Andrew Dillon is the director of Valchero, the company behind Villeroy & Boch Küchen Cheshire. He explains why it was important for him to have a branded showroom, as he unveils the first Villeroy & Boch branded kitchen studio in the UK.
Q: Could you give us a potted history of your background?
A: I have been in the kitchen industry for over 20 years, working in a variety of retail design and manufacturing roles with both UK and European kitchen brands.
At the start of 2020, I felt the time was right to start my own venture and saw an opportunity in the market through Euromobel to establish my own solus Villeroy & Boch kitchen furniture showroom.
I run the business with my girlfriend Robynn Ebbutt, who has been instrumental in the start of our new adventure and its ongoing success.
Q: Is the showroom a new location for you or have you transformed a current business into a solus Villeroy & Boch dealer?
A: It’s a new location, based in the main high street of Alderley Edge in Cheshire, and we were the UK’s first independent branded Villeroy & Boch Kitchen showroom to open.
I had literally just got the keys before the first 2020 lockdown hit, although I used the time to my advantage by transforming the 100 sqm blank canvas space into a luxury kitchen showcase with five lifestyle settings, including the signature Cera ceramic collection as our front window display.
Although everything in life seemed to be on hold for many, I was busy every day to ensure I was on target to open once lockdown was lifted.
The showroom is situated in one of the most desirable areas of the North West, and from my own experience of living and working in the area I knew there was an important synergy between the location and the prestigious brand.
Q: Why did you decide to become a solus Villeroy & Boch showroom and what benefits does it offer you as a retailer?
A: Villeroy & Boch is synonymous with quality for over 250 years and, as a premium European name, I felt it was completely ‘on brand’ for our chosen location and target audience.
To complement the launch of the new showroom I also had the opportunity to offer the Villeroy & Boch Tableware collection, adding the finishing touches to our retail offering.
Q: What has the reaction been like from customers and how has business been?
A: We opened our doors to clients shortly after the first lockdown was lifted on the last weekend of July 2020 and were overwhelmed by the support of the local people and business community.
There was a real buzz at our opening event, everyone was delighted to welcome a renowned name to the local high street.
By choosing Villeroy & Boch Kitchens, we were already known as a brand!
My aim has always been to offer an inspirational shopping experience and provide clients with access to the latest luxury kitchen designs.
Q: Has it met with expectations (despite the volatile market conditions)?
A: Given the current climate, business is buoyant and we have benefited from the increased demand for home improvements.
Our clients are looking to work with a local independent retailer offering a premium kitchen brand.
We provide a complete end-to-end service and even during COVID restrictions we used technology to our advantage by offering online Zoom calls to ensure our clients could achieve their dream design.
Q: What support did you have from Villeroy & Boch in terms of finding a showroom, displays, marketing, training etc?
A: In the UK, Euromobel is the sole distributor of the Villeroy & Boch kitchen furniture brand, Bodie Kelay and his team helped provide invaluable support from our initial showroom design plans to ongoing training and general support.
I also have access to the Störmer and Villeroy & Boch German showroom, which I visited last September to see the new 2021 innovations and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities.
Q: What would you like to achieve with your business over the next two to three years?
A: Looking to the future, I would like to build on our success and continue to strengthen our position as a luxury independent kitchen specialist in the local area.