Modern Living, Indoors and Out


For over forty years, Condari has been helping Australians to enjoy cooking and dining within their homes by offering a premier suite of standard and custom designed rangehoods…

The company is something of an Australian success story, arising from a tough manufacturing marketplace as a wholly Australian owned company, with its proprietary brands also designed and manufactured within Australia. Through the company’s extraordinary attention to detail, high quality finishes, and superior technology, it has quickly risen to be the provider of Australia’s most reputable brand of rangehood along with an ever increasing suite of complementary products.

With such a wide range of cooking and entertaining experiences available today to Australians within their own homes, the removal of excess heat and scent from the kitchen becomes imperative. “With Condari,” boasts the company brochure, “you can prepare and serve the most exotic dishes without filling the house with unpleasant odours. All meats can be now barbecued inside so steak, sausages, chops, fish and chicken fillets can be cooked to perfection.”

The Condari brand was built initially on the strength of the Qasair brand of rangehoods, developed by a German engineer living in Melbourne, and has since grown from a local operation to a medium sized company – with offices around Australia and international export relationships with companies in New Zealand and South-East Asia.

“Initially we started as quite a small company and built it up over the years,” explains Crystal Wong, Condari’s Business Development Manager. “We’ve done that by focussing on working together with architects and designers mainly; what they like about us is that we are the only ones that can custom design rangehoods for them.”

And, in fact, quite a significant aspect of the company’s business – which Ms Wong estimates at approximately seventeen per cent – comes directly from creating custom rangehoods for its elite clientele. The high level of customisation offered by the company makes its rangehoods particularly attractive to business professionals and other commercial clients, though of course, the company is also quite successful with its broad range of standard models as well. All told, Condari currently offers more than one hundred standard models of rangehood to suit every Australian home. With its one-of-a-kind factory still located in Ringwood, a suburb of Melbourne, Condari has the unique ability to cater to almost any design requirement.

“The premium quality and exceptional effectiveness of the product allows Qasair and Condari rangehoods to compete with multi-national companies with million dollar marketing budgets,” explains Ms Wong. “We like to think that the Condari brand is at the forefront of luxury innovation – catering to a high-end clientele.”

Furthermore, the company works toward strict, self-imposed standards when it comes to ensuring optimal functionality whilst also continually improving noise levels and maintaining the company’s position at the forefront of design. “One of Condari’s main values is that we like to sell things that function very well – we do make things that look beautiful and the designers and architects do like that but overall it has to be functional. That’s what we pride ourselves on and that’s what gives people the confidence to actually sell the rangehoods… Generally our reputation has been growing from word of mouth because our rangehoods actually do function really well – and they have a really good reputation on the market for doing that. People know that we are specialists in rangehoods.”

Of course, the technology involved hasn’t changed much over the years, with the power of rangehoods and motors staying at the same level for quite some time now. However, Ms Wong says she is confident that – even with the new, high-powered cooking equipment coming out at the moment – Condari’s rangehoods have perfected their power levels, especially when it comes to the custom line. For example, in systems requiring higher power levels, Condari is able to increase the number of motors used so as to cater to that high-powered equipment.

“What has changed is the noise level, which has come down quite a bit over the years,” Ms Wong explains. “We have aimed to pack more and more insulation into our rangehoods over the years – noise reduction is very important to our clients when it comes to buying a rangehood.”

In terms of the Condari workplace culture, Ms Wong describes the company and its management team – two gentlemen both by the name of John Keating, who are equal partners but amusingly are of no familial relation – as having fostered a very relatable, casual work atmosphere which feels like a family, offering workers across the board a high level of flexibility and independence. “Personally, I find working for the company, there is a lot of flexibility and scope for bringing up new ideas and how you want to do what you need to do – I don’t think there are any micromanagers telling you how to do things, which is fantastic as an employee,” she shares.

Such relationships indeed seem indicative of the general nature of the company, which has also been making some very strong connections within the industry – both locally within Australia and globally. “We’ve actually recently started up a few relationships with a couple of multi-national companies,” enthuses Ms Wong, “which is exciting for us because we’re just a small Australian company.”

