Philip Richards recalls: ‘The road to blu_line began over 15 years ago. The company was formed by my brother and myself in the basement flatlet of our parents’ home. I was 18 at the time, finishing up my final matric exams and my brother was a computer programmer who was keen to start a business and had experience in the kitchen industry from years before.
‘I recall that from the beginning our focus was on building a brand and therefore a product and service offering that could compete with the best international imports. It has been a long journey with many challenges and failures, but we’re grateful to have had the opportunity in this country to develop a brand that we are proud of, and that the market recognises as one of the leaders in the industry.
‘The last two years have probably been the most challenging, though also the most enriching with the launch or our new manufacturing facility housing the latest state of the art machinery, enabling us to manufacture our entire product range under one roof. This was combined then with the opening of a new showroom of over 600 square metres of kitchen architecture in Peter Place, Bryanston.’
The new venue features ten fully functional kitchens, each customised to showcase the blu_line product. But more than that, it enables clients to discover their ‘own story’ for their living space, which includes a full wardrobe area so that it incorporates an inclusive signature. Also recently launched is a new contracts division, which focuses on luxury residential developments from apartments to freestanding homes.
Says Philp Richards: ‘I’m very proud now that after 15 years we have a locally designed and manufactured product that not only meets the demands of our niche clientèle but also clearly illustrates what is possible in their space. Our aim is to push the boundaries, taking these past what is trendy or current to what will work now and in the future. We show clients how this can be achieved while still staying current.
‘With over 52 employees we now have a specialist group of people that make not only the designs possible but also the manufacturing and installation processes a reality. I am further grateful for the incredible support we’ve received over the years from our clients and especially for how my brother and I are still unified in our vision for this brand, and for taking it to new levels locally and internationally.
‘The kitchen industry in South Africa has seen many changes over 15 years, the most notable being the demand for imports. Over 10 years ago our brand was facing numerous challenges as we aimed to compete in the luxury segment of the market. Then, the majority of clients only wanted to buy imported kitchens, the notion being that if it’s from overseas then it must be better. To be fair this was true in many respects and we considered having an imported brand in the blu_line stable, alongside our local product.
For the full article see Habitat #260 July / August 2017 | Subscribe now