With word of mouth bringing in an incredible 80% of customers, Elaine Cooper-Willox and her husband John’s ears must always be burning! Director Elaine tells Ellon Life how John Willox Kitchen Design came about, explains how they set their award-winning business apart from the big guys and spills the beans about the furry friends she shares her riverside walk to work with!

From teamwork to wildlife with Elaine Willox

“Our neighbours were getting a new kitchen when I was expecting Georgie and knew John had been in the industry for almost 20 years but didn’t want to bother him with a new baby. With no local option, they used a bigger company and, unfortunately, had disastrous results.

When we saw how stressed the company was with things that we’d find relatively simple to co-ordinate showed a real gap in the market for a local quality kitchen retailer. With John’s vast knowledge of design and installation coupled with my business skills, we knew we could source quality products and fit them into a beautiful design for our customer and their budget – no gimmicks, hidden costs or offers that seem too good to be true!

We threw in all our savings, found a premises, masterminded a business plan, researched the best suppliers and, in 2015, set up the showroom. It was hands-on deck until it got too much to juggle. I left my full-time career and we started to build our lovely team at John Willox Kitchen Design.

Euan has great, practical knowledge of kitchens while Joanna has a degree in interior design, a real flair for designing German kitchens and endless patience with customers. Diane has worked for some of the major players in kitchen-design, and we have a set of friendly, professional and reliable contractors, too.

For us, reputation is everything. We were apprehensive starting out but soon realised it was the right thing. People deal with people and we have so many incredible customers who have returned for another kitchen after moving or have sent family and friends to us.“

John and Elaine Willox of Willox Kitchen Design, Ellon

I love #ellonlife because…

“It’s given us a safe environment to raise our daughter and a happy place to run our business. It’s great to get around on foot and we’re perfectly situated to take full advantage of the Formartine Way network. My walk to work is along the riverside pathway with different birds and wildlife every day. There’s even a resident otter family, just a stone’s throw from the town centre! Going forward, I think Ellon’s independent retailers will flourish. I see stronger identities and personal experiences that make customers want to visit instead of going online.”

Quickfire Q&A

How do you set yourself apart from competitors?
We always go the extra mile – literally! John’s been known to drive to the other end of the country for a part to avoid holding things up.

Best bits about life in business?
The satisfaction of working for ourselves, the stunning projects we’ve been involved in and, most of all, seeing a customer and their family happy with the end result. Being crowned Best New Business at the Trade Awards in 2017 was a definite highlight, too.

If you could do one thing differently…
We’d employ people sooner. We were cautious but as soon as we took the team on, we wondered how we’d ever managed without them.

What would be in your kitchen if money was no object?
The sensible answer? A walk-in larder behind a secret door; drawer-style refrigeration; banquette seating; ‘Dekton’ high gloss solid surfaces; distressed mirrored splashbacks and a champagne sink (they basically hold ice for cooling bottles). The ridiculous answer? A prosecco tap, please!

A very special offer, just for you…

To thank you for reading her story, Elaine would like to offer you an exclusive 5% discount on all Little Greene products (paint & wallpaper) at John Willox Kitchen Design. Simply head to the showroom and mention ‘EllonLife’. Offer valid until 28th February 2022 . Code strictly limited to one use per customer.

Little Green Paint Company Eco-friendly paint and wallpaper cataloging over 300 years of the best in English decoration. http://www.littlegreene.com

Fact file

John Willox Kitchen Design
Address: 41 Bridge Street, Ellon, AB41 9AA
email: elaine@willoxdesign.com
Call: 01358 722640
Visit: www.willoxdesign.com

Open: Open Monday to Friday from 9am until 5pm and Saturday from 9am until 12.30pm.

Rotpunkt Kitchens Zerox HPL finger-print-proof door, the central island houses the sink, hob and dishwasher, designed by John Willox Kitchens, Ellon

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