pace for the same this year,” White said.
If that isn’t breaking a glass — ahem — marble ceiling, then what is?
Everyone on White’s team, regardless of their gender or role at the company, believes in the values of honesty, timeliness and quality. Each person is dedicated to excellence. White, a busy mother to three children, an active community member and the captain at the helm, could not sail without a strong crew working alongside her. She and her team prove every day that it’s possible to defy the “norm,” to excel in more than one area, to thrive in the home and the business and to make a mark in any industry one sees fit.
“At the end of the day, I do this for our clients and our staff and my family. It’s hard. It’s really hard somedays, but it’s doable. And it’s so worth it,” White added.