Over the past few years there has been a lot of interest in the “reform market” (renovation) amongst industry people in Japan. This is due to the fact that homes built since the early 1990s are quite structurally sound, but they have a reached a point where they need upgrades. In the past, 20+ year old homes would almost automatically be torn down and rebuilt, but many consumers are now comfortable with the idea of renovating over rebuilding both to save money and to reduce waste.
For these reasons, I had wanted to take space at the Reform Industry Newspaper’s annual show at Big Sight and I got the opportunity to do so this year. BC Wood exhibited on behalf of the value-added industry and used sample products ranging from doors, mouldings, windows, kitchen cabinet doors, flooring, as well as WRC furniture and fence systems in our 3m x 6m space. I also made-up picture panels of renovation projects in Canada to cover the walls.
Visitors to our booth were very impressed with the pictures of “extreme renovation” projects that doubled the floor space on homes as well as how renovating a kitchen in Canada can completely change the character of the homes main living space. In talking to the reform specialists that came by, I learned that many of them want to use more natural materials on their projects to also offer a completely new level of comfort to their clients. This is in contrast to the image of “reform” in the past when it was mainly seen as replacing worn-out kitchens and flooring with new “material” or “equipment” with little consideration for space design. I think this shift provides Canadian building products a much greater opportunity in this market.
Going forward, I will follow-up with some of the key contacts I made at the show to do more research on how BC Wood can best approach this niche market. I believe that this will be a growing market segment and that we need a sound strategy in targeting it.