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kbb Birmingham caught up with National Chair of the Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialist Association (KBSA), Richard Hibbert, to understand the history of the association, the challenges experienced by their members and their commitment to safeguarding consumers and KBB professionals alike.
KBB: Talk us through your career and how you got to where you are today.
Richard Hibbert: I started my career in the family business, working with my Dad. I took over when he retired, taking the business forward by moving into larger premises and expanding the product range. I am passionate about the kbb sector and the KBSA. I joined the KBSA as a board member and it was a logical progression for me to take on the role of national chair. It is important to me to be part of an organisation that supports other independent retailers and ensures the sector has a voice.
KBB: Tell us a bit about the KBSA’s history.
RB: The KBSA was established 43 years ago to champion the needs of independent retailers. Whilst it has undergone many changes, the overriding principle of support for the independent sector remains.
KBB: What are the association’s guiding principles?
RB: As a trade association we promote the interests of independent kitchen, bathroom and bedroom retailers. Our core services are based around, education, businesses services, promotion of our members and lobbying on behalf of the sector.
KBB: It’s clear that your focus isn’t just fixed on the welfare of your members but also on consumers too. Why is it so important that you provide things like deposit protection and other safeguards?
RB: Over the years the KBSA has developed and enhanced the ways it assists and supports members and their customers, to reflect the market conditions. Over the last 12 months members have utilised and benefited from a host of tools, to not only protect their consumers but most importantly their business; tools such as legal support, HR support and market leading B2C Terms and Conditions.
KBB: Does this help to maintain a better relationship between consumers and manufacturers, do you think?
RB: With members better informed regarding regulations, laws and sector specific issues, our members are better prepared to work closely with consumers and manufacturers on a day to day basis.
KBB: What would you say has been the greatest challenge for your members over this past year?
RB: The governments inconsistent messaging regarding essential retail during lockdown, which has made it difficult for retailers to plan ahead.
KBB: What kind of advice have you given your members in light of difficult circumstances they’ve been faced with during the past year?
RB: We have been heavily involved with lobbying the government and focused our attention on ensuring that members understood the current stance of the government and subsequent laws and advice in each country.
We have also been supporting members on the road to reopening with webinars, regular updates and fact sheets, as well as looking at new features and benefits such as a market leading consumer finance package.
KBB: What kind of support would you ideally like from the government in the future?
RB: To recognise the KBB sector as being a unique entity within the construction sector. Also for consistent messaging regarding KBB retail and the different customer outlets, such as DIY and merchants.
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