John Lewis says it has made some potentially fruitful new contacts with suppliers, thanks to the British Home Enhancement Trade Association’s recent Meet the Buyer day.
Forty-four BHETA members enjoyed a total of 70 appointments with John Lewis’ cooking, dining, gifts and utility buying team, headed by Louise Stuart. Follow-up meetings are already planned and a number of BHETA members are thought to be in line for business in both the shorter and longer term.
Stuart enthused about all aspects of the event. “We’re always open to new and exciting ideas in the hope of finding the ‘next best thing’,” she said. “The fact is you don’t always have time to see everything at shows, and time also dictates that seeing every single potential new supplier is pretty well impossible. In this Meet the Buyer format we can investigate high numbers of potential new products and potential new vendors all in the space of a day. Using traditional methods it would have taken the team three weeks of time over six weeks to fit in as many meetings.
“We’ve certainly seen things we can use pretty much just as they are and we’ve got to know suppliers we weren’t previously aware of who’ll definitely be able to do things for us in the future. In short we’ve given some time and we’ve got some wonderful results.”
She added that the event had also underlined the importance of a good brief.
“Our preparations for the event in co-operation with BHETA made clear that we were looking for a succinct response to a clear outline from us of what we required in the JLP range. The people we’ve seen today who’ve followed the format that BHETA and JLP designed together are that much nearer to a successful outcome.
“We’ve been able to cover so much of the right ground in such a short time today that next meetings are likely to yield right first-time proposals with all the bases covered perfectly. With that sort of proposal on the table, we can all move fast.”