On East Burleigh Street in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood there’s a set of low cream-colored buildings with red awnings. The Florentine Opera makes its home there, but we’re not visiting the opera today. We’re meeting the opera’s landlords, Mario and Cathy Costantini. They’re the owners of La Lune Collection — a rustic, eco-friendly furniture company they founded 40 years ago when they were both 23 and had just graduated from Marquette University.
They had never owned a business together, but their initial designs caught Ralph Lauren's eye. He became La Lune's first client.
"We were 23, we were just starting out, and to have Ralph Lauren order our furniture for his home was really encouraging," Mario Costantini says. "We thought, maybe we’ve got something here."
Other clients include Marriott Hotels, Radisson Hotels, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, and Disney Resorts. There are 600 pieces in the collection, but the Costantinis say about half of their business is custom. And it's all made in the factory in Riverwest, using wood sustainably harvested from Wisconsin forests.
We visited the couple at their offices to learn more: