When Selene Yuen wanted to scale up her business with a bigger space, she got what she wished for. Selenium, a local Edmonton fabricator of kitchens, cabinetry, and millwork, has recently upgraded from a 5,000 square foot shop to a 21,000 square foot facility, thanks in part to a partnership with TEC Edmonton.
The company, founded in Toronto by Selene’s partner John, creates custom cabinetry and woodwork for luxury homes and commercial interiors. Their 10-person team includes trained cabinetmakers educated in Germany, a country renowned for its high standards of woodworking and technical education.
In a partnership initiated by IRAP, Selene and John worked with TEC Edmonton’s Business Development team in late 2015 to develop 2 focused Growth Plans. Since then, they have invested in specialized software which expands their production capacity through automation. Presently, IRAP continues to support them with additional funding.
Growth opportunities were identified in detail, as well as a defined path for the company’s direction in the next 3-5 years. “We came up with relevant and meaningful information,” says Selene.
Two priorities were identified as a result: to physically grow the business by expanding its shop space, and to hone in on the business pipeline and focus the company’s efforts on designing and producing Canadian-made luxury kitchens. TEC Edmonton’s business development team performed a market feasibility study, a three-year financial plan, completed projections, as well as interviews within Selenium’s network to gain a sense of where people thought the company should go.
“We’re looking forward to putting it into action now that we have the capacity to take on more work,” says Selene. “It’s kind of exciting.”
Implementing the new growth plans means that Selenium will add another layer to its “every job is custom” approach for large, custom homes. Now, the company will design a line of kitchens with a palette of available options that clients can choose from. Their product will still be made locally in Edmonton, but no longer has to be designed from scratch if that level of customization is not required.
“We’ve turned away a lot of work in the last few years,” explains Selene. “We knew we needed to do something to grow.”
The dust is still settling in the new shop, as the Selenium team focuses on unpacking and optimizing the new space. They’ll soon be ready to start fabricating again.
In their line of work, Selene and her partner John see a lot of custom-built, luxury kitchens. So what’s the next big thing for kitchen design? “We went to Europe for the EuroCucina trade show last year, and saw a lot of tech integration,” Selene explains. “Now we’re looking at incorporating automation, lighting, and assistive technologies for aging populations, so people can stay in their homes longer.”
Overall, Selene recalls that bringing in an outside perspective to help with the business was a smart move: “It’s easy for entrepreneurs to get stuck in their silos day after day,” she remarked. “We really appreciate what [TEC Edmonton] brings to the table. It’s great to have sage advice from people who have seen more.”