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Having an impact on the ‘kitchensphere’

Tom O'Leary Dec 12
Having an impact on the ‘kitchensphere’
Kitchen In’s quality approach, on time delivery, and friendly and professional service has built a strong customer base.

New Plymouth’s Kitchen In brings superyacht quality workmanship to kitchens, cabinets, and furniture for Taranaki builders and home owners.Originally founded in 2007 by local joiner Marty Surrey, Kitchen In’s quality approach, on time delivery, and friendly and professional service has built a strong customer base of builders, happy residential clients, and repeat business.

Husband and wife team Rob and Gwen Hamilton bought the business in October last year.Gwen is a mechanical engineer who manages business administration and accounts for Kitchen In in her spare time. Rob is an NZQA qualified marine cabinet maker who worked in the superyacht industry for more than 10 years.

As an apprentice, he placed first in the National World Skills trade competition for cabinet making, going on to the international competition where he placed 10th in the world.

“The advantage of my superyacht and traditional woodworking background is that a lot of people now in the industry don’t have this traditional wood-working skillset,” Rob says. “We can complete projects with custom features that really differentiate our products from others.”

Kitchen In employs one cabinet maker and installer, Damian Elliot, who is also a qualified marine cabinet maker with experience in the superyacht and high-end residential cabinetry industries. “Whenever a customer wants timber features or solid wood joinery, we can do that all in house which really gives us a handle on quality control,” Rob says.

And since Kitchen In works on one kitchen at a time, and Rob has his eyes and often his hands on projects all the way through design, manufacture, and installation, customers are working with the owner of the business for their entire project.

Rob’s competition background has him well placed to produce high quality joinery while working within a set of constraints to achieve a high quality result. In the competition situation the constraint was time, and in business, the constraint is customers’ budgets.

“We’re using materials and production techniques which bring the price down, so quality kitchens are accessible to more people.” Like the smallest, most affordable kitchen Rob and Damian have made in the past 12 months.

The customer wanted a Scandinavian style Kitchen In kitchen for her small room and smaller budget. “We made some smart choices and used an innovative bench top product which would normally be used in the commercial sector.

Commercial projects always have budget constraints and this laminate bench top with a birch ply core and exposed edge is more affordable than a lot of laminate tops.

With this and some other clever features, we were able to produce a designer-looking result for less than this customer would have spent at Mitre 10.”

This project has attracted a lot of attention on Kitchen In’s Facebook page, and social media is a big focus for these new owners. “We’re doing a lot on social media and our web-site, so people will find us when they go out looking for a local kitchen manufacturer,” Gwen says.

“Instead of relying solely on word of mouth, we are actually putting ourselves out there in the kitchensphere of New Plymouth,” Rob adds.

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