News in Kitchen & Bathroom Journal

Wren Kitchens Awarded Made In Britain Marque

February 26, 2019

Wren Kitchens, the UK’s Number 1 kitchen retailer, has been awarded the Made In Britain marque in recognition of its commitment to manufacturing excellence.

Wren manufactures all its high-quality kitchens at three state-of-the-art factories in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, using the latest production technologies. Around two thousand kitchens a week are delivered fully built, including all doors, drawers, wirework and baskets, and Wren has supplied kitchens worth over £1 billion in the last three years.

The company is this year celebrating its tenth anniversary and, from a standing start, has become the UK’s Number 1 kitchen retailer, with 77 showrooms nationwide and plans to open 18 more in 2019. Wren employs nearly 4,300 staff and owns its complete supply chain, delivering kitchens from its factories in its own fleet of lorries, passing on the savings to customers and offering unbeatable value.

Made In Britain brings together the best manufacturers in the UK, through the use of its registered collective mark. It guarantees that members’ products are made in Britain and comply to the highest standards.

Wren prides itself on exceptional quality standards and customer service. It is the only company to have been awarded FIRA Gold for both product and installation by the Furniture Industry Research Association and only works with professional installers who share its values and commitment to its customers.

Wren Kitchens has created the largest kitchen collection in the UK. The Infinity Collection offers millions of combinations, with a range of 700 feature units available in 50mm increments, and customers can choose from the Spectrum range of more than 2,000 colours. Independent review sites, such as Trustpilot and Google, show that Wren Kitchens has one of the highest satisfaction ratings of any kitchen retailer with a satisfaction score of 96% in the last 12 months.

Mark Pullan, Wren’s Managing Director, said:“We are very proud of our British manufacturing heritage. All our kitchens are designed, developed and built in the UK to the highest standards. We are committed to manufacturing affordable luxury kitchens here in Britain and this makes us unique in the kitchen market.We have created thousands of jobs in the UK and are delighted to have so many passionate, dedicated and exceptionally talented people working within the Wren family. We are happy to be joining like-minded businesses at Made In Britain and look forward to being part a strong brand that promotes British manufacturing”.

John Pearce, chief executive of Made In Britain, said: “Wren is an outstanding example of a high-quality manufacturing business flying the flag for British-made products. Its impressive journey to being the country’s leading kitchen retailer in just ten years is testament to the management team’s ambition and vision. It’s great to see that its sights are set firmly on continued future growth, despite the economic challenges a lot of sectors are currently facing. Its founding principles of sustainability, excellence and transparency throughout its supply chain are perfectly aligned with the values of Made in Britain, and we’re proud to have Wren as a member.”


Beko Plc Recognised For Fire Safety

February 5, 2019

Beko Plc has won this year’s Safety Innovation Award at the Electrical Product Safety Conference 2018 for adding flame-retardant back panels to all of its refrigeration models. The award, given by Electrical Safety First, the UK’s leading charity on electrical safety, honours products or projects that have made a measurable difference to improve consumer safety.

Following a rigorous assessment of its innovative safety benefits, Beko Plc’s flame-retardant refrigeration back panel was selected as this year’s winner from the six shortlisted innovations due to the way in which it protects against fires spreading in consumers’ homes. The panels have been applied to Beko Plc’s full range of built-in and free-standing refrigeration models, making it the first mass market manufacturer to do this across the whole range.

Andrew Mullen, Quality Manager UK and Ireland, Beko Plc said: “We are thrilled to have been awarded with this year’s Safety Innovation Award. The fact that our work to improve customer safety has now been recognised by Electrical Safety First is an achievement that we are really happy and proud of. We continue to build on this work through our research centres both here in the UK and in Turkey to ensure we can deliver cutting edge and stylish appliances with the highest safety standards.”

Phil Buckle, Chief Executive, Electrical Safety First, said: “We established this award to acknowledge those companies which are putting safety at the heart of their product development process and Beko Plc are worthy winners. They have developed a solution that reduces risk of fire and increases consumer safety. And they have done so in advance of expected changes to the product standard in this area, which must be applauded.”

The Electrical Product Safety Conference 2018 occurred on Thursday 29th November at Church House Westminster, focusing this year on “Reflecting On The Future”. Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the conference explored how consumer electrical product safety has changed over the last decade and what safety innovations and emerging risks are likely to be a priority in the decade ahead in a post Brexit era.

New Brochure For Abode

January 30, 2019

Classic in style, premium in quality, leading brassware manufacturer Abode has introduced a new dedicated brochure for its premium kitchen tap range to really help it stand out from the crowd.

