Over the past few months, we have met some of the faces of our Howarth at Home showrooms. The idea being that the Meet the Designer series introduces you to the lovely ladies and gentlemen who work hard to create a reality from your kitchen dreams. However, this month is a little bit different.
This month, I have been talking to Ratinder Sandhu, the Howarth at Home Kitchen Category Manager to discover a bit more about her and her aspirations for Howarth at Home.
All About the Job:
How did you get into this career? Was this the career that you had planned?
This wasn’t the career I planned. I did Graphic and Textile Design in College and I decided to concentrate on Graphics as I felt that’s where my strength was. I obtained a place at the University of Croydon to study Graphic Design, but unfortunately due to family circumstances I was unable to take up the offer.
The Graphic Design teacher Tricia Phipps from the College opened a Kitchen Studio with her husband Mike selling top end German kitchens ‘Allmilmo Kitchens’. She offered me the role of kitchen designer, drawing kitchens free hand with water colour perspectives. This was my introduction to the world of designing kitchens.
If you weren’t in this career, what do you think you would be doing?
I’ve always been interested in interior design and my favourite programme is Grand Designs, so I would have really liked to take on full housing projects.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy working with a lot of different people in different positions and discussing how we can best improve our showrooms and what would be the best way to implement these plans. It is very stratifying to see a project come to fruition as a result of everyones efforts.
What do you enjoy most about working with kitchens?
The kitchen industry is always evolving and changing and it’s exciting to see the latest trends and fashions.
What is the most memorable project you have ever worked on (good or bad)? Why is it so memorable?
I was involved in a project in Nottingham where we were responsible for fitting a bedroom, lounge and kitchen, all in open plan. The product was unique and individual to this site, so the measurements and design had to be perfect and the product had to be especially sourced. The kitchen units and appliances were behind some pocket doors, level with the wardrobes so that when the pocket doors closed, the kitchen seemed to disappear. Also, we had to provide the latest gadgets for the lounge in order to future proof it.
What do you think sets Howarth at Home apart from other kitchen retailers?
It’s a national chain but it’s still family owned with family values and there is a great deal of loyalty and respect between management and employees and it can be quite easy to have decisions made and implemented rather than being part of a faceless public company.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in becoming a Kitchen Designer?
It’s an exciting job helping to make peoples dreams come true, guiding them to maximise the use and pleasure they get in the most important room in the house.
Which is your favourite kitchen range, and why?
It’s a difficult decision because we are spoilt for choice from a wonderful range with their own unique characteristics. For me, Laura Ashley and the Linear range is very appealing.
What is your greatest professional achievement?
We have recently introduced the Laura Ashley Kitchen Collection into our showrooms and very quickly winning the awards and gaining recognition as a major player in the industry.
You’ve worked with other kitchen providers previously, what do you think separates Howarth at Home from the crowd?
Howarth at Home is an ambitious company who is prepared to invest time and money in developing their showrooms and are always welcoming of new ideas and products never standing still always reacting to meet market demands.
Getting to Know You:
Who or what inspires you?
My mother, because of the challenges and difficulties she faced as a widow with four young kids moving from Kenya to England, trying to feed, clothe and raise them to be normal people, that never felt that they missed out on anything. Materially we had little, but we had a huge amount of love and proper guidance.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
I love Rome because of the beautiful architecture, statues, cathedrals and it has a really great sense of history. However, it could be Kenya because I’m going for a nostalgic visit to see where I was born and stayed for a few years.
What was the last film or TV series you watched?
The Greatest Showman was the last film I watched, and I loved it especially the songs.
What is your greatest personal achievement?
Helping to raise a sum of money for charity by climbing the great mount Snowdon.
I’m very proud of my family, the kids Sandeet and Kalveer now have their own careers and making their own lives and Sandeet has given me a lovely little grandson Jude who stays over every other week.
The most important question:
Is it a cob, bun, bread cake or something else entirely?