For Julian Salvi and Moray Low the thought of leaving the game unprepared was not one they wanted to experience. The pair who have enjoyed success on the pitch for Exeter Chiefs have donned the hard-hats and high-vis jackets in an effort to make their transition out of the game as successful as possible.
Congratulations on the launch of Tomahawk Homes, can you explain what you do?
We are a team of local Devon professionals who are committed to designing and building exceptional and stylish new homes in the South West. We are nearing the completion of our first project on a site in Devon, situated in Bishopsteignton. Our site includes two houses and a bungalow, which are modern, stylish and open plan. All three houses are now sold and awaiting completion, which is extremely exciting.
What inspired you to start a property business like this?
We wanted to develop a business which would be sustainable and would support our future post-rugby. The idea of creating Tomahawk Homes originated from an RPA workshop on property investment and real estate. We both had an interest in the property industry and had experience of renting houses in the past. Following the workshop, we got in touch with William Smith, from Complete Estate Agents, who delivered the presentation, to chat through the industry further and the opportunities existing in the local area. Will was terrific and inspired us to investigate the market further and start creating a plan for how the business would look. Over the next few months we made it our goal to continue networking as much as possible. We wanted to build a strong group of professionals, who were experts in their field, and who we could trust to help us get our business off the ground. Rugby is terrific for networking and Sandy Park provides a great opportunity to visit the corporate boxes after a match. The boxes are full of architects, builders’ merchants, solicitors, lawyers and accountants, all of whom are great people to know when starting a business.
You have been in operation for over a year, how has the business performed so far?
It’s been very positive and challenging. That is the beauty of starting something from the ground up, you must ride the bumps and celebrate the wins. Following our initial meeting with William Smith in May 2017, it then took over six months to get the business up and running. We needed to formulate a business plan, combine all the feedback and ideas, create a visual identity and build our website. Getting the right people involved in the business was also key for us. We knew we needed to build a strong team of people who we could trust to get the job done. It was like selecting a rugby squad, we needed the right sort of person, with the right skill-set, in the right position.
Can you explain where the name Tomahawk Homes came from?
We love our club and we cherish the incredible support we have always received at Sandy Park. The name Tomahawk was inspired by the Tomahawk Chop chant which is sung as the team makes their way out onto the pitch ahead of home games. We thought it would be a nice way to pay tribute to the fans who have always been there to support us through thick and thin.
What makes your business different to other developers available in the region?
We do not want to build regular box houses. Our tag line is ‘To create beautiful bespoke homes in the South West’. Our aim is to create a unique range of developments which are different to the standard town house you often see. Our first feature property is a bespoke bungalow which is open planned, with defined living areas, but also has a great sense of openness, with the outside flowing perfectly into the inside space.
Can you touch on the connection you have made with RPA partner Karndean Designflooring?
The connection came through our RPA Personal Development Manager Josh Frape. Josh was explaining the new partnership with Karndean and it sounded like the perfect opportunity for Tomahawk to form a strong relationship with a trusted and well renowned business. After expressing our interest Josh put us in touch with the team at Karndean who have been fantastic ever since. We have formed a strong relationship, they have supported us through the early stages of our business, offering advice and assistance, and supplying the flooring for our first two houses.
“We’re delighted to be working with the guys at Tomahawk Homes, supporting them however we can, whether that’s finding recommended contractors, offering product advice or helping with marketing their development. As new partners to the RPA we’re delighted with how quickly we’ve been able to work with the Personal Development Team to engage with members and start to help them with life after rugby.” – Gavin Smith, Marketing Director, Karndean Designflooring.
Images courtesy of David Pullum Photography Ltd.