Can you tell me a bit more about the company?
Sourcing some of the world’s most exotic and finest man-made and natural materials, Cullifords supplies a huge range of exceptional fine quality stone to the residential and commercial markets. We specialise in marble, granite, quartzite, travertines, onyxs and slates and most recently launched our very own-branded quartz range.
From the company’s earliest stage, our philosophy has been about enduring quality, we have customers who have been purchasing from us for all of their working lives and they still comment that they would come to us time and time again for the quality. James (Semmens – Director Purchasing & Operations) and I work on the same philosophy that my Uncle and Gerald before him did (the company was up until recently named Gerald Culliford) – that philosophy being that it has to be good to be worth bringing to our yard. Anyone can go to Italy, Spain or Portugal or further afield to find slabs of stone, but to sort the wheat from the chaff is our constant goal and we bring those gems that we find to London to our Kingston Upon Thames yard. If we just brought mediocre material to London we wouldn’t be adding value to our products, and our customers wouldn’t find our materials exceptional.
What does your company do differently to most of your competitors?
We are much more focused on finding the best quality stones on the market, rather than looking for the cheapest prices. You can supply any natural stone at the lowest price, but finding a beautiful block and having the confidence to pay top price for it because you know that there will be market for it in London or around the world is quite tricky. We are not a commodity trader, more like a boutique.
What would be the company’s dream project?
This is tricky as we have done some amazing projects over the years! The best dream project would be something that would utilise our skills in finding beautiful materials, or tricky materials, so something like a private house with many different stone types from all over the world and with a client who embraces natural material and all its nuances.
What inspired you to become involved in the industry?
Having been on a trip to Spain with a friend discussing what to do with our careers, I knew I needed to get good at something. I have always had a passion for geography and business, so by having the opportunity to put the two together, it seemed like the natural choice. I would often drive home through Richmond Park and look at the city from the top of the hill and feel proud that our materials from interiors to building cladding had gone some way towards creating the city skyline.
What’s been your proudest achievement within the company to date?
My proudest achievement is the team we have created. They are all committed, willing and keen to get on with the task at hand. It’s such a variable business, and one day is always different to the next, so we need open minded and intelligent people to create a point of difference. We are in the building game, but we do not operate like the average building supplier.
If you could go back in time and speak to your adolescent self, what advice would you give them about the design world?
Beware of people who take themselves too seriously. Normally the best clients are open, interested and willing. Everyone appreciates honesty.
Website = geraldculliford.co.uk