The first of these new relationships of note forged by Condari is with competing company, Gaggenau – which sells a selection of rangehoods amongst its plethora of other kitchen appliances. Gaggenau, however, specialises in the Domino type of cooking systems – whereby a variety of cooking types such as induction hot plates or gas cookers are provided side by side together – and though this system is fantastic where appropriate, there are certainly gaps for which Gaggenau has found need for Condari’s unique custom design services as a complement to its own standard product lines.

“Our relationship with Gaggenau is quite interesting because they sell rangehoods as well, however they have acknowledged that they can’t cater to some of their customers – for example, if you have one standard sized range that doesn’t fit, sometimes you need something bigger or more powerful. So they actually approached us to start up a partnership and we will be doing a fair amount of co-promotion with them in our new showroom in Perth where we have our rangehoods beneath their cookware. It’s an interesting relationship but it works well for both of us; it’s mutually beneficial and for customers who are buying that sort of cookware we can come in and give them that sort of solution.”

The second of these exciting new relationships is with ASKO, a Swedish multi-national appliance company which specialises in a number of different appliances but is best known for producing high quality dishwashers. The company’s latest achievements have been in the area of alfresco appliances.

With the trend for alfresco dining – derived from the Italian “al fresco”, meaning “outside, at a fresh temperature” – rapidly gaining in popularity throughout Australia, the demand for high-end, intelligently designed and integrated products has also been increasing rapidly. This lifestyle trend allows for a more casual and relaxed experience for diners and partygoers, though without adequately designed outdoor appliances, entertaining alfresco can be downright burdensome.

In an effort to eliminate this burden, Condari has been aligning itself with several strategic partnerships within the alfresco appliance sector to create and market to its Australian clientele a complete – and highly functional – alfresco appliance solution which includes the Thurlo hotplate, the Aero barbecue, the Maxmatic food waste disposal unit and of course, the Condor Rangehood as well as custom cabinetry designed by Condari. Newly added to this collection is an alfresco dishwasher, which came as the result of this exciting new connection, recently made by Condari with ASKO.

“That is a new market for us,” says Ms Wong, “because we do ranges for indoor and we have also done outdoor condo ranges. For the alfresco package, we have recently gone into the market with our Thurlo hot plate which we import from Germany and we also make the Aero barbeques.”

Condari has already rolled out a small number of displays which are already available to the general public in Melbourne and SA, with more rolling out toward the end of this year.

“We want the customers to come in and say, ‘Yes! I want exactly that.’ And I think that’s quite a different sort of thing from what’s been done previously.”

In the not too distant future, ASKO will also be introducing an alfresco refrigerator, which will be a further exciting complement to Condari’s Alfresco Solution. Explains Ms Wong, “The demand for this type of product is pretty strong and people are moving into that high-end alfresco sector more.” Furthermore, she says, the price point of residential appliances is rapidly increasing – a trend which Australian clients have quickly embraced. “There is obviously a market for that sort of range of appliance, and we fit really well into that market. So it’s a good trend for us because we’re finding with kitchen designers, they are moving into the high end clientele as well, which is of course good for us. On top of the new alfresco rollouts, there will also be a couple of Condari showroom openings around the country by the end of the year as well, so that’s more than enough to keep us busy!”

In a press release announcing the company’s new Sapphire Steel line, John F. Keating stated that, “Our growth has been driven by specification by architects and designers who know and trust the product. We have a solid reputation out in the marketplace.” He also stated that the company’s success has been in large part due to Australia’s multiculturalism and what he termed the “Masterchef phenomenon” which has seen a sharp rise in investments into high powered cooking equipment by homeowners in an effort to replicate restaurant quality food at home.

Furthermore, Qasair Rangehoods have been touted as a “rare good news story of today’s Australian manufacturing industry,” due to the company’s substantial sales growth over the years during a time fraught with the challenges of a high Australian dollar and a subdued retail sector. The company has been enjoying ongoing success, and plans on making an impact for many years to come.

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

December 19, 2018, 5:11 AM AEDT