Design Journeys: Bernard Otulakowski, Managing Director, SieMatic UK

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Bernard Otulakowski, Managing Director, SieMatic UK

 

Since its founding in 1929, family-run kitchen company SieMatic has upheld constant ideals – championing sustainability, eschewing short-term fads and instead developing styles, forms, functional elements and equipment for kitchens whose designs last for decades.

Here, managing director Bernard Otulakowski talks adapting to succeed, global unknowns and knowing your creative destiny from an early age…

The love for design and having a creative inspiration has been a family trait. My siblings and I, although in different fields, became accomplished in interior design, graphic design and fashion design. This artistic passion became evident from a young age and I subsequently took a degree course in interior design and the rest is history!

I have been involved with SieMatic for 40 years, initially starting as a designer before moving to showroom design, then I focused more on commercial sales. As a globally recognised brand with family values I’ve always been proud to work for such a company, of which its traits are respected and it’s considered a luxury brand throughout the world. My journey with the company has been an organic progression, which has been diverse and exciting.

Those aspiring to break into the industry should gain as much knowledge as possible. You have two ears and one mouth and you should use them accordingly, listening and understanding as much as you can digest. It’s also important to be as articulate as possible, as high specification and project perfection is required in our end of the market.

A key point to remember in our industry, is that people don’t just buy from people they like, but people buy from people like themselves. Therefore, it’s hugely important for designers to be like minded with their clientele and establish a synergy and a close relationship.

You have to adapt to succeed. My wife inspires me most, she is an interior designer who embraces change in any way, shape or form.

The best thing about my job is that a home renovation really can contribute to a positive change in people’s lives, especially a kitchen which is the hub of the home. It brings families together and it’s a pleasure thinking we have played a part in making that happen.

Business is never simple and I love the challenge of it. I embrace the change, and in high-end retail change is certainly what we will be seeing. Both in terms of consumer behaviour through technological advances and shopping habits, but also through social trends. When customers perspectives shift new opportunities arise and we need to be ready.

There are many ‘unknowns’ globally, which have an impact directly or indirectly with the majority of businesses. We gain insights into future trends that are due to re-shape the economy, including climate change and technology advances. Again, it’s about adapting to what the future consumer expects, and one size does not fit all.

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