KBBG recently celebrated its 10th anniversary in the UK and recorded the highest payout of bonuses to members to date – MD Bill Miller reflects on how the buying group has evolved over the past decade.
Q: When you look back on the past 10 years, what’s the most significant thing you have learnt?
A: Since bringing the Kitchen Bathroom Buying Group (KBBG) to the UK in 2013, the most meaningful lesson is that there is great power in coming together. There are various reasons for an independent kitchen and bathroom specialist to join the KBBG, including improved margin through our buying power, access to over 44 leading suppliers and service providers, as well as invaluable business support. However, over the years we have found that being part of a community of likeminded retailers is the benefit that our members really value. It’s been fantastic to watch members become close-knit and hear them share business successes and frustrations, while exchanging ideas and advice with one another.
Q: How do you think the KBBG has evolved?
A: It has become more 'close-knit'. Our Annual Members’ Meetings (AMM) are a great example. They have become much more than a conference and are highly regarded as a crucial networking event. There is a real buzz in the room and the Q&A sessions have become livelier, with our members keen to share their views and ask questions. Our members value their independence, but they are happy to share their ideas and hard-earned knowledge and know that they can grow from each other’s experiences.
Our Advisory Board is another example. The board provided a voice for our members to ensure that we are doing everything we can to meet the needs of our independent KBB specialists. From chairing these meetings, it quickly became apparent that our board valued ‘talking business’ and the members would often share trends, ideas and predictions to support one another. We aim to build on the success of this and offer more opportunities for smaller groups of our members to come together in the near future.
Q: In what other ways do you champion the power of coming together?
A: We launched a consumer-facing website just over a year ago; mykitchenspecialist.co.uk. The platform brings KBBG members together to form the UK’s leading network of independent kitchen specialists, to help consumers who are planning a kitchen renovation.
Independent kitchen specialists have a wealth of knowledge and experience, however sharing their expertise is often limited to their local customer base. By bringing our members together, we have been able to create a UK-wide, dedicated network to support consumers in making the right choices when planning and buying a new kitchen. Consumers can then make direct enquires with their local independent retailer, which brings another avenue for KBBG members to achieve new sales enquiries. To date, the site has generated nearly 1,000 kitchen leads for our members.
Q: Can you share any future plans with us?
A: Many of our members are keen on progressing their social media presence, so we are planning to bring these members together to build on their current strategies. Watch this space…