Boston Wardrobes - a New Zealand-owned private company trading since 1987.
The Boston Wardrobes Story or, Why On Earth Would You Start A Wardrobe Company?
This New Zealand family-owned company was first formed by Ken Martin, after a game of golf while on holiday in Palm Springs, California.
Ken was a entrepreneur who had introduced many new products to New Zealand such as Flymo lawn mowers, Weed Eater edge trimmers, and a whole raft of other ingenious ideas, many of which are still found around many homes in New Zealand. But by 1987 he had sold his last business and was busy focussing on improving his golf swing, but then opportunity knocked and he wasn't the sort of guy to refuse to open the door.
One of the foursome on the golf course that day in Palm Springs was a gentleman from the Los Angeles who had developed a wardrobe sliding door system that was quite revolutionary. Back in 1987 (and unfortunately still today) most doors made for residential homes were made of a timber hollow core construction and came in standard sizes. In New Zealand's case the standard door is 1980mm high and the door widths went up in 50mm increments (610mm, 660mm, 710mm, etc.)
As most homes are built with a ceiling height of 2410mm, in order to frame a door opening for a 1980mm high door, a small wall or "door head" has to be built down from the ceiling. In the case of a wardrobe or storage cupboard, this wall has the effect of reducing easy access to the upper part of the wardrobe. Likewise with the sides of the wardrobe, as the doors come in standard widths but the inside of wardrobes don't, the builder has to build small side walls, or “returns” on each side of the door opening. Once again this reduces access to each end of the wardrobe. Also the costs of building the door head and returns are quite high with the cost of framing timber, wall board, stopping, painting, and of course the builder's hourly rate. Then fitting hollow core doors are a mission what with hanging the doors on hinges, fitting door knobs, painting the doors (and then re-fitting the knobs).
All of this was discussed on the golf course between the tees and the greens (and quite a bit more over a beer or two at the 19th hole). Ken had built a couple of houses himself so he knew the amount of work involved in creating wardrobe and storage cupboard door openings. This new door system promised something that no other door system could do at the time: instead of building the door opening to suit the door as was standard in both the USA and New Zealand, these new doors could be built to suit the wardrobe space. In other words they were easily made-to-measure. The cost of building the door opening to suit the door is high, much higher than simply making this new door system fit the cupboard space. And of course it also promised better access because it could be made to go right up to the ceiling and it didn't matter how wide the wardrobe was, the doors could cover the full width so no side walls (returns) required.
Building time and cost is reduced; and much improved access which leads to increased storage. A win / win situation, as they say.
Ken, being the entrepreneur that he was, knew this could be a winning product. But were the doors any good? Most sliding door systems were difficult to slide, difficult to install and adjust, and had an alarming tendency to either jam in their tracks or worse, jump completely out of their tracks.
The new door system was made by a company called Acmetrack, and apart from being simple to fabricate, they also had a few other revolutionary features, one of which was the “anti-jump system”. A specially designed clip which snapped into the bottom track prevented the doors from jumping out, a feature which dramatically improved the safety of using large mirror sliding doors. Also the adjustment was far greater than on any sliding doors previously available, meaning that the doors could be made to work even in out-of-square door openings. The doors incorporated a floating mechanism which meant that if the floor or ceiling had bumps or hollows, the doors would literally float across them. And best of all, they slid at the touch of a finger tip.
Meanwhile, back in New Zealand, the effect of the 1987 global stock market crash was beginning to make itself felt. New house sales fell alarmingly which meant that house builders were struggling. Ken Martin decided that he had something to offer, reduced building cost and improved storage proved to be a draw card for one of the nation's biggest home builders, Fletcher Homes and their various subsidiaries.
The oversize wardrobe door system was fitted to many of their show homes and was an immediate hit with the home-buying public. Finally there was room to put something more in a wardrobe than just a single shelf and a single hanger bar (typically made out of a galvanised water pipe in those days!). And so after the introduction of Boston Acme wardrobe doors, the Boston Acme Wardrobe Organiser was born.
With better access thanks to the large format sliding door system, you could design a wardrobe interior to include multiple shelves, drawers, sliding baskets, hanger bars on different heights so you could separate out your long dresses from your husband's shirts, in short an organised wardrobe.
As the 80's turned to the 90's and New Zealand became part of the global consumer society, and China became the manufacturing powerhouse of the world, the cost of all sorts of products, including clothes, plummeted. Suddenly men no longer had just one good suit, and women could afford to buy clothes for all seasons and for all reasons. Clothes and shoe consumption took off. But after shopping at the mall, where are you going to put all of this stuff? Unfortunately architects and builders (note: mainly men!) just didn't get it (and most still don't) and they continue to design houses with poorly designed storage spaces even though storage has now become one of the fastest growing businesses in New Zealand.
Instead of having a variety of bedroom furniture taking up valuable floor space, if the space for the wardrobe is well designed and easily accessed, it can take everything that used to be stored in separate tallboys or dressing tables. Accessories like sliding trouser racks, pivoting mirrors, belt and tie racks, fold down ironing boards, shoe racks, etc., mean that it should be effortless to find any item of clothing in your Boston wardrobe.
As the 21st century dawned, sliding doors for wardrobes started to change. Where once the door colours were supposed to blend with the wall colour, suddenly interior designers wanted to make design statements. The humble wardrobe was now becoming the showcase of a woman's clothing and shoes. Boston began to supply high quality European door systems capable of having a wide variety of finishes including lacquered glass and wood grain panels.
Boston the company was changing too. A new brand for a new century, Boston Acme officially changed its name to Boston Wardrobes.
By this stage Boston was working with not only the original American door company, but also with leading manufacturers in Europe, companies that employ large R & D (research and development) teams constantly developing new products and components. The roller systems (the technical heart of sliding doors) have to be the best. Boston Wardrobes offer a 10 year warranty on their products and we are proud to see that many of our doors are still sliding perfectly after being in use for more than 20 years! The doors are made right here in New Zealand, made-to-measure to fit into your particular door opening.
The wardrobe organiser systems too, have been revolutionised with Boston's release of the “Innova” system. A radical change to the design of wardrobe organisers, infinitely adjustable, easily reconfigurable as the customer's uses change, simple to install and easy to dismantle meaning that if you move houses, you can take your wardrobe with you!
And now to the future, Boston will continue to develop and offer new products, thoroughly researched and tested. While low cost (and high cost!) imported wardrobe products can be easily found in hardware stores and furniture showrooms, Boston stands behind every wardrobe door and organiser it supplies. Our customers are our future, and we want them to be more than satisfied with our simply beautiful wardrobes.
Thank you for visiting our website; we invite you to visit our large, centrally located showroom in Auckland, and let us help you to organise your life (the wardrobe and storage part anyway).