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July/August 2020 ertonline.co.uk


moved abroad. Under the trust arrangement, the company must maintain all work in its native area, with any surplus profits used to help local community groups. “My ethos has always been, as you succeed


and make money, plough as much as you can back into the business,” Mr Elliott tells ERT’s Jack Cheeseman in this exclusive interview. Meeting at the annual tradeshow of Portway


Domestic Appliances back at the end of February, Mr Elliott explains Ebac’s philosophy over the years and the move into the competitive washing machine market back in 2013. They started selling them in 2016. “We like making things and we’re good at it,”


Mr Elliott continues. “For our size of company in just one factory, we do far more than you’d realise. We try and focus on what customers value and give them what they want. And we design and produce more parts of our machines in our one factory than all of our competitors, rather than subcontracting work out. “White goods are an important purchase,” he


adds. “Washing machines have a job to do every day – they need to be extremely reliable and customers need to be confident in their use. We may be an unknown brand breaking into this market, but we understand the purchasing decisions. “And we’ve got a great product and its features


stand out on their own merits.” Despite this, washing machine production


hasn’t always been Ebac’s core of the business. Mr Elliott admits it was a slow introduction seven years ago and it took time for the company to get to where it is now. But today Ebac is stepping up and investing more in this side of the business and is beginning


to work with retail partners across the UK to reach the end consumer. According to its own research, Ebac found that consumers still like visiting shops rather than buying online. “People like local retailers,” says Mr Elliott.


“There’s nothing like speaking to a person who knows the product and who can explain it in front of you. “We are a small supplier and we need bricks


and mortar retailers. The people selling our products have got to understand their local customer in order to get the message across. You can never persuade Curry’s to do that. The indies are much better to work with.”


Getting behind the brand Mr Elliott explains that he is looking for retailers who want to get behind the product, who see the story and the benefit from being part of this British-made washing machine movement.


“Shoppers go to a retailer for their expertise


and that personal touch,” he adds. “The benefit in store is that there’s no race to the bottom on price, like there is online. No customer wants to think they’ve got a worse deal than they could get elsewhere, but everybody still wants to pay the right price.” Ebac already has a strong presence in the


north of England, and while its washing machines have only been available at a handful of outlets in the region so far, Mr Elliott has plans to increase production at his site. His £10 million washing machine assembly line in Newton Aycliffe could produce more than 250,000 machines per year. Expanding further, Ebac is also servicing the


consumer directly assisted by Portway, which will be selling Ebac products to the independent retail channel across the country. The company has also been fine-tuning its brand


message in recent months ready to re-launch and go live with its washing machine promotions. Its core message being “This machine doesn’t


over wash”, Mr Elliott says most other washing machines are designed only for a Which? Best Buy… “encouraging manufacturers to design bad products,” he says. “It’s disgraceful.” He claims Ebac has the best Trustpilot reviews


of any washing machine manufacturer, which in many ways, he adds, is more important… “as these are real reviews from real consumers”. “A company’s biggest marketing tool is word


of mouth – it’s grossly underrated. The importance of someone saying it’s a good product means such a lot these days.” Part of Ebac’s marketing strategy includes


John Elliott gifts Ebac Limited to The Ebac Community Trust


sponsorship of a variety of local grass roots sports clubs in the North East, including football clubs, Durham County Cricket Club and the Northern Football League. Mr Elliott likes to support local people to achieve their goals and fulfil their potential.


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