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14 Oct 2020

Behind the Brands: Zinc Home doing retail a little differently...

Zinc Home is a successful international company, supplying gift, home accessories and garden design products. With an ever-expanding offering, they combine current trends and colour palettes with a unique design handwriting to create fresh and innovative products. We had the pleasure of speaking with their Sales Director, Claire Bell about the unprecedented way in which the company came about, the inspiration behind some of their exciting collections, and why she believes loyalty is an important yet often lacking part of good business.

Zinc Home was partly born out of a frustration with the UK retail scene. Claire recalled how some suppliers, with whom she had built long lasting relationships, favoured larger companies who inevitably could afford larger orders. This coupled with stores who more and more seemed to be selling the same things, led Claire to venture outside of the UK. “Customers wanted to keep coming back in because they enjoyed the store  so much. There would be other things they could buy, maybe on a weekly or a monthly basis. After a while it was hard to compete with online and other competitors so I decided I should go slightly further afield, and I went to Frankfurt to fill in the bit that was lacking.”

zinc home vase Claire, along with her new German partners began selling mostly furniture and as popularity grew, they expanded into other home accessories. Claire explains that she was able to “pick and choose from the different brands not represented in UK, all under one umbrella company.” Customers are urged to interact with the products in stores and this is achieved also by not allowing retailers to sell Zinc Home items on Amazon or Ebay (although they do allow online selling on retailers’ websites). Claire adds that it stops “people [using] your stores as catalogues, for them to go back home and search online”. This phenomenon, known as showrooming is an all too common problem among smaller retailers with 30% of shoppers now classified as “showroomers”. Despite this, 81% of UK consumers believe brick and mortar shops are vital to the shopping experience and 70% enjoy the full experience of going in-store to browse, especially when making larger, more expensive purchases in-store.

Of course, another benefit of going in-store is that customers are able to touch the products before making a purchase. For Zinc Home, this is important because of how attentive they are to detail and quality. “Everybody talks about quality and that might be a yawn moment, but for us it is very true, right down to every last detail. I’ve got to be able to say: I would I buy that; would I have that? Am I being right in recommending that to a retailer?”

This is true across all of their ranges, which vary from very modern to more traditional. At least 10 ranges are made in Europe with the help of some Danish and Portuguese designers, but the emphasis remains on quality. “Nothing goes to market unless it has been tried and tested. We have a lovely garden collection that we started with pieces in 2018 but we weren’t quite happy with the colours of them. We stopped with it and kept working on it. And now it is ready and been launched at the beginning of this year.”

Their biggest range, Oceans so Fair, has been designed with small spaces in mind. They noticed there hadn’t been many collections out there for bathrooms and so introduced a collection that would fit the narrow window ledges many of us have in our homes. Claire describes this collection as “more fun and colourful, with metal boats and then there is an elegant side – sea horses etc. We work with ceramic and porcelain so that they can go into bathrooms.”

The emphasis on loyalty, uniqueness and quality is the driving force behind the brand. By visiting Autumn Fair not only are they able to showcase products in a way that can be replicated in even the smallest of stores, just like for many it is a way for them to connect with the wider retail community.

You can find out more about Zinc Home here: https://zinchome.co.uk/

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