IN ISOLATION WITH CHRISTOPHER KAFIZAS
Christopher Kafizas is the owner at Shadeports Plus Ltd, the industry-leading shade solutions company in Cyprus. They specialise in high-quality shade covers for carports, pergola covers, DIY pergola kits, shade sails, retractable awnings, and lots more! All manufactured here in Cyprus, they provide everything you need for the ultimate outdoor lifestyle and weather protection products. We find out how he has spent his time in isolation during the lockdown in Cyprus.
“… your home is the epicentre of your world in what has become the new normal.“
Where are you spending isolation and who with?
Spent at home with my wife Cassandra and two baby girls, Aria 4 and Kayla 9 months!
How are you coping with isolation? How are you staying busy?
The “holiday” we never had. Normally you go away, and you get back exhausted, so it was just awesome to spend proper quality time with my girls! Of course, not being complacent to what’s going on around us but that was always for Mommy and Daddy to discuss when the girls were asleep! Of course, being at home with my ladies also meant time in the garden (we just moved in almost two years ago) so had time to think and plan ahead for better times! We have had some new shading ideas for us for the garden which we ended up sketching with Aria on her drawing pads – that was very fun!
What is the current status of your business?
We closed for a full 6 weeks from 20 March – 4 May. We have, since reopening, had a relatively positive start, of course not what it used to be but by no means what it was dreaded to be. Of course, recovering from 6 weeks of zero income for any business is not to be taken lightly and tightening the belt where necessary for the future is a must. Optimistically though, the overall “feeling” we get travelling all over the island daily, seeing clients, is that of caution and respect of distance but also knowing life must go on! The standard handshake greeting has gone but the smiles are in abundance!
Do you have anything you would like to promote?
During this time at home, I looked at what we do and what we can do to offer mainly residential homes a quick easy ‘fix’ for an effective, attractive shade solution! What we came up with is also easily adaptable for businesses that need an economical outdoor area too. We have built similar products in the past as custom work, but with a few easy modifications were able to make it into a kit form for almost anyone to install. We are proud to have just launched, on our new website and our Facebook Page, the ‘DIY Pergola Kits’! This is effectively a modular system using painted steel corner brackets specially made for a ‘plug and play’ almost Lego-style installation with, of course, a quality shade net sail included and all the fixings necessary. The wooden posts are optional as we know that generally, most of the average DIYers have their own supply chains for such items, but of course, they can be purchased from us too. It’s a really fun product and, if you use your imagination with the brackets and the joins, you can make many things including bar tops, decks and even create green walls coming up the sides of the pergola! Keep an eye on our social media for ideas of what can be done! For now, the kits will only be available from our factory in Paphos, but we will be looking to supply DIY stores and garden centres soon!
The other HUGE thing we just did, which was actually the plan just before lockdown, was that we had committed to a very large order of rolls of stock from our exclusive suppliers in South Africa. The thought process was to enable us to come into a lower price bracket with the idea of ‘shade for all’, so we reduced our overall price per m2 by 33% throughout our range of fabrics and are now retailing our custom work at €30 per m2 + VAT including installation, excluding structure work. In the heat we are already experiencing, and by introducing more DIY ranges, it enables more people to get access to affordable, quality shade solutions direct from us. After all, your home is the epicentre of your world in what has become the new normal.
Do you have a message/advice for other business owners?
Stay the course! Be positive, even if it’s hard! Look after your staff to the best of your ability. Do your cash flows often, watch your budget! Be honest and transparent with your customers. Communication is key and, even like us in these hard times, you have dropped the ball so to say, if you follow the above steps you will earn the loyalty you would like to have and you must give to get!
What is positive about being in isolation?
Family! Time to reflect!
What is negative about being in isolation?
Overthinking global issues that you really have no grasp on and then wondering ‘what if’!
Are you cooking and if so, share your favourite dish?
Love cooking with the family but more so love a good old South African Braai, also known to the rest of the world as BBQ! 😊
What have you been watching to pass the time? Can you recommend any films/series?
Well, that’s easy – I have two daughters, so, Frozen 2, Frozen 2 and Frozen 2! Oh, and Tangled, occasionally 😊 – does other TV exist still?
What have you been listening to in terms of music? Can you recommend an album?
Joined Spotify Premium some time ago and love it! Just pick a mood and go!
When things get back to normal, what are you looking forward to the most?
Really looking forward to taking my girls to the beach and catching up with friends we haven’t seen in so long now!