The Classically Abode taps range is truly distinctive, depicted in the brochure with details on the manufacturing process, which involves hand assembly, hand finishing and individual testing to ensure a consistently high level of quality in the finished products.

The brochure has details on each of the taps in the Classically Abode range, Astbury, Bayenne, Brompton and Langley, all of which have premium quality and classic styling in common, while each offer something different for the kitchen in terms of finishing touches. The Astbury, for example, features real ceramic handles, while the cross-handles on the Langley combine timeless yesteryear design with modern day quality components.

The range features two hand crafted finishes which have been exclusively developed in line with current design trends, while practical highlights of the range as a whole include anti-splash aerators, ceramic valves and pre-fitted flexible tailpipes for ease of installation.

The brochure contains details of each tap in the Classically Abode range, to make selection and ordering simple for retailers and the job of choosing new kitchen taps a breeze for consumers. Featuring full-colour photography to inspire, the 56-page brochure is a handy reference guide, that also includes information on Abode’s finest selection of ceramic and stainless steel undermount sinks, enabling the perfect sink and tap pairing.

David Caulfield

January 29, 2019

It is with great sadness to announce that David Caulfield, Sales & Marketing Director at BA, passed away this morning (29/01/2019) after a short illness. David was a passionate advocate for life, he was naturally talented with great business vision and was highly respected in the KBB industry. His contribution to BA for over 12 years cannot be underestimated locally, nationally and internationally. For those who met him personally he was an unbelievable force with a vivid personality to match.

Since his diagnosis of a brain tumour 91 days ago, David’s steely determination to win his fight against cancer had many avid followers eagerly awaiting his daily insight on his emotional journey. Through his good days and bad days David’s overriding wish was for us all to take stock of life, get the right work balance and spend time enjoying it to the fullest.

David you were a mentor, a work colleague, a comedian, a leader and most of all a friend.

Rest in peace.

Day 91 #youreincharge DC

The Lord Mayor visits Pland today to mark Centenary….

January 24, 2019

The Right Worshipful the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Graham Latty, visited PLAND STAINLESS LTD in Leeds during January to mark the start of their Centenary celebrations.  The Lord Mayor toured the factory watching each process of a Stainless Steel kitchen sink being made, a volume product for the company who were the first UK manufacturer to produce this product.  He also presented some long service awards and met all the staff in a luncheon to celebrate the event.

Pland Stainless has been manufacturing from the same site in Leeds on the Lower Wortley Ring Road since December 1919, a true British manufacturer that has stood the test of time.

The visit also saw three long service awards being presented to members of staff.  David Spencer, Production Operator, has been with the business for 36 years and John Stephenson, Sheet Metal Worker and Jack Priestley, Welder, have both hit 10 years service.  Each were awarded a bottle of champagne, those with 10 years service received an additional two days holiday this year and David was awarded a voucher for a steak night at Leeds restaurant Miller & Carter.  The company has more exciting plans to reveal during the year that will continue the celebrations in this momentous year.

Pland products today are largely designed for the healthcare, sanitaryware, washrooms, laboratory, education, catering, janitorial and the secure accommodation market places.  But a growing and significant proportion of their business is made up of bespoke products to both commercial and retail markets, where their technical team, work with the client to design stainless steel products that deliver specific solutions, using their in-house CAD/CAM and 3D modeling technology.


New Appointment For Virtual Worlds

January 9, 2019

Virtual Worlds, the market-leading CAD technology specialist for the kbb industry, has bolstered its sales team, with the appointment of Rhian Davies to the role of Regional Sales Manager. Rhian will cover Wales, Midlands and the South West.

With more than five years’ experience in sales and account management, Rhian joins Virtual Worlds from SSE Energy. In her new role, she will be responsible for managing current customer accounts and for introducing the benefits of the latest 3D and 4D software to more retailers and designers.

“I joined the team in mid-December and am looking forward to the new challenges it will bring,” commented Rhian. “Virtual Worlds offers retailers some very exciting products which will be great to introduce to new businesses.”

Virtual Worlds delivers a professional CAD system with photo realistic images and a ground-breaking interactive virtual reality buying experience, which is shaping the future of kbb retail.

Uform Group To Expand

January 5, 2019

Antrim-based kitchen door and component supplier Uform has secured a multimillion pound funding package from BGF and Danske Bank. BGF is the UK and Ireland’s most active investor in small and mid-sized businesses.

Uform is the fifth company in Northern Ireland to receive investment from BGF which has taken a minority shareholding in the business. Uform designs and paint finishes a wide range of kitchen doors and accessories alongside offering an extensive range of ex-stock products, serving customers across the UK and Ireland.

