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As UK managing Director of renowned brand Blum, Mark Richardson is a well-known face in the kbb industry, and rightly so. With a passion for the brand and industry alike, Mark has been with the company for over 25 years, and has seen the brand go from strength to strength throughout this time. Blum is a brand synonymous with innovation, and sponsored the kbb 2014 Innovation Awards at the show, recognising innovative products in the sector. Following a successful show at kbb 2014, we caught up with Mark to find out more about his inspirations, challenges, and the future of Blum.
What first drew you into a career in the KBB sector?
I had originally trained as a mechanical engineer but early on realized that I was not cut out for it full time. My first “proper” job was involved in sales and I loved it. With Blum I saw an opportunity to combine my engineering knowledge with the cut and thrust of a sales environment.
Could you tell us a little about the history of your company?
Julius Blum GmbH (our parent company) was first established in 1952. Sales in the UK started around the middle 60’s and at that time Blum was looked after by an agency (Hardex Fittings). In those first few decades, the UK was Blum’s largest market. Since then Blum has become the dominant supplier in most countries worldwide.
Blum UK was set up in 1987. Since then the company has relocated (to bigger premises) 3 times and seen our annual sales increase by more than 600%. Of course the products have also moved on in that time!
If you could describe your work in three words, what would they be?
Rewarding, exciting, forward-looking
What do you think is your key strength?
Seeing to the route of a problem - quickly
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
My father is the who. My family is the what.
What is your favourite item within your own range?
AVENTOS SERVO-DRIVE – It’s brilliant!
What is the biggest challenge in your working life?
Keeping everyone on board, self motivated and well informed as our numbers increase and business becomes more complex.
What do you most enjoy about your current role?
Working closely with all colleagues as our numbers increase and business becomes more complex.
As Blum sponsored the kbb Birmingham Innovation Awards, what would you say is the key to innovative thinking?
The first requirement is an excellent imagination and anticipating solutions for the future. But this must be combined with a strong knowledge of your market & customer if an innovation is to become a success in reality.
What advice can you offer young people just starting out in the KBB world?
Work hard, work creatively and pick the right time(s) not to follow the herd. Whatever you choose to do in the industry; make sure that primarily you do it because you enjoy it.
Where do you go (or where would you like to go) from here?
I believe that, following a very difficult period, the KBB Industry is poised to do really great, maybe even amazing, things in the coming few years. I want to see Blum UK (and myself) play our part in those things. We have laid the foundations in the difficult years and I firmly believe we are well placed to serve this new and exciting market. So in short I guess my plans are to be here for exciting times ahead!
Join Blum plus many other exhibitors here at kbb Birmingham 2016.