It’s been three years since Owain Harrison opened the first UK subsidiary office for Belgian luxury-level extraction specialist Novy – so how are things going?
“We are extremely pleased with our progress in the market, especially given that consumer confidence is not strong because of the Brexit confusion of the last three years,” he says.
Who are we? Owain Harrison, country manager UK
Where are we? Wilberforce House, Station Road, London, NW4 4QE
What do we do? Specialist manufacturer of premium extractors and combined induction hob-extraction systems
Sales stats Our dealer base is now more than 200, so we are reaching ever closer to our target of about 300,” says Harrison. “Annual turnover is now into seven figures”
Staffing levels Five in the UK
“Our dealer base is now more than 200, so we are ever closer to our target of about 300,” he continues. “Annual turnover is now into seven figures.”
In February, Alison Mackie joined from Miele as head of channel for kitchen retail, an appointment that Harrison says was made a year ahead of his business plan. “We’ve brought the right product to the market at the right time,” he says.
It’s well known that the popularity of open plan living has encouraged customers to invest in extraction, but Harrison says that they don’t always find the solutions on offer acceptable. “The number one reason why people don’t use extraction is noise and there’s a high level of dissatisfaction with how extractors perform,” he says. “Novy delivers an amazingly quiet level of performance.”
The brand’s ceiling hoods start at 34dB, which is quieter than the ambient noise of a library, and makes Novy the manufacturer of the quietest extraction models on the UK market, says Harrison.
Owen Harrison on extraction myths
Is it true that downdraft extractors are not as efficient as ceiling and chimney hoods? Ours are equally efficient, although our ceiling hoods have the edge on quietness
Is it true that recirculating hoods are not as efficient as ducted models? That used to be the case, but not any longer. Our Pure 3.0 recirculation technology uses a naturally coated monoblock filter to effectively purify the air with efficient grease filtration and elimination of even the strongest odours from the kitchen. This system also means that you naturally save on your energy bill thanks to full heat recovery, which is why it is increasingly being chosen by environmentally-conscious architects for energy-efficient new build homes
The growing UK interest in vented induction hobs is another driver. “We’re the only brand putting all of our focus into creating vented extraction that’s highly noise efficient and based on flexible height with our ventilation tower system,” he says. “We work
on the simple scientific premise that, because heat rises, it’s much easier to vent steam horizontally than it is vertically.”
Novy’s combined induction hob extraction units all feature hidden towers that rise up when activated to the same
height as the pan, making them “30% more efficient that surface-mounted extraction” claims Harrison. But why does a kitchen retailer need a specialist company like Novy? “A lot of them tell me what a hassle extraction is, so we make it easy for them,” he says. “Retailers want the best brand for their project – it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. High-end studios are interested in genuinely delivering solutions to meet their clients’ needs.”
Novy’s business is almost exclusively focussed on kitchen retailers, with sales just beginning to the premium house building sector. Other developments this year will see the brand’s first consumer advertising campaign in the UK and it has launched its Novy Connect app for the smart control of its hoods and hobs.
The company has also announced its partnership with Dutch gas hob brand Pitt, launching Novy Gas Pro, a collection of gas hobs designed to sit directly within any stone, granite, quartz or Corian work surface without requiring a frame. “We only manufacture hobs and extraction, and we’ve pioneered nearly every major development in extraction for 30 years, from perimeter extraction to ceiling hoods and now tower-based vented induction hobs,” says Harrison. And what does that mean for his target here? “Novy has an opportunity to get to around £5million sales in the UK,” he says.
What is your greatest challenge? “To continue the journey we’ve just begun”
What is your greatest opportunity? “To grow slowly and properly with the right clients – it would be easy to volumise but that’s not what Novy is, and we want to respect the brand position it has across Europe”
Strange but true “Given our heritage, we continue to support cycling in Belgium, and occasionally invite clients to join us in participating in the annual Tour of Flanders on the amateur day. It’s notoriously testing, with steep climbs and cobbled streets, but some people seem to enjoy it”