‘You should never be limited in the way you think because that’s the one freedom you have that nobody can take from you.’
Francesco Marasco, Westbury
“I was born in Calabria, Italy, and my family and I immigrated in 1987. My father was always about the American dream, so he started different businesses. When I got out of high school, I attempted to go to college, but it wasn’t for me. I went to work with my father in home improvements, landscaping and construction. Around 2002, we decided to pursue the marble business. I flew to Italy and stayed with my grandparents and worked out of a factory. While I was doing that, my father built our original workshop and showroom here. I took over the company in 2006.
In all aspects of my life, I don’t believe that we’re limited. If you want something enough, you’ll figure out a way.
“In 2011, I came across gemstone materials like amethyst and tiger eye; things that were used in jewelry were now being formed into large-format slabs that can be customized into different products. I was just turning 30 and read a book from the 1920s, ‘Think and Grow Rich.’ It was about the way you think about yourself and what you believe you can achieve. I saw my life flash before my eyes. I thought, if you can change anything right now, what would you do? What would you create? I wanted to develop a brand with the new material, and I decided to name it after a nickname given to me by my grandmother. She used to call me Zecca Di Nana. I twisted the name as a kid. That’s how I came up with Zicana. I didn’t want, necessarily, my personal name so I kind of used the nickname.
“People thought I was crazy. I built a gallery strictly for these materials. The market is always shifting. I always broke the boundaries. I didn’t just repeat what everybody was doing. I was always fascinated with business in general. Watching my father start and sell businesses inspired me more into being an entrepreneur. He was always a risk-taker and didn’t let anything stop him. That definitely impacted me. In all aspects of my life, I don’t believe that we’re limited. If you want something enough, you’ll figure out a way.
“I don’t get discouraged when things don’t happen because there were always better outcomes that came from those things not happening. You have to believe in what you want, your overall goals. You should never be limited in the way you think because that’s the one freedom you have that nobody can take from you.”
Interviewed by Liza Burby