The story of Splosh goes back to 1999, when founders Michael and Kim Kendall started crafting handmade timber gifts and selling them at the local markets.
“Splosh started in our garage at home when I talked my husband into building homewares out of some fence palings,” remembers Kim. “He made them and I painted and decorated them but struggled to sell them at the markets. Each week, I had a new idea and on how we could improve and sell our wares.
“Design and art have always been my greatest drivers. From the age of 15 I found myself searching for creative mediums from watercolour painting, mosaics, and folk art through to room makeovers and house makeovers. I would stay up to all hours throwing myself into a creative vision and seeing it come to life.”
For Kim inspiration can be found anywhere and everywhere, and she regularly travels overseas searching for the latest trends, colours, fabrics, patterns and products. Her ideas are then briefed to the design team and collectively they create over 10 new collections each season.
“We [still] design and develop every concept from the base product idea to a finalised design, overseeing production to ensure it is brought to life in the way I envisioned. It is quite an undertaking as we launch at least 10 new concepts to market each season.
“I have three talented designers who work with me and an amazing upper management team that supports me. My main role in the business is to channel what is in my heart and head into a design brief that my team can understand and follow.
“We’re also committed to discovering and nurturing the next generation of home-grown local talent to design our latest ranges at our Brisbane office.”
Splosh’s first trade fair was in February 2000 where the Kendalls showed their homemade wares.
“The response and sales were not bad but they certainly were not great, however, as the stock went into store and sold, our reputation started to grow and so did our customer base.”
To keep up with demand and grow their business at the same time, the pair decided to import. They put in their first order from Asia in 2001, and while this one was quite an easy process, it wasn’t all smooth sailing.
“The second order, which we imported from another supplier, was a complete disaster and all stock had to be discarded. We quickly learnt that you can’t assume a factory understands your requirements―a tough but important lesson for us. Still to this day we travel overseas to visit our manufacturing suppliers each season and complete stock checks in person to make sure all products meet our high standards,” she explains.
“I am involved in the concept and development of every product step by step and still do the trips to China to approve samples and check shipments before they leave to us.”
Today, Splosh launches over 800 products annually and has introduced new concepts to the market including change boxes, wish jars, signature frames and its latest collection, fairy houses.
In addition to the Splosh brand, the company also has its own candle and fragrance brand, KoKo and is the distributor of WoodWick Candles in Australia and New Zealand.
“KoKo is a private label luxury home fragrance brand established in 2015 and we have six product lines and 12 fragrances. WoodWick is a US premium fragranced candles brand with patented Pluswick technology, which means the wooden wick crackles when it burns. We have been the nominated distributor in Australia and New Zealand since 2009.”
Splosh now has over 2,600 stockists across Australia and New Zealand as well as international distributors and Kim says the hardest part of growing the business to this point was being a creative but still having to wear the many organisational hats of running a small start-up business.
Today Kim and Michael’s daughter Laura Colman has taken over the reigns as general manager, taking the business to new heights whilst remaining grounded in the solid roots her parents created.
“Currently my role is nearly all creative, I still wake at night with ideas floating in my head, and I still love being involved in all things creative from product to catalogue and working with our marketing team.
“There is not a day that goes by that I don’t feel blessed to be able to do a job that I feel so passionate about and work with the incredible people that are Splosh today.
“Splosh is all about fostering creativity and positivity and live by our vision of ‘spreading optimism into the lives of everyday people, every day’.
“We’re more than a homewares and gifting brand―we’re a community of passionate, dynamic and innovative team members dedicated to creating the latest home decor and bringing it direct to our customers.”