Simon Pearce was trained to follow in the footsteps of his father, a potter. But he had something else in mind. "It seemed like everyone was making pottery and no one was making glass," he recalls. So Pearce set out from Ireland, where he was raised, to learn the trade of glassmaking, traveling throughout Europe and apprenticing in places like Orrefors in Sweden and Venini in Italy. The journey lasted almost four years, and at the end of it, he came home to open his own glass factory in Kilkenny. After a decade he grew frustrated with the red tape and other inefficiencies he found doing business in Ireland at the time and set his sights on the United States. There, he sought three things: a beautiful place in which to live, a factory with alternative sources of energy, and enough space for a retail store—because, as he puts it, "The best place to sell glass is in a glass factory."