International awards aid growth
Starting in a tin shed near Hastings, Phoenix Tapware has grown to become one of the dominant producers of bathroom products in Australia, picking up a swag of international awards along the way.
Business growth saw moves to Burwood, Blackburn, Vermont and then in 2012, a new location on Mountain Highway, Bayswater. Further expansion in 2018 resulted in purchasing land next door and building a 2000m2 facility, bringing the total space to more than 5000m2.
Geoff Wansbrough, Phoenix’s Director and Engineering Manager, credits much of the company’s success to excellent design and engineering teams, who are part of an 80-strong employee base with 65 based in Bayswater.
“Everything is designed and engineered in-house by our three designers and four research and development design engineers, including making prototypes with our own 3D printer,” Geoff said.
“We started entering international design awards in 2014 and first up we won an IF (International Forum) design award. The IFs are like the Golden Globes and from the three products we entered, we won with all three.
“Then we entered the Red Dot Awards, which are similar in status to the Academy Awards. It’s not just for tapware or showers, it’s also for product design in general so it’s a pretty big deal to win one of these, which we did.
“Since then we have won the Good Design Awards in the United States as well. We are competing with multi-billion-dollar companies around the world and our success reflects just what a small Australian company can achieve.”
July 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of Phoenix, which aims to keep on growing by leading the industry in design and having a lot of fun, coming out with innovative new products for the kitchen and bathroom, and continuing to introduce two or three new ranges a year.
“We’ve certainly got plans for expansion including looking at more overseas markets. We recently achieved US accreditation and are now investigating opportunities there. Closer to home, we have been exporting to New Zealand for several years and have experienced very positive growth over the past year.
“Countries that use British-based plumbing systems such as Singapore and Hong Kong are on our radar, as well as Dubai. Plus, we certainly want to kick as many goals as we can in the Australian market.”
Phoenix worked with Knox Council’s Economic Development facilitation team before moving into its new building and is pleased they did. “Plans were progressing slowly and it was only when one of the council team said the hold-up was actually on our side that we were able to investigate what was wrong. The project was then able to progress smoothly,” said Geoff Wansbrough.
Article from May 2019 Knox Business Life