In conversation with the ‘rugtrepreneurs’ at Modieus

    Modieus collage
    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
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    In conversation with the ‘rugtrepreneurs’ at Modieus

    Combining fashion with design to create some extraordinary carpet and rug patterns, Modieus is officially on the radar of our editorial team at Hotel Designs. Here, editor Hamish Kilburn catches up with the founders of the brand to understand more about the creative work that happens behind the scenes…

    Modieus collage

    Modieus is Dutch for fashionable, which makes sense when casting your eyes over the brands latest collection, Makers Mark. Established six years ago, the company is determined to be the most stylish commercial flooring brand in the southern hemisphere – we found there’s a lot more to them than just supplying beautiful carpets and rugs.

    Founder Xander Okhuizen (previously APAC Director at Brintons Carpets) and General Manager Daren Griffin (previously Head of Project Management PTY at Brintons Carpets) shared what they’ve learnt in their long careers in flooring, and how they differentiate themselves from other contract flooring brands. 

    Colour Blur - Modieus

    Image credit: Modieus

    Hamish Kilburn: What is the most important aspect of your business?

    Xander Okhuizen: People are the most important – nothing else. If people don’t want to work with you, you have nothing. We offer our clients a total solution and take all the stress out of projects.

    A lot of our competitors can get 90 per cent of a project right, but what really counts is getting the last 10 per cent delivered perfectly. That’s where Daren comes in because good project management matters.

    Daren Griffin: The projects we work on can take anything from six months to four years to complete. Our success comes from having processes in place and making sure everyone in the team understands what is expected. I review each project and ensure we are offering a commercially viable solution for both our customer and for our business. We also review every completed project; the whole team has visibility of costs and profit – yes even the sales team!

    HK: You must be the first management team that shares costs with their sales team, does that mean you discount a lot? 

    XO: No – quality has a price, we don’t aim to be the cheapest, we aim to be the best. And sometimes that means we walk away from projects.

    I tell my sales team not to “sell” – we don’t want lots of orders, we just want good orders. They must be brave enough to walk away from a project if it’s not good for our business. I don’t believe in giving empty promises – when we take an order, we keep our word. We have built excellent relationships with the Mills and have an amazing supply chain in place.

    DG: Design, Sales and Project Management work as a team and with total transparency on the success of every job. Everyone in the team has a fixed salary and Xander has ensured there is no ceiling on the bonus people can earn. I’ve been at Modieus for more than four years and it’s a different way of working that gets the best out of people (we even get our birthdays as extra holiday).


    Image credit: Hotel Indigo, Adelaide / Modieus

    HK: Where does your expertise lie?

    DG: Modieus is based in Australia, but we operate in more than 15 countries internationally – we’ve supplied carpets from Greece to Brazil. Our core sectors are hospitality, airports, aged care, and offices. We supply any construction and any configuration from broadloom and rugs to entrance mats (which can trap up to 90 per cent of dirt entering a building).

    XO: Selecting the right flooring is vital – you never hear kids screaming in a carpeted airport. But smart design is also key – a well-designed carpet can last 20 years in heavy footfall areas. Our expertise is in supporting our clients to select the right specification and design for their project and managing the whole process from start to completion.

    Collage Colour

    Image credit: Modieus

    HK: What design trends do you see emerging at the moment (or don’t see evolving further)?

    DG: Tastes vary internationally, each country is different. Our designers have worked in multi-markets and have a limitless design capability. Even in Australia there are stark differences, for example Queensland is very bright and bold, compared to Victoria and New South Wales where palettes are much more muted.

    XO: One trend I don’t understand is white carpets in guestrooms. First impressions count, so a white carpet in a guestroom may look great as a concept but it is a housekeeper’s nightmare. People buy carpet every 10 years, but we sell it every day so it’s our job to tell hotel owners what will work best. We will never take the order if we don’t believe the specification is right.

    A green room with jungle-like carpets

    Image credit: Modieus

    HK: What’s the business outlook like?

    XO: It’s been a tough year for hospitality internationally. In normal times Australians spend more on international tourism ($65bn) than they do domestically ($43-45bn), so this has been an opportunity for some sectors.

    DG: You know you can physically fit the whole of Europe into Australia, right? Money isn’t leaving the country as many people are spending it on a domestic holiday or on home renovations. Business hotels are not doing as well, but we see country resorts, and pubs and clubs doing very well.

    XO: Central Business Districts in cities will evolve to lifestyle living – we are seeing this in Sydney already, where offices are being converted to residential apartments.

    Even though people are sick of zoom, I don’t see a full return to offices. People may work two or three days in the office, which will have an impact on office space. I don’t see companies needing 6 levels in a building when they can do with three, so these spaces will be repurposed for multi-use.

    I have a very positive outlook on life and business. Work hard, treat people well, do the right thing – I have built a business that I always wanted to work for, and I am pleased to have a great team around me to deliver our potential.

    Modieus is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

    Main image credit: Modieus

    Hamish Kilburn / 23.08.2021


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