Caption: Nolte Küchen classic style kitchen design, Abu Dhabi Showroom.
The General Manager of Universal Trading Company, Ziad Abdel Nour, talks about high-profile projects, emerging trends, and the Nolte Küchen sub-brand, nolteneo.
By Roma Arora
How has the year been so far in terms of business and performance for the Universal Trading Company?
Universal Trading has had an exceptionally strong year. Particularly in our projects business, where we have secured prestigious projects and will install over 2,700 project kitchens with Nolte Küchen this year alone. We have also installed over 5000 appliances for projects as well with premium brands AEG, Ignis and TurboAir.
Beyond our sales performance, we are also proud of the efforts we’ve put in to expand our business over the last few years through strategic marketing. This year, we saw the benefits of all those efforts. Our brand recognition on social platforms has grown exponentially. We have enjoyed recognition from media partners and from the engagement our brand ambassadors have brought us.
Can you tell us about some of your recent high-profile projects?
We continue to work with some of the UAE’s best developers. Last year we secured one of our most prestigious projects to date, the Harmony Villas at Tilal Al Ghaf by Majid Al Futtaim. Installation for that project began this year.
This year we will complete installation for over 100 kitchens at the Qaryat Al Hidd Development at Saadiyat Island and over 1,100 kitchens with Meydan for two different developments. One of those developments is the Canal Front Residences overlooking the beautiful Dubai Water Canal. It is poised to be a highly-sought after community. Together with Nolte Küchen, we’ve created amazing designs for each of these projects.
When working with developers, how do you support them?
We support developers with these large projects from the conception stage all the way through to installation.
We don’t just sell kitchens, wardrobes and vanities in bulk, we work together with developers and designers taking on a consultant role helping them select the perfect designs, storage solutions, finishes and product ranges to make special and perfect selections.
From our offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, we have a team of 120 people who work collectively to make large projects happen and work with our in-house designers to also make each retail customer’s experience seamless.
What are some emerging trends in the industry?
We have been fortunate to work with great designers both in our own showrooms and for development projects. This has given us a front seat to what designers are looking for and what is enticing our retail customers.
Open floor plan designs, neutral tones and kitchens with multi-functional elements are continued trends.
However, this year we’ve also seen a lot more color be incorporated into home design spaces than in the last few years. Colors like green, gold and red are used for partial designs or accent pieces in a fresh new way that brightens up the home and creates character.
Can you tell us more about your brand ambassador Nisrine Moghraby, author and founder of Harfnoon Design Studio? How has your partnership engaged the online audience?
We know that influencers and brand ambassadors are an important factor in helping us increase our brand recognition and connecting us to bigger audiences. Working with Nisrine has been the perfect partnership because as a designer, she knows exactly how to create beautiful spaces. As an influencer and media personality, she knows her audience and understands how to connect with them in a meaningful way, easily integrating our brand into her content. It’s been such a great journey to watch her design her own Nolte kitchen. It really gives the audience an in-depth look into the full process from design to installation. When we are able to convert those audience members into customers, they come into our showrooms knowing what to expect and also having some design tips on hand from the content Nisrine has produced. It really has been a great partnership for us.
Nisrine Moghraby: “Working with Universal Trading has been a fun partnership for me. We have worked together to create great digital content and engaging events that really connect with our audiences in a new way. When I started creating the layout for my own kitchen, the designers in the showroom were incredibly helpful and I was able to bring to life my ideas with all the elements Nolte Küchen has to offer. Now that my kitchen is finished, it really is a dream space that my family and I will be able to create memories together for years to come.”
What has been challenging for you this year?
We all know that business in the UAE has exploded in the last few years. This has brought new competitors to the market which is great because that means consumers have a lot of options to choose from. However, it can be confusing for consumers to navigate the differences in price, product quality, selection range, manufacturing location, design possibilities and installation timelines.
We believe our premium product quality, competitive pricing and excellent service and installation puts us ahead of competitors. Our kitchen and home appliance brands are premium quality, made in Europe with high standards for sustainability and production.
Since UTC is the exclusive distributor of Nolte Küchen in the UAE, tell us more about the most recent Nolte sub-brand, nolteneo.
nolteneo is Nolte Küchen’s luxury range offering highest quality materials, fronts, finishes and design possibilities. For customers who want a more bespoke aesthetic and want to take modern design to the next level, nolteneo is the right choice. With options like mirrored door fronts and interior lighting in each drawer box, nolteneo gives customers the German quality product that Nolte is known for without compromising on unique elements.
What brand-new offerings can we anticipate from UTC in the wardrobes segment and product category?
We’re excited to announce our partnership with Italian wardrobe brand Giessegi. This partnership will enable us to create beautiful custom-made wardrobe solutions for projects. Like the other brands we work with, Giessegi is a European company making products with the highest standards for quality and sustainability.
We will be able to offer versatile solutions and a wide range of finishes and components for wardrobes and walk-in wardrobes. It is an exciting expansion for us to offer this new category for projects and with a product and brand that is truly a luxury offering.
In what direction do you see the industry moving? Where do you see Universal Trading Company in the next few years?
We know that the industry in the UAE will continue to grow. As more people move to the region, the need for home design solutions and home appliances with exceptional quality will be in high demand.
Developers continue to build massive mega developments across the UAE. We know that they understand the need for premium kitchens and appliances while also working with companies who are able to help them be cost-efficient. We’re proud that we’ve been the leading company to work with developers in this way and we’re looking forward to bigger projects in the coming years.