Civil engineer, Michael Kirkland, gained valuable experience during his eight years working in the construction industry before starting his own manufacturing business, Masterfibre, which produces manufactured recycled rubber products.
Building on the success of his first business, Kirkland founded Kirk Marketing in 2002. The Kirkland family and other directors boasted a combined flooring industry knowledge of more than 40 years. Thus the expansion into this new field made good business sense.
The company’s core business is flooring trims for tiles, laminates, carpets and vinyls – as well as tiling tools and cutters, tile sealants and cleaners, bathroom accessories and laminated wooden flooring.
As Kirk Marketing grew, Michael found himself growing his focus on the business and it was decided to sell Masterfibre to a prospective buyer in 2007. Masterfibre continues to exist under its new ownership. Kirkland explains that he always sees opportunities. Making opportunity into reality depends on how hard you want to work and how hungry you are for new business.
The company is selling to customers beyond South Africa’s borders and they are seen as valuable partners to the business. Customers are definitely a priority. Providing good service and quality product delivery – on time – is the only way you can secure business in the long term.
However, the company faces its own challenges. “It is always tough to maintain our high quality with the number of inferior imports flooding the market. Ensuring the company keeps enough spares and back up products for all of its ranges is another. Yet, the company is continually looking at its offering to ensure only the right mix of products is offered to our customers,” Kirkland says.
Kirk Marketing is involved with a number of architects, developers, quantity surveyors and engineers and sees synergy with retailers. Retailers that stock Kirk products will automatically benefit from receiving extra business through contractors via Kirk’s specification work,” explains Kirkland.
To ensure delivery to its retail customers, the company offers a national delivery network with branches in Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg.
“Retail is a very important part of future business and we believe that Kirk Marketing can add value to the retailer’s operation by introducing our product ranges to their stores and their customers,” says Kirkland.
Kirkland said that the company is extremely focused on quality control and will rather purchase, manufacture and promote quality products before looking at cheaper alternatives. It has also secured a number of strong partnerships with international brands.
With its already strong network beyond South Africa, the business puts a strong emphasis on its business outside of the country. Kirkland said that it is one of their growth areas and complements their expansionary vision. South Africa, being part of SADC, benefits other SADC countries purchasing from South Africa.
The company is looking to increase its African growth. It currently has partners in Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Tanzania. They have identified other African countries and included Angola, Mauritius and Kenya.
“Once you get to know us, you will be surprised with how many of our line items will complement your current customers’ requirements and bring new business to your retail outlet,” concludes Kirkland.