Was KBIS 2014 a success for Häfele America Co?

7 02 2014

Hafele America Co KBIS booth shot 2014 3It’s always tough to quantify the success of a trade show.  If we were selling Ginsu Knives or ShamWow’s we would just have to count boxes as we reload our Chevy van at the end of the show.

No, for us, sales come somewhere down the road as Designers find their way home and consider how to incorporate our product into their designs and projects.

One thing we can tell you for certain is that our booth was buzzing with interest in:

  • Electronic wardrobe lifts that finally make sensible use of dead space near tall ceilings.
  • LED lights that glow without discernible hot spots reflected on polished stone counter tops.
  • Countless numbers of sliding doors that never got in the way, even in a tight and hectic booth.
  • Decorative knobs and pulls for every style, finish, whim that also feel great to the touch.
  • Pantries and home storage solutions were a hit, and every drawer opened to reveal something magical.

We had conversations with old friends and made lots of new ones and even got to daydream a few solutions to problems that had nagged their clients for ages, which is always gratifying.

So yes, we are going to say it was a good show.  A very good show.


Here’s something completely different: A Foot-Powered Lathe

17 01 2014

Don’t you love it when form and function get all dressed up and go out for a night on the town?  The videos below are from a woodworker named Chris, who enjoys working with hand tools as well as building his own tools, including the foot-powered wood lathe show in the videos.  This isn’t the first lathe he’s built, but this one is something special. Chris also has a Facebook page where he updates his fans with his latest shop projects, and it has far too few “Likes”, so I think you know what to do: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chop-With-Chris/273622962671906


Is there a Designer in the Houzz?

1 10 2013

SEN Houzz seminarLast week a couple of us Häfeleians (or should that be Häfellas?) had the pleasure of participating in the SEN Design Group’s 2013 Fall Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

If you don’t already know this, the SEN Design Group is a buying group composed of 220+ Kitchen and Bath design professionals, and let me tell you, it shows.

As Häfele America’s Trainer, I attend a lot of trade meetings, conferences and shows, but what makes the simi-annual Sen Design Group conference so enjoyable for me is their laser-like focus on educating their members on emerging trends, designs, technologies and business practices.

At this conference I was invited to make a presentation on the latest innovations in LED lighting, and in the days that followed I sat with one of my coworkers as we me one-on-one with each member in attendance, which numbered 70+.  Normally at events like this I answer a lot of product questions about specific product features like weight capacities, available lengths, etc., but at this conference, time and again we were asked deeper questions about the value to the consumer of certain approaches to lighting and the impact on the home owner’s experience in the spaces that they are designing.

Lunch at Kramarczuk during SEN 2Among the highlights of the event for me was a presentation by the folks at Houzz.com.  Houzz is a Pinterest-like website that features photos posted by Designers and Architects of their own work, that users of the site can “like” and add to their personal “Ideabooks” for dreaming, planing and future discussion with their design professional.  We were excited to learn hat the most popular category on Houzz is home organization, and that their most “liked” photos are of kitchens that feature tricked-out pantries like the ones offered by Häfele.

Of course we found time to see a little of the city, including lunch at the world-famous Kramarczuk’s Sausage Company, and another crazy sausage spot down the street called New Bohemia Wurst and BierHaus where we enjoyed enough Polish food to hold us over through the end of the year.


Lunch at Kramarczuk during SEN Design Conference 2013










Nothing goes better with lunch than a nice smile.  Podziękowanie Kramarczuk panienka!

Hafele lunch at New Bohemia during SEN Design Conference 2013








Some of the wurst at New Bohemia.  On a side not, I don’t know why they call it wurst because I though it was the best. (sorry)



Lumens vs Lux: Demystified

3 09 2013

Hafele Loox LED Lux vs Lumens 3One question that we hear a lot when talking about lighting is “What is the difference between Lumen and Lux?”  That’s a great question, and it’s something you need to get your head around when selecting light fixtures.

The chart at right is an example of the information that you’ll find in our lighting catalog for each of our light fixtures.  All of the Häfele Loox LED lighting fixtures have a lumen rating that indicates the light output at the fixture, and then this chart explains the Lux levels that you can expect at various distances from the fixture. You’ll notice that the “warm” colored 3200 K fixture will produce a lux level of 70 lx at a distance of 500 mm, (roughly 19″).

