The new demand for multifunctional homes means Schmidt kitchens and home interiors franchisees are enjoying record sales.
“The pandemic has ushered in the era of the multifunctional home,” says Rosalyn Hastings, Expansion Manager for Schmidt in the UK.
“Homes are no longer just for evenings and weekends. Record numbers of people are now working from their homes, so their living space needs to be an office, a study space for children, a workshop and a kitchen suitable for home baking. All this has driven a massive increase in business for the franchisee partners who own our 28 showrooms across the UK.”
Schmidt UK has had two record months, with August sales figures up 139% on August last year. Figures for September are even higher, with an increase of 146%.
During lockdown customers were using Schmidt’s online Creativ’Box tool to design and order their own bespoke kitchens, bedrooms and living spaces. “We have seen a huge increase in online requests for appointments from customers keen to get their projects started, and sales conversions and showroom footfall have both risen massively in recent weeks,” says Rosalyn. “We actively support our network with TV advertising and national social media campaigns which continue to drive the growth and success of our network.”
The boom in orders is in part powered by customers investing lump sums reimbursed by holiday companies for breaks they were unable to take, and, in some cases, redundancy payouts. The market is also driven by home vendors boosting the saleability of their properties and buyers investing the funds they have saved because of the current cut in stamp duty.
This is no short-lived boom. “A survey by The Institute of Directors shows that 74% of 1,000 firms say that they plan on maintaining home working even after the pandemic. Home working is here to stay, and people need homes that make it easy,” Rosalyn says.
Schmidt franchisees help customers to redesign their home interiors – including offices – plus kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms and furniture. Its vast choice of office desks, shelves, lighting, chairs and storage means each project can be unique to the customer’s needs.
Rosalyn says: “We are actively seeking more franchisees now and our performance, plus the upturn in the home improvements and retail sectors, mean that banks are now happy to lend to prospective Schmidt franchisees.”
You can start with just £80,000 – £100,000 in up-front capital, since Schmidt offers an interest-free loan to cover showroom fit-out, and has arrangements with two UK banks to offer loans to reach the total investment of around £350,000.