NEW YORK (Fortune Small Business) -
Target has its Philippe Starck, H&M has its Karl Lagerfeld, and now Zephyr Ventilation has its Fu-Tung Cheng.
Zephyr, a $20-million-a-year San Francisco-based manufacturer of kitchen ventilation hoods -- filters built in above stovetops to absorb smoke and fumes -- is on track to double its revenues in three years by partnering with Cheng, an award-winning Berkeley-based designer, for a product line called Cheng Design by Zephyr.
KITCHEN CONNECTION: Alex Siow, 34, founded Zephyr in 1997 when he began importing range hoods from Taiwan.
Cheng, meanwhile, was designing high-end kitchens and bathrooms, custom-creating his own $15,000 hoods. Cheng, 56, had approached Viking and SubZero to try to bring his designs to the masses, but they passed.
In 2000, Siow spotted a Cheng creation and realized how sophisticated the traditionally plain hoods could be. In 2003, Siow approached Cheng about a partnership.
HOT PRODUCT: The duo expected their first shipment of 300 hoods to sell out in six months; it sold out in two. Those units, bought by showrooms, went on display in January.
Siow has lofty expectations of selling 1,200 units in 2005 at prices ranging from $2,800 to $6,800 (Cheng takes a 10 percent to 20 percent cut of the profits). Within three years Siow expects to sell 4,000 a year.