Stuart Wilson, UK national account manager, Asko
Q: How’s business compared with last year?
A: Following Asko’s successful spring launch to the UK market last year, we are now introducing an extensive range of built-in kitchen appliances to our existing collection of premium washing machines, tumble-dryers and drying cabinets. This quick expansion certainly represents the success that we’ve had in the UK market thus far and we hope to see the momentum continue.
Q: What are the main challenges facing your sector and how are you tackling them?
A: Launching a new brand in challenging times is not easy. However, we feel that Asko truly offers something new to the UK market that other brands do not. Asko represents that unique Scandinavian spirit that combines timeless, elegant designs with clever functionality.
We strive for elegant simplicity and timeless style, based on the fact that we know more can be done with less. All of our products embody the Scandinavian spirit and are built to deliver premium results every time, designed with perfect user-experience in mind.
Q: What can be done to improve the health of the UK KBB market?
A: From visiting retailers, there is clear frustration about the current state of the UK KBB market with supply chain issues causing a knock-on effect on credit.
However, we believe that supply is improving steadily and are confident we can add our products to a strong UK market in 2022 and beyond.
Q: How do you think the relationship between supplier and retailer is changing?
A: The pandemic has changed the way we all work, no matter what industry you’re in. Suppliers seem to be taking advantage of online meetings and representatives seem to have fewer decision-making privileges. I prefer that valuable face-to-face time and would favour meeting in person to discuss the details that will help grow their business.
Q: What would be your strategy for opening a retail showroom right now?
A: I would be looking very closely at my kitchen partners and how they would support me in difficult times – loyalty and support cannot be undervalued.
Sales support is often good, but will they still call you when your credit is under pressure or when you need a service call escalating? The key strategy here is to continuously question and re-evaluate every single business decision in the process.
Q: How does it feel being back at social events like kbb Birmingham and how important are they to the future of the industry?
A: It’s absolutely fantastic to be back at in-person social events!
Here at Asko, we design our products with the perfect user experience in mind. We all have to be careful and take precautions of course, but I think as humans, there is nothing better than touching and feeling products and seeing how they operate for yourself in person – just remember to bring the hand sanitiser.