One of the best ways to explain this concept is to think about your shower head.  All modern shower heads in the USA dispense a maximum of 2.5 gallons per minute. Lux vs Lumens Example: Shower  If you held a bucket up to the fixture so that you catch every drop of water, you’d collect 2.5 gallons in about a minute.  With a light fixture the lumen rating is a measurement of ALL of the light produced by the fixture.

Now, imagine moving that bucket to the floor of the shower. How much water would it collect in a minute?  The fixture is still dispensing 2.5 gallons, but because the bucket is further from the source any one spot below is going to receive less water.  As it relates to lighting, this measurement is called Lux.

So in a kitchen, if I know that I want 50 lx of light on my work surfaces, and that I have cabinets in one part of my kitchen that are 18″ above the counter, and 30″ over the counter in another area, I’m going to need two different fixtures with different light outputs, or I’m going to need more of them where the distance is greater.

Your Häfele rep who can walk you through this, or can even get you connected with a lighting designer who can help you achieve the results you desire.

Loox like Somebody’s in Love with the New 2020 Puck Light

30 08 2013

Daniel and Loox 20-20 PuckOne of the exciting new LED lights in the newly expanded Häfele Loox line is a puck light called simply, “2020″.  It’s powerful, generating up to 122 Lumens (We’ll have to talk about that later), but best of all it’s IP44 rated, meaning that it’s rated for use in areas where it may encounter splashes.

During our recent training Product Marketing Manager, Daniel Tripp was speaking so rhapsodical about the 2020 puck that when I looked over to the sales rep next to me  was inspired to complete this little doodle.

Yes, it’s that good.

Hafele Loox 2020 Puck Light

Talking Loox Lighting, AWFS, Winning Belt Sander Races and More!

29 08 2013

9 Straight Weeks at HotelsWell hello, stranger!  It’s so nice to be back in the office for a change.  I’ve been traveling the past few months with Daniel Tripp,  one of Häfele America’s Product Marketing Managers, and we’ve been conducting training for our sales representative on the exciting expansion of Häfele’s Loox lighting program.

I teased you before a recent trade show that we were showing several new LED lights, and this training covered the introduction of over 100 new SKUs of lighting products in the Loox product line!

2013 BSRA Champions, Häfele America Co's Daniel Tripp and Scott Markwood

2013 BSRA Champions, Häfele America Co’s Daniel Tripp and Scott Markwood (Click to Biggie-Size)

Our training schedule was interrupted by a week at the AWFS trade show in Las Vegas, where Daniel and I showed that we weren’t just a couple pretty faces when we won the BSRA National Belt Sanding Race Championship; sweeping both the Stock and the Modified classes.

It was also at the AWFS show that I was interviewed and had a chance to talk briefly about a few of the new Loox products and our new distribution points in the mid-west and Texas.

We’ll be sure to share some of these neat new products with you, but until then, if you have a Häfele rep, toss them a note and let them know you want to see what’s new.


Over 10,000 feet of Respect

17 06 2013

Markwood FlightI had an interesting experience last week.  After finding and getting shoe-horned into my tiny seat (23D, if I recall correctly) on USAir flight #3175 to Charlotte NC, I nestled in for the first leg of a long journey across the beautiful USA.  It was then that a 60-ish year-old fellow with closely-cropped silver hair took the seat directly in front of me.  He struck-up a casual conversation with the young woman in the window seat and because of the noise of the engines just outside the window I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation.

She looked to be about 20 or so, so he asked if she was still in school and she responded “No, but I get that question a lot.  Actually I’m 31 years old”.  We both did a double take, because she was blessed with very youthful appearance.  From there they exchanged first names and started to talk about their careers.  After she talked a bit about herself she asked him about himself and he said “Well I’m the Manager of the American Subsidiary of a foreign hardware company that serves the furniture industry”.  It was then that I realized that I was sitting behind one of my competitors!

The engines were really roaring as the plane lifted-off, but despite the warnings about securing loose articles I reached for my iPad case and removed one of my business cards.  My plan was that if “Chuck” started to say anything sensitive or proprietary that I would interrupt and hand him my card.  But then something really interesting happened… they talked about hobbies, walks around the neighborhood, kids and grand kids, church mission trips and wonderfully long and happy marriages.

I finally put my ear buds in, turned-on the Foo Fighters and spent some time reading an eBook I’d been wanting to spend some time with (“Ender’s Game” by Orsen Scott Card), and began to smile; secure in the knowledge that I am fortunate to work in an industry that is made-up of some genuinely nice people… even if from time-to-time they are also my competition.


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