Leading the way to a sustainable KBB future

With sustainability being such a concern these days, Installer Kitchen & Bathroom are keen to highlight companies that are leading the way and assisting others in the KBB sector to get on board.

Installer Kitchen & Bathroom’s Andy Bishop spoke recently to Rehome’s Helen and Phil Lord, an innovative and influential company who, over the last 10 years have become the UK’s No1 kitchen reseller, amongst other things.

Helen and Phil Lord, Rehome 

How did the idea to resell pre-loved kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms come about?

“We bought an old house that needed extensive renovation and we had a very limited budget. Of course, like everyone we wanted a great kitchen but for what we wanted, the prices were totally out of our league.  We turned to eBay and found a used Clive Christian kitchen for £5,000 hoping that it would work in the space we had. I suppose it was 10 years old when we found it, but it was a solid, quality built kitchen and with a bit of creative fitting, it was perfect for our needs. At this time, it dawned on us that there must be other people in a similar situation, so the idea of the Used Kitchen Exchange was born. (25 years on, the Clive Christian kitchen is still going strong!)”

How did the business develop from here?

“We were both working in different industries at the time but we were both quite active on ebay and so we decided to test the market as a dedicated company that sourced and resold used kitchens to consumers. Starting with lower value kitchens things grew, and with Used Kitchen Exchange thriving as an eBay business it gave us the confidence we needed. Before long we started working with local kitchen showrooms to sell their ex-displays. Experience at this point led us to establishing a layer of logistics to our operation as we grew – a dismantle team and a delivery team. There isn’t one trade that deals with dismantling – fitters, joiners, stone masons etc. so we made the decision to bring this in-house.”

Do you also re-install kitchens for your customers? Is this part of your service?

“Actually no, we don’t. We have found that the majority of our customers either have some DIY ability themselves or have their own builders who will do this for them – we concentrate on sourcing and delivering to offer the best prices in a very price sensitive market.”

So, Used kitchen Exchange just sells ‘budget priced pre-loved kitchens’ then?

“No (again!), before long the showrooms started offering us bathrooms as well and we found that the same demand was there from our customer base, especially unused, ex-display bathrooms – We have evolved from just being about a budget solution to working with some of the leading names in kitchens and bathrooms including Humphrey Munson, Smallbone  Tom Howley, Nobilia, Roca, We have also added ex-display and end of line appliances as well with leading brands such as Miele, Gaggenau, Quooker and Wolf. Appliances are now a big part of our business.”

And the change in company name to Rehome?

“We felt for a long time that Used Kitchen Exchange was a little limiting as a name and didn’t really explain the range and depth of the products that we sold, so in the middle of 2023 we changed the name to Rehome with new branding and a shiny new website at Rehome.co.uk”

Can you tell me more about the environmental savings you are contributing to? I’m assuming you can measure the impact that Rehome is having?

Rehome Sustainability facts:
Queens Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development.
“Rehome is awarded the Queens Award is because it demonstrates sustainable thinking throughout the whole product process and delivery, including influencing the wider kitchen supply industry”
Certified B Corp, along with business like Patagonia, Bol, Jamie Oliver, the Body Shop etc. We are one of only 1,500 companies reaching this prestigious bench mark  for businesses that meet the highest standards of performance, accountability, and sustainability.

Our Kitchen Sustainability Calculator (through Innovate UK on behalf of the Department of Business, Environment, and Industrial Strategy measures carbon and tree savings through re-use:

Figures to date:
Current carbon savings for Rehome; 13,699,705kgs.
Current tree savings for Rehome; 6,207.
Each kitchen we sell contributes around 4,000kgs to this growing target.
We are also well on our way to Rehome becoming a net zero business

“There is also the social value aspect of bringing good quality, cheaper kitchens to market for cost conscious buyers. This makes people very happy as people love things going to good use somewhere else rather than letting it go to landfill. We also like to think that we are leading the industry in a much more sustainable direction, it also makes commercial sense for suppliers and showrooms to work in this way.”

And business is booming?

“The company has grown considerably since we launched in 2013 and we are now the UK’s No1 kitchen reseller. Over the years our customer base has grown to include more than just homeowners looking to save a few bob on a kitchen. Builders, independent installers and housing developers have become a key part of our business and the demand from many of our customers for a sustainable solution is very strong.”

We’ve been pretty lucky, which helps, and I think our timing was really good. We’ve had some amazing support from the industry including a workshop with the BMA at last year’s Installer Show, which was brilliant. Huge thanks go to all of our showroom partners and now manufacturers too. We are immensely proud to have also won several awards over the years including the Queens Awards for Enterprise in Sustainable Development and the Barclays Entrepreneur Awards Sustainability Award. 2024 will see some new things launched from Rehome that we think will cause quite a stir, of course this new launch will be as sustainable as everything else we do.

Installer Show, NEC Birmingham, 25- 27 June 2024

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