fox wardrobes and cabinetry team member

Spotlight On…

Ever wanted to find out how Foxy Fitters really spend their time? We get up close and personal with Senior Installer Dan Mckie (Big Fox) to find out exactly what goes on behind closed wardrobe doors…

Dan, we’re keen to find out a bit more about the man that fits Fox Wardrobes. Tell me a little bit about yourself growing up.

I grew up here on the Northern Beaches in Cromer and actually went to Primary School with Vic and Chris (Volpe)! We moved to Warriewood, then I left school at 16 to do my cabinet-making apprenticeship.

How did you end up at Fox Wardrobes?

I did a stint in Landscape Gardening but then decided to go back to the cabinet-making business. At that time Vic (Volpe) was installing some kitchen cabinets for me and happened to need someone – I liked the idea of a local job with people I knew, so here I am today working solely with Chris for Fox Wardrobes.

How do you like to spend your spare time?

I used to surf a lot before I broke my ankle in a motorbike accident down on the farm. Now I enjoy clay target shooting in Duffy’s Forest, or going fishing. A friend of mine has a farm down South (just west of Goulburn); I love to take the family there, just spending time outdoors in the fresh air.

What is important to you in life?

My family. No question. By that I mean my immediate family – my wife and my two beautiful girls, Ruby (4) and Georgie (2) – and of course my parents who live nearby. I see them every week, as well as my two sisters. We catch up about every fortnight.

Who would you say are the biggest influencers in your life?

Mum and Dad.

Customers and colleagues all speak very highly of you – what do you see as your personal strengths?

I don’t really see that I have any! I just get in there and get the job done. I move straight on to the next job and I don’t waste time. I aim to leave the house how I found it, as that’s the last impression the customer will have of Fox. I’m on time, I leave it clean and I do the job right from the start.

It’s clearly a winning combination. Do you enjoy meeting new people?

I would say that I’m probably quite shy! At the beginning I didn’t enjoy that side of the business, and always focused on the job. But now, as I’m meeting more and more people, I’ve come to enjoy that aspect more.

If you could listen to one music track while you were working, what would it be?

I love talkback radio more than music, though Johnny Cash would be right up there as well. I’m a 2GB and Triple M man.

Do you have a life philosophy?

Time with family, that’s my absolute priority. Swimming at the beach with my kids at the weekend is what makes it all worthwhile.

Is there anything personally you would like to change, improve on or learn? I’m thinking Salsa lessons, yoga or spear fishing…?

Definitely not Salsa! My personal goal is to get my ankle fixed up so I can run again.

What’s your favourite movie?

Ace Ventura every time.

Let’s talk wardrobes. What’s the Fox culture like – could you describe it for us?

It’s fun and fast. I would say we work fast, but we have fun along the way. We’re a good team.

What makes the Fox team work so well in your opinion?

We see each other every morning in the factory before we go out to the jobs, and we all feel like we’re part of something. It’s a great company to work for because the staff feel valued. We have weekly meetings where we all have a voice to contribute our opinions, and we all get heard.

What would surprise people to know about working at Fox?

People think we can just chuck it in – it’s only a wardrobe, right? What they don’t realise is that we need to be able to do it quickly, efficiently and accurately. Most importantly it requires correct measuring at the very start. It might look easy but it’s not.

Just between us, could you quietly just shove it in?

Yes, of course! But it wouldn’t be done right and to the level of quality that Fox delivers.

What is the most interesting part of your job?

I like the variation of going from house to house, meeting new people and meeting the brief.

What’s your best day?

When everything works well and to measurement. That’s my best day.

How often does that happen?

Today! My job was detailed to take 1.5 hours, but I got it done in 22 minutes.

What do you personally enjoy the most about fitting wardrobes?

I love it when I go in a room and there’s nothing there – except maybe an old Ikea rack – and then on the completion you see the customer satisfaction and delight. It’s awesome. Making customers happy and actually seeing the difference you can make to someone’s life is such a good feeling.

What’s the hardest type of installation for you?

Swing doors. It’s quite a time consuming process and a bit like fitting a cupboard without a back holding the position.

Does your heart sink when you see awkward spaces?

Yep! But only in such a scenario where the job is completed how the customer has asked, but I can see it doesn’t really work.  Although if the client is happy, that’s all that matters!

To your mind, what makes Fox stand out in the marketplace?

I think it’s our customer service, and that we have such a great team. The next job doesn’t start until this one is resolved. Problems will always happen, but at Fox it’s how you deal with them that matters. We’re all on the same page with that.

If you weren’t working at Fox, where would you be and what would you be doing?

I’d definitely move down to a farm in the country. I love working with timber outdoors.

If you were left stranded on a desert island for the rest of your days, and you could only take one thing with you, what would it be?

My dog.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Ideally living in Narrabeen out on the lake, with maybe a couple more kids if my wife gets her way. Although I do have two sisters, so maybe not….


Shop local (and save the world)

We Aussies are known around the world for our fair-go attitudes, our relaxed way of life, and for the unwavering support we give to our local communities. We are all about quality over quantity, and commercial authenticity hugely impacts our shopping habits. There’s a pretty good reason why you don’t see many Starbucks surviving on the Aussie High Street. But this doesn’t all happen by accident. Here’s why it’s so important to think globally, but act locally to keep that Aussie individuality alive and kicking.

Money makes money

Simply ‘buying local’ has more knock-on effects than you might first think. The money we spend locally generally goes back into other small businesses creating a circular effect which fuels the local economy. This allows the immediate community to thrive and benefit – as well as generating more neighbourhood jobs. The competition and diversity injected from lots of small businesses stimulates innovation and helps keeps prices down.

Go green

Who doesn’t want to help save the world? It’s a no-brainer that if we buy products more locally it helps to reduce our carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels. Being able to walk to local stores without getting in the car positively impacts the local air quality as well as traffic volumes, and by buying food locally we also help reduce the food miles involved transporting goods long distance.

Keeping it real

Big companies are all too often just faceless brands with big marketing budgets, answerable only to shareholders and board members. Local businesses are run by very real people with real families and real needs. These are the neighbours that you might meet on the street, these are the people who have actual visibility on your local area and the daily challenges you face as a community – and these are the people who are invested in your local area and community welfare.

Personal touch

The huge advantage of shopping locally is actually that personalised customer service we experience, something that only comes as a direct result of local market knowledge and understanding. Rather than stocking an inventory based simply on wider trends, locally you will find product that is geared to real community needs rather than off the shelf quick fixes. Local business owners have the knowhow and experience to deliver us bespoke solutions, as well as the personality and character to make our shopping experience one to remember and recommend.

Shaping the community

Rather than every High Street looking exactly the same, a sprinkling of local businesses helps to define and differentiate an area – which in turn helps shape the surrounding community. These individual businesses can contribute to improved tourism and financial wellbeing, as well as popularity and growth.

Solutions based

When it all goes a bit wrong, which sometimes it does, it makes so much more of a difference to have a friendly face to talk to rather than tackle an automated phone service – probably nowhere near where you actually purchased your product. This is how the true calibre of an organisation can be measured. It’s about prioritising real people over purse-strings, not just the end of year sales results.