06 February 2024

What was your career background prior to starting your Refresh Renovations™ business?

I have a Interior Architectural design degree, however my passion is Project management, my whole career has been in the PM and specification sector of the industry at a commercial level and high end residential. I have been fortunate enough to have worked for some amazing brands: Zumtobel, Bega (both lighting), Plascon Paints (Africa), ECC Lighting and Furniture (NZ) etc.

What attracted you to Refresh™ as a business opportunity?

I actually looked at developing my own business in this area and came across Refresh™ 10 years ago when I was checking out the competition. I had first hand experience on what it takes in terms of time and energy to develop a brand partially working with the high end brands I had in the past. It takes bags of money and most of all tons of time and when you are rebuilding a business you really need to get cash flow and sell, I thought this would be the case if I purchased a brand with systems and the power of group knowledge.

What is the market opportunity?

We all know people (clients) are time poor, too busy with their children, careers, and don't know where to start on improving the quality of their lifestyles in their home. There are so many opportunities for experienced turnkey renovation specialists (not interior decorators who know nothing about the actual delivery) . 

 What is the biggest challenge running this type of business?

Time - you are time poor and I guess one soon realises you need staff to grow. 

What is your best advice to run a great Refresh™ Renovation business?

We are a sales and service business and work hard to create a great pipeline established and then the rest will come. 

Who is the ideal Refresh™ owner?

  • You need to be tenacious, make a plan, be bold and be creative when it comes to selling and delivering as no 2 days or 2 situations are ever the same. 
  • You need to have courage as there are moments that will push you beyond your previous boundaries/experiences.
  • You need to enjoy being active and juggling lots of balls.
  • You need to enjoy self growth and gratification to be driven to keep pushing yourself.
  • Naturally well organised is an advantage.

Why is the Refresh™ model so compelling for customers?

This is an interesting question which has really surprised me particularly as I have joined the Refresh™ Management team. I was watching my son playing Rugby the other day and landed up chatting to my ex lead build, electrician and plumber over a beer (they are involved in the opposing sides club). They all said they are missing me! - even though I was a hard task master in terms of keeping timelines running, they found arriving at the projects with clear scopes, plans, trade mark ups, knowing that the all the materials would be on site - so they could just get on and get finished with the task at hand was brilliant and after working with me for 7-9 years they are really missing that. There are so many poorly organised teams out there. From a client's point of view we need to understand that working off a Concept Design then Working Drawings is not new to the industry globally, it is the fact that we work on the budget as builders with the trades close at hand to achieve renovations that are able - no pie in the sky stuff. We take care of it all.. With a stand alone architect you don't have that wrap around service.

What do you think of Refresh™’s marketing, and what are the most effective techniques you’ve used to find new customers?

In the beginning I relied on POA and organic web marketing which definitely got me off the ground. Later I realised I need to work on my local areas and become a local celeb...I decided I need to become the reno queen...I sponsored rugby teams, golf days, made sure my vehicle and flyers were plastered at fishing competitions. I wrote a bi monthly article for a local magazine...I supported name it I did it long as it fitted into my budget. This takes energy and the all important time and franchises need to weigh this up and have a plan and budget.

What is it like working with clients?

I loved improving clients' homes and lifestyles. Some are tricky and I guess transitioning from a commercial environment to a residential space has taken a bit of adjustment in my approach. I soon realised I needed a consultant, so for the last 5 years of my business I removed myself from the day to day sales.

What were key hires for you as you started building out your team?

This depends on the Franchise's personality and experience. I am a believer in understanding one's Disc  profile. Don't do anything not natural to your personality - it takes too much energy. To build a business you will need energy. I had an accounts person who helped me build a system so I had transparency over costs and projects. She set up budgets, tax, gst etc....not one of my strengths. I knew what I needed but had no idea how to develop it.

Any advice for the start-up phase?

Sell sell sell - get a healthy pipeline of projects that can be turned into cash quickly i.e. non consented/permitted. This I have to say was one of my best moves ever. As a growing business, one needs to know that cash flow will also be an issue.

Any areas for improvement?

I battled with staff but I definitely had better success with staff recruited through a recruitment service than directly to me. I also used the services of an employment management system - towards the end I had 11 staff and this took the niggles away and allowed my office manager to manage the staff with the employment services back up.

Would you do it again?

Yes I would - at that time of my life it was perfect. I had a good income, was able to take leave when I wanted to  - don't get me wrong, I work very hard often 60 plus hours a week but I was able to manage that around my lifestyle and then my almost  adult children who were very busy with representative level sports etc. I borrowed all the money to buy the first franchise and had that paid off in 5 years. 

I do think now is easier as Refresh™ has better support systems and construction PM knowledge rather than only the marketing aspect. I also hope the training we have developed will be of benefit to all workers of life wanting to join a challenging but rewarding industry. I learnt so much...honestly how do you take on a normal every day job after you have been a franchise owner.


Kim has been an inspiration to many aspiring entrepreneurs. After 9 years of hard work, dedication, and success with her Refresh™ franchise, she has taken her business acumen to the Refresh™ head office in Auckland. As the Global Technical & Operations Manager, Kim is now responsible for overseeing the operational success of Refresh™ across the globe.

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