Priyanka Rao of luxmyfurniture.com.au tells us about her recent experience as a finalist in the Telstra Business Awards.
Entering business awards is a great way to benchmark a company and identify what is working and what can be improved. There is always debate on when a business is ready to enter themselves into, and at Luxmy Furniture we decided that given we’ve been around since 1997 and enjoyed a steady growth year on year, it was about time to start blowing our own horn.
I joined the business this year as Marketing Manager with my MBA just hot off the press. Given my design education prior to business school and professional marketing experience I understood the marketing needs of the company straight away, and I had the added advantage of knowing the business very well as my father is the MD.
Luxmy Furniture was founded by Sudhindra Rao (known as ‘Rao’ in the industry) who after working for various manufacturers saw a need for a company to provide locally made, affordable but high quality product to the commercial furniture market. In a cutthroat industry constantly threatened by imports, We have gained a strong position as a leading manufacturer now service clients based all over Australia and Asia via one factory in Punchbowl. We adopted green, sustainable practices early and were the first manufacturer in the industry to receive all major environmental certifications which increased our sales significantly.
We manufacture workstations, boardroom tables, reception desks and joinery through sophisticated CAD driven machinery. Working in partnership with a very loyal client base, we’ve manufactured office furniture for the likes of the Prime Ministers Cabinet, Australian Government Departments, AGL, Optus, Panasonic, Google, Stocklands, 3M, and many more. A major factory fire nearly destroyed the business in 2005, but we recovered in 3 days to grow well ahead of the industry average.
We’re now about to launch a consumer furniture range, allowing consumers to design their own tables, chairs and storage systems online. To achieve a FINALIST position in the AMP Innovation category of the Telstra Business Awards gave us the confidence to move forward with this product release as prior to this it was just an idea floating around internally with no clear direction.
We entered the awards to get a benchmark of how well our business stood up and it was really only to get that free benchmarking report! The entry process was gruelling however very rewarding as we could answer every question and I could immediately see areas for improvement.
The interview with the judging panel was lengthy but very enjoyable and inspiring to see someone else impressed by what we did. When I received the call that we were FINALISTS even I was overwhelmed. I set to work informing local press and received coverage in both newspapers a week later. This also resulted in great coverage in online blogs who picked up these articles and across social media channels as well. Our client feedback was extremely positive too so overall it’s a great way to start a conversation.
The night before the awards I got the opportunity to meet the other finalists and also previous winners. That’s when it really hit that we were finalists in the Telstra Business Awards and what that really meant in terms of the strengths of our business. To be amongst those companies was a huge WOW. You spend all this time quietly building something knowing you’re on the right track but to see it being recognised is a truly special experience and we highly encourage everyone to enter.