Kitchens by J.S.Geddes | “We’re very lucky. We enjoy what we do”

MD and design director of UK kitchen retailer of the year Kitchens by J.S. Geddes, Jim Geddes and Joanna Geddes on their retail journey

08 Jun, 23

Managing director and design director of UK kitchen retailer of the year Kitchens by J.S. Geddes, Jim Geddes and Joanna Geddes on their journey in retail and what the industry still needs to improve upon

Kitchens by J.S.Geddes | "We're very lucky. We enjoy what we do” 1

Design director Joanna Geddes and managing director Jim Geddes of Kitchens by J.S Geddes scoop UK Kitchen Retailer of the Year  2023


Established for nearly four decades, Kitchens by J.S.Geddes has continued to set standards in kitchen retailing, having won over a dozen awards in that time.

Design director Joanna Geddes recently added to the tally with Kuhlmann Kitchen Designer of the Year – over £20k and her father MD Jim Geddes won Lifetime Achievement Award, both of which were presented by Arlington Interiors.

Sponsored Video

Topping off a trio of celebrations, this year alone, the family-run business has been named UK Kitchen Retailer of the Year – for the eighth time.

“I think people must think it doesn’t feel special when you win a lot of awards, but it really does”, enthuses Joanna, and Jim agrees “Absolutely. We’re really proud of them.”

Family affair

Having worked as an architectural technician for an interior design company, which created kitchens projects, Jim explains the journey to starting his award-winning company: “I just thought I can do better.

Kitchens by J.S.Geddes | "We're very lucky. We enjoy what we do”

Established 38 years ago, Kitchens by JS Geddes is based in the same showroom albeit it is much larger having acquired adjacent buildings


“I looked for premises, which are the same we are in today, albeit we have bought adjacent buildings and extended to make the showroom bigger.”

Jim was joined by his Dad who had recently retired, followed by his Mum who became the bookkeeper. Then, when he got married, his wife Mary joined part-time as well.

Now the business employs 14 people, including his daughters Joanna and Rebecca, but retains a family ethos.

“There’s a family feel but we’ve got the professionalism of corporate business”, says Joanna.

But it might not have been such a family affair, as she explains: “I can remember saying when I was young, I’m not going into the kitchen industry because the topic at our family dinner table was always kitchens.

“When I went to university, I had to go on placement for six months, and I thought I could learn something from Kitchens by J.S. Geddes.

“When I worked here, I found I liked it. I wasn’t doing the same each day and I thought this is where you could really mould a career to what you wanted it to be. That was 16 years’ ago.”

Natural born sales

However, Jim explains it wasn’t Joanna’s first venture into the kitchen industry: “I was in the showroom on a Saturday morning with Joanna who was around five years old.

“I was dealing with a client and another person walked through the door and Joanna decided to ask ‘Are you looking for a kitchen?’”

Kitchens by J.S.Geddes | "We're very lucky. We enjoy what we do” 2

Kitchens by J.S. Geddes clients wanted a Scandinavian-looking room with the warmth of Scottish styling. It features two tall banks of units with wooden back panelling to give a softer appearance.


But did she sell it? “If I did, I didn’t get the commission”, Joanna laughs.

She reminisces: “Actually, the first kitchen I sold was to a client who had bought a kitchen from my Dad. I remember feeling a lot of pressure to sell because they had bought from the company before”.

And Jim recounts his first kitchen sale, which also sounds pressurised “The lorry bringing a Kuhlmann kitchen from Germany to my first customer got into an accident and the kitchen got ruined.

“I had to tell the customer and one of the directors of Kuhlmann also phoned the client for me, to explain the situation.”

So who is the best kitchen designer now? Joanna addresses her Dad. She adds: “I think I’ve learned so much design-wise from you.”

Jim smiles, teasing “I can’t say who is the best designer”, adding: “…but it will probably need to be Joanna, at this point.”

Retail loves

“I still like design”. Jim replies when asked what he enjoys about the kitchen industry, adding “I hate travelling to go to Kbb Birmingham or Germany but I love being there and I love seeing new products”, adding: “and we’ve made an awful lot of good friends in the industry.”

Joanna agrees: “We’ve got competitor companies who are friends now.” And like her Dad, she loves design: “My favourite part is working with the client. I love seeing what they’re excited about.

“I’ve got a lot of friends who don’t enjoy their jobs, which I think is sad.” Jim adds: “We’re lucky. We enjoy what we do. It is an exciting industry.”

Industry improvement

But what do they think the industry could improve upon?

“I think the industry is way behind in training”, says Jim “and it’s not just plumbers, electricians and joiners, you need to train designers. If you qualify as a doctor one day, the next day you can’t do an operation.

“Whereas if you get a job in the kitchen industry, the next day you can be designing.”

Leading the way in raising standards, the company has run its own training programme for the past 10 years for all members of staff.

Joanna also points to the importance of a push towards Net Zero for the industry, “which has been a huge investment for us over the last year.”

Official member of the SME Climate Hub community, Kitchens by J.S. Geddes has invested in solar panels for the showroom, electric vehicles and a dedicated Net Zero director.

Jim states: “Net Zero can be brushed aside and I think that is disappointing for the industry.”

Joanna adds: “If we want to stay in the position we’re in in the kitchen industry, we’ve got to keep pushing ahead. It’s disappointing the industry isn’t making Net Zero a priority just yet.”

Inspiration and advice

Both are inspired by other retailers, whether it’s through examples of good practice or experiencing poor service and not wanting to be the same.

Kitchens by J.S.Geddes | "We're very lucky. We enjoy what we do” 3

The Kitchens by J.S. Geddes design team created this project with floating ovens which act as a centre piece yet sit in perfect harmony with the rest of the kitchen


However, Joanna adds: “It’s really corny but my Dad inspires me. I know this business works and I know what it takes to run this business. So that is inspiring.”

And Joanna says her Dad is also responsible for offering her the best advice of ‘Do what you say you’re going to do’. “I think that stood me in good stead from a customer service point of view.”

And what is the best piece of advice Jim has been given? “Mine was exactly the same piece of advice, which came from my Dad when I started out – ‘do what you say you’re going to do, phone when you say you’re going to phone’. He was absolutely spot on.”

He concludes: “It’s amazing the number of clients who will buy a kitchen from you because you’ve done what you said you were going to do.”