By Claire Reilly
At last week’s launch of the newly-revamped Kleenmaid brand, CEO Danny Hamilton announced the company would be adopting a “European Kitchen Studio” model for sales. Rather than distributing through traditional whitegoods and cooking appliance retailers, Kleenmaid will be sold through a selection of 21 kitchen cabinet makers and kitchen manufacture studios on the east coast.
Speaking exclusively to Current to explain the new model, Hamilton said the decision was based in part on his own experiences with the old Kleenmaid brand.
“Kleenmaid was never sold in retail stores before. It was only sold in their own stores where, what we've termed, people had the 'Kleenmaid experience'. I was a Kleenmaid customer – like many other people I lost my warranty so I had the same experience.
“But when my wife and I went into stores, they were beautiful. The sales people knew exactly what they were talking about, they were fully trained on the product.
“If you go to traditional retail, I don’t believe that they can possibly comprehend all of the features and benefits [of a single brand] because they might have 20 or 30 brands. A man today might be selling vacuum cleaners, tomorrow he might be selling plasma TVs, the next day he might be selling a $10,000 cooking package.
“So you end up buying the cooking package from the retailer and they you go down to the cabinet maker and the cabinet maker has never fitted those appliances before, and then the cupboards don’t fit and he blames the appliance specifications, and you can’t talk to the manufacturers, so you get tangled up.
“Over in Europe, people don’t buy appliances in that way. They buy appliances through these kitchen studios. So we’re trying to bring that model to Australia. Because you don’t do this [remodel a kitchen] very often, you do it every ten years. So you can’t be an expert. And it’s a huge investment.
We will have one of our sales people who is in the [kitchen] store one day of every week, so we can train them in the kitchen appliances and how they use them. If our person is in the store every Thursday, then the cabinet maker can say to Mr and Mrs Brown ‘She’s always here on Thursday, I can make an appointment for you’ and our specialist will go in and talk to them.
Or, most of these cabinet makers have showroom consultants and designers, and we’ve trained them over the last 6 or 7 months. They all got stock in October 17, so they’ve had some time now to get their head around it. But if it’s not our person demonstrating it, it could be our culinary consultant demonstrating it, or it could be the showroom consultant demonstrating it.
The CEO of Kleenmaid, Danny Hamilton.