Dealers Share Plans for Industry Events in 2011

Kitchen & Bath Design News recently posed the question to dealers and designers in the kitchen and bath industry: “Will your firm be attending more trade shows and industry events in 2011? Why or why not?” Following are some of their responses:

“The decision on where to focus my time, money and interest in 2011 has definitely been impacted by the economy over the last few years. After having attended every trade show I could for more than 14 years, I decided to take a break from trade shows for the past few years. The extra time allowed me to explore more specialized product research and design disciplines. Staying updated with current product was done with the Internet, local showrooms and representatives providing the necessary information.

That said, I plan to attend more trade shows that cover a variety of disciplines that will give me the resources to design and/or work with a design team for a ‘whole house’ project, inside and out.

Researching trade show vendor lists really is a priority in deciding what shows to attend, now more than ever.

As much as I love my materials library and the Internet for design influence, I am also looking forward to getting out of the office and returning to trade shows, mainly so that I can experience what products are now available in the industry and can walk away talking about the great new products and design ideas that I saw.

Karen Bieszczak, CKD, owner
Cincinnati, OH

“I believe that partaking in industry events is the key to our survival. Building relationships is what it’s about, and if you just continue to do business as usual, then your firm will suffer.

We just returned from KBIS 2011, and last week we attended a local NKBA event and an ASID event. We also just booked one of our designers to go to the Brizo factory for training, while another is going to BainUltra, and another is going to the Viking factory. Personally, I will be attending both the Forté and BKBG conferences this year, and we plan to send someone on staff to the DPHA [Decorative Plumbing & Hardware Association] conference.

We recently hosted about 75 people for a local charity called Henderson Mental Health Center, as well as another 150 people in our showroom for a separate Leukemia & Lymphoma fund raiser. These events not only bring in influential people from the community, but they also give us the opportunity to invite our clients, both current and past, to our new showroom. The exposure and marketing opportunities that it has given us is invaluable.

There’s no doubt that the events that we do for the nonprofit community are key factors to our success.

Bill Feinberg, president
Allied Kitchen & Bath
Fort Lauderdale, FL

“Due to the cost, mainly with traveling expenses, we’ve scaled back this year on attending the national shows. We’ve decided to make that a bi-annual expenditure. However, we are still regularly attending NKBA meetings in our region. It is a great way to know what is going on locally. We are also very active in our local homebuilders association meetings and events here in Lexington, and also with the Remodelers Council. We attend those events regularly.

The key is to stay visible and stay in touch with the other professionals in our industry. One interesting thing that has happened is a lot of appliance distributors are reaching out to us and offering to send us for training on their products. That is something we are taking advantage of more now than we may have in the past.

Tom Shirley, designer
Cabinets and Designs
Lexington, KY

“We have not increased our attendance at industry events this year. I am a member of the BKBG, so I will be attending that conference in the fall. At that conference, I get a lot of the education and networking opportunities that help my business.

This year I am doing more networking at local events and reaching out to interior designers and builders, so we are definitely doing more of that this year. I am also planning to host a networking group later this year in our showroom, so that will also increase our exposure.

Overall, I would say that we are maintaining our level of attendance at industry events as compared to past years.

Marlene MacDonald Ketchen, pres.
The Cabinetry Kitchen Design Studio Hingham, MA

“In 2011 we’ve already attended several industry events. For instance, we’re actively involved in NARI [National Association of the Remodeling Industry] and attend these monthly meetings. We also are a member of the SEN Buying and Design Group and attend the SEN conferences, which are held twice a year.

As far as next year is concerned, I will not be attending KBIS 2012, as the time and financial commitment is just too much in this economy. For us, events held on the East Coast or even in the central U.S. require two days just for travel, and then you need a minimum of three days for the show. It makes it very difficult to attend the show every year.

Overall, I would really like to be attending more of the NKBA meetings for our local chapter, but because our chapter is so broad, it’s hard to get to a lot of them when they are located hours away.
My decision on what to attend is ultimately based on the amount of time, money and our level of interest in the topic.

Susan Lund, AKBD, CGBP
Spacial Design
San Anselmo, CA