‘Independents are the backbone of our business,’ says 1810 boss

The 1810 Company managing director Gareth Williams has acknowledged that retailers are vital to his business and has pledged that his company will stand by them.

He 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.”

Williams said that sales bounced back after the initial jolt of the coronavirus pandemic and that retailers were already planning projects into April.

“I can’t see that demand dropping off,” he added.

He said that being owner-managed, The 1810 Company could react quickly to the changing needs of the retailers that are such a vital part of its business.

He continued: “To make it easier for retailers to deal with us and place orders, we have developed and launched the 1810 HUB – a new account management app. It basically allows retailers to input their own orders anywhere, any time.

“We have absolutely no intention of reducing the number of staff in our sales team, but instead, because they aren’t having to input orders all day long, we see them being able to take on a much more proactive role to further support our dealers.”

In March last year, Williams said the company decided to “give something back to retailers” with the launch of a Brand Ambassador Programme.

He 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.”

The 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 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”.

“Think about how people are using their homes and take advantage of this upsurge in renovations,” he advised. “Why not expand into other areas? Most kitchen units can be adapted for a home office, so highlight that to clients so you benefit from all their project needs. 

“We’re going to see much more ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking. The prep sink we launched – that was a direct result of retailers really listening to the needs of their clients and coming up with solutions for their needs. I can see that continuing forward.”

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