Schmidt Kitchens’ Bristol franchisee
Marielle Medaets was working in the engineering and IT industry for various multinational companies, before deciding to set up her own business.
How did you find out about Schmidt Kitchens?
I came across the brand while building my own house through a family member’s recommendation, so I knew about the quality of the product. I wanted to leave corporate life, so decided to combine my passion for interior design and architecture with my skills acquired throughout my career in order to work for myself.
How did Schmidt Kitchens help you get up and running?
I had my first meeting with a business development manager from Schmidt roughly one year before I opened my showroom and we went through all the different steps needed to create my own business, including finding the premises, writing my business plan and securing the funds.
She was the link between Schmidt’s head office in France and my project. It was great to have just one point of contact during this process, but at the same time utilising experts in every field at head office.
Describe your typical working day
Every day is different. I can start my day by checking the delivery from Schmidt at my customer’s home or be on site for the templating of a worktop.
At the beginning of every week, I have a team meeting with my two designers, James and Aran. and my assistant, Jessica. Together we review what has happened during the previous week and prepare for the week ahead.
After making sure the showroom is ready, we open our doors at 10am. After that, all my activity is focused on three areas: management, sales and administration. Welcoming customers, discovering their needs, going on site, taking measurements, designing kitchens, following up on the delivery and fitting - what we want is for the customer to experience a seamless process during their project.
I’m also responsible for local marketing and PR activities and am involved with the Schmidt Network Progress Group meetings, which are organised every month by my area manager. During these meetings we share our results, experiences and best practice. They are very important to me, as you’re with people who are experiencing the same things as you, which is a huge benefit for my business.
What’s the secret of your success?
My business needs to be profitable, so a good sales strategy is essential. We create something unique for the customer and make their satisfaction a priority, making sure there is good communication between the team.
Has becoming a franchisee been a rewarding experience?
Opening a Schmidt showroom was a life changing decision for me and my family. The single biggest challenge was making the transition from the corporate world to a retail environment, fully integrating myself with the product knowledge and surrounding myself with the right team.
Challenges aside, the rewards are huge. The customer feedback and satisfaction are my biggest rewards. Coming up with great designs and the fact customers love their new spaces is very personal. Running a successful showroom gives me more flexibility to achieve a good worklife balance and in the long term create a blueprint for me to open further Schmidt showrooms.
At a glance Schmidt Kitchens
Number of franchised outlets: 26
Location of outlets: nationwide
Investment range: approximately £400,000
Minimum capital required: £80,000
Contact: Rosalyn Hastings, UK expansion manager. Rosalyn.hastings@groupe. schmidt. 07432 553713