With self-build home completions estimated at around 12,000 per year, the market is one that should be of great interest to manufacturers and retailers alike. It is an area set for significant expansion too, with a report by Homebuilding & Renovating magazine last year forecasting that the self-build and custom build market will grow 41% by 2020.
It is against this backdrop that several major brands from the kitchen and bathroom sector have teamed up to create a mechanism with which to serve a part of the market which
has very specific requirements. The origins of the RK-Tec initiative – whose members are Bosch, Blum, Carron, Callerton, Corian, Dekton, Franke, Neff, Siemens and Silestone – are born out of the tumultuous times surrounding the financial crisis of 2008. “Prior to the financial crisis, Callerton had been researching the self-build market and what we had found was that a lot of the people who were self-building were older people,” explains James Herriot, MD at Callerton Kitchens.
“This demographic has wealth and therefore did not need to obtain finance which, for many others, had suddenly become hard to get. So, it was clearly an opportunity as a market that had the potential to prosper even during these dark times it continued to grow as everything else was falling off the cliff. At one stage during the crisis, the self-build market was bigger than any of the national housebuilders.”
The RK-Tec concept was very simple. The idea was for the companies involved to be able to take their product direct to the end client rather than wait for them to come to them via dealerships. Up until 2015, the group exhibited its offering direct to its target market via the Homebuilding and Renovating Show. It worked, says Herriot, because the group was able to form a partnership with architects, many of who were far-sighted enough to comprehend the concept: Kitchen furniture without appliances, worksurfaces, taps etc, doesn’t make a kitchen. It’s the combination of all our products that fit together that makes that kitchen.
Also at that time and due to the wider market conditions, each company was having to work within heavily constrained budgets, but by sharing costs and teaming up, they were able to make their marketing activities go considerably further.
Herriot says the results were profound in a number of ways. “Our retailers and their staff were able to get away from the daily doom and gloom of their studios at that time and met potential clients in the market who wanted to buy a kitchen. It also proved that the market wasn’t broken, it had just altered, and everybody needed to reassess what they were doing in terms of marketing and approach to sales.”
“The confidence this instilled in people was noticeable. Most importantly, it generated sales for the retailers, which in turn generated sales for all of us.”
So how did the RK-Tec initiative go from having a presence at an annual exhibition to a year-round presence at Potton’s Self Build Show Centre and Academy?
…to find out, pick up a copy of this month’s Designer magazine here.
RK-Tec | rk-tec.co.uk