Design Firm Enlightens Clients Through Its Offerings

by WOHe

Design Firm Enlightens Clients Through Its
Offerings

By John Filippelli


CINCINNATI, OHMost designers strive to satisfy their clients, but
Kimball Derrick, CKD, wants more. He wants to enlighten them. And,
as owner and president of The Kitchen Design Studio, based here, he
has the ideal stage to achieve this, he believes.

Acting as a conduit in the design process, Derrick uses his
diverse background which encompasses design, manufacturing,
woodworking and marketing  to educate his clients and provide
the kind of service necessary to make the remodeling process as
painless as possible.

“I see [the remodeling process] as a stressful one, so we try to
alleviate some of that stress. We provide comfort and reassurance,
as well as a certain knowledge that we understand the quality
levels and follow-through that clients expect,” he says.

Derrick, who was raised around woodworking and remodeling,
established a custom cabinet manufacturing company some 15 years
before starting The Kitchen Design Studio. “When I found cabinet
manufacturing and kitchen and bath design, it brought together
seemingly unrelated aspects of my career development and allowed
for a creative outlet and comfortable, natural direction for
me.”

He adds, “The fact that we have a direct relationship to our
manufacturing operation really makes
us unique.”

Indeed, Derrick is also owner and president of K.D. and Steele
Cabinetry, The Kitchen Design Studio’s manufacturing arm based in
nearby Blanchester, OH.

However, Derrick doesn’t see this as a product business. “I see
this as a service business,” he stresses. “As a part of that
service, you select and specify product for the customer. And,
while there are a lot of differences in the products, without the
service portion of it, I don’t think a kitchen and bath dealership
has a leg to stand on.”

That is not to say that product isn’t important to Derrick.
“Whether we are selling a full-custom application or semi-custom,
we look for products that represent quality, so we can maintain
that in the company,” he stresses.

While Derrick’s firm is located in a geographic area that is
conservative and tends toward traditional design, he has been
fortunate to have the opportunity to work on a host of eclectic
designs, he notes, including a 35,000-sq.-ft. home with 12
bathrooms, a live kitchen display and an ultra high-end kitchen
expansion.

So what is his secret?

“I can’t say strongly enough how important it is to listen to
clients with all of your senses. Look and see what they like in
their house now, what they don’t like and find out what they like
in other work, such as in magazines. Listen to how they want their
lifestyles to change.”

Showroom assets
Citing his involvement with the Bath and Kitchen Buying Group as a
main influence in his decision to open a showroom, Derrick
celebrated his showroom’s one-year anniversary in September of
2002.

Serving a dual purpose, The Kitchen Design Studio showroom
offers Derrick an opportunity to market his custom products, while
also enhancing his ability to meet with clients in an environment
conducive to making the sale.

Finding the right showroom, however, took time. “I went and
looked at a lot of showrooms for a couple of years prior to opening
ours. I noticed that the showrooms I liked were not filled with
little six- or eight-foot vignettes, but were full-kitchen
displays,” he explains.

With this realization, Derrick chose to install two live kitchen
displays, one of which acts as the staff’s break kitchen. “All of
our kitchens, including our live and our semi-custom Medallion
kitchen, are full-size kitchens,” he points out.

The live kitchen display also features a walnut armoire with an
integrated 700 series Sub-Zero refrigeration unit just another way
Derrick and his staff show off their custom capabilities, he
notes.

Giving the showroom a “wow” factor, the live kitchen is rich in
color and a variety of finishes, he continues. “It’s been great
working out of this type of space since I’ve had the opportunity to
put some of our custom cabinetry on the showroom floor and present
it the way in which I truly want,” he says.

Derrick also notes that the showroom’s master bath is live as
well, featuring a shower system from Ondine and a heated floor.

The company carries products from Sub-Zero, Wolf, Faber,
Independent, Franke and KitchenAid, as well as PyroLave, a glazed
lava stone manufacturer.

“We’ll do metals, stone, wood and all countertop materials. We
also offer some plumbing fixtures,” he explains.

Direct marketing
According to Derrick, the most successful promotion tactic is
“old-fashioned direct marketing.” But, the company also promotes
itself through a variety of other avenues, including advertising
and submitting project materials to design-oriented magazines.
Special events are also held at the showroom, including luncheons
for architects and interior designers, use-and-care events and
cooking demonstrations.

“We want to do more of that and more educational pieces, as well
and, thankfully, we now have a facility that can handle it.”
In the end, it is this opportunity to enlighten his clients that
Derrick relishes most.

However, Derrick still believes that everything he does from
education to selling to design still has to begin with
service.
“It’s so important to care that the clients get what they’re
looking forand more. In fact, you should care about it as if it was
your own home and family that’s making the change. That’s the type
of service that we look to foster here.”

The Kitchen Design Studio

Location: 10816 Millington Court, Cincinnati, OH
Principals: Kimball Derrick, CKD, president, The Kitchen Design
Studio and K.D. and Steele Cabinetry
Showroom:
One: 3,500 square feet
Hours of Operation:
Mon. – Fri., 9 – 5; Evenings and Saturdays by appointment.
Number of Employees: Showroom, nine; Manufacturing plant, 21
Major Product Lines:
K.D. and Steele cabinetry (custom); Bentwood Kitchens (custom);
Medallion Cabinetry, Inc.; Hillcraft Ltd.; UltraCraft Cabinetry;
Showplace Wood Products; Sub-Zero Freezer Co.; Wolf Appliance Co.;
ASKO; Fisher & Paykel; KitchenAid; Scotsman; Franke Consumer
Products, Inc.; Whitehaus Collection; KWC Faucets; Rohl LLC.
Specialties:
Pigmented, lightweight concrete countertops from Geocrete by Cheng
Design and PyroLave, enameled lava stone from France
Design Software:
20-20 Technologies, CabinetWare, AutoCAD

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