While brainstorming product ideas with her husband and a colleague, Kate Slavin was working with some pans that she had been given and wondered if they could make some of their own.
Four years since being established, kitchenware business Ironclad now has over 10,000 pans in kitchens and restaurants all over New Zealand. As well as offering a wide selection of pans, Ironclad also provides customers with other cooking equipment like knives and aprons, all while making quality a top priority.
Slavin, the co-founder of Ironclad, loves that the products that she has designed are out in places across New Zealand, and are being loved and used frequently.
“That [selling 10,000+ pans] still gives me a big buzz because I love the idea of thinking of something that I designed being in a home and being loved and used all the time.”
Growth and recovery
Fortunately for Slavin, COVID-19 actually had a positive impact on her business. After a soft launch in 2019, Ironclad was only getting a handful of sales, but through New Zealanders being stuck at home and being forced to cook more meals, demand for Slavin’s products increased.
Slavin says that as this was happening, she was able to use the NZ made aspect of the business to her advantage, utilising it as a strong part of the company and enjoying growth over the pandemic.
Disaster struck for Ironclad during the Auckland flooding. Being based out of a warehouse space down a driveway, everything was covered in muddy, disgusting wastewater. Slavin lost everything.
However, Ironclad’s insurance meant that Slavin was able to have enough cover for restocking, and she has moved the firm into a small space that a good friend of hers has offered. For Slavin, it's a process of “clawing back”.
Having self-belief and being committed
According to Slavin, because everyone has self-belief and is invested in her products, a strong sense of resilience has been built up within the business, allowing Ironclad to keep going, no matter what—matching the demand that Slavin sees for Ironclad's product range.
“I think because we believe in what we’re doing, and all of the team is so invested in it, we’re just going to keep pushing and keep growing.”
“We know there’s an appetite for it. There’s a demand out there for the brand and for the product.”