|MD of GDHA, Denver Hewlett|
Appliance brand Belling is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Denver Hewlett, MD of parent company Glen Dimplex Home Appliances, talks exclusively to K&B News about its success and says retailers should be optimistic about appliance sales
Belling is one of the UK’s most recognisable cooking appliance brands, having traded successfully for 100 years. During this time, it’s seen the launch of the Baby Belling – a combined oven and sealed electric hob used on the worktop – and more recently introduced a built-in oven with induction plate.
Denver Hewlett, managing director of parent company Glen Dimplex Home Appliances (GDHA), says Belling’s ability to introduce ideas like these has been key to its success. Marketed as a good value for money, family brand, its perhaps then surprising Belling has been instrumental in driving appliance design and technology. Denver continues: “It’s been quite innovative over the years and had quite a few firsts. [Belling] was the first company to make a fully enamelled cooker and was the first to market a 600mm slot-in cooker. I used to be a retail customer of Belling and there was a waiting list for up to a year to be allocated a freestanding, slot-in cooker from Belling. And they used to sell for £699.” He continues: “[Belling] created the first fan oven as well.”
But it’s not just about the functionality of the ovens; Denver says the company has focused on the design of the products too. In fact, as part of its 100th anniversary celebrations, Belling is set to unveil the 100 Collection, at London’s Savoy Hotel in March, which will feature a new fascia aesthetic. And the launch is being supported by an updated website, with revised logo and trade campaign. In addition, for each 100 Collection appliance sold, Belling will be donating money to charity, which will be chosen by its Facebook fans.
With all of Belling’s accomplishments, and its upcoming launch and celebrations, it could be difficult to choose the most significant, achievement over its 100 years trading. But Denver is adamant that it the longevity of the brand: “We’ve been around for a long time and we’re still here. That’s the biggest achievement. We’re still relevant to the marketplace. The brand has really kept up with the times and progressed and we’ve kept it really in-line with the trend of what people want and what they expect”.
And he’s equally positive about appliance sales in the current market. He says: “It’s challenging. But I always try and be optimistic about these kinds of things. If the market is 55 or 10% down, whatever people say it could be or might be – it still means there’s 90% of the market to go for. There are still lots of people buying appliances. There are still lots of people buying kitchens. Sometimes when you listen to people, you’d think people have stopped spending money altogether but they haven’t. It’s just making sure that you get your business in front of those people. It is hard. It is tough. But you’ve got to get on with it and be sensibly optimistic because things will get better, people will start buying again, and house prices will start moving up again. I think [retailers can help] by making sure they’ve got the right product, at the right price, on the shop floor and by offering the right sort of service.”