“Our growth in the last 12 months has been phenomenal,” says Jade Patel, CEO of Project Floors New Zealand. During that time, Jade has been based at NEW the Design Hub in Takapuna.
“When we decided to establish a new premises, instead of just opening a flooring showroom for Project Floors, we collaborated with design partners to come with us and align with our vision.
When clients come in, they can see our products but are also interacting with complementary products like Autex acoustic solutions, Novii lighting, Laminex, Statement ID, Frameless Glass Company, Fisher Painting Services, Nomad Tika, Resene and NZ’s leading Tile providers, The Tile Warehouse and Tile Depot.
The Design Hub is just the latest example of two decades of innovation for Project Floors, Jade says. “Before we started this company, I had been working for an international distributor for years and I had grown frustrated with stagnated overseas designs that weren’t tailored to the New Zealand market.
I knew that I could do better with New Zealand in mind, so my husband and business partner, Dipak, and I went out on our own and started the New Zealand chapter of global entity, Project Floors.”
At first, the pair struggled to get the traction they needed, until Jade says they hit a turning point: whitewash plank floors.
“At the time, Trelise Cooper had just opened their Nuffield store and, with fashion and flooring having a close synergy, it was my ‘Aha’ moment. All the other global directors didn’t get it. They couldn’t see why someone would want white floors, but I knew it made sense for New Zealand.”
Jade and Dipak converted their lifestyle barn into a warehouse where they would receive materials from overseas, chop samples and prepare them to go out to potential clients.
For the first few years, they remained in line with the global vision for Project Floors by prioritising LVT luxury vinyl flooring solutions.
“Then, 15 years ago, while touring factories overseas, I came across a soft-back carpet tile and realised that was our point of difference. Everyone told me I was wrong, and it wouldn’t be popular or wear well, but I fought tooth and nail for that product to find a manufacturer and work with a New Zealand adhesive supplier.
This was the birth of ProTile with EcoTX backing, which ultimately evolved into an acoustic solution that took the industry by storm.” Project Floors remains the market leader of integrated, acoustic-backed carpet tiles in New Zealand and, Jade says, their products have the stats to back that up.
“We’ve had everything tested through Auckland University and other accredited testing facilities here and in Australia,, achieving incredible results around acoustic performance.
90% of our carpet tile stocks are EcoTX backed – it’s the standard, not an optional extra. Now we’re prioritising a pathway to being Carbon Neutral, which is where I’m focusing most of my attention for the future.”
One of the most compelling materials in their product line is ECONYL®, a carpet fibre made from regenerated nylon waste.
“I knew we couldn’t go on forever being a virgin yarn manufacturer; as an industry, we can’t keep burning fossil fuels and taking materials from the earth.
On an overseas trip around 2016, I found ECONYL®, which turned out to be an amazingly positive step away from those historically extractive manufacturing processes. It is made by regenerating synthetic waste plastic, waste fabric and lost and discarded fishing nets.
You take that material back to its original new nylon yarn form and then repurpose it into first-grade nylon, keeping it out of any downward cycle where it would end up in our oceans or in a lazy landfill. We were the first manufacturer in New Zealand to use and stock ECONYL® Carpet Tiles, which is something I feel really proud of.”
Project Floors has since incorporated other sustainable products into its portfolio including wineo PURLINE®, a next-generation, organic, cradle-to-cradle-certified alternative flooring solution.
“Our goal is that within 5 years, 97% of all Project Floors products will be regenerated or renewable.”
The key to staying ahead of the curve, Jade says, is the people she surrounds herself with.
“We are privileged enough to work alongside the most talented, creative and successful people".
Sometimes I think about the projects we have worked on over the years; the artistic influence we’ve had on major builds is truly amazing – pretty impressive for a little girl from the middle of nowhere, Hokianga. We work with designers and architects who bring extraordinary ideas to the table and keep me interested in creating unique and customised solutions.
I’m always so inspired by everyone who works out of The Design Hub. A space like that really takes some of the ego out of business. Historically, you might have only been worried about your own backyard, but here we all synergising with each other in the marketplace. The collaboration is there to enhance the experience for designers; it’s a truly complementary service for both our design partners and clients alike. I wanted the experience to be like kids in a candy shop, which I think we’ve really achieved… but we it wont stop here… we’ve only just begun.
“We’re forever innovating and responding to rapid changes in the industry around processes like supply chain, project management and warehousing.
The last couple of years have clipped my wings a little bit, but I’m excited now to get back overseas and experience, first-hand, the development our factories have made, create more new designs, enhance product developments and let the team do what they’re great at.
The team has grown extensively over the past few months, which really shows you the growth curve we’ve been on. I love taking the input and creative ideas from clients, designers and other world leaders, adding my twists and bringing the concept to life.
I wouldn’t say I’m the most creative person, but I surround myself with such uniquely talented people who help me take the ideas of architects and designers, encapsulate them and give them the best possible solution. What started as a Mum & Pop business has really grown into one of those great homegrown New Zealand success stories.”
To learn more visit www.projectfloors.co.nz, add our socials @ProjectFloorsNZ and give our friendly team a call on 09 444 4165.
As Jade says, “we love talking to people! Old-fashioned great customer service is our ethos, and we will walk over hot coals to complete your project, issue free with ease.
It’s our expertise and unshakable confidence that we only offer the very best products in the industry on the forefront of innovative design. Quality flooring and quality people are our passion, it’s our why, it’s what we do well, it’s who we are.