By Martin Vedris
BOWRAL, NSW: Graham Brake, managing director of Black and Stone, the new Australian-designed appliance brand, said that his products were designed with retailers in mind.
It has taken two years for Black and Stone to commercialise its first products.
“We didn’t just want to buy products off the shelf from a factory in China and just stick our name on it,” said Brake.
“If all we did was walk into a factory and do that we would have nothing unique to sell and nothing unique to bring to the market and then there’s no reason for us to exist.
“If we can bring something that has difference to it, it gives us something that is unique but it also helps our retailers because part of our strategy is to offer our retailers a good margin.
“I am very aware that as a wholesaler, that I don’t exist without retailers and retailers don’t exist unless they can make a profit out of a product so we knew we needed to bring products to market that were different and had an edge over the competitors, not just for our sake but also for our retailers’ sake.”
Starting a brand and a company from scratch is a huge task and taking two years to bring a product to market requires self belief.
“We decided to invest in ourselves and in our company and take a calculated risk that is it going to work,” said Brake.
“I guess it’s a matter of having faith in the decisions you make and confidence in your ability. You watch your sporting heroes and they go through purple patches where they’re confident with what they’re doing. I think it’s the same in business and if you have confidence in what you’re doing it tends to show in your decisions.”
One of the key decisions the company has already made it choosing its company name.
“We wanted a brand name that could be put on different product categories,” said Brake. “We wanted something that transcended indoor and outdoor products, so Dad’s happy to have a Black and Stone barbeque for example, but Mum’s also happy to have Black and Stone products in her kitchen. And we wanted a brand that was portable and could be used around the world.”
Where did the inspiration for Black and Stone come from?
“One of the products we originally looked at was some cookware and part of the range included some products that used stone,” said Brake. “But we sat around and thought about a name and we all liked Black and Stone.”
The company has ambitions to develop the brand in markets worldwide, starting with Australia, New Zealand and the UK, with Europe, North America and Asia also on the radar. Another goal of the company is to gradually and carefully build the product range.
“Our goal is to launch into two new products categories a year and we’ll try to stick within the indoor and outdoor cooking appliance and accessories,” said Brake.