Courting Builders in the Kitchen
Connected Design: Your Signature Kitchen Suite concept is an interesting one. Did it stem from inside LG, around the time the company started designing “smart” appliances? Talk a little about its origins. And tell us about the whole luxury kitchen play – the catering to homeowners you are calling “Technicureans,” who would find appeal in things like built-in sous vide capability, etc.
Zach Elkin: We created Signature Kitchen Suite specifically for increasingly discerning consumers who have upped their culinary expectations to include precise prep and flexible cooking experiences, along with their desire for leading-edge design.
These homeowners are far more tech-focused than previous generations — a trend that extends to kitchen design and appliance functionality like never before. We’re embracing this new generation of forward-thinking cooks called “Technicureans™” who are combining their passion for food with their appreciation for innovation. We are bringing them luxury built-in appliances with leading-edge technology that provide more flexibility to prepare food in the best possible way, demonstrating respect for the food at every level. Delivering performance, design and precision, we honor the ones who are producing it, the ones preparing it, and most of all, the ones lucky enough to be enjoying it. We landed on this mission of staying “True to Food,” which makes our proposition unique.
Good food has a particular journey to the plate. The soil and the sea, the plant and the animal, the farmer, the fisherman, the butcher and the baker have all played their part. And each deserves the utmost respect. We believe the last portion of the path to your table calls for the same consideration. In offering versatile, high-precision kitchen appliances like Signature Kitchen Suite, we are proud to be a part of that final step. And we take it very seriously.
It’s why we have created the only pro range on the market with built-in sous vide, allowing you to prepare a steak with the perfect doneness, edge-to-edge, every time. It’s the reason we offer so many methods of cooking on a pro-style range — sous vide, induction, gas, griddle, true convection and steam. Keeping local produce as close as possible to the way it was picked is the ultimate show of responsibility and respect — it deserves a preservation system grounded on leading innovation and purposeful design. Ultimately, our goal is to bring evolving consumers luxurious yet versatile, high-precision appliances that provide more flexibility in food preparation while also demonstrating respect for the food at every level.
LG has experience in working with consumer technology dealers and appliance dealers, but we believe this is the company’s first formal outreach into the builder community. Can you talk about how LG has had to tailor its approach to reach such a different category for it as builders?
Actually, LG already has extensive experience working with architects, designers and builders through our U.S. commercial air conditioning, LED lighting and solar business areas. Now we’re launching LG for Builders to bring the company’s home appliance innovations and quality directly to the professional builder and remodeler communities with the use of inventive tools and technology.
This new platform was created with transparency at the forefront – making sure accurate product information is easily available and customizable to ensure the best possible appliances for professionals. With styles that fit any layout and technology built to last, builders and designers can find the appliances they need to complete their project with simplicity and ease.
LG for Builders features four brand portfolios, including Signature Kitchen Suite, that bring builders’ visions to life. From an LG perspective, it starts at conception, with the team and early stages of product development. Signature Kitchen Suite is the perfect example. We first hired the best minds in the industry, each having years of experience and leadership in their discipline. Once staffed, the first step was to give serious thought to what has been missing in the market. The team put that experience to work correcting it with innovative thinking, thoughtful design and leading-edge technologies that fulfill a cook’s actual needs.
If you had to make an “elevator pitch” to builders about LG for Builders, what would it be? What, in a nutshell, are you offering them and why should they be enthusiastic about it as a business model? How are you working with the technology integrator community to make this play with builders?
In a nutshell, LG has the advantage of offering the brands buyers want. In addition to a new luxury line with Signature Kitchen Suite, LG for Builders provides access to the core LG home appliance brand and the step-up LG STUDIO and LG SIGNATURE nameplates. Together, our four brands bring builders’ visions to life with designs for every buyer and project need imaginable, offering different styles for every home, budget and life-stage. Our premium quality products support the full spectrum of builder needs, from starter homes, condos and apartments to high-end luxury dwellings. With LG, builders are choosing reliability, advanced smart technology and premium design – not to mention experienced customer services fit for their professional needs.
LG is also a pioneer in the smart home industry. LG has the most Wi-Fi-enabled appliances on the market. And with our smart home portfolio and our “open platforms-open partnerships-open connectivity” strategy, LG is well-positioned to help builders understand the integration of smart home technologies into their projects.
Are there different “tiers” of involvement for builders, and if so, how is the program tiered?
Rather than using standard programs, we customize our programs based on the homebuilders’ requirements and fit with our LG portfolio.
What has the uptake been like, thus far? What are your next moves to make builders aware of your division?
The builder community has been extremely receptive to our offerings. There’s especially been a great deal of excitement around Signature Kitchen Suite thanks in part to first-to-market innovations like the 48-inch Dual-Fuel Pro Range with built-in sous vide functionality. In fact, Signature Kitchen Suite is winning accolades like the Red Dot awards [design honors]. Two Signature Kitchen Suite products in particular – the 48-inch Dual-Fuel Pro Range with sous vide and 36-inch Dual-Fuel Pro Range with chromium griddle – were selected from among 6,300 innovations submitted. Three other Signature Kitchen Suite appliances also captured Red Dot awards: our 36-inch Built-In French Door Refrigerator with its convertible middle drawer that can be set to five different temperatures modes; the largest capacity 30-inch Integrated Column Refrigerator; and the 18-inch Integrated Column Freezer.
We have taken a very active leadership position within the industry, with long-standing relationships with trade organizations such as the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) and NKBA (National Kitchen & Bath Association), among others. We’ve also had a strong tradeshow presence at events like KBIS and PCBC to help us broaden brand awareness, allowing the professional community to engage with our products and ask questions.
And this fall, we plan to open an exclusive new experience and design center where builders, designers and influencers will be able to experience the entire portfolio.