Uform is known for its wide variety of kitchen door frontal options catering for all segments of the kitchen retail market, with the largest choice and ex-stock availability in the marketplace. Uform supplies over 1,000 kitchens a week to a range of independent retailers through its market leading consumer brand, Kitchen Stori. The company will use the investment to expand its strong offering further into the UK, Northern Irish and Republic of Ireland markets.

BGF has provided more than £40m of patient capital to Northern Ireland businesses over the past three years.  Its current portfolio companies in Northern Ireland are: family-owned housebuilder Braidwater; recycling company RiverRidge; coffee and food shop chain Bob & Berts; and software developer AuditComply.

Eamon Donnelly, CEO of Uform, said: “We started a four-phase growth strategy in 2013 and the business has grown rapidly in that time.  We’ve invested heavily in doubling the size of our operation and installed state of the art paint lines to increase our productivity and product range.  Uform is an ambitious company and we want to continue our pace of growth across the UK and Ireland in the coming years.

“BGF is a good match for our business and we have already built a very strong relationship with the BGF team – they have bought into our vision of where we want to take the business and the network they bring has opened up many opportunities not just here, but also across Great Britain. Their experience will ensure they help us scale the business, enhance our operational competencies and align our strategic plan to achieve the next few years’ planned growth.”

Patrick Graham, Head of Central Scotland & Northern Ireland at BGF, said: “Uform has had an impressive growth rate over the last few years, tripling its turnover while investing in new technologies and expanding its production capabilities.  The company is a long-established family-owned business and one of the largest employers in the Toomebridge area.  Eamon and his team bring a wealth of experience and we look forward to helping unlock the company’s potential to be number one in their sector.

“Uform has set itself an ambitious growth target for the next three years and we’re delighted that BGF’s investment will provide the catalyst to achieving those goals.”

Geoff Sharpe, Head of Corporate at Danske Bank, said: “Danske Bank has a longstanding and successful relationship with Uform, having supported the growth of the business as strategic banking partner for over 25 years. Eamon, Paul and the senior management team are extremely passionate about their business and we are delighted to be supporting the future growth of the business together with BGF.”

As part of its investment, Jim Meredith will be joining the board of Uform as the company’s non-executive chairman and Graham Clarke will join the board as BGF Investor Director.

BGF provides patient capital to businesses with revenues typically between £5m and £100m in exchange for a minority, non-controlling stake. It initially invests between £1m and £10m and can provide additional funding to support further growth.

Paul Cook Joins VitrA Bathrooms

December 22, 2018

International bathroom manufacturer VitrA has expanded its UK sales team with the appointment of Paul Cook as Contract Sales Manager for the South. Paul has a long and well-respected career working for several leading bathroom manufacturers including VitrA in his earlier career.

Paul will be working primarily with housebuilders as well as government property developers.  VitrA is enjoying huge growth in the sector thanks to exposure at leading industry events like designjunction, Sleep + Eat and the high-profile RIBA + VitrA Talks Series which will carry on into 2019.

Paul explains “It’s great to be back at VitrA. The company has really set its focus on this sector and I look forward to contributing to continued growth.”

Darren Paxford, national sales manager for VitrA, said “Paul is very well known in the sector and we are all delighted to welcome him back.   He will be a strategic part of VitrA’s excellent customer service in this growing part of our business.”

The W Exhibition 2020: A Perfect Platform For Your Business

December 20, 2018

Do you work in the furniture design and manufacturing industry? Do you supply carpenters, joiners, shopfitters or designers with the latest machinery, components or materials? Could your business and product range benefit from being exposed to over 9,200 industry professionals? If the answer if yes, isn’t it about time you considered booking your stand at the UK’s only woodworking machinery and materials show, the W Exhibition?

September 2020 may seem like a long way off but people are already booking their stands at the biennial show. In fact, 50% of the floor space has already been sold but, with new halls at the NEC for 2020 and 20% more space available, there hasn’t been a better time to confirm your stand space at the W Exhibition 2020.

So what’s all the fuss about? Not only is it the only show in the UK that is dedicated to those in the furniture production industry, the four-day event, which is set to occupy almost 24,000 square metres for the next installment, attracts over 9,200 professionals from the furniture design and manufacturing sector and is co-located with the UK’s only furniture components show, Elements. Exhibitors also benefit from great exposure in the trade press and the event organisers work with you to create your very own online portal to promote your stand to visitors on the lead up to the show. Plus, with established show partners like the British Woodworking Federation, British Furniture Manufacturers, FIESTA, the Association of Shopfitters and Didac Training College working with the show organisers to create a show that truly benefits both the exhibitors and visitors, it really is the best platform there is to present your products and prototypes to the industry.

