A family with a firm reputation in the flooring industry continues to add significant value in terms of customer service and experience.
After completing her BCom Accounting degree at the age of 25, Tandy Coleman-Spolander joined Polyflor, when it was a business run from her family home by her mother and father. After ten years, she took a sabbatical to gain experience in her professional capacity, returning to Polyflor to start taking over the reins from her father. “It is a privilege to be part of a family heritage that spans 45 years and I am honoured to be the next generation to steer the business into the future,” says Tandy.
Polyflor is headed up by a team of three directors, with Tandy’s portfolio extending to that of Marketing and Sales support. “The most exciting part of my role over the last two years has been the development and implementation of our new on-line system,” she enthuses. “Working closely with the developers, who have the first-of-its-kind technology, has been a wonderful experience – the system is phenomenal and positions us well to enter the future. We have captured 50 years’ worth of knowledge into a system that enables one to find solutions through a process of questions. We are now in the final stages of testing in order to launch it to our architectural and designer customers, which will turn them all into flooring experts!”
Tandy continues to be inspired by the fact that 20 years ago Polyflor consisted of only three people working around the family dining table, and today they employ over 30 people and are, without a doubt, amongst the dominant players in the industry. “My father’s dream is my inspiration,” she highlights. “Polyflor as a business has a strong family ethic and every single employee is a valued member of our family. My overall driving force is to ensure that we continue to be a strong and successful player in the market because, only by doing this, can I be certain that we will always be able to take care of the ‘Polyflor Family’. Our strategy is solid, our future is exciting and we are well motivated to succeed.”
Her two daughters also inspire Tandy to be the absolute best she can be every single day, and she regards her children as her greatest achievement. “They have taught me the value of time as they are fast becoming adults,” she continues. “It is very important to me that I lead by example and teach them how to be independent, strong and caring women with strong family values.”
As an influential woman in business, Tandy firmly believes that other women in the flooring industry have the ability to do whatever they want to and, just because the flooring industry tends to be male-dominated, it doesn’t mean they are any less able to achieve. “Behave like a lady at all times and you will command the respect of your male peers,” she advises. “Instil your own creativity and style and combine this with dedication and hard work. This will ensure that any woman is destined for success.”
Tandy goes on to say that although there are many women in various roles within the flooring industry, there are very few in the fitting teams. The diminishing skills of fitting teams is fast becoming a significant concern within the industry, especially on the vinyl side, hence the formation of FITA (Flooring Industry Training Association). “While women don’t always have the same strength as men, they do have a more aesthetic approach and generally a better eye for detail, especially when they are provided with the proper training,” she emphasises. “I firmly believe that having women trained as fitters and part of a team could definitely improve the quality of installations, while also empowering women and creating employment.”
She also encourages women to maintain balance in their lives by being present in the moment and valuing each experience for what it is, both in their professional and personal lives. “Never feel the need to overcompensate for being a woman in business and don’t lose sight of who you are,” she concludes. “In addition, surround yourself with the right people and build a strong business network as relationships are crucial. And lastly, laugh often – it’s good for the soul.”