350,000sqm of innovative space delivered for over 2,500 organisations in 8 major cities, across 3 countries. All in 1 decade.
Yes, we’ve been designing, constructing and delivering commercial interiors for 10 years and in that time have gone from a band of 2 above a fruit factory to a team of over 50 with a national presence.
It’s been a journey with its fair share of enjoyment and challenges, risk and reward – but overall one that has inspired – and we talked with founders Serge and Marcel and CD Jacqui to learn more about what has driven Valmont forward since 2004.
So, how did Valmont start? What was the plan 10 years ago?
Serge: Believe it or not, the original plan was to run the business for a bit and then go snowboarding in Canada for a season with the earnings! Never quite got there though as the business took off much more quickly than we thought and there was too big an opportunity to ignore!
Marcel: And as we missed out on the trip, we based the business name on the place we would have gone to – Valemount – as a reminder!
Any particular highlights on the journey so far? Those moments that have made the effort so worthwhile?
Serge: Almost too many really: from employing our first people, to moving into the Surry Hills HQ and partnering with some big leasing entities on flagship buildings.
Marcel: I think mine would be winning the pitch to design and build iinet’s 5,000 square metre headquarters in Perth. Which at the time was our biggest job by far, and we were up against two other top interior design firms that had been established for multiple decades. We beat the odds, impressed them and they’ve become one of our best clients.
Jacqui: Definitely, and also I think opening our first interstate office really brought it home that we’d grown up and become a serious player.
Any lessons learned along the way?
Marcel: Building a team of fantastic people is a difficult thing to get right – but we’ve learned that people with the right attitude are worth much more than people with the right skillset. We can teach skills but we can’t change people’s personalities.
Serge: Getting bogged down in the daily detail helps no one in the long run: in the early days we spent a lot of time ‘in’ rather than ‘on’ the business, so remembering to look up and keep focused on the bigger picture has almost become a mantra.
Jacqui: Business is a part of life so while it has its challenges, you can never laugh too much. Wine definitely helps with creativity as well, as I’m sure many out there will testify to!
Any industry insights you want to share?
Serge: Educating the property, design and construction industries on the benefits of design and construct delivery has been a long road, but our perseverance has paid off. There is definitely a place for our delivery method in the market and it’s heartening to think that we have helped show tenants, building owners and other clients that this method works.
MarceI: Can’t give away our secrets, but we never sit still as a business – we’re always looking for better ways to service our industry and deliver our work and we think this has definitely been a key to our success.
How have you found growing to a national company?
Serge: In a way, it’s been less painful than we thought, as each office has literally been started off the back of an existing client asking us to complete work for them in a different state. So we’ve been fortunate to have secured work immediately alongside an office.
Marcel: We’ve also taken full advantage of having a team on the ground for the life of the project, by immediately starting to pitch on other work in that state. We’ve managed to successfully build the number of jobs we work on, and then we start employing local team members.
What’s the best part of what Valmont does?
Jacqui – It’s extremely satisfying being the smaller team who pitches on projects and wins them from the big established guys! And then we deliver them successfully and create great, longlasting relationships with our clients.
Marcel: Now that we’re more established, I think it’s great having a team that’s made up of some longterm, very loyal ‘Valmonteers’ as we call them. We love that we have got to know them so well over the years and offered them a chance to grow and develop their skills within our company. We love that we have the chance to do this with other new staff members too.
Where do you see Valmont in 5 years – or even, if you dare, another 10 years?
Serge: Wow, who knows! Obviously we have a plan, but like most it comes with some dynamic in it. For example, we probably wouldn’t have predicted we’d be a national presence 5 years ago.
Marcel: Yeah, so in another 10 we’ll be all over the world!
Jacqui: Well, I know there are a few staff members who’d be more than happy to head up a London, New York or even a Maldives Valmont office!
We think that’s a great idea!
Thanks guys, and here’s to the next 10!