After 40 years of helping customers bring authentic Italian flair to their homes, Cirillo Lighting and Ceramics in Fyshwick (ACT) announced plans to franchise. It believes it would appeal to people who have an appreciation for quality and innovative design, and who want to own a business.

The company says building industry experience is not required. The cost of a franchise starts from $450,000, with options to scale up or down, and territories are available in NSW, Queensland and Victoria.

Cirillo Lighting and Ceramics sees itself as a one-stop shop for customers wanting to build or renovate their home. “Our model combines tiles, lighting, bathroom ware, kitchen appliances, tap ware, door furniture and interior design services for a range of budgets,” explains managing director, Joe Cirillo.

“It is this diversified and exclusive product offering that provides franchisees with a business model capable of maximising their return on investment and building capital for themselves and their families.”

Joe Cirillo believes franchising is the next step for his company. “The Canberra business is a gem, but with the city’s population under 400,000, further expansion in the ACT is difficult. Additionally, there is a clear gap in the market in other states, as no one is offering a boutique one-stop shop solution. Franchising the business means homeowners in other states can benefit from our model.

“Franchising allows us to partner with genuine business people who share our drive and passion, and who want to establish an outlet in a location that is convenient for them,” he said.

Potential franchisees are not limited to retail only. “Our model encourages franchisees to access the B2B market by working with developers, builders, architects and interior designers,” he adds.

Cirillo’s tiles are sourced from its hand-picked manufacturers that are steeped in history yet are at the forefront of innovation and design.

One Italian-based company that it deals with still creates products by the traditional, slow double-firing process. The technique guarantees the maturation of the glaze on the tile through several cycles of firing. This gives rise to colour variants that have complexity and depth.

The company continually source environmentally friendly products from Australia and around the world, so that customer can reduce their carbon footprint.

In keeping with its values, Cirillo’s manufacturers and suppliers have developed a green philosophy where constant research into the new technology results in industrial production more compatible with the environment. It allows the development of products that have a low environmental impact, and be a part of sustainable building projects. The functionality, hygiene, safety and long-lasting durability of the tiles they stock make them a green, ecological alternative.

The Cirillo range includes tiles for floors, walls, outdoor, as well as mosaics, natural stone tiles such as marble and granite, and large format thin tiles. Some remain exclusive to Cirillo.

The Cirillo family embodies some of the best elements of the Australian migrant experience. In 1966, Calabrian born Domenico Cirillo travelled to Australia in search of a better life. Domenico quickly recognised the opportunities it had to offer, and sent for his wife and children a year later.

Like many migrants, he initially worked in construction and then started a plumbing business.

It was during this time that Domenico and his sons recognised that Australians had limited access to the latest Italian designs, and decided to create a tile and lighting business, which they initially ran from his eldest son, Cos’ garage. Together their aim was to supply high quality tiles and lights that were both unique and affordable.

In the beginning, it was not just a matter of selling the products, but also of educating homeowners about Cirillo’s beautifully crafted products, that were very different from other tiles and lights available in Australia at the time. In the beginning, Domenico and Cos travelled from one construction site to the next, selling site-to-site and tile by tile.

It was a proud moment when Domenico and his sons, opened the first Cirillo Lighting and Ceramics showroom in 1978. Cos worked alongside his father since the inception of the business and is considered a co-founder alongside younger brother Naz, who still plays an important role in the business as distribution director.

Throughout the seventies and early eighties Cirillo Lighting and Ceramics continued to flourish and in 1980, it moved to a new showroom and warehouse. By 1988, the business had again outgrown its premises and moved to its current location at 173 Gladstone Street, Fyshwick.

Soon it was time for the next generation to make its mark. Cos’ children, Anthony, Joe and Maria all worked in and around the business while they attended school and university. Today, all three provide expertise in design, finance and marketing.
As the Cirillo range expanded and diversified, it became a place where high quality tiles, lights, bathroom ware and kitchen appliances were available under the one roof. This happened at the same time as the ACT underwent major developments in the nineties.

Over the years, it has been involved in major projects including the Canberra International Airport, Parliament House, and several embassies and hotels.

The store has interior decorators on hand to help with design of any project, from jobs as small as choosing a colour scheme to full-scale home renovations. A dedicated project manager is also available, and can work on anything from demolition, rubbish removal, plumbing and electrical through to tiling, vanity and PC item installation and fit-out.

Pictured: Joe Cirillo is managing director at Cirillo Lighting and Ceramics in Fyshwick (ACT).