SHOW REVIEW: kbb Birmingham

‘If you didn’t attend, you missed out’

Gary Walmsley, owner, Posh Bathing, Bolton on why this year’s show was one the UK KBB sector should be proud of

Having had a good look at the list of exhibitors that were attending this year’s show, the build-up to kbb 2018 filled me with some excitement, especially when I heard that bathroom companies like Treesse Spa and Scavolini, which I know from European trade shows, would we be in attendance.

For the past few years, I’ve felt that there had been too much emphasis on the functionality rather than the design of stands – lots of ‘same old same old’. I think stand designs have possibly contributed to poor turnouts at past shows. I, for one, stayed four hours max at previous shows.

Those huge German and Italian companies we all know must have sensed something too, because the money spent on the stands and staffing them was visible to see – and as it’s usually the shows like Salone del Mobile in Milano, Cersaie and ISH that they attend, where the big budgets reflect on stand size.

Realising this, I decided to have a stand myself and kill two birds with one stone, as the saying goes, and I wasn’t wrong. On entering the show for the first time after the build-up, I gave a gasp of satisfaction that we have a UK KBB industry show to be proud of.

Now, from a German bathroom perspective, all the big players we know in the UK – without mentioning names – were notably absent, but they have changed marketing strategy, in my opinion. However, it did give me a huge opportunity to spend time on stands that maybe I wouldn’t otherwise have visited. And for showrooms looking to change or freshen up their studio displays, the opportunities on both sides of the fence in the bathroom industry looked very buoyant.

There were no signs of negativity, apart from the price of coffee.

It was evident that an enormous amount of work had been put into the event this year, as it would be fair to say that the past few shows have been disappointing and the attendance figures obviously down. It will be hard to evaluate the attendance figures this year, especially Sunday, because of the adverse weather.

Kbb Birmingham this year had it all – big budgets, quality stands, good products, beautiful designs, good people, and notably Brexit wasn’t on the menu.

So hopefully, this is the beginning of a new era for UK KBB shows. If you didn’t attend, then you missed out.

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