The Myers Touch: ‘Change is healthy’

Retailers have to be able to rely on their relationships with suppliers. But when you, or your supplier’s, values change, should you explore other options? Keith and Helena Myers, from The Myers Touch, share their experience…

We’ve always had a view that we need to respond to our clients’ demands. You sell not by pushing something and forcing people to take it, but by responding to their needs. 

Pre-Covid, we began looking at our business – mostly what was going on and where we were going. We had previously partnered with one high and one mid-end supplier, but the latter went under, so we were reassessing and evaluating how we were responding to what our clients were asking for.

Around this time, we noticed a trend in our clients for creativity, but within a more middle to high-end market price point. We’ve never had a client who said “we have no budget at all”. But all clients have a so-called ‘wince point’, where they hit the amount in their mind that they are comfortable spending.

We realised we needed more flexibility and personalisation options, because that’s what we, as a retailer, really need to be offering clients. You listen and personalise the message that they give to you. We couldn’t always do that with our previous brand partners that had restrictions, but we’ve reconsidered our suppliers, and now we can offer a lot more choice.


This change was two years in the making, so definitely not without consideration, and a major factor was deciding to end our trading relationship with an existing supplier with whom we had had some great past experiences. We always tell our clients they should respond to gut feel, and this was one of those occasions where we needed to do the same.

We needed more flexibility and personalisation options, because that’s what we, as a retailer, really need to be offering clients.

The Myers Touch

We’d hit a point where it became very clear we needed to make a transition. However, we are very happy with our choices, and our partnership with three new suppliers – Eggersmann, Copatlife and Mobelife – has given us so many new opportunities. 

Although it’s worked well for us, it’s certainly not been a simple process. Changing suppliers is costly, disruptive, and you have to re-educate your team and reconsider your marketing. We wouldn’t advise anyone to change supplier unless it was very well considered. And there are pros and cons of every supplier – none are perfect.

It could be a case of out of the frying pan into the fire. So you need to be sure you’re doing the right thing – at least by your vision and your values. 

However, if clients are coming in and you’re repeatedly finding that you haven’t got what they want, or constantly finding that it’s not meeting their needs, you need to rethink. Has your clientele changed? Has your supplier’s approach changed?

Relationships with suppliers are different now too. Covid really brought some brands to the forefront. However, others have been incredibly unsupportive – and these tend to be the suppliers that have a slightly more monopolistic stance in the marketplace. Because of this, it can very difficult for retailers to go elsewhere. 

You would not believe how much effort we put in to deal with an industry that can be really sub-par at times, with low performance, poor communication, low  product quality and poor issue ownership. I think the problem is that as independants, we’re small. This is where I think groups like the KBSA, or Der Kreis will eventually grow to have the power to go back to these companies and say: ‘I’m sorry, but you need to fix this for our members’.


Until that happens, it’s important to know what values we look for in our suppliers, and what values we’d want potential new suppliers to have. Most important for us is alignment with our business. 

Some manufacturers have gotten so inwardly-focused or commercially driven, they’ve forgotten who they’re serving. What they stand for has to run through the whole company. We test that by looking at not just the marketing literature, but we like to look at the people who reflect the nature of those company values and see if what the company says carries through in what their representatives say and how they appear.

We like companies who own their problems. We’ve had suppliers in the past who haven’t done that, and when their problems create issues for our clients, that can really reflect poorly on us. Our philosophy is to fix the client’s problem first, and then argue about it later. After all, fixing problems is what builds your brand. 

We also love being loyal to a company, so it’s  difficult to change, but we also like a friendly and collaborative approach. We need to see suppliers and their reps regularly. We don’t want a distant relationship – we want a hands-on collaborative one where they support us during the sale and the after-care, and we’re happy and proud to sell their products in our showroom.

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