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Interview with a Kitchen Expert

June 2017

Alex Goldstein’s Interview with Kitchen expert Anthony Rich-Caine. What exactly are you paying for when you are choosing a kitchen and is it worth the extra money to get a hand-built kitchen? What are the latest trends? And what is the real reason large DIY stores charge so much less?

Interview with a Kitchen Expert

Full transcript below:

Alex: We are honoured indeed to have Anthony Rich-Kane from Rich Kitchens here in the studio just to give us a great insight into what I think at times a fairly mystical world of kitchens. Now Anthony look, everybody loves a great kitchen but what are you really getting and what are you actually paying for because as I see it and a lot of people see you can go to one of the big shed set ups, the big DIY stores shall we say and you can spend a couple of thousand, you can then go to the very high end and certainly dare I say in London and in and around Harrogate you can then sort of go up to almost 100 thousand sometimes even more for a kitchen, what is going on behind the scenes here and what are you actually paying for?

Anthony: Ok so realistically you should be paying for the materials that are used, so that’s the man-made woods or real woods in fact and also the methods used. So, is it handmade, it is manufactured in a large factory? That’s the way they can keep the costs down. Are the doors wrapped or are they hand painted? All these things make the cost heighten up massively. However, the biggest cost is really the company’s overheads, that’s what we found we come up against.

Alex: And you mean by overheads in terms of them having high street presence do you mean, sort of a showroom of sorts, a big department store?

Anthony: Definitely, so somebody with a showroom, their overheads are astronomical compared to someone that’s potentially working from a small office, has a small studio. Customers will buy into the large chains, however they’re paying a lot more just for that pleasure.

Alex: Is it not the case, say B&Q, huge huge outfit, is it not a case then of economies of scale? They’re buying in materials and goods at hug huge bulk. Say like the huge supermarkets like Aldi, they just buy in huge bulk and they offer their customers a discount. Does it not work like that necessarily?

Anthony: Similarly so, though most high street brands and most high street names that we’ll know of in the kitchen industries, they don’t actually keep that much stock. So, they are actually operating very similar to a small operation where a measures done, a design is done, once it’s agreed then the order is placed, then the kitchen is delivered from wherever.

Alex: And then they make it up, so they are literally running it to order. Thank you very much indeed. You’re quite unusual I think in your role in the kitchen sector. How can you help people? How do you source things? I know you sort of mentioned a bit of a difference between smaller and the larger set ups at the moment.

Anthony: Ok so the way we generally operate is we can service all the market, so we can offer one kitchen to an individual public member, or we can source the kitchen to a tradesman, maybe buy in a couple of kitchens a week. We can also provide over 300 kitchens as we do to one customer every year. The difference with us is that we have a managed service, so it’s myself at the helm, a couple of chaps helping me out, but generally it’s a fully managed service from start to finish. We carry out the measure, work out designs, we’ll give a couple of difference designs and that’s the difference is we will sit there and make sure the customers happy rather than just saying this is what you can fit in there.

Alex: So, where abouts are your kitchens coming from? How are you sourcing? I know the larger set ups, they obviously have got the sawmill back out somewhere, where are you actually getting it from?

Anthony: Ok so, we’re actually members of three different global buying groups, so we’re able to source from the UK and we’re able to source from Germany. It’s a specific type of kitchen or brand that you actually ask for we can source that, and I don’t mean the high street brand kitchens are manufactured in large factories that is the brand. So, if it’s a German brand that you’re after we can pretty much source that kitchen at a fraction of the cost to a high street brand. You mentioned Alex earlier about London, there’s a kitchen currently, I won’t mention the store but there is a kitchen currently in a showroom that’s listed as £140,000. We could probably supply the same kitchen to a customer for round about sixty.

Alex: Exactly the same, no corners cut, no nothing?

Anthony: We’ve in fact taken customers over to Germany to view the factory, the warehouse where it’s actually made because people don’t believe the saving, they don’t believe it, so that sometimes they won’t buy from us just because of that.

Alex: You often hear, and I suppose it’s the same on the builder sites that people sort of get the kitchens and they get stung by the fitters, it’s not put together particularly well, or they’re mid-job and they sort of walk out for whatever reason. Is there any safety net or is there anything that the general members of the public should look out for as a possible pitfall to be mindful of?

Anthony: Ok, so this question comes up quite often on pretty much every kitchen that we supply, do you install? So as a business we often recommended installers, to anybody I would say always go with the recommendation of the kitchen company supplying the kitchen because they are their installers, they will be installing every single one of their kitchens, so they’re already tried and tested.

Alex: What’s the current trending kitchens, what’s the new gadget or the new tech or where’s the market really heading at the moment just to set the forefront of kitchens?

Anthony: Well what we’re finding a lot of customers now, they’re going more for a matte finish door, so the glossier seems to be fading out although there are some people who still want the gloss, generally developers who assume they know what the end user wants and yeah you know sometimes you’ve got to drag them through and say matte is the way forward.

Alex: And is that actually a sort of hand finished paint that you mean because I know some of the glossy is effectively a high polish plastic, veneer almost.

Anthony: It’s both really, so I mean you’ve got your wrapped doors that are ever in the matte still then you’ve got our hand painted in the higher ends which have always been matte, so what you’re finding is people are wanting to as we said before, create the better look, create the look that looks more expensive, but of a fraction of the price. People are realising actually the higher end ones are hand painted not gloss.

Alex: Fantastic, Anthony I’ve got to thank you very much indeed some great insights and some top tips there Now if anyone wants to get in touch with you what’s the best way?

Antony: So you can get in contact with us through our website which is www.richkitchens.com or you can email us on hello@richkitchens.com

Alex: That’s great Anthony, really appreciate your time and thank you again.