Baars & Bloemhoff transformed from 'plate supplier' to a design hotspot. The company, established in the 1970s, was formerly known as ‘inspiring partner in plate/panel material’. Now the company’s mission is to be a ‘Place for ideas’.
In 2010 the construction sector had to deal with an economic decline. Baars & Bloemhoff was businesswise still doing fine in 2012, but the products weren’t really fancy. It was time for change. They figured out it was important to create more impact earlier in the process. And to be able to inspire architects instead of their solely focus on construction workers. To achieve this goal Baars & Bloemhoff organized an event for architects that year. They invited two big inspirators in durability, which resulted in an attendance of 150 architects.
Introducing the webshop
The company also updated their website to be able to inspire architects and designers. Besides the inspirational website, they decided it was time for a webshop. That wasn’t because of direct demand in the market, but they knew this could become very important in the near future. So they realized two platforms: a website for inspiration and a webshop.
Besides inspiring architects in the online world, Baars & Bloemhoff wanted to be able to meet and greet architects more often. The existing showroom in Amsterdam wasn’t fit for purpose. It was time for something totally new.
In January 2015 they opened their first ‘Broeinest’ in Eindhoven. A locating which was co-created together with designers and architects. At this location people could get inspired with a variety of materials in different ways. To do so, they invited partners in different materials to join their design hotspot. ‘Broeinest’ became a place to learn, meet and work. At the moment there are weekly events for different audiences. After the successful introduction of the concept in Eindhoven, Baars & Bloemhoff opened a second location in February 2016 in Rotterdam. Amsterdam will soon have it’s own ‘Broeinest’. In Nieuwegein a training center is in the making to educate builders in processing their materials.
To inspire architects and designers Baars & Bloemhoff created a so called ‘Transitions’ project, in which they challenged designers to transform their broad assortment of materials into design objects. Stretching the boundaries of the different materials and visualizing their opportunities is the main focus of the project. The designers functioned as ambassadors and spread the story of the company at the Dutch Design Week and the Salone del Mobile in Milan. This special project produced great content and PR, in The Netherlands and abroad.
Transformation with business impact
In 2017 they integrated the two online platforms into one, which increased their online sales volume up until 30% of their total sales. (While the benchmark is about 2-5%). With their transformation the company has realized 40 per cent sales growth and doubled her profit.
They were able to make the shift from B2B and B2C, to B2All!