NEPTUNE SS17 Launch
The day began with a brief talk by Laura, which covered areas including:
COLOURS | NEW PRODUCTS | BREXIT | CHINA FACTORY #2 CLOSURE | etc.
Then, a tour of the Showrooms, to view new & updated products, guided by Charlotte & George.
After lunch, a brief walk & talk by Lee (Product Training Manager), on some of the finer details .
Concluding the day; two seminars, on the Importance of (1) Data Collection and (2) Visual Mechandising.
Neptune believe that green will be a strong coming trend, for all aspects of home décor, including cabinetry, fabrics, walls, artwork, etc..
"Sage Green" is especially a colour that they see as a strong trend.
The HQ showrooms has had a number of "green tweaks" to bolster this opinion.
"Calming and Relaxing" was a phrase that was often repeated during the day.
"Mist" was another colour that featured, in a number of areas to great effect, especially behind the "Shell" colour on the Chichester Kitchen display.
*NEW* NEPTUNE HENLEY KITCHEN
The *New* Neptune Henley kitchen range will see the full range of Henley cabinetry & fittings, being available painted in "Snow" (as a standard finish), alongside the current range of Oak (Isoguard).
Blackened Bronze handles & hinges will feature on the painted Henley finish.
As well as the new painted finish, there will be a number of tweaks / changes to the Henley cabinetry including:
New* Bi-Fold (down to counter) Dresser Cabinet (note: doors were catching on the worktop & definitely required adjustment / tweaking)
New* 2+1 Wide Drawers Cabinet
Revised* 690 Larder Cabinet, to includ "fold-out-shelving" as per Limehouse larder
Blackened Bronze Dividers in Cutlery Inserts - similar to Limehouse stone dividers
Blackened Bronze Bars fitted into flutes in the base of the lower pot drawers
Push-to-Open Internal Cutlery Drawers, changed from current pull to open (note: mechanism seemed poor)
Square Plinth and Cornice will be available in both Isoguard and Painted finishes, as well as the existing traditonal mouldings.
New Products, other than the Painted Henley Cabinetry, are mainly accessories (glassware, artwork, cushions, sofas, etc.), with some occasional surprises.
The Carter Island was one of the stand out items, as much for the pricing as for the stying and design... €3840 RRP
It was conceived accidentally, when a photographer put two Carter Coffee Tables together during a photo-shoot, and everyone liked the look, so they decided to adapt the current Carter coffee table construction (in HQ) so they can be fitted together to make an Island if requested.
HOW TO BECOME A FULL "NEPTUNE BY... " STORE
1. DISPLAY & SUPPLY ENTIRELY (OR ALMOST ENTIRELY) NEPTUNE PRODUCTS
2. MAKE A CONCERTED EFFORT TO SELL ALL RANGES - INCLUDING ACCESSORIES, PAINTS, ETC...
3. PROVIDE ACCESS TO FINANCIAL ACCOUNTS; ON A MONTHLY BASIS
OTHER NEPTUNE NEWS & DETAILS:
1. BREXIT: Laura said, the effects of the Brexit vote have lessened somewhat, but that trading remains "challenging" and whilst "optimistic" all eventualities need to be considered for how a "hard" Brexit might go. But, all in all, knowing what kind of Brexit they are in for, would be better than the recent unknowns.
2. NEPTUNE FACTORY #1 CLOSURE: The Chinese government recently approached Neptune, to advise that they were concerned about the possibility of a "catastrpohic landslide" from the mountain behind the Neptune #1 factory (which is located about 2hours from Hong Kong), and that they had to vacate within three months. This means that, the entire production of all Chichester products (including Chichester Kitchen cabinetry), will have to be relocated to their #2 factory in the far north of China, which is approx 2000 miles away form the current location! "Neptune are optimistic that this can be managed well, and that there will be minimal effects to product supply"...
3. NEPTUNE STAFF CHANGES: Chris, their "Marketing Guru", who had been with Neptune for a number of years, has left to work on personal projects, but will act on a consultancy basis for 2-3 days a week, for the near future. The guy with responsibility for Staff Training, amongst other areas, has also moved on.
4. FITTER TRAINING: This area of training has been temporarily closed and no new training dates are currently available. Therefore, the lack of Neptune qualified fitter training, will not affect the "lifetime guarantee" as had been previously advised.
5. DATA COLLECTION: Even more than previous trips, the importance of gathering Client Data, and passing it on to Neptune was mentioned time and again. The emphasis on this info mining seemed to raise a few eye brows amongst the partners present, as did how much all the Neptune Staff seemed to push the same line on "data collection and sharing"...
6. VERTICAL SHAKER WALL PANELLING featured in a number of the Neptune HQ Showroom Displays, as it has done in a few of their recent advertising images - it's not something that Neptune supply, but they have been surprised by the number of direct enquiries about it, from the public.
NEWS FROM IRISH PARTNERS:
JOHN - CASTLE CABINETS: His Neptune Sales were very quiet for the 3rd & 4th quarters of 2016. Also, he is close to ending his relationship with Schuller (Modern German Kitchens) and starting with a different modern kitchen supplier. He feels Neptune are pushing the smaller Neptune partners out
MARK & TREVOR - DEANERY FURNITURE: Asked if we'd had "difficult calls" from Neptune, and said they'd not sold any Neptune kitchens for some time. Very adamant that the advertising Neptune are doing in Ireland (especially the images used in newspapers) is "money down the drain" as the pictures "don't portray the kitchens that Irish people want to buy".
KAROL - GLOBAL VILLAGE - Karol (35), is from Abbeyleix, and trained as a cabinetmaker with Foley Kitchens (Laois), before working for himself for a couple of years. He worked with KUBE, as contracts and project manager, for six years, before leaving to join Global Village last June. GV have sold 12 or 13 kitchens since last June. Said he's finding it difficult, as most enquiries have budgets that are at least 6-8k less than what's needed for the kitchens they want.
GILLIAN - MORROW INTERIORS (Ballina) - Took Neptune on a couple of years ago, with the agreement that they'd eventually start doing the Kitchens also. Her father, who started the business and has more or less retired now, has some experience of kitchens, but mainly they supply flooring / living & bedroom furniture, etc. - They've recently taken on a young guy, who worked with Browsers (Limerick), until last November, when he started with them and moved to Mayo. She expects to probably sell 3-4 kitchens a year.
THE ORCHARD - Neither Erika nor Gerry attended. Joe Norney mentioned that Erika had handed in her letter of resignation again in November, but he heard in December, that she was working something out with Gerry again, and staying for the time being. Joe also mentioned that he has had on average meetings, every 6 months or so, where Gerry tells him about the plans for massive expansion and how it will include huge benefits for Neptune, but to date "no sign of the escalators".
BROWSERS // MALONE & SMYTH - No staff in attendance on this day