Maintain community spirit

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Looeeze Grossman, Founder and Director of The Used Kitchen Company, explains why operating with the kind of community spirit developed during the pandemic could be more important than ever.

Let’s go back to March 2020, when we gathered at the kbb show with a little idea of ​​the challenges of the months to follow.

Although we are fully aware of reports of a deadly virus sweeping through China, at this point we were just about all continuing as usual, totally oblivious to the direct impact it would have on us – how bad we were wrong.

Today, almost two years later, our world and our landscape have changed dramatically, and I would like to think in many ways for the better. In the biggest crisis the UK has faced since World War II, almost overnight we went from an industry that had, unfortunately, become a ‘beggar-thy-neighbor’ industry to an industry that actively sought to help each other.

We have come together to offer help and assistance. Industry experts have volunteered their time and expertise to help guide and support independent retailers both financially and in a smart way. We encouraged those new to digital to put processes in place and support each other, creating online forums and group chats to see who can help with what and how.

As the inevitable layoffs caused by the coronavirus downturn began, kbbreview launched the Save Our Skills campaign to help retain decades of industry experience. We helped those who needed to work remotely to stay in touch, we registered and supported each other.

We even ended up with time. It’s time to reassess our businesses and showrooms; consider the exhibits and ask yourself “is this good, for now”? With an ever-changing landscape, multifunctional kitchens were in high demand and retailers stepped up to help their customers get the space they needed for this new way.
of life,

It is said that in the face of adversity, people come together, and this is certainly true for our industry. Everyone has done their part, whether through emotional or financial support. Even many of those on leave have put their time to good use and have become vaccinators, stewards and delivery drivers.

Remember, remember

For us at TUKC, “stepping up” and being part of the KBB community meant donating to KBSA every time we sold a kitchen throughout the second lockdown. This meant sourcing and delivering kitchens to people who didn’t have them, as their builders had to take down tools and installers couldn’t reach them. These changes have helped to create a community.

The important thing here is what will be retained and carried forward. Certainly one thing we have noticed is the improvement in customer service. During the lockdown, buyers seemed desperate to chat, often sharing far more than their kitchen specs with us, which helped build a strong relationship. Everyone seemed happy to go the extra mile and the customers were grateful.

Now that the restrictions have been lifted and the ‘new normal’ is emerging, I hope there will remain within our industry that overwhelming sense of camaraderie and the responsibility to form partnerships, to keep in touch. and to help each other continues.

It’s great to see how many of us are now bringing this digital aspect to our business. While not everyone is happy to set foot in showrooms for an initial search, even with the restrictions lifted, and others are just too busy to visit, these new methods of remote work secures the future of independent retailers. While many homeowners do all of the background work from their homes, consumers will still want to smell and touch the product before making a final decision.

This evolved way of working with our clients to offer multiple methods of communication, I hope will continue. When a customer knows they can just pick up the phone, rather than filling out a form on the website and waiting for a response, they feel special, they feel listened to and connected.

The KBB sector has, for a long time, been one of the most innovative and exciting in which to work. Today it is also one of the most supportive and collaborative environments both for the people who work there and for those who buy from us.

There is a future post Covid-19. It might not be quite the future we envisioned, but it’s there, it’s exciting and while we’re together as an industry, it looks very bright.


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