As I arrived at the new Kvik flagship showroom in Thong Lor Soi 10, Iain Flitcroft the master franchisee for Kvik in SE Asia was sitting at what has to be the largest island unit I’ve ever seen. With its white high gloss, linear, handleless drawers and a stunning solid oak, wraparound worktop, I could easily imagine how this handcrafted and beautifully understated piece of furniture would form the focal point of a great, open plan, living space. “It’s not just about a cooking space, it’s about lifestyle’ said Iain.
‘Kvik not only presents a range of kitchens that reflect the best qualities of our famous Danish design with its combination of simple form, neutral colours and clean linear design, combing hi-tech elements with natural materials, but we also strive to understand how our customers live and complement that lifestyle through the design of their kitchen space. It sounds like a cliché, but nonetheless it is true that the kitchen really does form the heart of the home with families increasingly spending most of their time there.”
Kvik has been producing furniture for almost forty years from its manufacturing site in Vildbjerg in the north of Denmark. Now producing around 1,000 kitchens per week and with more than 150 stores throughout Scandinavia, Western Europe and Asia, Kvik continues to see positive growth. Kvik is itself a part of Ballingslov International, a family of nine Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom businesses that is ultimately owned by Stena, one of the largest privately owned companies in Scandinavia. The confidence that Kvik has in its product is reflected in the 10 to 25 year guarantees that it offers on all of its products.
Kvik entered the Asian market eight years ago and now has six stores in Thailand plus outlets in Manila and Hong Kong. Iain Flitcroft, joined Kvik as the master franchise for SE Asia in 2017 having sold his kitchen business in the UK to Ballingslov. Iain owns the store in Thong Lor Soi 10 and has overall responsibility for the support and growth of the Kvik network in Asia. “I set up a design office, here in Bangkok, supporting the UK operation, about 15 years ago. Having grown to love the country my ambition was always to spend more time here and so, having sold up in the UK, the opportunity to come here full time and build the Kvik business was just too good to resist!” ‘Everyone has the right to a real Danish Kitchen’ is Kvik’s basic proposition to the market here.
With an offer focussed on quality, design, service and value, Iain believes that Kvik is the most accessible, genuinely imported ‘European’ brand in the market. “Our factory in Denmark is state of the art and constantly investing in machinery and automation to drive quality and efficiency. That, combined with a focussed product offer enables us to deliver an extremely high level of factory efficiency. For the customer this translates into great value without any compromise in quality” Kvik has a team of skilled sales designers who take a ‘space’ and combining that with a detailed understanding of the customer’s requirements and lifestyle will deliver a kitchen that reflects their taste and lifestyle.
With a myriad of options, be it door styles, handles, internal accessories, work surfaces, lighting or appliances, visualising a kitchen from scratch can be a daunting and bewildering task. The role of the Kvik team is to be the ‘expert’ and taking the customer by the hand, guide them through the process advising, suggesting and sometimes challenging as they go along. “The process can be so detailed, so it’s not surprising that, by end, our teams build a very close relationship with their clients.” Service is one of the corner posts of the business that Iain both values and drives vigorously. “Personally it has been the service element, here in Thailand, that I have often found the most frustrating.
As a result we have focussed a huge amount of effort in that area, particularly with our Installation teams. Often overlooked, we believe that our installers are some of the most important people in the business. The quality and care of their work defines the final presentation of our product in the customer’s home. With a combination of training, uniforms, smart, branded vehicles and even English language classes, we have instilled a level of pride in our fitters that reflects in the work they do. Our teams are proud to achieve 96% ‘five star’ customer feedback.”
Uniquely, for an imported product, Kvik carries stock of many of its product lines in Bangkok meaning that it can offer a delivery lead time as short as three to four weeks. So what about the future for Kvik in Asia? “With a developing taste here for a more minimalist style, our furniture with its understated elegance but inherent quality, reflects the trend perfectly. Equally as consumer spending power grows, the Kvik product is almost undoubtedly the best value of any genuinely imported kitchen in the market. That combined with our great service and short lead times puts Kvik in a very strong position indeed as the most accessible import kitchen furniture brand in Asia”
Kvik has stores in Thong Lor Soi 10, Rama IX, Ratchapreuk Rd as well as Hua Hin, Pattaya, and Surat Thani. For more information visit: www.kvik.co.th or call 081 860 6019.