Responsible Luxury

Concept Amenities

The company’s luxury portfolio is built on the strength of its relationships with well-known global retail brands including MOR, Milk & Co, Linden Leaves, Jean-Michel Cousteau and French Connection. Each of these relationships has been carefully selected in an effort to build partnerships with fresh and innovative brands which represent the same values as Concept Amenities and its customers. In this way, the company has elevated itself from merely chasing fashion or cosmetic brands to instead become a highly respected industry leader.

“We go far beyond just supplying products,” explains Michael Matulick, CEO of Concept Amenities. “We are focused on creating next practice – not just meeting best practice – to ensure we deliver truly sustainable and socially responsible solutions to all our partners without compromising on design, quality or reliability,” says Mr Matulick.

“That then leads to finding and attracting members into the Concept Amenities family who share that same purpose and would like to positively contribute to ‘why’ we exist. We are very different to most other companies, and we understand the need to continue to be different in order to make a real difference in the world and this industry,” he says.

“Our customers, and their customers (guests), see the products we design and deliver, however it is the innovation we invest so heavily in which creates true partnerships in our industry. This innovation goes well beyond just the product. It’s the level of depth that forms our ‘guiding principles.’”

These values, says Mr Matulick, are the same behaviours which his family lives daily: “Innovative, Ethical, Passionate, Eco-crusaders and ‘Sensologists’ are who we are.” (Sensologists, he explains, is a unique expression defined by Concept Amenities which designates an individual as a master of creating products that stir all the senses for clients and their guests.)

From its humble beginnings operating out of Melbourne with just two committed individuals thirty years ago, Concept Amenities has since grown to become a true international leader within this specialised area of guest amenities. All the while, the company has demonstrated its deep and lasting respect for its Australian and family values.

“In this our thirtieth year, we celebrate a Concept family which now extends throughout the US, Europe, Middle East and Asia-Pacific, with our global head office still here in Melbourne, less than 1 kilometre from our original home where it all began three decades ago. During my three and a half years of leading this business, after my father, I have set out to redefine and re-clarify our purpose,” explains Mr Matulick. “That has been a very challenging yet enlightening process.”

As a result of this effort, Concept Amenities was the first amenity company in the world to develop a fully biodegradable amenity program. This feat came from many years of commitment on behalf of the company involving research and education, trialling and testing, and the engagement of several independent industry experts.

“A lot of our innovation and product development is now inspired from regular trend tracking in the retail health and beauty space,” explains Mr Matulick, “[as well as] new developments and technology in the environmental packaging and design areas. We engage several independent experts to work very closely with our internal innovation team to help guide our sustainability journey, for Concept Amenities and our partners.”

These new technologies, packaging materials, and packaging formats included in the fully biodegradable amenity program have all been endorsed by its exclusive ERP™ (environmentally responsible product) platform. The company is also mindful of using sustainably sourced ingredients, and only uses RSPO certified soap noodles in the manufacturing of its pure vegetable soap products.

Though Concept Amenities has already been praised for its success with the program, Mr Matulick says that this work was merely the start of Concept Amenities’ continual progression on that journey. “We see sustainability as an endless journey, without a finish line, requiring incredible commitment in resources, finances, strategy, and passion,” he explains. “Several years ago we acknowledged that we contribute to a significant problem. So we very clearly decided to create and contribute to a solution to that problem.”

In the time since, the progress made by Concept Amenities has already begun to inspire like-minded companies to follow suit, creating a wonderful chain reaction of environmental conservationism within a previously inefficient industry.

“We have started to see many product competitor imitations,” shares Mr Matulick, “which has been fantastic because it accelerates the solving of a huge problem within our industry, but also reinforces our position as a true sustainability leader within our product space.”

Furthermore, the company has also founded a truly remarkable charity, Soap Aid (www.soapaid.org). As an independent charity, Soap Aid was founded in an attempt to utilise waste soaps from the hotel industry. Through the charity – driven by an independent board of extremely talented and passionate volunteer directors – soaps which otherwise would have been discarded are now collected and reprocessed into new reusable soaps. Not only does this process reduce waste within the industry, but the new reusable soaps are then donated to countries and communities around the world who are in critical need of soap for basic sanitation.

“We are now collecting waste soaps from support hotels, returning that waste to our facility, reprocessing that waste into reusable soaps, and donating those new Soap Aid soaps to developing countries where there are many millions of people dying every year from preventable hygiene disease. We are turning our industry’s trash into someone else’s treasure, a lifesaving treasure. [It is] a truly lifesaving program,” says Mr Matulick with pride.

Although Soap Aid was originally inspired by a purely environmental desire to help reduce the massive amount of soap waste being tossed into landfills around the world from the hotel industry, Mr Matulick shares that the company very quickly realised “the enormous humanitarian benefit the charity would also deliver.”

Indeed, “There is never a dull moment in this industry,” acknowledges Mr Matulick. “Barry, my father and founder of Concept Amenities, has seen enormous change in the hotel industry over the last thirty years, and our company, our team, our products continue to evolve with an industry which continues to increase that rate of change.”

With the US economy still slow to recover and a similarly slow EU market, Mr Matulick explains that most of the company’s international success has come from its work throughout the Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions, both of which are extremely active. In particular, these markets are enjoying strong occupancies in existing rooms, as well as what he calls an incredibly high pipeline construction, factors which have direct correlations to guest amenities supply needs. Indeed, the demand throughout the South East Asian pocket has been so strong that Concept Amenities has just recently opened a Singapore office to provide stronger real time local support to its partners.

“Being an international business is often a real challenge from a cultural perspective,” admits Mr Matulick, “however it allows us to be a truly twenty-four hour operation which provides us certain resource efficiencies that other local businesses don’t have.”

In this way, Concept Amenities is able to collaborate internationally on product development, taking into account regional and cultural diversities. “We’re looking to push the boundaries in this industry and we will do that through our people.”

To that end, over the last year the company has invested heavily in its global team including a new innovation manager, strategic sales managers and regionalised business directors and marketing managers. “Our innovation team is focused on staying ahead of the trends and providing initiatives that will position Concept Amenities as a market leader. Regionalising our sales and marketing teams will strengthen our relationships and allow us to offer personalised solutions to our customers.”

These positions only add to an already talented team, from the company’s experienced in-house design team specialising in visual design and packaging functionality through to its quality control and supply chain teams. With its strong focus on unique innovation and supply continuity throughout the world, coupled with its focussed values, Concept Amenities has indeed nurtured a passionate family atmosphere for its staff and customers.

“Strengthening our existing customer relationships will continue to remain our focus,” says Mr Matulick. “These are partnerships we have invested significantly in over many years, and we feel compelled to strive for continuous improvement.”

Ultimately, as the company continues to build upon its strong Australian roots and family culture, it does so facing forward all the while, looking to new markets, new technologies and new products to advance its clients’ satisfaction and the end-user guest experience, whilst also playing a large part in securing our future from an environmental perspective.

“Even though we greatly respect our past,” concludes Mr Matulick, “we are completely focussed on our future.”

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June 19, 2018, 10:51 AM AEST