Still not convinced a stand at the W Exhibition is for you? Here’s what some of 2018’s new and longstanding exhibitors had to say about their experience at the most recent show:

Steve McGloin, Joint MD at Advanced Machinery Services:

“We’ve doubled the size of our stand size for 2020 following a very successful show in 2018. This is a big deal for us but we were so happy with the level of sales and enquires we received and the professionalism from the organisers, we were really keen to confirm our attendance in 2020. We appreciate that you have to throw a lot of resources into exhibiting at an exhibition like this and there is a cost element to consider but it exposes you to so many new companies that you would struggle to get in front of day-to-day. For us, it was a very easy decision to return next year.”

Ian Robinson, Joint MD at AFS Biomass:

“Exhibiting at the show has made a huge different to our business. It’s given us a foothold in the industry and the opportunity to gain long term leads. We now have some big projects lined up that have been off the back of our presence at the show. We will be bringing new products into the mix over the next two years, making 2020’s W Exhibition the perfect time to promote our latest products to a wider audience. The show is an essential roadmap in our marketing and has benefited us massively.”

Simon Mitchell MD at Hranipex:

“Exhibiting at the W Exhibition is a perfect opportunity for the furniture production industry to share knowledge, best practice and to show the public just how strong this industry is. Sales are important but exhibiting at the show is about so much more than that. It’s about supporting a British show, the British economy and British manufacturing industry. By working together and showing unity, our industry will flourish.”

Luke Thompson, MD at Intelligent Fixings:

“2018 was the first W Exhibition we exhibited at and I couldn’t recommend it more highly. It surpassed any expectations we had. We’re a very new fixings company and we had originally decided to make 10 million components to start with but we’re now looking at producing between 50 to 80 million components because of the interest we’ve had at this show alone. It’s been unbelievable. It’s safe to safe we’re exhibiting at the next show in 2020 and we have booked a bigger stand!”

Felix Ney, MD of Fen UK:

“It’s a no-brainer for Fen UK to return to the W Exhibition time and again. We always see a strong return on our investment and as a result, we’ve booked a bigger stand for 2020 so we can present even more products to the market. We expect to continue converting our leads from the show into sales for months to come.”

Paul Tipler, UK Sales Manager, Koch Technology:

“There is some uncertainty surrounding Brexit but we see no need to put our exhibition plans on hold because of it. The next show will be our 10th consecutive W Exhibition and with our rewards always covering our costs, why wouldn’t we come back time and again? We don’t have the need to book a big stand but that doesn’t stop us from attracting the right people. It’s the only show directed at our customer-base in the UK and feedback is always positive.”

BSRIA Appoints New General Manager

December 14, 2018

BSRIA is delighted to announce the appointment of Martin Li as its new General Manager, BSRIA Business Consulting (Beijing) Co Ltd, effective from Thursday 1st November 2018.

Martin has wide-ranging expertise in analysing and consulting on trends in the Chinese HVAC market. He has a Degree in Economics and a Masters in Project Management from the University of Warwick.

Martin joined BSRIA Beijing in 2010 and has worked at every level of research and management across the whole programme of BSRIA Beijing studies before becoming Deputy General Manager in 2014. During this time, he has engaged with numerous clients and cooperated with public organisations on the wide plethora of BSRIA expertise topics.

Krystyna Dawson, Commercial Director, BSRIA, said:

“Martin is a highly skilled manager with strong business acumen and excellent people skills. He is focused on delivering high quality services to the clients and promoting BSRIA expertise and values across China and the Asian markets. We see this appointment as a crucial step in our continued development for the strategic direction BSRIA Beijing is taking for 2019 and beyond.

It will invigorate BSRIA Beijing’s drive to become the industry leading source for information on markets, products and technology trends and also on best practices in delivering global sustainable building construction, solutions and research. It is certainly a very promising and exciting time for BSRIA in China and in the Asian region.”

Martin said: “I’m delighted to have been appointed into the role as General Manager for BSRIA Beijing office. For the past 11 years, BSRIA has successfully set up a good relationship with local manufacturers, as well as foreign brands operating their businesses in China. Restructuring the team and making colleagues feel proud and honoured to work for BSRIA is my first task in the coming year. I am also looking forward to further extending our business scopes as an association in market intelligence, testing, consultancy, industrial welfare and international communication and knowledge exchange. I feel very excited about this roadmap and strategies afoot to achieve them.”