Patrick Cummings is one of the next generation of Luxaflex dealers, with both him and his brother joining an elite group of licensees in their twenties and early thirties.
Patrick became involved in the window furnishings industry when he and his brother took up the reins of the family business, Shades in Hawthorn. After watching his father run the business for many years, Patrick began to get involved over a decade ago.
“I was studying a degree in property and construction at Melbourne University. While I was studying, I worked with my parents and started doing a few installations. Eventually I began training in sales and I started to learn a bit more about the business. From 2004 to 2008 I worked at Dad’s business part time, and started to work there full time in 2009,” said Patrick.
A benefit of the Luxaflex Gallery Program which Patrick particularly enjoys is the opportunity to socialise with other Luxaflex Gallery dealers.
“I really enjoy going to the conferences, which gives me a chance to speak to other licensees and find out how their business is tracking. It’s nice to have that peer network so you don’t feel so alone,” said Patrick.
“There are a few younger Luxaflex Gallery dealers now who are second generation, following in their parents’ footsteps. I’m only 29 and there are some licensees who are a couple of years younger than me. I really enjoy that about the business, it’s great to converse with them and it’s especially enjoyable when I’m attending Hunter Douglas’ conferences and meetings.”
Patrick notes that he has really appreciated learning the ropes of managing a company with the support of his family.
“Shades in Hawthorn really is a family business. My parents opened the store, Dad is still very heavily involved, and my brother and I have taken up the day to day running of the business.”
“Over the last five years or so business has grown significantly. My brother and I like to approach opportunities from different angles and do some things a little bit differently.”
While Patrick can always ask his father’s advice on business operations, he notes that he can also rely on the team at Hunter Douglas to bounce ideas off.
“Hunter Douglas has a really good support network. I have a close relationship with the Southern Regional sales manager, who was the Victorian sales representative when we first started. We have a lot in common so we speak on the phone quite often, and he gives us guidance with our product knowledge.”
Patrick says that often half of his work is done for him, when customers visit the store with the intent of purchasing Luxaflex products.
“We do get a lot of customers who come in specifically looking for Luxaflex products, which I attribute to their strong marketing program. Customers are particularly interested in our specialty products such as Duette Shades and Evo Awnings.”
“Luxaflex is obviously the most reputable and well-known brand in the market, so we do get people looking for that higher quality product, and they want to see that in our showroom. It’s so helpful to have a fancy showroom to show off the whole Luxaflex range to the customers.”
As Patrick became involved in the program with little other career experience, he is certain that others with no knowledge of the window furnishings industry can do the same.
“If you have a background in sales then your skillset would definitely be suited to the Luxaflex Gallery Program. It absolutely helps to have the network behind you for the sales and training support, but also have all the major national marketing and advertising work done for you.”
The diverse nature of being a Luxaflex dealer is another selling point of the program, according to Patrick.
“One thing that is great about my job is that every day is different. It’s good to get that variation in my day, getting out on the road and meeting up with different people as well.”
Mark Futeran, National Sales Operations Manager, Hunter Douglas is keen to welcome potential new licensees.
“It’s been fantastic to see Patrick grow into his role at Shades in Hawthorn, and provide a fresh take on the family business’ operations. We encourage anyone who is considering starting up their own business to get in touch if they think joining a licensed or franchised business might be right for them.”
Luxaflex Window Fashion dealer territories are still available in selected parts of Australia. To find out more call Mark Futeran on 02 9638 8000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org