News Archive

Project Kitchens Showcases Extended German Product Range

National leading contract kitchen supplier Project Kitchens has expanded its Manchester showroom to display a wider range of products. Already the UK’s largest supplier of SieMatic to developers such as Audley Retirement, London Square, Muse Developments and Seddon Homes, Project Kitchens has upgraded the Beckermann displays in its Manchester showroom.

The new, revamped showroom reflects the company‘s full product range and allows clients the ability to touch and feel the very latest in the Beckermann range, plus learn more about the company’s partnerships with brands such as Bora and Miele.

Belinda Sewell, Managing Director comments,

“Project Kitchens is known for its exceptional design capability, levels of service, accreditations and delivery. We are constantly innovating to broaden our offering to clients and in Beckermann we have found another perfect partner. They are a highly regarded German brand and provide the same bespoke service and attention to detail we insist upon for our clients. Our showroom reflects us as a brand and we love to invite clients and their architects and interior designers in to learn more.

”The expansion of our display is just another step in us bringing the very latest German designer brands to the developer market and we’ve had a great response from existing and new clients alike.


“NOT MANY PEOPLE CAN SAY THEY WERE BORN INTO THE KITCHEN INDUSTRY”

Belinda Sewell has taken Project Kitchens from strength to strength and ensured that the business is a leading supplier to the construction and developer sectors. Not only this, but the company has doubled its turnover year on year and in the last twelve months has launched a new product range, recruited 10 new staff and been awarded Achilles and Constructionline Gold accreditations.

Belinda was delighted to be presented with the public vote for Entrepreneur of the Year at The Grafters this year, an honour that reflects the passion, dedication and hard work that she puts into the business. She has also recently been nominated for a Forward Ladies National Award.

As the company looks towards its 20th birthday, we thought it timely to catch up with her and find out what makes her and the business tick.

Why kitchens?

Not many people can say they were born into the kitchen industry! My Father trained my two sisters and I in kitchen, bedroom and bathroom design from a very young age and running a business is in my blood. I worked for other companies and developed my skills set during my early career, but ultimately it was always an ambition to go it alone and build the best contract kitchen business in the UK market.

I joined Project Kitchens in 2001 and undertook a management buyout 9 years ago. People are still surprised that I am the sole owner of Project Kitchens – something I am always intrigued by.  Perhaps it is still not as common as it should be for a woman to develop a construction related business, but I fell in love with construction sites and design the first time I pulled on my rigger boots. I have been absorbed in the residential development market ever since, including its ups and downs.

I was delighted to launch Project Bedrooms recently too and we have expanded our product range to include Beckermann, a highly regarded German brand.

Project Kitchens is unique.  I believe there is huge satisfaction in taking a client’s brief, adding our own design experience and making sure the end kitchens exceed all expectations. The quality of the kitchens and the design process is what excites me. Anyone who thinks all kitchens are virtually the same, has never worked with us, or our products. We seek to add value at every stage of the process and this is what makes us stand out. The feedback we receive from architects, interior designers and developers affirms this and our repeat business is second to none.

Tell us a bit more about the early days post buy-out?

I’ve been in the industry for over 25 years and have been lucky enough to work on a huge variety of schemes, for developers like London Square, Muse Developments, Seddon Homes and Audley Retirement, to name just a few.  Some of these clients have worked with us now for over 15 years.

We started out in small premises in Manchester with just a few staff and in 2010 we moved to our existing Manchester head office in Trafford Park. We opened our Kingston showroom in 2012 and moved to our new distribution centre in 2017. Just last month we extended and improved our current HQ office space to meet the future needs of the business. We have also rebranded to adopt a more streamlined and contemporary look. The team is constantly looking at ways we can drive the business forward and set new standards. Client service sits at the heart of everything we do and is my main motivator. I’m always looking for ways to stay ahead of the rest and with this I invest heavily in software for my CAD team, training across the business and various activities to build team spirit.  It all adds to what we deliver to our clients. 

I think our success is very much based on ‘we do what we say and more’. People choose to both work with us over and over again and recommend us to others. I am proud of this achievement. There is nothing better than exceeding clients’ expectations and working alongside people you know and like and who trust you.

What does Project Kitchens do differently?

Working alongside our product partners, we hold CPD training sessions in our showrooms, which also means we develop strong bonds with professional bodies.  In addition, we have embarked upon a programme of Trend Seminars to keep our contacts ahead of the competition.  These events involve networking opportunities, pop up presentations from leading experts in the field of property trends, consumer lifestyle, design, media, food, etc and have sparked interest and debate.  It is evident that this sharing of educational information engenders an atmosphere of trust, collaboration and positivity, which delivers results for our clients and builds strong relationships for the future. I don’t know of another contract kitchen company who does this.

Over the last twelve months, we became the first contract kitchen supplier to be awarded both Achilles and Constructionline Gold status. This is no easy feat and reflects our commitment to offering the best levels of safety and service in the development market. The whole team is 100% CSCS accredited and I am also NEBOSH accredited.

Our Project Management function is second to none with a team of highly trained project managers overseeing every aspect of a scheme being delivered on site across the country.  We carefully monitor site and our reporting system keeps all parties up to date on how a scheme is progressing, to ensure each kitchen is installed on time and to the required standard.  The feedback I receive from our clients and main contractors about our reporting is that it is excellent and unique in the industry. 

