BKU Interview BA
BA are proud to be sponsoring the prestigious BKU Awards for the fourth year running. We sit down with BKU for an in-depth discussion on the KBB industry.
Tell us about your company
As one of the largest independent manufacturers of K&B furniture in the UK, BA manufacture over 55,000 doors a week from their two factories in Cookstown, Northern Ireland and Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Since establishing nearly 29 years ago, BA has grown steadily, employing over 250 personnel and exporting to 30 countries across the globe.
BA take great pride in the extensive product portfolio that has been built up since 1990. Across our award-winning brands, we offer 98 colours and over 37 door styles to suit every budget. Along with our unique ‘no tools required’ flatpack cabinet solution ClicBox- manufactured in our purpose-built factory in Rotherham- BA delivers the widest range of kitchen solutions.
We are continually investing in our manufacturing processes to deliver superb product quality & variety. But it’s our investment in people that provides the innovative design you see across our product range. More importantly, without a great team, we wouldn’t have been commended for our award-winning customer services.
Furthermore, as our customers keep telling us, it’s BA’s first-rate services that’s securing repeat business. With MyBA offering online ordering & tracking, 6-year quality guarantee and lead times of 7 days for made-to-measure products & 48 hours for stock items, it’s no wonder our network of dealers are so loyal. But this doesn’t mean we will be standing still. There are plenty of opportunities in the KBB industry for further growth and exciting developments at BA.
Why have you chosen to sponsor the New Kitchen Retailer of the Year award this year?
BA has always been proud to sponsor the BKU Awards, especially the ‘New Kitchen Retailer of the Year’ category. We understand the entrepreneurial prerequisite needed to sustain ‘bricks & mortar’ retail stores in such a competitive industry. We at BA believe that these retailers are the lifeblood of the industry and we love to see the creations of our own dealers as we share them across our website and social media channels. This award helps give a platform to those entrepreneurs that have shown creativity and initiative in developing their business.
With an evening for industry leaders, manufacturers & retailers to connect and meet new people, you really do feel the passion of the industry. Without events like the BKU Awards, it would be harder to not only witness the success of the people in our industry but also give them the recognition they deserve.
What was your commercial highlight of 2018, and what are you looking forward to most for 2019?
2018 was another great year for BA, where we expanded upon on product portfolio. Firstly we launched Jayline into the Pronto family representing as a fresh take on our handleless offer. These handleless doors are the only 19mm MDF post formed ‘J’ Pull doors manufactured in the UK and they look stunning in high gloss white, with more colours to come very soon.
We also toasted the arrival of Complete Plus. This new range offers 18mm MFC Rigid cabinets, available in 4 colours and 106 cabinet options, with over 99 doors to choose from across the BA range. And we are pleased to announce that our ClicBox cabinets have achieved the highest FIRA Gold Product Certification- Level H for Heavy Domestic Use. So, our customers can be assured our cabinets are among the best in the industry.
With regards to 2019, we believe it brings us a great opportunity to broaden our offering, launch high-quality products and deliver better customer experiences. We have many exciting plans on the horizon, and to kick off we are expanding Pronto once again by adding two new solid painted timber shaker door families- Hadley & Thornbury- each in 6 colours.
What is the driving factor behind your brand’s success?
The driving force behind BA’s philosophy is choice. We believe that, if there is anything BA can guarantee, it’s choice when designing a kitchen. That’s why we have such an extensive product portfolio to suit all styles & budgets, and that is something that has resonated with our network of dealers. They know when they see the BA brand, they will get a diverse range of aspiration doors, cabinets, handles and accessories.
Where do you see challenges for your business this year?
While we plan to take advantage of many opportunities during 2019, the uncertainty around Brexit could provide some challenges ahead. BA do find themselves in a very fortunate position, as almost all of our extensive product portfolio is manufactured in one of our 3 UK factories. Plus, as we source a significant amount of raw materials from UK suppliers, we consider ourselves to be “Brexit ready”. So, our network of dealers can be confident that they will not be reliant on imported product, whatever happens after 29th March.
What are the big trends for 2019?
The current trends for 2019 are signalling a move towards more natural hues and earthy tones, such as burgundy. These colours are being offset with the moodier shades of grey, like Onyx or Pebble, adding a touch of elegance and character, helping to bring some comfort and warmth into the kitchen.
The demand for J-Profile handleless doors is also flourishing in the UK. However, despite growth in the popularity of handleless doors, Shaker style proves to be persistent against all the latest trends in door design. This has, not unexpectantly, lead to Shaker style doors in handleless design, giving consumers more choice in blending traditional design with contemporary. And this fusing of styles doesn’t stop there. We are seeing a continued aspiration to mix not only colours but textures and finishes as well. Whether it be smartly combining and contrasting matt finishes with gloss, classic wood textures with metal or shades of pink and blue gently paired together consumers have certainly moved on from monochrome kitchens.
What are the best things about working in the sector?
At BA, we love seeing truly distinctive kitchens that show designers are not afraid to let their client’s personality escape into the style of their new kitchen. It’s great to see consumers who are more adventurous and daring, no longer afraid to play around with their kitchen design. We are always on the lookout for innovative designs, not just for inspiration but just to appreciate. They are so many talented and passionate people working in the KBB industry and it is a joy to witness the fruits of that labour every day.
The BKU Awards take place on Thursday 20th June 2019 at The Pavilion at The Tower of London.