Königstone marketing manager, Joanne Bull
Q: How’s business compared with last year?
A: Business has been good to us over the last few years. We feel very fortunate that we have a loyal customer base that has engaged in our products. In a world full of shortages and extended lead times, we have been constantly praised for our service and stock levels.
Q: What are the main challenges facing your sector and how are you tackling them?
A: We have found over the last 12 months that we have to wait longer for our stock to arrive but, fortunately, we have combatted this by having a healthy supply of stock at all times. We have also had a massive increase in costs for the transportation of the product. Again, we are trying to absorb these in order to remain competitive but this has been difficult to achieve.
Q: How do you view the current health of the UK KBB market?
A: We feel that the UK KBB market has strengthened over the past 12 months with people not being able to go on holiday, so they had spare funds for home improvements. With our Königstone product, we have worked hard to provide a good pallet of colours that are on trend within our range so there is something for everyone. Our brand continues to gain recognition within the industry.
Q: In what ways can the KBB industry improve and how can we achieve it?
A: I cannot speak for the whole industry but, certainly at Königstone, we are heavily investing in our people, training systems and manufacturing to be the best we possibly can.
Q: How do you think the relationship between supplier and retailer is changing?
A: Order values seem to be on the rise which is a good sign that perhaps customers want to have all the bells and whistles on their project. The complexity of the surface designs seems to push the material to its limits. Customers certainly know what they want and have always done their homework.
Q: If you were opening a retail showroom in this market, what would your strategy be?
A: Choose your products and suppliers wisely, have a good marketing strategy, know your market and be aware of your competition. Also you must have belief in what you do, know your worth and don’t sell yourself short.
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: Social events are a positive stage for people to showcase new products and share ideas. We are no exception and we try to stay ahead of the game by monitoring current and future trends. It’s also a great time to meet old friends and make new ones.