A total of 39 members of The British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA) enjoyed face-to-face time with housewares retail chain Lakeland at the fifth event in BHETA’s ‘Meet The Buyer’ series.
Four Lakeland buyers representing different product categories were present, along with director of buying Matthew Canwell. All were available for appointments with new and existing suppliers at the event, which took place at the Hilton Hotel, Bromsgrove on January 16..
Commenting on the event, Matthew Canwell said: “This sort of event has a lot of value for all parties. Of course, as a retailer, we are always looking for ‘the next big thing’. But the chance to have some private space with suppliers who are geared up to come and pitch their ideas to a general specification that we have outlined is as effective as any trade show, if not more so.
He continued: “And it’s not just about the products pitched on the day. We can all suffer from preconceived notions and sometimes, as buyers, we think we know what supplier companies can do.
“So it’s fantastic to have the chance re-evaluate who’s out there in the market and how they might be able to contribute to our business, whether it’s now or in due course when we next review a particular category.
“After all, Lakeland is a very agile company. We do not cap the number of suppliers we have and if we see something that engages our imagination, we can move to list it pretty fast – whether the supplier is a one man band or a multinational, and whether or not we already have coverage in that category.
“The day came up to expectations exactly. We saw some absolute gems in terms of products, ranges, business development ideas and potential new suppliers for the future. It’s a win; win: we are here to buy and the BHETA members are here to sell. You can’t argue with that as a concept!”
One of the BHETA members looking to sell was Paul Silk, md of La Cafetiere, who endorsed Matthew’s comments. “To have the opportunity of face time with a buyer who is looking to buy, with a brief as to the sort of features and benefits that are being looked for, is an absolutely winning formula. Well organised by BHETA, the day couldn’t be anything other than a success.”
Participating BHETA members were allowed a 20-minute appointment at the event and a maximum of two people to represent the supplier company. A template for presentations had been agreed with Lakeland to ensure that the limited time was put to maximum use.
BHETA’s housewares sector director, William Jones commented: “Yet again, the winning Meet The Buyer formula proved successful, with some very productive meetings. BHETA has several more such events lined up already for 2014 covering both home improvement and home enhancement and we looking forward to a full and successful programme of retail engagement to come.”