Throughout the Covid-19 lockdown, one Greater London business has seen a huge surge in enthusiasm for DIY projects.
DK Tools manufactures and distributes hand tools and power tools for the home, garage and garden under the Amtech name, selling to both wholesale and retail trade customers via a dedicated business-to-business (B2B) web portal.
A key focus is not just on selling, but also educating people about the skills they need to use the tools properly, and its dedicated consumer website features both a detailed Q&A and personalised video tutorials to demonstrate how some products are used.
Ishan Kalra, director, explained: “According to the British Home Enhancement Association (BHETA), 58% of UK households admit to not loving the home they live in, so the recent lockdown essentially created an opportunity in the DIY sector, as hardware stores remained open, due to the needs-based nature of our industry. Our two top selling product categories during this period were decorating and gardening.”
Ricky Johal, head of marketing, expanded further: “We are aware of a generational skills gap in DIY and have been developing online tutorials to assist the younger consumers. We saw a significant increase in watch time on our YouTube channel, showing the value our customers see in these videos.”
The company has also been making a major push within the B2B market, with a new campaign over the past three months designed to encourage new stockists to come on board. “This has been very successful and we’ve seen a huge interest in potential new stockists registering. We’ve also ramped up our email communications by creating a weekly newsletter to keep our customers informed about the latest trends, products and industry insights,” continued Johal.
The increased interest from the B2B market also comes off the back of a relatively recent rebranding, which has seen the adoption of a bold red and yellow colour palette, to create impact on the shelf, as well as a point of differentiation for younger shoppers.
Another boost for its continued growth is the fact that DK Tools was able to keep its warehouses operating and customers supplied throughout the lockdown period.
The company employs between 30-50 staff depending on the demand in busy periods. During the pandemic, it operated with a skeleton staff and practiced social distancing by varying shift patterns to keep their workers safe, while still enabling them to select stock and meet demand.
Another major change that has recently taken place is a move to Barclays, which now handles all its day-to-day banking facilities and provides wider support, including with regard to issues such as succession planning and financing.
Nihara Inoon, finance director, commented: “When we were looking at new banking partners it was the customer relationship team and the overall service offering that made the difference. As an SME and a family business, we have a very down to earth approach and that is something our customers have really valued over the past 30 years.
“Having that personalised service is key, we always prefer to work with people who are approachable, it has been refreshing to see such a responsive customer service and it’s nice to know that the key contacts are just a call away. It’s also about the value-add they bring; Darren Mott was instrumental during the selection process, as he demonstrated real commitment and the senior management team feels very confident of growing with Barclays for the future.”
The move to Barclays took place in the first quarter of 2020, with the final paperwork put in place just before lockdown.
Darren Mott, Barclays’ relationship director, said: “We have a huge presence in the wholesale and retail sectors, which is where DK Tools sits; and we were pleased to be able to offer not just banking but also (when allowed) the opportunity to become involved in our events and networking opportunities.
“We are very pleased to be working together with the team and look forward to joining them on the journey towards increased success.”
Head of marketing
Barclays Bank PLC is registered in England (Company No. 1026167) with its registered office at 1 Churchill Place, London E14 5HP. Barclays Bank PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority, and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Register No. 122702) and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Barclays is a trading name and trademark of Barclays PLC and its subsidiaries.