Offering clients many more options and encouraging them to make bold choices with their kitchen designs is a way to ensure customer satisfaction, says Blanco UK national sales manager Craig Condie.
"It’s all about colour contrasts in the home today, apparently! You only have to read some of the interior trend articles, or see the full, vibrant home images, across all sorts of media to find that just perhaps, white and grey – alone – are going away! Colour makes us happy cooks in the kitchen they say, and we may have become a little bored with the same blank backdrops after months at home.
"In the kitchen, we are used to seeing colourful appliances, tiles, splashbacks and walls, of course. And, arguably, these are easier to change than a sink and tap. However, it is great to see that we, as an industry, are developing interesting colours and materials for the hard-working parts of the kitchen – sinks, taps and even waste! They do not have to be wild purple and pinks – colour fashions change! – but they do need to offer a different 'look' if that is what is required. The trend for complementary black fittings is a good example.
"It’s the retailer’s task, with us, to open up the clients’ minds to contrast and colour. They may think they want a white, ceramic sink with a chrome tap – no problem, these will always be popular. As will the eternal favourite – a stainless steel sink.
"However, as the consumer has so much more 'stuff' to read and research when thinking of a new or refurbished kitchen, they are more curious and demand more choices. It’s really important that manufacturers in the kitchen industry keep their finger on the design pulse.
"But where we are also seeing gains is in the communication of the quality and technology behind the new ranges. The consumer wants to know that the sink or tap, in that coloured material, is just as strong and durable as the more established materials. And they are!
"Communicating the message of pioneering technology is so important and the more we, the manufacturer, can give the retailer to help here, the better. It will be a demonstration in the showroom with curry paste and beetroot (!), easy-to-access videos, a comprehensive website, brochures – and training! This work area in the home must now simplify life; smart taps, clever, hidden waste systems and storage – while still remain on trend. And, most importantly, it must work well and last for years and years!
"Our job, with the retailer, is to show that the kitchen too can be a catwalk model."