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From Italian Restaurants to Global Awards – Happy 8th Birthday SONA!

August 20, 2020

Rewind to 2012 and you’ll probably picture events like Barack Obama’s re-election, or the 2012 London Olympics. It was also the year that Simon and Nicola Fulstow tied the knot – and founded an industry leading home technology company: SONA.

Based in Cheshire, SONA project manage and install high-end home integration projects, from lighting and security to home cinemas.

The term ‘Sona’ is a feminine given name meaning gold or beautiful. It’s also used as a term of affection for those we love. During a casual conversation in an Italian restaurant, SONA’s founders decided they wanted a name that stood for what they believed in – quality.

Built on a solid reputation

This passion for quality goes back to Technical Director Simon’s teenage years. Having dropped out of a science degree at the University of Manchester, he took on a role in a hi-fi store. Today, he’s one of the most respected individuals in the home technology industry, and has had multiple public speaking roles at Integrated Systems Europe.

For Managing Director Nicola, it’s the people power that makes SONA stand out. As one of only 15 companies on the entire planet to achieve a CEDIA Member of Excellence status, the company has built its reputation as a world-class home technology installer.

“Simon was eternally frustrated by the standards of an industry he’d worked in since he was 18. He was tired of seeing poor quality work, and wanted to be an authority in the field.”

His reputation clearly preceded him, and SONA began landing local clients straight away, including large projects with property developers. Two years later, SONA won its first accolade for Best Dressed Rack at the 2014 CEDIA Awards.

 

And then there were six

Though Simon carried out many projects solo in SONA’s first few years, today, the team has grown to six. In 2016, SONA recruited On-Site Project Manager and Lead Engineer Alastair Barber to oversee the brand’s most ambitious projects. To date, some of these include a yacht, the first artificial skylight outside of London, and a number of award-winning integrated homes.

In 2018, Nicola Fulstow took on a more hands-on role as Managing Director of SONA. With her background knowledge of the business, plus marketing strategy experience in 21 different industries, she was the perfect candidate to take SONA forward.

One year later, two more joined the team – Social Media Executive Josh Burnett, and Technical Manager Andy Hill. Today, more recently SONA has also taken on Installation Engineer Dan Newton, and SONA has even more ambitious growth plans.

 

From strength to strength

In eight years, SONA has not only managed to achieve one of the most prestigious qualifications in the global home tech industry. The team has worked with some of the biggest names in interior design, development and architecture, including:

  • UBER
  • Coelux
  • Fiona Watkins

 

In 2019, SONA was shortlisted for the Design Et Al and the Britain’s Best Home Awards. Their trophy cabinet is glowing with commendations including Best Integrated Home and Best Dressed Rack, plus nominations for the International Design and Architecture Awards, and much more.

Technical Director Simon was honoured to be named a judge at the 2019 CEDIA Awards, having volunteered with CEDIA since 2017.

Today, the team resides in a shiny new office, where they plan projects for clients old and new. Home installations don’t stop as soon as the tech is wired up. In fact, SONA is proud to have ongoing support retainers for multiple clients, including their first ever award-winning home.

 

To the next eight years

In less than a decade, the SONA brand name has risen to prominence on the world stage. So, what’s the secret to global success?

“It’s the people that set SONA apart, and the passion for what they do. They care deeply about their work and how it affects our reputation,” says Managing Director Nicola.

“You can have the best systems or products, but if you have average staff, the client experience will be average. We offer products and services similar to other companies, but it’s our extraordinary team that goes the extra mile to create the SONA experience.”

 

What’s next?

With 136 projects under their belt, each averaging a year to complete, SONA have set their sights on even bigger dreams. This all comes from a commitment to learning and developing, as reflected in the team’s CEDIA status.

There’s no telling where the team will be in the next eight years, but Nicola says they’ll never stop evolving.

“Every year we determine where we want to take the business and focus on what we want. We learn from everything, good and bad, and never make the same mistake twice. We work hard to refine what we’re doing and adapt our strategies to grow the way we want to.”

 

Happy Birthday, SONA – here’s to the next eight years!