Craft Business: How and when was the company started?
Stuart Caller: Korbond was established in Australia in 1956, by Henry Korski and initially specialised in thermo plastic coatings and the laminating of textiles for the garment and shoe trade. Henry built a formidable reputation among the trade, with quality, value and service at the heart of his philosophy.
Henry switched the company’s focus from industrial production in the early 70s to service the growing demands in the consumer haberdashery markets. Korbond quickly established itself across Australia and New Zealand as the Care & Repair brand, and was subsequently launched in the UK market in the early 80s.
Today, Korbond are respected as haberdashery experts working closely with grocery retailers, high street stores, convenience stores, independent and speciality stores, large national wholesalers and digital outlets. We are very proud of our customer base, and have held true to the values established by Henry many years ago. We constantly seek to exceed our reputation of a brand established on superb product quality, supported by excellent service and representing great value for the consumer.
CB: How do you feel the market has changed since Korbond first started out in the business?
SC: Taking a recent view, through the late 90s and early 00s we lived in a consumable and disposable society and it was cheaper to buy new clothing and garments than to repair them. In 2008, the recession hit households hard and Make Do & Mend became a household trend. Demand for core items increased, sales of sewing machines rose and the popularity of sewing lessons grew more than expected. I feel this stimulated and revitalised the industry, and it has continued to develop over the last six years beyond necessity based sewing activities to desire led hobbies.
The popularity of The Great British Sewing Bee and other TV programmes, and the growth of social media is having a positive impact on the whole industry and they are major factors in attracting a wider audience and enticing many new users.
We operate in the most sophisticated omni-channel, social media-driven, consumer-centric environment. Consumers are well and truly at the heart of information and technology allows consumers to learn, share, innovate, customise and purchase. This will continue to drive our industry forward.
For us the known fact is that change will be a constant – trends will come and go within the industry, but there will always be a demand for core haberdashery and craft tools and accessories. We must continue to make our products and our business model stimulating, relevant and competitive.
CB: What products does Korbond specialise in?
SC: There are more than 300 products within our entire portfolio delivering a range of sewing, clothes care and crafting tools and accessories. We have two brands that are presented to retailers, our Korbond Care & Repair brand and our Creations by Korbond brand.
Korbond’s Care & Repair range has been the UK’s number one brand for haberdashery and clothes care accessories for more than 25 years. The brand is established upon the fundamental foundation of providing a tailored selection of the best-selling products, packaged and presented ready for the retail environment. The range has been carefully designed to ensure that the retailers have the core products to support a wide range of sewing and crafting activities, and is widely recognised for its exceptional quality and value for money.
Creations by Korbond is a dedicated craft brand featuring a wide selection of carefully engineered crafting tools and accessories, modern storage solutions and gifting items for the haberdashery and craft market. The products are bright, colourful and fun, focusing on high quality that is expected from a professional range.
So whether retailers are looking to stock a range of key sewing and mending accessories, a range for care and repair, or more specialist craft items, the Korbond portfolio can deliver great choice at excellent value for both the retailer and consumer.
CB: You have recently launched your Creations by Korbond brand, can you tell us more about why you decided to launch it and what you hope to achieve?
SC: The Creations brand was born from a desire to provide a high quality and inspirational range that encapsulates the enjoyment and passion of crafting. We conducted a series of independent market research across 1,500 consumers and 50 independent retailers to understand what the market was looking for. The answer was the Creations by Korbond range. A well designed, inspiring collection of tools and accessories to support a broad variety of crafting.
Our new Creations by Korbond range is ideal for adding a touch of style to retail stores, and has been designed to complement retailer’s existing ranges, while providing new and exciting twists to core tools and accessories. The range will also provide retailers gifting options, with our comprehensive range of sewing baskets and knitting storage solutions. We refresh the fabrics every six months and seek to offer retailers a wide selection of traditional and modern designs for those looking for something a little different to feature in store.
Creations by Korbond delivers a beautiful retail range to inspire creativity, fun and excitement to both new and experienced crafters. Particular attention to detail has been placed on the packaging design, not only the soft and earthy colours, but more importantly with the level of advice and guidance that is provided to support and inspire the consumer with their craft activities.
CB: What services and support do you offer your customers when they choose to stock your products in their shops?
SC: Our sales team have a wealth of experience and tailor our advice to ensure that all customers are serviced with the right product and merchandising solutions to meet their needs. At Korbond flexibility is key and we like to ensure retailers can engage with us in a simple and efficient manner. For example, retailers do not need to open a trade account, we work with them on trade discounts and trading days, and we offer a single pick ordering system where they are not obliged to adhere to large pack sizes or minimum order quantities.
We try to remove the stress and hassle from the ordering process, by empowering the retailer to place the order that suits them, their budget, and their consumers. This allows the retailer to take small quantities and expand their offerings without considerable upfront investment.
We also offer a wide variety of fixture options to display the Korbond brands. However, if customers are not looking for fully loaded fixture deals, we also have the ability to tailor their preferred product selection to suit individual store needs.
We continue to promote our brands within trade and consumer magazines, and utilise our website and social media to engage with consumers. We feel that it is important to continue to invest in our brands, and retailers expect this support.
CB: What are your future plans for Korbond?
SC: 2014 has been a year of innovation for Korbond and we are really only at the beginning of the journey. In the exciting months ahead there will be some further launches within Creations, as we seek to expand the offering further and we will certainly update everyone as the story unfolds.
We have also recently joined the CHA-UK and are looking forward to working with them and other members of the industry at their events and through their media to assist and educate retailers to better serve the UK consumer, remain competitive and most importantly be successful in revitalising the UK high streets.
To explore the full Korbond portfolio including our core haberdashery range visit http://sew.korbond.co.uk/product-range/product-catalogue or contact us directly to discuss your craft requirements.