The Ixina Phuket store, located right at the front of the Bypass Biz Town business estate, is the first in the country, and with good reason, said Managing Director David L’Helgoualch.
“Bangkok is a big market, but Phuket has the volume and the clientele we are looking for. We will get settled here first, then we can start looking at opening other branches throughout the country.
“Our biggest market will be retail, and we will be targeting individual home, condo and apartment owners,” he explained.
Ixina worldwide has more than 300 showrooms in more than 30 countries, and is currently in the midst of a huge international expansion. With 40 years’ experience as kitchen specialists, Ixina in 2016 alone is opening 15 branches worldwide in no less than nine countries, including Canada.
“Next year we will open in China and Australia,” Mr L’Helgoualch added.
Highlighting the depth of coverage Ixina may gain in Thailand, he noted, “My home country, France, is the same size as Thailand, and there are 90 branches in France alone.”
Asked why the global push this year, Mr L’Helgoualch said, “We provide excellent products and service, the training programmes for our staff are excellent, and the time is right.”
The kitchens range from an easily affordable B60,000 right up to B2 million for ultra-high-end creations. “And because we deal directly with the factory, customers get the best price at the start,” Mr L’Helgouach said.
Opening the door to the Phuket market is the quality of kitchens already provided. “Many condo owners are not happy with their standard kitchens. The quality is lacking. They start falling apart after just one year – worse so if the condo has been rented out to a variety of holidaymakers. Often the quality of materials and workmanship is poor and the wear and tear is too much,” Mr L’Helgoualch said.
“A key difference in the product quality is the production process. It is important to point out that we do not deal in ‘flat pack’. Flat pack means the composite will have holes where the screws go in to assemble the units, and these holes allow the humidity in Phuket to get inside the unit and warp the boards,” he explained.
“This simply does not happen with our units because they do not have these holes. Our units are heat fused in a factory near Dusseldorf – and tested to ensure they pass European standards – and then shipped as single units. And this is why our guarantee is for five years.”
Large orders from developers are of course accepted, but this market is secondary to the individual owners, he added.
Bringing Euro-quality service to Phuket is the “Personabled” credo upheld by Ixina, which itself is a Belgian-French creation. Staff “advisors” are there to assist clients from the moment they walk through the door until their own personalised kitchen is fitted in their home. The four “advisors” on staff are all trained by Inixa, and Thai, English and French is spoken at the store.
“They are all trained to provide a full service. They will talk through the design, style and materials the customer likes – and the budget the customer has set,” Mr L’Helgouach explained.
“And before taking the order, they will personally visit the home to take accurate measurements of the space where the kitchen is to be fitted. Sometimes we get architectural plans, and they might be a little out,” he said.
The service doesn’t end there. “The advisor will also be on hand to make sure there are no misunderstandings when the kitchen is fitted – and our team who fits the kitchens have been trained by German staff flown out here to train them. They know how to make all the little adjustments to make sure your kitchen fits perfectly.”
The range of designs, style and finishes for the kitchens is huge. “Customers can mix and match. We have new styles, designs and finishes every year – right now we have 80 different forms, including glass, lacquer and laminate,” said Mr L’Helgouach.
“Also, all our samples are in A4 format, which makes it much easier for a person to decide if it’s what they want, and they choose the style of handle they like too,” he added.
Ixina offers much more than what’s on display at the store. The catalogue is full of high-quality appliances, fixtures and fittings, such as sinks, mixer taps and worktops, to choose from.
“We also offer a price guarantee – we will come up with something to suit each customer’s needs and not go over budget, and right now we are offering special promotions for our grand opening,” Mr L’Helgouach said.
Ixina Phuket, 156/67 Chalermprakiet Rd, T. Rassada, A. Muang 83000 Phuket. Tel: 076-530106. Email: Thailande@ixina.com