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Introducing Tanya Rive : 2024 TDC Scholarship Sponsor

"I've always believed in giving back to the community that supports us, rather than just being all about product, selling and money."

Our interview with Tanya Rive

Tanya Rive, Director Halliday + Baillie. Image supplied.

Recently we had the privilege of sitting down with Tanya Rive, the Director of Halliday + Baillie, an architectural hardware company with a passion for local manufacturing and a commitment to excellence. In this insightful interview, Tanya speaks about the origins of H+B, their commitment to quality and environmental stewardship. We'll delve into the significance of manufacturing locally, the value it brings to both the business and the community, and the ways in which H+B fosters connections with designers and architects, supporting and collaborating with them to produce a result that is aesthetically pleasing but also the specification process is seamless. Additionally, Tanya will share with us the unique contribution H+B is making to this year's Scholarship Program as our Sponsor.

In October last year we hosted our 2023 Discover Retreat in Queenstown, and were so incredibly lucky to be invited into a magnificent project resplendent with H+B fittings and fixtures, "Black Cottage, Lake Hayes" by Bureaux Architects.

H+B project: Black Cottage, Lake Hayes. Images supplied.

TDC: Thanks for joining us today Tanya. We’re so grateful to have H+B as the Sponsor for our 2024 TDC Scholarship. For any of our members who don’t know about the history of your business, can you tell us a little bit about the company and the people who own it?

TR: We are a New Zealand-owned company and we have been operating since 1995. Marcus Halliday is the founder of the company and I joined in the year 2000 as a salesperson and after a couple of moves in the company, I was offered a partnership. We had already placed our feet on the ground in Sydney Australia albeit very lightly in 2002, so after lots of discussion, in 2005 we made a huge decision that one of us needed to make the move to Australia and drive the company here and see if the lovely Australian market would like to buy our H+B New Zealand-made wares. Guess who won?!

The company was actually founded purely by accident originally. Marcus was building a French inspired home and wanted to find all sorts of bits and pieces for the house. At that time, New Zealand's offerings were quite small, and he decided to jump on a plane to attend an architectural hardware trade show in Bau, Germany.

He found a fabulous manufacturer, FSB and we became their agent in Australia and New Zealand. Their door levers are still a very important part of our range today.

After years of supplying the market with FSB, we added in Simonswerk concealed hinges to the mix and then after listening to our customer (Architects/Designers/Builders) we saw the lack of smart, high quality coordinating items like sliding handles, stair brackets and so on and then we started dabbling, lots of sketching and started with our first product and before long we were designing and producing our brand! That's how we started.

Halliday + Baillie Showroom in Melbourne. Photo: Peter Clarke

TDC: The company was founded in New Zealand, but you sell your products all around the world. What are some of the challenges you face working in an international market?

TR: Probably the biggest challenge that we've found is finding like-minded companies that are a high-end supply chain inside that country. We've been fortunate that we've been actively sought out and approached by some great companies around the world. We would always love to find more. It has been a beautiful organic connection thus far and it's propelled our business' success. So, whilst we have an export market, we also have specific companies in certain parts of the world that have the agency to sell our brand and they do it very well. That's the beauty of organic connections.

TDC: It has been wonderful to learn more about the values of the company, specifically your focus on environmental stewardship. Can you explain why this is so important to you and the team?

TR: Well, I think what's really interesting is that from the manufacturing point-of-view, the companies that we deal with to provide us with electroplating, raw product, die casting, brass, etc, also care for the environment. So it's been very much a mix of everyone wanting to step up and think about wastage, types of metals that we use, plus just as importantly, keeping the people that are manufacturing the products safe and well.

All of our products are manufactured in New Zealand and more recently, in Australia. This means that the carbon footprint is hugely reduced. We consolidate all of our orders so that we're doing one shipment a month or two shipments a month at a push. We're not doing it every second day, so we're thinking strategically for us to be less of the problem in an environmental sense.

Also, I think paying that little bit extra for a brand like H+B, means that the longevity is there and it's not a throwaway product. It's something that will last. Our hardware is a piece of the building. Once it's been installed, it's going to sit there for many, many years to come, so you want it to last, feel good, sound good and have that durability.

Showroom meeting with Tanya Rive. Image supplied.

TDC: Without the generosity of our sponsors, the TDC Scholarship wouldn’t be possible. Giving back to the industry is so important and aligns perfectly with  TDC’s values. What was the driving factor behind your decision to sponsor the program?  

TR: Over the years we've been approached for sponsorships and support within the interior design and architecture community but it wasn't the right time. We have always believed in giving back to the community that supports us, rather than just being all about product, selling and money.

We're excited to be able to provide an interior designer or architect, with the means to further their skills in business through the TDC programs and coaching. It's a wonderful initiative and game-changing program. We love being a part of the Scholarship program.

Being a founder/creative and starting a company is not easy and not everyone's natural habitat so if we can help with business and product, it's a win win!

TDC: Why is keeping it local so important to H+B?

TR: To be frank, if we sold out and we went to China to produce our goods, we could probably save on manufacturing costs but then the quality would be compromised, direct connection on the daily with our makers would disappear, jobs would be lost, companies we give business to would close, that is to name a few of a million things that would change, BUT the biggest thing would be that we wouldn't be able to look ourselves in the mirror.

