At ZFolio beauty isn’t optional.
Everything about the galleries awakens this heartfelt appreciation.
Like the Frog Prince...
Raised in a small farming village behind an iron curtain that divided east and west, communism from capitalism, Zdena Jiroutova of ZFolio Gallery with her husband and business partner Michael Mendizza have taken the entrepreneurial spirit (and the local community) by storm.
Z Folio began in 2003 with a suitcase stuffed with optical crystals destined for the Victorian Christmas Street Fair held annually in Nevada City, California. The crystals were displayed in the frosty winter evening lit by flashlights dangling from poles. So popular was this humble beginning that within a year she invested her life savings in a small inventory of art glass representing the most contemporary designs from her native Czech Republic’s 700 year glassmaking tradition. In the process she established credibility and solid international business relationships with leading designers and museum quality artists.
‘Z,’ as she is called, and Michael traveled from San Francisco, to Las Vegas, Palm Springs to Portland, even as far north as Tahoma and Seattle, walking the streets, cold-calling on prospective wholesale clients. Mind you, Z had only been in the United States three short years and was taking philosophy (not business) classes at Santa Barbara City College.
In 2006 Z and Michael opened their first retail location in Solvang, a Danish community north of Santa Barbara. In 2009 they launched their second location on Cannery Row in Monterey. Remarkably, in 2013, ZFolio was voted Top Retailer of Designer Jewelry in the United States by the JCK Design Center community. Also celebrating their success are awards from the local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Pacific Coast Business Times and Women’s Economic Ventures.
Today ZFolio represents over seventy international jewelry designers, including Alex Sepkus, Barbara Heinrich, Bernd Wolf, Ed Levin, Etienne Perret, Magick, Jorge Revilla, Mark Schneider, Atelier Munsteiner, Eddie Sakamoto, Sydney Lynch, Tom Kruskal and many others, and artists working in contemporary art glass, wood, ceramics, and Michael’s large format photography, one of a kind creations for collectors and for the home.