Published on August 26th, 2020 | by The GC Team0
Plan for growth with RKW – your trusted partner in brand distribution, drop-ship and NPI
Get Connected talks to Rob Sutton (pictured above), founder of RKW, Europe’s No.1 SDA branded supplier about why now is the perfect time for brands and retailers to be partnering with his business.
RKW has a 30-plus year pedigree in successfully developing and distributing top brands and products with a group turnover of £100m+. It is Europe’s leading distributor of small domestic appliances (SDA) and housewares products, representing market leading brands as well as its own branded & licensed portfolio including the likes of Tower, Black + Decker, Morphy Richards, Russell Hobbs, Swan, Numatic, Hoover and Breville.
The business is led by Rob and Su Sutton, who set up RKW in 1989, and their management team all of whom have long and significant experience in the SDA and housewares markets. As well as leading in the UK, the company’s reputation continues to develop internationally too, with recent participation in the Frankfurt Ambiente exhibition offering new opportunities for growth.
GET CONNECTED: You have a strong portfolio of own-brand and licensed product as well as representing marketing leading brands – the latest to sign up include The Funky Appliance Company, SMEG and Lavazza. What is the appeal of RKW for these top brands?
ROB SUTTON: It’s simple – we have continued to invest in our infrastructure. While other brands and businesses have struggled in recent months, RKW has flourished. We now have a 750,000sq ft capacity across three distribution centres, offices in Hong Kong and Mainland China as well as a market-leading drop-ship function close to our Head Office in Stoke-on-Trent. That means we have been able to adapt quickly to changing consumer behaviour and the growth of the On-line channel. As an example the drop-ship function processed 250% more parcels in April than it did in the same month last year. When coupled with a dedicated sales force, unrivalled customer care and a market-leading E-Commerce team, RKW offers excellent opportunities for our branded partners and our 5,000 retailer partners alike.
GC: Now is the time for both brands and retailers to look ahead, as stores re-open and consumers adapt to a new way of life. How is RKW addressing this?
“While other brands and businesses have struggled in recent months, RKW has flourished… we offer unrivalled opportunities for our branded partners and our 5,000 retailer partners alike”
RS: Consumers will be looking for retailers that best meet their changing shopping behaviour and to brands who can offer products that meet their new lifestyles. Whilst RKW has been flourishing during lockdown we have also remained focused on “what next” by continuing to invest in our distribution capability and new product roadmap.
GC: Are there new ranges of SDA and Housewares products ready for launch in the second half of 2020?
RS: Yes, we have been working with our branded partners to create products designed to meet the needs of consumers. We understood early into lockdown that the market was going to be different and in times of change it is the brands that drive innovation that really succeed in the long run. That was central to our approach and I am proud of the team who have worked tirelessly to make sure our new product roadmap is truly exciting as we come into the second half of 2020.
GC: Tower is your own brand and an innovation driver for you. Tell us more about the NPI for Tower in particular.
RS: With Tower, we have built a market leading position in air fryers through innovation, such as our Digital Air Fryer Oven with Vortx technology. But also co-ordinated kitchen collections across SDA and housewares – we started with Rose Gold several seasons ago and we have expanded our style statements each season. For second half 2020 we have some stunning new ranges including Cavaletto – soft muted colours with striking rose gold accents. The SDA offering is a pyramid kettle and toaster, all fully featured.
GC: The landscape for trade shows – the traditional route for retailers looking to identify new product opportunities – has completely changed this year. How is RKW adapting to that?
RS: It’s investment again – so in order for those retailers looking at second half 2020 and beyond to take full advantage of our comprehensive New Product Innovations, we have also invested in extensive digital product catalogues and expanded our Head Office on-site showroom, equipping it with the latest products as well as space to respect social distancing and the needs of visitors. We think retailers and owners of brands will find all this really productive.