The hot topic in the UK kitchen industry and debated to almost fever pitch by some independents, especially at recent kbb events is about British manufacturing versus German manufacturing and whilst you have to take some opinions with a pinch of salt, (i.e. those serving their own agenda depending on which kitchens they sell) in a series of posts looking into the debate, Kitchens Kitchens editor Jeff Russell recently spoke to Jamie Davies from i-Home Interiors in Buckinghamshire.
i-Home Interiors are perhaps a little more uniquely positioned than most to talk about the market for German, Italian and English made kitchens as they design and install a brand that represents each nation.
Jamie Davies commented; “I don’t think you can simplify the entire kitchen manufacturing output of each nation based on the activities of one or two brands, as there are differences, in terms of pricing, materials, manufacturing, product features, styling and other characteristics but the overriding principle for i-Home was to identify three distinct brands that we thought represented each one of those core characteristics competently and which represented the needs and wants of today’s kitchen UK customer.”
Jamie continued; “Take Nobilia for example. They are one of the best known German kitchen brands, operating across the globe and have some 2500 kitchens leave the factory every day and whilst they are the biggest German kitchen brand importing into the UK, their kitchens don’t appeal to everyone, and I don’t think one single brand can ever achieve that. Hence why we chose, Burbidge, Bontempi and Nobilia, as each brand does some styles that do cross over one another, but all three also have some uniqueness that endears them to a certain cross section of the UK buyer.”
On the subject of cross over styles and the Nobilia Matt Pia German kitchen door, which is becoming one of Nobilia’s best sellers Jamie had this to say in respect of the style and its success compared to other brands.
“As I mentioned, there are some cross over styles, and Malmo from Burbidge is a perfect example. It does very well in capturing what the British public want from the styles that the Germans and Italians do well individually, (i.e. straight lines and curves respectively), but for those that want to buy British. And whilst Malmo from Burbidge is available in different tones and textures, Nobilia may have the slight edge with a couple more variations in their Pia door style, but under the Nobilia brand [which some customers prefer], which is obviously German made”
On the subject of manufacturing Jamie believes that whilst the likes of Nobilia have larger scale production and can manufacturer larger numbers of kitchens, the key to British manufacturing remaining competitive (in it’s smaller scale) is that it can respond to changes in consumer demand more easily.
Jamie commented, “There will always be customers who buy a given brand and will stick to that brand unless a major event sways them, and then there are others who just like what they like and are not so swayed about brands but what is available to cater to their tastes and needs in the here and now, and the role of the independent is to cater for their customers, and with Bontempi, Nobilia and Burbidge, we feel we can offer our customers a suitable range of kitchens that accurately reflects the needs of our customers and the preference they may have.”