?We see ourselves as the John Lewis of range cookers,? says Chris Parker, one half of the duo behind cooking and domestic appliance product-design company, Big Blue. Parker and partner Andrew Longfield have spent all their working lives designing cookers, having previously worked on Stoves and Premium Appliance Brands. They won a V&A Classic Design Award for their work for Stoves, but they?ve now built up their online repertoire ? the main thrust of their business ? to include cookers from 22 manufacturers, as well as fridges, hoods, built-in ovens and hobs, wine coolers and accessories. Based in Chester, the pair opened a canal-side showroom in 2007, which they call the National Display Centre, definitely not a pile-it-high, sell-it-cheap outfit. ?We never set out to be the cheapest,? says Parker. Longfield serves up the figures: ?We are well ahead of our targets for this year. We concentrate on margin and are trying to grow our market share.? These priorities have seen sales grow from ?1.2m in 2005 to ?5.6m in 2008 ? and the pair is confident that this growth will continue whatever the economic conditions. www.bigblue.co.uk
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