For over 20 years, COMAX Australia has been creating unique, high quality furniture pieces for commercial and residential spaces. Design Addicts is loving the resurgence of great Australian manufactures that seem to fly in face of doom and gloom. We sat down with the founder of Comax Australia Susan Denham to find out more.
Q -Why did you start Comax Australia?
When I first started out as an Interior Designer I was ordering my furniture from reputable Sydney manufacturers, however I found a lack in reliability, service and accuracy on delivery dates. I then made a simple decision to just do it myself. Starting out I made custom pieces for my clients as an interior designer. The path from starting out as a textile designer then interior designer and eventually into furniture design was very organic. Filling a gap in an industry that I loved felt very natural to me, I think this came from following what I enjoyed. I am a hand’s on visual person so combining manufacturing with design is definitely suited to me. My great grandmother was a clothes designer and had a clothes manufacturing company in Brisbane City, Edward street so I guess it’s in my blood.
Q – Were there any major obstacles you had to overcome get the business where it is today?
No major Obstacles, just little challenges daily, which were exciting and kept my adrenaline running. I felt that it stretched me as a person, helping me to grow, as I continued to learn more about people. Today the challenges still continue and I don’t think that I will ever stop learning. The challenges were not in the area of design which comes naturally to me, but with running a business and taking care of 15 staff members, and paper work which is not my forte. So I have a great team around me that are better that I am in many areas. I enjoy my staff and think I am extremely fortunate to have the best of the best.
Q – If you were able to go back in time to when you took your first order, what advice would you give to a young Susan heading into manufacturing?
Don’t worry about anything. Just look at today, as everything always works out.
Q – It seems like your business has been built on collaborations with interior designers, but we are are yet to see a designer collaboration collection from Comax Australia, could this be on the cards.?
We do this a lot when designers coming to Comax with an idea of something totally custom, we collaborate together and come up with something amazing. I love working with interior designers and architects as their creativity sparks mine.
Q – There is a misunderstanding that Australian manufacturing is slowly dying, however I seem to see a resurgence of Australian manufacturing in our industry being revived. What do you believe is driving this resurgence?
Yes there is a high demand for Australian manufactures. Our clients want someone who is local that can take care of them long term. Our clients who use us are also keen to use us as the furniture does not break, not only do we have a good guarantee but we are very pro active in making sure our furniture looks good well into the 10years in a commercial setting. We give a 6 week turn around and can deliver before the 6 weeks if necessary. This is extremely important to a lot of our clients.
Q – Whats on the cards for Comax Australia?
We are planning on spreading our client base to other parts of Australia. We already have clients overseas and with our new collection of furniture design, every year we continue to have a stronger following. I will continue to push the boundaries of manufacturing; I am always finding new avenues. For example the increasing popularity in brass and copper has pushed us to expand our steel workshop. We now specialise in steel with a 2 pac finish that has a beautiful brass colour, but unlike brass it is extremely practical so it looks great without any upkeep.