Meliora | Brighter horizons

High levels of consumer enquiries are providing motivation

11 Aug, 20

Co-founder of Meliora Kelly Roden says operating her retail business is challenging in the current climate. But she says high levels of consumer enquiries are providing motivation and glimpses of a brighter future

Brighter horizons 2

Post KBB we were riding a wave of uncertainty. But when Boris took to the now in-famous podium on March 23 and announced the closure of retail and the country going into lockdown, I’m sure like a lot of our peers in the industry, we felt a little bewildered. What did this mean for us?

We did have the slight hitch of a fit having started on that very Monday. But in an empty house, with no other trades on site the job, it was completed to a point it was able to be left for the foreseeable and we battened down the hatches.

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As the weeks rolled by, we designed and liaised with our wonderful clients, while working from home.

At the same time, we were schooling our 10-year-old around, while keeping the business afloat.

By appointment only

Mid to late May and with the national chains reopening, we felt we had come as far as we could working from home and started appointment-only consultations at the showroom.

With appropriate steps in place, we were able to secure several projects to start in July and the world regained a sense of our new normality.

Prepping the showroom for each appointment is time-consuming and days where we have had multiple appointments thoroughly draining.

The PPE is expensive and then the sanitising of the showroom is time-consuming and energy-sapping.

We are staying open by appointment only for the time being due to this.

I cannot morally allow anyone through our doors without being safe in the knowledge that we have prepped the showroom to the standard necessary. And for us that just isn’t possible with an open-door policy.

Keeping safe onsite

When conducting home visit appointments, we have had a mixed bag of reactions.

Some customers are almost offended we feel the need to wear PPE and others happily accepting this is how it needs to be for all involved.

We started a new project, last week, and had to ask the client’s mother to leave the site as there was no way we could consciously keep her safe, due to the amount of trades needing to be there at that stage.

That normally wouldn’t be an issue, and we are always happy when a representative of client is around for queries, but right now safety must come first for all involved.

Furlough affecting supply

We are fortunate that we don’t rely on volume as the supply chain is tough, even now, weeks later.

Furlough has made communication difficult with our suppliers and the lack of area reps on the road means we have been dealing with head office staff who don’t know us, how we work and have been left to fend for ourselves in so many cases.  Around three weeks for basic responses has been the norm.

This has encouraged us to assess the suppliers we want to go forward with, as this will not easily be forgotten.

With the talk of further waves and localised lockdowns, the impact may be felt further and be ongoing. So streamlining suppliers is absolutely necessary.

Morale boosting enquiries

Our saving grace is the level of enquiries we have been receiving; this alone has been a huge boost to our morale.

When we feel a little fatigued by the situation, this is a huge motivator to keep pushing on.

We do not actively advertise, and these enquiries are through recommendation – the best kind and the ones that make all we do worth it.

The responsibility to the public is all encompassing and people will always come before profit for us.

The industry will, and is, going to go through some tough times due to COVID, rolling lockdowns and even a possible second wave.

But so far we are busy, and for that alone the future feels a little brighter.


Meliora Kitchens, Bedrooms and Bathrooms is located in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.