MD of Franke UK Neil Clark says the company is expanding its portfolio with worktops and expanding its KWC brand with taps
Q: What is the story of your stand at kbbBirmingham?
A: We are presenting all three of our brands. We’ve got KWC which is our luxury sink and tap brand, Franke, which is our studio sink and tap brand and Carron Phoenix which is our entry-level, value for money sink and tap brand.
Q: What are the standouts launches of each brand?
A: In the KWC portfolio we’ve been doing taps for a number of years and this is the first time we are showing KWC sinks. I guess the showpiece is a product called the Era, which is a premium inset sink range with a special insulation method and finish. It has had a great reaction at the show.
In terms of the Franke brand, we’ve been showing a range of new products across all the product categories. For boiling water taps there’s been big interest in our full portfolio of products, with new colours, new styles and electronic boiling water taps. We’ve been showing some coloured sinks. We have a new range of super metallic granites, which have gone down very well, with some copper and silver finishes. We’ve got some new stainless steel undermount sinks, such as the Maris range with a brushed finish, and we’ve also been showing some new cooker hoods which are A-energy rated.
The other new category we’ve introduced into the Franke brand is solid stainless steel worktops. We’ve been producing stainless steel worktops at our Swiss factory for about 30 years now but we’ve never felt the time was right to introduce them into the UK market. We’ve got some fabulous new finishes. We’ve got 6mm stainless steel with ceramic coatings, 8mm solid stainless steel with integrated sinks and we are previewing those at kbb. We hope to launch in Q3. We’ve had a great reaction at the show and we are very excited about it.
Q: How does this show compares to previous years?
A: I think there’s more competition that we’ve ever seen before across all of the categories. I think if you look at hot taps, I’ve counted about a dozen companies who are selling hot taps.
Q: How is business?
A: We started the year well with two strong months in January and February. March is shaping up okay. We hope that continues. But I have to say it’s definitely a challenging environment at the moment.