Samantha Thompson Lizarraga is stepping back after twenty years at the helm of her family’s luxury kitchen and bath product brand. During her sabbatical (effective Thursday, November 10th), she will spend time with her husband and children, serve her community, and reflect on two decades of incredible memories and success. Samantha most recently served as Vice President of Marketing at Thompson, helping guide the brand from small startup to a nationally recognized leader in metal sinks, vanities, bathtubs, range hoods, and accessories. She will continue to advise the company as a member of the board.
Inquiries should be directed to the following individuals during Samantha’s sabbatical:
Two Decades of Memories
Samantha co-founded Thompson with mom Alejandra, dad Clifford Sr. and brothers Clifford Jr. and Jonathan (JJ) in 2002. After getting married, Clifford Jr. temporarily left the company to pursue a career in finance and banking. He rejoined his family several years later as President. Younger sister Alejandra would eventually join the team in 2020, creating a true family business with two generations and all four Thompson siblings in leadership positions.
While she most recently served as Vice President of Marketing, Samantha spent her early career building the business and working nearly every job at the Greensboro-based business. From packing sinks in the warehouse to answering customer service calls, attending trade shows around the country to sweeping the floors of the office, she understood and mastered every nuance of the business.
“I’m not going to lie, the early days were really hard,” explained Samantha. “We had no idea what we were doing because everything was completely new to us. I didn’t know there were different drain sizes, we didn’t have a website, my mom and I set up and tore down our trade show booths, and we were flying by the seat of our pants.”
All of that changed one day at the International Builders Show. Samantha and her mom had such a long line of trade show attendees waiting to see their products they couldn’t even have conversations. All their time was spent scanning badges and shaking hands. It’s also where they met Home Depot and Lowes. The next thing they knew, Thompson’s beautiful hand-hammered copper sinks were in Home Depot Expo Design Centers around the country.
The company’s next big break was hiring Fred Star, former CEO of Thomasville Furniture, as CEO in 2008. He brought the expertise on retail presentation, marketing, and merchandising, and took the business to another level. He also helped Samantha grow in her role, teaching her important business and leadership skills.
While it would take several more years for widespread recognition in the interior design industry, this was the beginning of a period of growth and development for the business. “I never imagined what would come next,” said Samantha. “To watch my mom become a celebrated designer and leader in the industry was inspirational. And knowing my father dedicated his second career to supporting our family’s aspirations meant the world to us.”
There are many other highlights from the past twenty years—too many to count in fact. “Winning Best Booth at KBIS was one of my favorite moments,” admitted Samantha. “Here was this little company competing against brands that have been around for a century. Knowing we designed the booth and we built it in our warehouse was icing on the cake.”
A Career Dedicated to Kindness, Community, and Family
To know Samantha is to love her. A consummate professional, she has led her family business with strong morals and values passed down from her parents. Every person is treated with respect, and she has worked to build a company culture and brand community surrounded by kindness. As a result, Thompson has become synonymous with hospitality—a place where all are welcomed with generosity and love.
“I don’t think I could have done it without her,” added mom Alejandra. “She was my support system, sounding board, and helped me think through ideas and design new products. We shared so many joyful and wonderful moments and we shared a lot of scary tear-filled moments too. I am going to miss her so much, but she will always be supporting and helping us.”
Brother Clifford added, “Samantha has been so instrumental in the success of Thompson. The company would not be where it is today without her involvement. From designing and curating literature pieces to launching our first ever designer collaboration, her impact can be seen throughout the business.”
“Looking back over the last 20 years I’m so proud to see the incredible woman my daughter has become,” said dad Clifford Sr. “She helped start Thompson, helped run it all these years and has been a tremendous asset. She’s stuck with us through her marriage and creating her beautiful family—all while helping us build this brand.”
A Special Message to the Industry
When asked to share a message with the community of designers, specifiers, sales reps, editors, and industry professionals she met over the past twenty years, Samantha became emotional. “It’s been an incredible journey. I am so overwhelmed and awed by the fact that people actually like our company and our products, and I am eternally grateful for every single person who has purchased our products, who has our products in their home, and who share and post about us with so much love and respect,” she said.
This combination of gratitude and disbelief is something that Samantha can’t shake—even after years of growth, recognitions, and awards. “Our customers mean so much to us. Even if we haven’t met them personally, they helped support our dreams and made this family business a reality,” she concluded.
Help Us Say “Thank You”
Thompson invites you to help thank Samantha for 20 incredible years at the helm of Thompson by sharing your memories and photos on Instagram. Use the hashtag #TTInvitesYou and make sure to tag @ThompsonTraders in your posts and stories so we can see them.