Manufacturing local also gives us an advantage to choose the materials we're using and stockpiling those to ensure that we're ahead of the game. Having it on shore and close to where we're actually making our product is super important, cost effective and also again reducing our footprint.

And all of the materials that we do choose, we purchase from companies that are in Australia and New Zealand. We’ve made it, milled it or we've extruded it, and so we're actually giving business to more + more companies.

It's not just about H+B making products here. We're giving people jobs, we're keeping their companies busy, and I think it's really important to say this, we're keeping some of the very old craftsmen or crafting of hand lathing. These companies can then teach the younger generation so that we can keep these skills on this side of the world. It's not just all about the machines, it's about the craftsmanship too.

Manufacturing at the H+B factory in New Zealand. Photography: supplied

TDC: What unique contributions does H+B bring to our Scholarship program this year?

TR: We'd like to be able to share our knowledge of architectural hardware to ensure that the design community are making the right decisions for their projects. We know that specifying door and architectural hardware can be daunting especially given mistakes can be costly and your time is precious. Be smart about how you select your suppliers and how you're using them to ensure that you're using them to the best advantage for your business. For example, our teams in Melbourne and Sydney are able to create a full schedule for your project, supply and work with your builder saving you time and money.

I was excited to meet Alessandra, the 2024 Scholarship winner. As Sponsor, I'll be working with Alessandra to build her knowledge in architectural hardware and assist her with any upcoming projects in this regard. Business is my passion and will be supporting her as much as I can.

We have had our first session with more to come. Alessandra is so deserving.

TDC: We had the first of two TDC Social Club events at your Melbourne showroom last week. And, we have plans to do another in Sydney later in the year.  What are you most looking forward to at these events?

TR: We love our Melbourne showroom and enjoy sharing it with the design community. It's a perfect little studio where you can meet the team, see and feel the product. We encourage you to meet your clients here and afterwards we can curate something for you.

It was awesome to meet a full group of Melbourne members last week and we are looking forward to getting to know the TDC Members more over time.

There's all sorts of people that have peeled off from practices and set up on their own, and that's really, really exciting. I love to hear about the journey they've been on.

As your members would understand, door hardware is a highly technical part of doing a project. So, I'm looking forward to sharing some tips and tricks to avoid common mistakes and build your knowledge. We can now not wait to do the Sydney one later this year!

TDC: How does H + B foster a collaborative relationship with designers, beyond providing products? Why is it important for designers to be educated about door specification?

TR: In business, it's essential to keep learning. It's our job to ensure that our designers and architects have the knowledge to make the right decisions for their projects, such as choosing the correct fitting, specifying each product correctly... right down to working with the builder. This will ensure that you're using your time efficiently and leaning on us as experts in this field. I think that's gold.

Just remember, you're not alone if you're feeling hesitant to specify architectural hardware. We're actually holding some specification workshops later in the year in Sydney and Melbourne for this very reason!

How to specify workshops with Tanya Rive. Image supplied.

TDC: How does H + B ensure that its products meet the evolving needs and preferences of designers? 

TR: It's really interesting, we definitely started out as a door hardware company, but we've evolved over the years to be more of an architectural fittings company. As a result of working so closely with designers and architects, we've been able to identify opportunities in the market. We would often be on site of a luxurious project and see a cheap bathroom vent or electric blinds mounted with the motor in view. By manufacturing locally we've been able to introduce a range of streamlined vents and the new Blind Box product. The result is an aesthetically pleasing, off the shelf product that reduces labour costs.

We have these types of conversations with architects all the time. H+B seems to be an innovator because we can design and develop a new product quickly, no red tape that you get with larger corporates and with manufacturing on the ground we can move fast if we want to!

I don't know many companies that could do that. So when we are asked "Have you thought about this?", sometimes we can make it work and sometimes we can't. But if it's a pain point for someone, yeah, people will talk to us about it, which is quite lovely.

Blind Box in situ at NZ Airport and close up of product. Image supplied.

TDC: What exciting things are coming up in 2024 for H + B?

TR: We're really excited. We've got New Zealand and Australia pretty well covered.  I am so lucky, I have a great team. So we're excited to get out and build up export, which is really exciting. And I think that it's really neat to know that you can say to your client once you choose our HB690 for example in a bathroom, that the  beautiful sliding privacy lock is also in the Raffles Hotel, or it's in a beautiful hotel in Dubai or other places like that. Not only that, the more we produce here in Australia + NZ to export then it is good for Australasia.

Also, we have about three or four new products that are due to come out or be tweaked and some tooling to be done. We have many new products sitting on our drawing boards and we're keen to release them. Just like a fashion brand, we have to be mindful of timing, aesthetics and whether the trends are going in that direction. And sometimes we are thinking a bit more futuristic, so we do keep some things back until the right time as it's obviously expensive to bring a new product to market. Exciting times ahead for H+B.

We're so excited to work with Tanya and the Halliday + Baillie team throughout the year. Thank you again to Halliday + Baillie, our amazing 2024 Sponsor for helping to make the Scholarship program possible.

Stay well, and believe in you!

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