“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.
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