Episode 7 — Connection
Artedomus’ Connection to the INAX Factories.
Key to the successful relationship between Artedomus and INAX is the connection to the individual factories themselves. With many factories being family-owned operations that work with INAX as their global distributor, visiting the factories has led to the cultivation of warm and productive relationships.
One of the most interesting parts about working with INAX is that each of their factories is an independent business that offer up their ceramic tiles to INAX to be their global distributor,” says Phil Brenton, Artedomus managing director. “This means that they’ve all go their own design departments and do all of their own prototyping.” As a result, Artedomus discovered that there are many products that are not distributed widely, giving Artedomus an extraordinary access to new and unusual products. Additionally, this meant that by working with the factories directly, they could develop products exclusively for Artedomus to supply.
With Artedomus as a go-to supplier for architects and interiors designers seeking a specific colour or effect for a tile, working with the factories enables them to source the perfect product to suit the needs of a particular project. “The joy of dealing with a company like this one is they’re always willing to test samples and make samples for us,” says William Pearse, Artedomus Melbourne sales manager. Visiting the Naka factory, William shows a product that the factory manufactures as a standard, and then compares it with a very similar yet subtly different version of the same tile that is produced exclusively for Artedomus.
As well as this important product-focused reason for visiting the factories, it has led to close relationships with the people who own and work in the factories. “Sometimes we’ll have a bento box [for lunch] at one of the factories; we’re always looked after like very special guests,” says William. “All of them are family owned businesses, which are treasured by those families, and the people that work there. It’s like almost going into someone’s home but they’re also making something out the back. It’s a very special experience.”
“Japan has become a big part of our lives professionally and personally,” says Phil Brenton, Artedomus managing director. “It’s been fascinating to take people who haven’t seen this type of operation before to see these ceramic factories and see the things that we have found fascinating for a very long time.” For Matthew Croll, Artedomus Sydney sales manager, who always considered himself more focused on stone, the experience of travelling to Japan and witnessing the vast array of ceramics reinforced the unique benefits of tiles. “The ceramic world that is Japan and INAX, it’s effectively like making stone – a product that’s in fact even harder than a lot of stone, more durable, more refined.”
Above all, the visit to Japan exemplifies Artedomus’ driving belief in to not simply selling customers a product, but to educate them in the stories, traditions and practices that make the tile unique and high quality. as well as bringing back knowledge about some of the applications of tiles and ceramics in Japan that are not yet widespread in Australia. “To be able to do that for architects and designers, it builds that ongoing trust,” says Yassaman.