Rudy van Thiel was born and raised in the Netherlands and attended the University of Delft. While he was studying engineering he also opened his first antique store, at the age of 19 and antiques quickly became his true passion. Via Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Romania and Germany, Rudy ended up in the furniture capital of the world, Highpoint, NC. In 1988, Rudy founded Intro Europe, Inc., a company specializing in exporting American home furnishing products to European retailers. He sold this company in 1991 to an American conglomerate of companies, Masco Corp, and continued as president for seven years. In 2001, Rudy founded, with his two sons, a Hong Kong based company, with production facilities in Beijing, China, restoring and supplying European antiques and bench made reproductions to furniture stores worldwide. Over the years the company has expanded with production of artisanal style solid wood furniture, upholstery and decorative objects. The company is now supplying home furniture stores in more than 40 countries with the support of over 750 employees.
Van Thiel & Co is also outsourcing its own designs in factories in Vietnam, India and Indonesia to supply some of the world’s largest retailers with their own unique product. Rudy speaks four languages and, in 2009, became an American citizen.