BKU AWARDS SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT Q&A Maximising value for our partners

The BKU Awards are nearly here! With that in mind, we’re continuing our series of Awards sponsor profiles, this month speaking to furniture fittings, accessories, ironmongery and hardware specialist Häfele about the company’s business, and finding out more about its ethos and its plans for 2018.

Tell us about your company

Häfele is an internationally-trusted specialist in innovative furniture fittings, accessories, ironmongery and hardware. The company is widely recognised for the quality of its product and expertise in the industry and offers a range of over 25,000 products.

Established in Germany in 1923, the global Häfele group of companies continues to be owned and managed by the business’ founding families. The group’s headquarters are located in Nagold, Germany.

Why have you decided to become an Awards sponsor this year?

At Häfele, we pride ourselves on offering only the very best quality products and service and are committed to both supporting innovation and encouraging excellence. We believe that supporting the BKU Awards, which recognize and highlight the industry’s top achievers, goes hand in hand with this ethos.

How important is it to have an industry event like the BKU Awards?

Industry awards are an incredibly important way of recognising the commitment and hard work that goes into being a successful business and, because they’re voted for by members of the industry, the BKU Awards carry particular weight in this regard.

Recognising hard work is important as it not only boosts morale, but also encourages excellence and innovation, raising the bar for the industry as a whole- to the benefit of manufacturers, retailer and suppliers alike.

What are some of the challenges facing the sector this year?

One of the main challenges facing the sector is the fact that living spaces are getting smaller. This is leading to increased demand for space-saving solutions, challenging manufacturers in both

efficiency and functionality. It is up to suppliers to rise to this challenge and provide manufacturers with the toolkits they need to meet the demand. This is why we’re constantly looking for new products that offer flexible, innovative solutions to make the most of available space.

Where do you see opportunities for your company in 2018?

We are really focusing on our Studio Partner Network this year, ensuring that we maximise the value the scheme brings our partners. We’re doing this by introducing new benefits like exclusive loyalty schemes, hospitality trips, and events, including our own Studio Partner Awards ceremony in May. Our Studio Partners are all hand-selected studios who represent the very best in the industry- and we’re delighted that some of them have been nominated for this year’s BKU Awards.

If you could choose a commercial highlight from 2017, what would it be? Last year saw us bringing on board some new fantastic suppliers and product so it’s difficult to choose just one! Our established partnerships with Rangemaster, Smeg, and Vauth Sagel saw the introduction of some exciting new products, including the latter’s Cornerstone Maxx, which transforms kitchen corner space into a key storage asset. We also established strategic partnerships with high end brands GROHE and Perrin and Rowe, significantly expanding the range of high end taps we supply.

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What are the big trends in kitchen and bathroom retailing coming up in 2018? Consumers are becoming more educated in terms of the design and functionality opportunities available to them which is leading to demand for a wider range of solutions to convey a sense of personalisation within the home, such as statement appliances in a range of colours, or an intuitive storage system.

We’re also seeing more consumers thinking ahead when approaching interior design, demanding stylish, durable products that not only look great now, but are built to last.

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