AWASH WITH SUC­CESS

HOW do you turn a HOUSE­HOLD item into a HERO prod­uct? Vanessa Kat­sanevakis, DI­REC­TOR of Sus­sex Taps, SPILLS her se­crets.

Collective Hub - - CONTENTS - WORDS AMY MOL­LOY

how a house­hold item be­came a hero prod­uct

YOUR DAD WAS A JEW­ELLER BE­FORE HE LAUNCHED SUS­SEX TAPS. WHY THE SWITCH?

The busi­ness was a re­sult of my dad [Ni­co­laas Jo­hannes van Put­ten’s] life jour­ney. He im­mi­grated to Aus­tralia as soon as he got his watch­mak­ing cer­tifi­cate, and his un­der­stand­ing of crafts­man­ship shaped his pur­suit for precision. In the 1990s, he pur­chased ma­chin­ery which worked on brass to com­ple­ment the gold and sil­ver busi­ness, and he found him­self sketch­ing taps. The rest is his­tory.

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT FROM JOIN­ING THE FAM­ILY BIZ?

[My ear­li­est mem­ory is] be­ing on the swings at Dad’s fac­tory. I re­mem­ber him al­ways try­ing new things, start­ing ex­cit­ing projects and ven­tures. He failed some­times, but his un­wa­ver­ing per­sis­tence and imag­i­na­tion al­ways saw him through. He in­stilled in me the idea that any­thing’s pos­si­ble from a young age, which has re­ally clicked the last few years.

HOW DO YOU TRANS­FORM A FUNC­TIONAL OBJECT INTO A PIECE OF ART?

A tap has never been just a com­mod­ity to us. When you buy an item, you can just tell whether thought and care has gone into the mak­ing of it. Qual­ity and at­ten­tion to de­tail is our first pri­or­ity. Our pas­sion lies in en­sur­ing our pieces leave the work­shop at the high­est pos­si­ble stan­dard. The object then be­comes a lot more than just an ev­ery­day item.

WHERE DOES YOUR DE­SIGN IN­SPI­RA­TION COME FROM?

So many ar­eas of life – from the way ev­ery­day ob­jects work func­tion­ally, to dream­ing big and test­ing aes­thet­ics with our prod­uct de­vel­op­ment de­part­ment. An­other fun part of the de­sign process comes from col­lab­o­rat­ing with amaz­ing lo­cal de­sign tal­ent in our Melbourne work­shop. We have some ex­cit­ing prod­ucts be­ing re­leased in 2018.

WHY DID YOU BRING IN MORE ECO-FRIENDLY PRO­CESSES?

We’re al­ways look­ing for a bet­ter way to do things, and that’s why we now re­cy­cle our brass shav­ings. We love our [spe­cial­ist] re­cy­cling fa­cil­ity. Our foundry [which melts down metal and re­forms it] is the star, be­cause it en­ables us to re­use our brass byprod­uct, to make taps all over again. This keeps us ver­ti­cally in­te­grated [where the sup­ply chain of a com­pany is owned by that com­pany], and our costs down. There’s a rig­or­ous qual­ity check at each step and, fi­nally, each piece is then as­sem­bled by hand. Short­cuts are not an op­tion.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEM­O­RABLE PROJECT?

Well, I’m cur­rently sport­ing a new flamingo pink mixer [tap] in my pow­der room! Also, in 2017, we pro­duced some stun­ning di­a­mond-en­crusted tap­ware that was the re­sult of a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Ade­laide jew­eller Cas­san­dra Ma­mone on a pent­house en­suite. There’s a lot my hus­band and I want to achieve, both in Aus­tralia and abroad. Although we’re a 20-year-old busi­ness, the pos­si­bil­i­ties are very ex­cit­ing. I love all things that are mean­ing­ful and of beau­ti­ful qual­ity.

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