Rencraft’s Marketing Manager, Karen Cowell, describes her first ever visit to KBB Birmingham…

Having been part of the KBB industry for just over three years now, I had yet to make it to any of the big design shows, conferences or exhibitions. So, when the chance to attend not just any KBB show – but THE KBB show came my way, I knew this was an opportunity not to be missed.

Travelling up to Birmingham by train I wasn’t really sure what to expect, the four day event was being held at the NEC – a frankly massive space – however this being in part a design show I soon realised that this huge arena gave many exhibitors the chance to create some truly spectacular stands.

Blum, Villeroy & Boch, Interior Door Systems, Acquabella and Newform may have won the official 2018 awards for best stand design, but I also really enjoyed looking around Caple where they had created a really welcoming atmosphere – helped along by a coffee bar giving out free coffee – my kind of place!

Andrea, our Rep, welcomed my colleagues John, Rob, Luke, Sara and I to the stand and, latte in hand, was soon busy showing us around their latest wine conditioning units, ovens, coffee machines and more. It was a great chance for us to see some of their latest products first hand – many of which won’t actually be available to clients until later this year.

Andrea wasn’t the only friendly face we saw at KBB. There was also a chance to catch up with Sean and the team from Herbert Direct, the lovely ladies at Houzz and our Westin Rep, Andreas, who came over to say ‘hello’ while one of his colleagues treated us to a couple of magic tricks – a novel and entertaining way to demonstrate the increasing number of finishes that are now available for many of their products.

Then it was over to BORA, where we were met by the lovely Hilary. BORA was absolutely buzzing with activity, including a Chef doing some cooking demonstrations on a BORA Tepan grill. Even better, we were allowed to sample some perfectly seared steak with roasted veggies as well – which provided some much needed sustenance after a few hours on our feet wandering around.

I really was blown away by the sheer size of KBB Birmingham – it’s easy to understand why it is described as the UK’s largest gathering of the world’s best kitchen, bedroom and bathroom brands. With over 400 exhibitors and numerous talks and seminars as well it was impossible to see everything – but the sense of innovation and the excitement of learning about new products really reinforced in me the idea that the KBB industry is far from boring, in fact this is an area that is moving forwards at an incredible pace with smart homes and technological advances being all the rage.

From a design perspective it’s great to see so many people continuing to push back the boundaries as well. I know the whole team came back brimming with ideas and I think it’s fair to say we all found our trip to Birmingham incredibly useful and inspiring. I’d certainly be happy to go again!