When Kate Grubb’s Austrian partner visited Arrowtown for the first time he was astounded by the lack of quality shade systems available on the market for summer outdoor living.
Josef Fruhmann grew up in Europe where sophisticated systems specifically designed for individual properties is common. When he and Kate relocated to Arrowtown permanently from Asia in 2019 they connected with the Austrian company Soliday, who have been the leading supplier of high-end retractable shade systems in Europe for 15 years, to become their exclusive distributor for New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific.
“Josef’s brother-in-law worked for Soliday and he knew the product well. Becoming a distributor for the international company seemed the ideal solution to our vision for setting up a family based Arrowtown business,” says Kate.
“We established Suncraft NZ but our initial business plan obviously had to change quite significantly with the advent of Covid-19 and rather than working throughout the Oceania region we are currently focused on the New Zealand market until the situation changes.”
Marketing to date has been primarily word of mouth and Kate says they are keen to raise awareness of the high-tech motorised sun sail products their company promotes.
“A standout feature is the interactive design and quotation tool which enables each system to be designed to a client’s specifications. To achieve this we look at the site or building plans, both residential and commercial, and import information into our software, generating a simulation which shows what the sun sail will look like and where the shade will be positioned at different times of the year.”
Kate says a common concern is whether the sun sail can withstand windy conditions.
“Our products are not only suitable for high wind zones, they are also water resistant and sun and wind sensors can be integrated into the system, along with UV protective fabrics. All the systems are fully retractable which means sails don’t obstruct scenery when they are not in use.”