In essence, Project Kitchens builds strong, respectful relationships with all those who choose to work with us and we stay ahead of the rest through investment in training, accreditations and education.  We provide a dedicated service that means our repeat business is exceptional with many architects and designers specifying the SieMatic product and our Project Kitchens brand repeatedly throughout their careers.

We also try and identify charitable causes to partner with annually and I encourage my whole team to help out at a Manchester soup kitchen and raise funds. I have even been known to sleep in cricket stadiums and undertake wing walks where needed so I get involved myself. Perhaps another example of where Project Kitchens goes the extra mile!

 


Art Workshop at Mustard Tree

The team at PK has been busy fundraising this year for Mustard Tree, through a range of events such as a CEO sleepout, cake sales and a Tough Mudder. Along the way, we have learnt how vital the charity is to people trapped in poverty and homelessness in Greater Manchester.

We had already helped at a soup kitchen and met some of the people affected, but jumped at the chance last Friday to spend a day at their HQ and have some fun with the fantastic art team there.

On arrival, Team PK were greeted by Sophie Appleton, the Corporate Partnership Manager and Creative Programmes Manager Graham Hudson. Graham had already visited our newly refurbished Manchester office to get inspiration for our artwork project and he briefed us on materials, scale and style of the canvas’s we would be painting.

We were each given a canvas that would collectively make one piece of artwork. And straight away we set to work creating our individual masterpieces.

Throughout the day we learned how Mustard Tree has grown over the years. And by providing practical support, friendship, connections into work, improvements to health and wellbeing, plus new experiences to encourage aspiration, they help people help themselves.

Andrea Owen, Senior Account Manager at Project Kitchens comments,

“It was truly inspiring listening to Graham’s story over our delicious lunch cooked by the volunteers. He explained he had come from a difficult upbringing and faced times of poverty after serving time in prison.

“The opportunity to produce artwork as a team was great and something so refreshingly different. We had a superb time and really bonded as a team. Graham also showed us around the building, which was initially gifted to Mustard Tree as a near derelict site 25 years ago and has grown to a bustling hive of activity and support for many people.

“What a fantastic organisation, which deserves a huge amount of support for the amazing work that they do! An unforgettable day, thoroughly enjoyed by all the team. Thank you Mustard Tree!”

Team from Project Kitchens: Richard Muench, Lizzie Plank, Mandy Lord, Guy Broadhurst and Andrea Owen.


Nick Hopwood Promoted to Contracts Manager

We are delighted to announce that Project Manager Nick Hopwood has been promoted to a senior management role within Project Kitchens.

Nick has been appointed as Contracts Manager, reporting directly to the business Directors.

Belinda Sewell comments,

“Nick joined the business in 2015 and has played a pivotal role in strategically managing jobs through to final installation. The Contracts Manager’s role is varied, providing practical input on a variety of levels to the Directors, whilst continuing to offer site support.

“Nick has developed relationships with many of our long-standing clients and his attention to detail is fantastic. He will take responsibility for our project management function nationally, ensuring the smooth running of multiple sites on a day-to-day basis and developing our exacting standards.

“He will also support the sales team with technical knowledge and act as a guide to other members of staff. Reporting to Director Amanda Dagg, Nick will develop systems and best practice in terms of our project management and site performance throughout the business. Congratulations Nick – a well-deserved promotion!”

Nick Hopwood comments,

“The opportunity to take on the Contracts Manager role at Project Kitchens is a superb step in my career and demonstrates the forward-thinking nature of the business. We constantly strive to improve our standards to deliver results for our Clients nationally through our collaborative approach to work, exceptional accreditations and innovative work practices and I am highly motivated to push our brand even further.”


Our Manchester Head Office Receives a Modern, Fresh New Look

Project Kitchens has recently rebranded, launching our new, streamlined, modern look at Inter Pro Social 2018, to over 300 members of the NW property community.

As part of the process and in line with our brand values, we have significantly enhanced our Manchester head office, streamlining workspace and creating a creative and inspiring environment for our growing team.

Sales Manager Nick Daffy, who has a background in interior fit-outs and space planning, headed up the project. Nick and Managing Director Belinda Sewell have delivered a space that is more compatible with Project Kitchens’ way of working and helps deliver even better results for clients.

Nick Daffy comments,

“We were keen to make better use of the office space above our Manchester showroom and create a far more pleasant working environment with zoned work areas, additional meeting spaces and a fresher, more modern look. Tones of green, grey, brown, bronze, amber and white combine to give an earthy, natural feel with modern desking, comfortable seating and a funky meeting pod.”

Belinda Sewell adds,

“I’m pleased with the result of this project from a business perspective and for the team at Project Kitchens. What Nick and I set out to do was deliver a more efficient workspace, alongside practical features that would enhance our every day working.

“We all spend a lot of time in our office so it needs to be the best it can! Each feature was carefully considered, from the slate grey blinds, to the crisp white desks, to the tub planting – in order to bring a sense of calm and nature into each working day. Of course the kitchen is second to none with 2 dishwashers, a seating area, oven and microwaves, so every person in the team gets to experience what we sell every day – perfection.”

Practically, workspaces are zoned with planting, creating natural screens and teams are collected together to make work practices more focused and dialogue seamless. More storage has also been incorporated with specific sliding storage cupboards and a huge job board (for all our work to feature), to enhance communication and keep us all up to date.

A new 14 person boardroom allows for more effective internal and external meetings and the partitions between offices are ultra-modern, using full height glazing to the walls and doors.

We look forward to welcoming you and showing you around soon!