Like many businesses, Creative Kitchens & Interiors started as a small project in a shed between family that has grown (and grown) over the past 35 years.
Established in 1984, then-owner Al started manufacturing bespoke furniture and remodelling items for family and friends.
Seeing an opportunity to take the products to market, the business quickly outgrew the shed, and soon Al and his team were producing high-end kitchens and bespoke furniture to an ever-growing client base.
In 2015, now-director Sean Wood took ownership of the company. Having spent more than 20 years in the commercial sector, he wanted to show customers that the traditional approach to customer service works and is still an added value.
“We have a very traditional approach. The client comes first 100% of the time. We sit down with prospective clients, listen and learn. We have to understand their wants and needs, then fill in the gaps. Honesty is our key – no hidden agendas, just simply a service that reflects the ethos of our business.”
He says the clients are one of the most enjoyable parts of owning a business – after 35 years, they are often providing joinery to three generations from the same family!
“They stop being clients when they choose to work with us; they become lifelong friends.”
The business hasn’t been without its challenges, with Sean reflecting on a ‘poor staff selection’ that that almost cost him the business.
“To come back from where we were was very unusual, but thanks to the support of dedicated staff and suppliers we turned the business around. It took many, many hours of hard work and commitment, but I knew the company had value to add – so much so, that in 2018, we won Most Trusted kitchen manufacturer in Tauranga, we were runners up in 2019 and in 2020 we won again.
“I have been asked several times how we rose from the ashes to be in the position we are today, and it is simple: Trust the people who can help, focus on your goal and never forget the family behind you.”
When asked what advice he would give to other small business owners, Sean says, “Never be afraid to ask for help. It doesn’t matter how big your company is, you cannot do it alone”.
Taking his own advice, his goal for the future is to build a team around him that keeps their unique joinery and craftsmanship alive.
“We want to train the right people, so this type of work remains available in the Bay. We also want to continue the growth we have shown over the last two years, and enjoy watching Tauranga become the go-to place for both national and international people looking to move.”
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