In an interview with KbbReview The MD of one of the UK’s leading sink and tap manufacturers The 1810 Company, heaped praise on kbb independents saying they are “the backbone of our business”.
It has been a difficult decade for kbb independents. The 2010’s saw the kbb sector decimated by the credit crunch, the consolidation of the sector in recent years with many notable big names going to the wall and before Covid, the fallout and uncertainty of Brexit.
One of the most spoken of plights that kbb independents face is lack of support from the manufacturers, made worse in the last decade with many manufacturers entering the retail market to ‘sell direct’ and competing directly with the kbb independents, in what many have said was a clear case of abandonment by kbb manufacturers “having their cake and eating it”.
The 1810 Company MD, Gareth Williams told kbbreview: “There’s no question that we’ve been through a challenging period, but a lot of consumers are strongly in that mind-set of updating their homes because they are spending so much time in them – and we are benefiting from that.”
He added: “It’s about reinforcing that we recognise independents are the backbone of this business and that we are prepared to stand by them. I can’t see that demand dropping off,”
As a show of support for the kbb independents, in March last year, Williams said the 1810 company decided to “give something back to retailers” with the launch of a Brand Ambassador Programme.
Williams explained: “It’s really taken off and I think that acceleration is partly down to the benefits the programme offers, but also because retailers have been looking for even more support from suppliers during the pandemic. I started this business 11 years ago and it makes me immensely proud that so many retailers want to be closely associated with the brand.”
There was also news that company has also added three new business development managers and reduced the size of the regions they have to cover so that they can provide an even stronger service to kbb independent retailers.
He also pointed out that because of the changes to the market brought about by the Covid crisis, there were “loads of new opportunities for retailers”.
It is clear that The 1810 Company has been a Covid winner but the story could have ended very differently as in late 2019, mere months before Covid would hit us, Gareth Williams was celebrating the company’s 10th anniversary with the launch of a flagship showroom in London’s Business Design Centre.
At the time Williams mentioned that at least 50% of 1810’s business comes from within the M25 but, with the business being based in Mold, Flintshire, “It’s always been a challenge to get our London customer-base up to see us. When we looked at it, to have a presence in London where we can meet our retailers regularly, train them and where they can bring their clients down to see a larger product range felt like it was an investment worth making.”
As the kbb sector opens up for business again come April 12th hopefully kbb independents, with the support of more manufacturers like The 1810 Company can bounce back for good.