The British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA) has hailed its latest Meet The Buyer day, with new retail partner Dunelm, as a resounding success.
More than 40 suppliers attended more than 65 appointments with eight members of the homeware giant’s buying team. The event took place in Dunelm’s home town of Leicester on November 30.
Dunelm offers over 26,000 products across more than 28 different departments. The business operates from over 150 out-of-town superstores, and provides further multi-channel options through online, mobile, catalogue, telephone ordering and reserve & collect propositions.
The Dunelm brief was aimed at all sizes of supplier from large players to smaller companies with limited resources. Each appointment was limited to 20 minutes and a maximum of two people from each company were invited to attend.
Suppliers and prospects were encouraged to visit one of the following Dunelm stores prior to the event to identify opportunities: Nottingham, Milton Keynes, Sheffield, Redditch, Weston-Super-Mare and Rustington.
Dunelm head of buying Mark Fitzgerald said: “We are always looking for new or existing suppliers who can demonstrate innovative products and/or offer strong promotional activity.
“The Meet The Buyer format was a first for us, and we like to think that we are good at discovering new opportunities even from smaller companies anyway. However, there always specialists out there that we could be missing and it’s also great to revisit existing suppliers who may offer other things which we haven’t seen before, or which have only been shown to other departments.
“At the event, we discovered new opportunities of all kinds and the 20- minute format really focused both parties on what’s really important.”
Claire Barton, head of cookshop at Dunelm, added: “We’ve certainly found a new supplier for premium dining and tableware so for that alone, this has been a good day. But overall, it’s the format that’s so helpful. We could never see this many suppliers and potential suppliers in this amount of time through normal channels.”
One supplier who attended at the event echoed the thoughts of the Dunelm team. Roger Murphy, managing director of housewares supplier Eddingtons, said: “We supply Dunelm with seasonal lines already, but this was a great opportunity to present other products in our range with a view to extending our presence throughout the year.”
BHETA director Will Jones commented: “As always, Meet The Buyer is a unique opportunity for existing and potential suppliers. I was particularly happy to see the number of smaller suppliers who attended the event. Whether or not they all secure immediate listings, they will all have gained invaluable experience that will pay dividends in the future.”