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10 Questions with... Phillip Kalli

Q1 What was your fi rst job? Working as a waiter in a

Greek restaurant after school; I still remember how customers used to speak slowly to me, expecting my English to be poor. After my English degree at Bristol University, I worked as a Photo Editor at MOJO Magazine and managed a band. We signed to EMI, toured Europe, appeared on TOTP, played a few festivals and released an album.

Q2 How did you get into the cleaning industry?

My dad gave me a chemistry set when I was eight, and I’d painstakingly line up the test tubes and beakers on a wooden rack on my bedroom desk, marvelling at the unopened copper sulphate and methyl orange powder. I remember my dad experimenting with his own supply of laundry products at home – I was always interested in the company and the products we created. When the time came and my dad offered me an opportunity to come and work with him at Ideal, I jumped at it, and it was the best decision I ever made.

your personality?

I’d like to think that I am understanding and enthusiastic but I know that I’m also a real perfectionist, although that sounds like quite an annoying mix of character traits on paper! I could also go for hard-working, fair and nice (it’s important to always be nice).

in the world, where would

back in 1966. He’d sold up long before I was born; he was a great chef, and I’d like to sit down with some of the regulars and tuck into his legendary Moussaka.

Q5 How would you improve the cleaning industry?

Businesses operating within the cleaning industry could focus on better design and encourage creativity in the way they work. Good design creates value that not only motivates people already working in the industry, but it may help to encourage talent into an area that will drive future innovation.

Q6 If an intern were to start tomorrow, what’s the

one piece of advice you would give them? Just work hard, be positive and be nice to people. No-one can ask for more than that, and you’ll enjoy whatever it is that you do. Also, a wise Greek friend of my father (they often like to speak in aphorisms) once told me a single piece of advice, which was that you should never eat alone – I always liked that.

Q3 Which three words describe Q7 What do you do to unwind? I don’t think I can be much

happier than when I’m sitting in a taverna next to the sea in Cyprus, listening to the waves, with a plate of fried red mullet, a Greek salad and an ice cold Keo. Back home, I like cooking, running and listening to rhythm and blues records on a beaten up Dansette record player.

Q4 If you could visit one place

you go and why? If space and time were immaterial, there’s nowhere I’d like to visit more than my grandfather’s cafe, The Mercury, in Notting Hill Gate

70 | 10 QUESTIONS Q8 If you were stranded on a desert island and you could

only have one thing, what would it be and why? I’d probably take my cat, Wool. I know she’d never leave my side because she hates getting wet.

Check out next month’s issue to see what Phillip Kalli asked our next industry professional...

Each month we ask a cleaning industry professional the Tomorrow’s Cleaning 10 Questions. This month, we chatted to Phillip Kalli, Design & Marketing Director at Ideal Manufacturing Ltd.


What do you think is the future of the cleaning

industry? The future of the laundry industry is really exciting, and there are lots of new developments happening with processing methods and products. I’m also thrilled to see some great start-ups inject real fun into cleaning businesses on the high street. I’ve noticed a rise in re-purposed launderettes/laundries around the world – it’s brilliant, and they are all employing modern business ideas, personality, technology and a genuine sense of humour.

Jim Maines, International Sales and Marketing Manager at New Zealand Pump Company asks…

Q10What is the most important piece of

equipment you have to do your job and why does it help you within your position? My Dad and his famous blue notebooks; he has an impressive archive of notes that only he can decipher. He’s taught me everything about how to do business by example: how to manage, how to resolve problems and how to always stay positive.

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