Two Aussie mates who built a kitchen company from scratch
Starting up your own business can be challenging. It takes grit, determination, perseverance and, of course, passion. Mike and Pete, two Aussie mates who own The Kitchen Design Centre, and founded Perennial, their kitchen manufacturing business, know this all too well. Together, they grew and developed their small business into a booming enterprise, creating employment opportunities in Melbourne and becoming trusted leaders in the industry.
It all started when Mike and Pete were about 16 years old. While working as first and second-year apprentices, the teenagers started their own side hustle, honing their skills while doing odd jobs for friends and family. They often played tricks on each other as mates do, but always had each other’s backs when either of them got hurt - regularly removing splinters from each other’s hands with a sharp chisel or extracting dust particles from their eye with the pointy end of a scrunched up tissue. (Such were the occupational hazards back then) .
At the end of their apprenticeships, Pete went travelling for a year while Mike went on to join a kitchen restoration company. Yet it wasn’t long until Pete, having spent his savings abroad, returned home upon catching up with Mike, deciding to join forces again.
That was when Perennial Kitchens, the manufacturing arm of The Kitchen Design Centre, was born. Both qualified builders and working full-time jobs by now, Mike and Pete set up in Pete’s uncle’s garage. Peter and Mike spent the next two years working 100-hour weeks, building their business from the ground up, all while holding onto their full-time employment.
Perennial Kitchens - our local manufacturing company
In 1994, Mike and Pete chose to focus on Perennial Kitchens full-time, moving into their first (very small) factory in Bayswater. After three years, Perennial outgrew its humble beginnings and Peter and Mike moved into larger premises where they hired their first apprentice. As time went on, the quality of their kitchens spoke for themselves and after the next 3 years, they outgrow their factory again. The opportunity presented itself to buy out Woodcraft Cabinets, their first employer where they had completed their apprenticeships.
The Kitchen Design Centre
Perennial Kitchens continued to grow exponentially and by 2006, Peter and Mike established their first retail showroom, The Kitchen Design Centre in Eltham. They also moved into their current factory in Bayswater and focused on both designing kitchens for customers and building them locally through Perennial. The Kitchen Design Centre now has a second showroom in Blackburn as well as a team of 50 employees including designers, cabinet makers and contractors.
Peter and Mike share some 66 years’ experience between them, cementing a solid reputation for their high-end kitchen cabinetry. The two remain the closest of mates, doing what they love and sharing hundreds of stories between them. And, despite the constant workload, you bet they still have time to help each other out and play the odd trick, just like the old days.