V-ZUG's David Knight on relaunch in the UK market
We sat down with V-ZUG MD, David Knight, to find out why the company has its sights set on the UK again
In May 2018, premium appliance brand V-ZUG announced its decision to withdraw retail operations from the UK and Ireland.
The Swiss company cited the ‘increasingly negative’ prospects created by Brexit as its main reason for withdrawal, and noted that the UK’s drastic change in economic conditions was impacting on its business operations whilst ‘showing no signs of stopping.’
Fast forward two years, and the company is busy making plans to relaunch in the UK.
We sat down with V-ZUG MD, David Knight, to find out why the company has its sights set on the UK again, and what to expect in the future.
V-ZUG are a Swiss aspirational domestic appliances brand who have been manufacturing for 113 years. We are a 1.2 bn CHF business made up of six divisions including Appliances/Wire Processing/Medical Devices/Infection Control/Life Science Solutions/Technology and Infrastructure. We are a value centric business built on creativity/integrity/stability and sustainability.
The V stands for “Verzinkerei” to represent the company’s history as a galvanizing plant, and ZUG for the Swiss cantan region of Zug that the company has always been in. The company are the leading appliance manufacturer in Switzerland and within the past 10 years have started to export to other countries. This has developed particularly well in Asia, so is a model that we’re looking to replicate in other countries.
Q. What do V-ZUG do?
V-ZUG create naturally elegant premium kitchen and laundry appliances. In 2001 we were the first brand to introduce a Combi-Steam oven for domestic use we are also the only brand to use heat pump technology in our washing/drying and dishwashing products. The design team’s focus is on creating beautiful designs that make everyday life easier for the customer and everything that’s created is designed to create excitement and inspire the end-user. This translates through a range of cooking appliances such as combi-steam ovens, hobs, cooling appliances and laundry machines. In June V-ZUG are announcing a new range of products which we’re pleased to bring to the market in the UK.
Q. Why are V-ZUG relaunching back into the UK?
We left the market in 2018 and in hindsight that was an error, as this is a key market for our brand and there is so much possibility for growth in the UK. I came on board in December 2019 and my 5 year strategy has been agreed to allow me to build a sustainable business.
Q. What’s the focus of the company moving forwards?
V-ZUG’s focus is always to continue to excite and inspire. We continually investing in new products and in July/August we are showcasing the new Supreme premium cooling range plus we are adding new features on existing products and a variety of connectivity apps in June which we’ll be sharing shortly. In 2021 at Eurocucina we will launch a fabulous new design range and also share the new brand identity. We are proud to be Swiss made and we create product simple innovative solutions to provide lifelong enjoyment. In general, V-ZUG engages customers through experiencing the brand, so whilst we’ve been finding ways to do this virtually over the past few weeks, we are looking forward to sharing the true V-ZUG experience through the senses in the coming months. We do this through a variety of events and first-hand experiences with the brand – whether cooking experiences, visiting factories or shows – these all play a big part in bringing the brand’s personality to life.
In the UK our focus is to grow awareness of the brand and to establish a network of kitchen and project partners. Depending on the current situation, we are hoping to be able to continue our live events to showcase the brand across the summer and into the Autumn. We are creating bespoke material to share with partners to provide a clear understanding of who the brand is and what we offer.
Q. What’s the UK set up?
Alongside myself we have a service support network, marketing team and will soon be announcing a Projects role within the company. We are close to completing on a London office and within the next 12 months will be laying plans for a London “Zugorama” – a showroom where we can showcase our products and hold cooking events. We are looking to partner with a cooking school in central London in the coming months and to build our UK V-ZUG Ambassador networks. We already have a fantastic international renown Bartender, Joe Schofield who won the Bartender’s Bartender at the World’s Top 50 Bars in 2018 and is looking to open a bar in Manchester later this year. We will also be sharing some exciting news about chef ambassadors shortly.