Serving the Brand
Every industry has its personalities who stand out for various reasons. Marcus Brewster is our PR personality, Sol Kerzner the hotel personality, Johann Rupert the business personality and Isla Galloway is office furniture’s personality.
She started off in the hotel business and soon decided that she needed a measurable barometer of client satisfaction rather than the anonymous feelings of a hotel guest to gauge her performance. The Dauphin seating brand was licensed within the Grand Andrews stable in 1994 when Isla Galloway was given the brand to develop as a specialist seating solution. Fifteen years later and Dauphin has nearly 40 percent of the South African office seating market, has grown turnover by more than 300% and is immediately identifiable as a high quality, sophisticated brand.
Awareness was needed that seating is the most important component of the office environment, and Isla and Dauphin were perfectly suited. She was a fantastic salesperson, Dauphin was a fantastic product. She had an innate interest in every aspect of the product line, Dauphin needed someone with sales and technical aptitude. She was an entrepreneur at heart and Dauphin needed a driven individual to spearhead its brand and gain market share.
“I always admired the way Dauphin, and specifically Elke Dauphin, has always given so much love and attention to the band. It’s something I just cherished, was to grow that brand.” Isla embraced every aspect of the chair within its environment – how important it was ergonomically, how important it was for your health and how the chair was the central part of the workstation. In fact for Isla, it went a step further. Your working lifestyle meant that your environment had to be perfectly suited to your needs and Dauphin’s brand extensions into Bosse and Zuco through the Dauphin HumanDesign Group, took the brand from a purely seating solution, to a working lifestyle solution with the chair as the focal point.
Her entrepreneurial flair – which she reckons was always there and was waiting for a brand like Dauphin to show itself – was recognised by Bidvest eight years ago and she flourishes in the group’s decentralised environment where she champions the brand relentlessly. She also champions South African business development and the fact that Dauphin is committed to maintaining a manufacturing element in the country. “On some levels we’re not there yet but we will continue to develop the skills of our workers.”
Tough economic times mean alternative approaches and a view to other markets. While the European parent might not understand fully the social responsibility needs in South Arica and the use of resources for upliftment, Isla believes firmly in creating meaningful, sustainable businesses where possible and is always on the lookout for opportunities without compromising the quality of the brand. The holistic approach to the industry is Isla’s focus when to comes to service. She says there’s more to it than just selling chairs. “I must tell you that the office furniture industry has unfortunately, been one of easy entrance and easy exit. Companies can pay huge amounts of money into orders and next thing the supplier as disappeared. We are here for the five day game not the day/night.”
It’s really Isla’s alternative take on things that makes her stand out together with the Dauphin brand. She admittedly lives the part, so most of her life is taken up by constantly being vigilant over the brand and devising ways of maintaining market share in tough economic times. She is managing director, as well as confidant to her staff and the years of hotel training give her empathy with people that elevates her above the pure business of the industry. “That is me using my God given ability and empathy to relate and take care of a client or a person.” Ultimately Isla Galloway believes in truth, in delivering the promise that she makes, in never compromising the brand, always being humble and, as she says, “although we have the ability to be a hero, never ever forget to be gracious.”
Check out the range of furniture at www.dauphin.co.za