New recipe produces successful results for kitchen business

  • Furnique

    Andrew Toy (centre) counts on the Furnique team to deliver maximum quality for customer satisfaction.

Furnique provides a premium spray-painting service of kitchens and furniture, plus some furniture restoration, throughout the lower North Island – covering the Wellington, Manawatu and Wanganui regions.

Andrew Toy trained in his father’s firm, T.W Toy Ltd, a furniture manufacturing business in Wanganui, established in the late 1950s.

“I learned the trade of making furniture and when Dad died in 1994, I took over. But I realised we were old school; the market in New Zealand had changed and was dominated by imported furniture. It was obvious to me that our business wasn’t going to be viable.”

In 1996, Andrew decided on a change of direction, put T.W Toy into recess and went to work for the specialist furniture coatings company Mirotone, in Auckland and then later in Wellington.

“I worked over most of the North Island for eight years as a technical sales supervisor.” This experience turned out to be perfect preparation for the next stage of his career. Andrew returned to Wanganui in 2004 for what he thought would be “a lifestyle business and some furniture restoration work”, but a company that had heard he was back in town asked if he would spray a high gloss metallic kitchen.

The fact that Andrew had neither a building nor a spray booth didn’t daunt his client. He found Andrew what he needed and within a week the kitchen was being sprayed and Furnique was launched soon after.

“Our out of town work is all word of mouth – I’ve never marketed the business. The reason we get the work is simple: we produce a great product. It also helps that I’ve built a solid reputation in the industry.”

Furnique has four spray booths and employs eight full time staff and two part time staff, including Andrew’s wife Jane who does book keeping and office administration.

Having highly trained staff is a key factor in Furnique’s success. “We choose good people who want a career, versus just a job and we currently have two apprentices. It is all about pride and attention to detail.

“Spray painting can be very difficult and unless you know what you are doing, there are lots of traps. Finishing is the expensive part and it can chew up a lot of profit if it doesn’t work well. High lustre finish is a very specialised area – it has to look perfect and it’s our responsibility to make sure our client’s joinery is up to the highest specifications.

“We also pride ourselves in having a good, strong team culture; we are all multi-skilled, help each other and if one is away, the others step up to the plate to get the job done. I immensely enjoy hearing people say what good quality we put out. Our brand has become synonymous with quality.”

Furnique moved into a new building in 2005 on Somme Parade, Wanganui and as business has increased this has been extended and another built.

“Business is good and what’s more,” Andrew says, “We have continued to grow constantly throughout the recession.”

He puts this down partly to the fact that some clients, who carried out their own work, weren’t doing enough to warrant employing a painter and so contracted work out to Furnique.

Moore Stephens Markhams principal, Warwyck Dewe has worked with Andrew and his late father, Trevor, since the 1980s. “Warwyck has seen a lot of changes and given us sound financial advice. I meet with him three or four times a year and receive bi-monthly cash flow reports and financial planning advice throughout the year.

“I’m comfortable with Moore Stephens Markhams handling my tax – it is peace of mind, really. They also do my bi-monthly GST – it takes the stress and worry out of making sure that it is all correct.

“Warwyck is more of a friend than a business colleague and I find him very easy to deal with; he’s easy to talk to and offers some excellent points of view. It’s advice that I don’t need to go to university to study.”

Published Spring 2013.

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