He’s the dude with the top knot, coffee in hand and a story to tell from the previous weekend – I live vicariously through him.
His name is Patrick Sgro. Challenging, motivating and inspiring the team is what he thrives on, he has this talent of answering your question with a question so you answer it for yourself – sound confusing; it’s his way of getting the best from you.
With a passion for learning – he’s a funnel of knowledge and one can only be inspired by his enthusiasm. Above all he has a clear vision and dream for TILE junket, one that I am personally excited to be a part of.
Without further ado, meet Pat…
Tell us a bit about your background – what path led you to joining the family business and now co-director of TILE junket?
Ha! Like most people who find themselves in a family business my reasons for getting involved were most probably based more around ‘family’ and less around ‘business’. I was involved in a completely different industry at the time and my brothers and my Dad started up this thing – this Trade Supplies mini outlet – for the local tilers of Geelong. I got involved to just help out behind the scenes but within a few months what was ‘required’ of me morphed and changed. Over the years most things have changed; one of my brothers has since left and started his own business, my Dad has also finished up and now spends most of his time annoying Mum.
How has the business evolved since your involvement?
I’d like to say plenty – but really it’s still the same industry. People live in homes, homes need tiles etc. However for us, we have really honed in on what we want to bring to the marketplace and are working on doing it well. We started as a Trade Supplies company serving tradies out of a roller door in Villamanta Place… fast forward a handful of years and we barely get to see any tradies at all in the showroom anymore. Suregrip Ceramics used to pride itself on having the best product knowledge and industry guff from a tilers point of view, and back then that worked for us and there was a strong need for that.
Put simply the business environment has changed so much over the past few years, almost nothing can be done the same as it was only five years ago. Yes, this brings with it some serious and scary changes – but also massive opportunity for those prepared to simply try.
These days we realise that bringing beautiful products to the local market means that we get to spend more time with the people who are actually putting these gorgeous products into their homes – these are the risk takers, the trend setters – the people who like nice things.
Above: A handful of products from the TILE junket showroom
Why has the business re-branded and what can customers expect from this change?
Why the rebrand? We hope that the new name and look will more clearly convey what we are all about. Awesome products, beautiful spaces, a great experience both during the creation of your project and also the enjoying of the finished result.
Moving away from a traditional sales model to an appointment based approach means that we get a chance to really help our customer by offering a more personalised service. This may take a bit to get used to because there really isn’t anything out there like it, so we’re kind of making it up as we go. Most people hear the word ‘free’ and think surely there’s a catch – but there’s not. That’s actually been a real challenge for us, helping people see that we are not out to do any harm – but rather we know how to make the experience a good one, and we want them to come along for the ride. Ultimately, they end up with a great result and tell all their friends that the experience was great – surprisingly!
What is unique to TILE junket, what do you think sets your business apart from others in a similar industry?
Unique? Easy – we don’t have to sell anything. We have no allegiance to any supplier, we don’t carry stock so we never have pressure to push anything and we only keep products we like. That’s a big one – if we wouldn’t have it in our own homes, our family’s homes or our friends, then it doesn’t make the cut. This includes the quality and styling. Also, we hate salesy stuff. We cant stand it, so we don’t want our company to do it. So we had to invent our own model, and our customer service & follow up is actually all based around our clients needs rather than our needs. I guess a few years ago we realised that there was a space in the market, and that maybe we could fill it. Our customers tell us all the time that they are so thankful they found us, because they don’t feel pressured – and they shouldn’t. We figure people work hard for their money and spending it should be a fun thing, not a burden. I know that’s what I think about my own money, so surely others like fun too..?
Above: Designer tiles from Italy, only the best products at TILE junket
What does a typical day at work involve for you?
When you embark on a project like this there really isn’t ‘typical’. Some days working with the team on a particular project, other days meeting suppliers and checking out all the latest products – or maybe lost in spreadsheets. However, there is one constant – and that constant is coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. I’m lucky to be in business with my brother and we’ll often trial different local coffee haunts and talk ideas over there instead of the office. When we were putting together the submission for the Geelong Business Excellence Awards Hayley & I spent our fair share of time down Pako – Geelong’s coffee scene is not too shabby at all.
Who or what inspires you in your every day life?
There are so many people to list, some well known and others not so much, but put simply I am inspired by people who get stuff done. It’s too easy to complain. It’s too easy to procrastinate. I love spending time with people who see a need – and fill it. Passionate people, people who are naturally striving and advancing toward the next level of talent within themselves, people who would rather deal with the consequence of failure than deal with the consequence of never trying.
Also I’m kind of addicted at the moment to listening to podcasts. Talk about accelerated learning – imagine what some of the greats in history would do with access to this kind of tech? Amazing.
What are you looking forward to?
Right now I am looking forward to walking into the showroom and seeing it buzzing with excited people checking out all the cool products. I am looking forward to seeing the bookings come in the front door and watching projects ship out the warehouse door. I am looking forward to people posting & sharing pics and stories of their experience with us on social media of their own accord, not because they were asked.
I am looking forward to seeing TILE junket grow and watching the team work together. So much of my time and energy is spent working on this company with my brother and you can’t help but feel attached – every business owner will agree – but really we are nothing without the good people with us, and I am looking forward to seeing them succeed and hit their goals both professionally, and personally.
I’m also looking forward to traveling a bit more and spending more time the important people in my life. That’s the challenge really, how can we all spend more time with those we love? I think figuring that out is a biggie, and the whole process is very rewarding, and a lot of fun.
By Hayley Norman
TILE junket showcase the best tiles available in Australia from around the world, right here in Geelong. The ultimate experience you can have at TILE junket is a CONCEPT CONSULT – complimentary appointment with our Design Team for your project, no obligations, just friendly and professional advice, book on 5224 6066.