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An interview with Reinier Koster & Kris Samoy

Kuka Home: overcoming challenges and paving the way to growth

Recently, InteriorDaily had the opportunity to interview Reinier Koster and Kris Samoy, Benelux representatives for Kuka Home, at the showroom in Kapellen, Belgium. The prominent international furniture company celebrated it’s 40th anniversary in 2022. Originating from Asia, specifically China, the company has grown to operate on a global scale, initiating its European expansion in 2017. However, this expansion hasn't come without its fair share of obstacles.

Reinier Koster (left) and Kris Samoy (right) at the Kuka Home showroom in Kapellen

Challenging times
Navigating through the challenging COVID period, Kuka Home faced significant hurdles. ‘During COVID we had a delay in container shipments, leading to extended delivery times. Luckily, the delivery times have gone back to normal, just as before the pandemic,' Reinier says. Kris adds: ‘Our first exhibition in Cologne in 2017 was pleasant, but soon after, the COVID outbreak limited our physical presence, hindering direct interactions with people.’ Reflecting on the company's trials, Reinier highlights the impact of external factors on their operations. Container prices surged in 2021, causing disruptions. However, in the latter part of the year, the prices plummeted, signalling a return to normalcy. Amidst these changes, management reforms spotlighted a renewed focus on the Benelux region.

Kuka Home at the Brussels Furniture Fair

Navigating comebacks and revival
‘At Brussels Furniture Fair we received a positive response, marking Kuka's resurgence in the Benelux,’ Kris affirms. Expansion in their fabric collection, especially in the Benelux, has been a strategic focus. ‘We can see a clear change in consumer preferences. Young people want to change their furniture more frequently nowadays and opt for fabric instead of leather,’ Reinier explains. The showroom now houses fresh collections and contemporary, electrically powered models, marking an exciting phase for the company.

As they embark on a comeback journey, Kris expressed a desire to win back customers and further amplify the company's growth. ‘Regaining lost ground is sometimes more challenging than achieving growth,’ he acknowledges.

One of Kuka's strengths lies in its ability to cater to diverse market demands. Customers' feedback from Brussels for example was channelled to Kuka's R&D department. ‘Sometimes, these models end up looking even better than they did at the fair. Despite being a significant player, being part of a large industry that generates over two billion, we operate like a small factory. This is Kuka's strength; it's an Asian company, yet we've built a platform that functions much like a European one. Customers can reorder on a per-piece basis. While we do need to fill containers, customers have the freedom to choose what they want. They can order full containers, or we offer a very efficient platform for individual piece delivery,’ Reinier shares.

The company aims to participate in upcoming furniture fairs imm Cologne, MOW Germany, CIFF Guangzhou, Brussels Furniture Fair and potentially host a house show in the spring. Kuka Home gears up for a promising year. ‘Our focus is on steady growth and a good turnover,’ Kris and Reinier affirm.

More information:
Kuka Home

Kris Samoy
[email protected]

Reinier Koster
[email protected]