Choosing a new kitchen should be exciting. But it can be so difficult to visualise what you actually want. It can also be hard to make the right selections from the huge choice available. However, this is why it’s so important to consider the services of a dedicated kitchen designer. Thankfully, specialist kitchen showrooms often provide the solution.
For many customers, there’s simply no substitute for seeing displays ‘in real life’. So, the Caple Studio concept, devised by our MD Danny Lay during the first COVID lockdown, taps into this desire to view complete and coherent kitchen set-ups. As the only UK brand to offer kitchen furniture, appliances, sinks and taps, it’s also the ideal way to showcase the complete Caple portfolio.
How it all began
The first Caple Studio made its debut at a specially designed space at our Bristol-based HQ. Visitors can view, then buy directly, every single Caple branded item they can see. In addition, they can enjoy access to a specialist kitchen designer. Hot on the heels of this success are our second and third Caple Studios, created in partnership with CBD Kitchens. To date, this retailer hosts two locations: one in Frimley, Surry; and one in Iver, Buckinghamshire. So, our marketing manager Alex sat down with CBD Kitchens Managing Director Larry Vince, to discuss why he chose to partner with Caple, and the evolution of luxury kitchen sales:
“My involvement in the kitchen industry started 42 years ago. I opened a “hobby business” kitchen studio in West London, with a ceramic tile importer,” Larry relates. “We worked with architects, developer builders and the general public, opening three studios in two years. Then I sold my interest to my business partner, to concentrate on developing my advertising agency.”
CBD Kitchens is born
However, Larry found it impossible to resist the lure of the kitchen business, and sold his ad agency in 2003. “I continued my interest in property and interior design, concentrating on new builds and refurbishments. I would design and implement projects from drawing board to completion,” he explains. “In 2007, I refocused the business, concentrating on design consultancy. I contracted to a number of national and international kitchen furniture manufacturers – one of which was Optiplan Kitchens, who were Caple kitchen and appliance buyers.”
The business began life as a virtual retailer with a dedicated kitchen designer for our brand, evolving into the first external Caple Studio showrooms with CBD Kitchens’ Frimley and Iver Studios, which made their debut this year.
A dream partnership
Over the years, Larry and his team have worked with a number of different kitchen suppliers. But what made him choose to partner exclusively with Caple? “Caple offers a unique proposition for the kitchen buyer,” he replies. “It gives customers the opportunity to purchase the entire kitchen requirement of furniture, appliances, sinks, taps and accessories, all from a single UK manufacturer. CBD Kitchens was created to offer this experience to discerning buyers. However, we’ve also got the guarantee of quality and price support from Caple’s 40-year pedigree.”
CBD Kitchens’ new Caple Studios provide an unrivalled opportunity for the kitchen designer to showcase the breadth and depth of the product portfolio. “The showrooms display 40 kitchen-style options covering the Caple kitchen range. You’ll also experience own-brand integrated appliances, 900mm fridge-freezers, sinks, taps and accessories,” Larry confirms. “Our displays are finished with granite, quartz and laminate work surfaces. These cater for every need and price point, always meeting our customers’ expectations.”
With so much choice available, it’s difficult to select any favourite products. However, where furniture is concerned, Larry cites Caple’s Pesaro range, for style and price. Regarding appliances, he admits to a fondness for the 900mm fridge-freezers. This is thanks to their colour choices and versatility, alongside the gunmetal range of appliances, extractors, sinks and taps.
It’s unusual for a retailer to partner with just one brand, across all the furniture and appliances it offers. So, what attracted Larry to such an arrangement with Caple?
“A single brand choice emphasises quality and value for money, along with a USP not offered by others,” he explains. “Offering a unique brand with unique products across the board, the client realises they are buying an exceptional product.” Larry adds: “Like buying a Porsche, customers join an exclusive club when they buy a Caple kitchen.”
In Larry’s experience, where kitchen purchases are concerned, there are two main project types. However, each benefits significantly from the services of a specialist kitchen designer. Most homeowners either need a direct replacement, or they present building works and plans.
How the design process works
“We work with our clients both in the showroom using their plans, or in their homes. For the latter, we can survey, measure and design in a single sitting,” Larry notes. “Our approach is old school, with a drawing board and pencil. We listen to our customers and develop their ideas into a perfectly designed kitchen. We follow this by preparing CAD drawings and factory quotations. These are presented on the return visit to the showroom, when our potential customers become confirmed clients.”
Meeting delivery expectations
Supply chain issues due to Brexit and COVID have been an issue for many businesses. So, how has this affected time-scales for kitchen assembly and installation? “We currently advise our clients to expect a six-to-eight-week delivery for the majority of lay-on kitchens, on a supply-only basis,” Larry replies. “This rises to ten to twelve weeks for in-frame kitchens.
If we are also installing, timings are based on pre-installation works and our fit availability. Larry is also keen to emphasise that Caple Studios are more than mere showrooms. In fact, he is looking forward to welcoming even more people to the showrooms as awareness of our concept grows. “It’s a special customer service, offering a unique product with exclusivity and exceptional value,” he concludes.
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