International vocation, passion for high-level design and high-tech solutions of latest generation. This is the mix that has allowed Best to establish itself in the high-end positioning both in Italy and abroad
By Tiziana Corti
All the know-how of the hoods district at Fabriano (Ancona, Italy) added to the expertise of the Nortek American group, specialized in the field of indoor air treatment. These premises and a strong propensity to innovation have made of Best an exclusive and successful brand in the international sector of kitchen hoods, where the company stands out for offering a range of refined and efficient products.
To know the news that the society is going to launch on the market, we interviewed Rossano Bartolini, head of sales and marketing.
From Fabriano to the international markets, what are the factors that have enabled Best to expand to its present size?
Best was born in Fabriano in 1976 and soon stood out as an innovator, particularly in terms of aesthetics. After a few years, it launches on the market the first telescopic extractable hood in Europe and soon began to be characterized by its international vocation. In 1985, in fact, it opens the German office, and the following year it strengthened by acquiring Elektromec, a company specialized in the production of engines for hoods. In 1995, then, Best was acquired by the Nortek American group, thus becoming part of a big multinational organization.
How is the company organized today and in which areas does it operate?
Best currently includes Best Spa, the Italian headquarters which host the central offices and the production, Best Poland and Best Deutschland, the German trading company. These societies are part of the Nortek’s Air Quality and Home Solutions (AQH) division, which includes many companies operating in the field of domestic-residential ventilation and several leading brands in their respective markets, among which Best is at the top of the range, with products sold through dedicated channels and present in more than 50 countries in the world.
On what elements is the Best’s philosophy based?
At the basis of our policy there is always the multinational vision and an offer rigorously characterized by products with a refined design combined with excellent technologies and performance. All these elements are essential in our range and are adapted to any local needs. In Europe we have a unique offer, while in overseas markets, such as North America, the Middle East and the Pacific regions, we bring our business philosophy, adapting it to the requirements of individual markets, always keeping design as inevitable element of the offer.
et’s talk about products: what are the benefits of an high quality hood in the kitchen?
Unfortunately there is still little information on the potential of this device. Few, in fact, are aware of its precious role in the air purification and extraction in the kitchen. The most advanced models are equipped with the latest generation engines, highly effective and efficient, which considerably reduce energy consumption and noise.
How is your catalog divided and which is your products placement on the market?
Our catalog is divided into sections based on the installation of the hoods, ranging from the wall-mounted to the island ones, up to the built-in and ceiling models. It is a complete range and covers all possible solutions, from the simplest to the most complex. Obviously, each section includes numerous variations on the basis of peculiar characteristics and price positioning.
Would you like to describe some of the most representative hoods of the Best’s range?
Among the most representative products of our collection, I must absolutely mention Kite, a hood developed a few years ago, that remains a real best-seller for us. Although it has been widely imitated by our competitors, it is still one of our flagship model. It is a vertical hood that offers many cutting-edge technological elements. Another product that deserves a special mention is Upper, a hood that we launched at the last edition of Eurocucina and that features superior plusses compared to similar products that are on the market. Equipped with a brushless motor, it is an A+ class model, with Led lighting and new slider touch control. It also presents an innovative design, less square, with rounded corners. Finally, I would like to quote the family of ceiling hoods. The Best founder of this segment, of which we have been among the pioneers, is the Cirrus model.
Through what channels are your products distributed in Italy and abroad?
In Europe, the Middle East and in the Pacific areas we operate through a distributors’ network.
In North America, instead, we have partnerships with selected retailers, able to enhance the Best brand and the excellence of the Italian Inspired products within the AQH Group. In Italy, as well as local distributors, we have important partnerships with all the leading kitchen manufacturers and retailers.
According to your experience, what are the criteria followed by consumers in the purchase of a hood?
There is little information about the hood. And it is a problem. This appliance, in fact, is often provided with the kitchen and the consumer puts little attention, especially in the case of built-in and concealed hoods to which no one pay the right attention, with the risk of problems emerging at the time of use. Those, however, who choose personally the hood generally look first at the aesthetics even if recently people have begun to take into account other aspects such as functionality and energy saving, equating the hood with other appliances of which the house is equipped. For example, models with Led lighting start to be more appealing than the older products with halogen or incandescent light.
What are the trends characterizing the hood market in the world?
Undoubtedly the hood design is still a must in Europe. We Europeans in fact were precursors in the production of inclined models, made of glass, which in the Old Continent are very fashionable. Unlike in America and Australia, where they still have difficulty to establish because consumers are much more conservative in the design choice and pay more attention to the functionality and use of the models they buy.
As I said before, however, at a general level users begin to develop a greater environmental awareness, considering also the eco-sustainability of the hoods as they do with the other home appliances. This also thanks to the introduction of the energy labeling and Best has been among the first companies to adapt the catalog, offering already in 2015 30% of class A models, obtaining undoubtedly positive feedbacks.
And what about design?
In the choice of design, two clearly distinct trends are visible: on the one hand, we find the trend of furniture retailers, providing hidden hoods built-in into the kitchen cupboards. This kind of hood has been renewed over time with innovative solutions, modern materials and new aesthetic features that have regenerated the segment.
On the other hand, conversely, there is a great demand for very visible hoods with sophisticated design, among which the inclined hood prevails, although also other segments record a good trend, such as the lamp-hood – of which Best has a large collection – and the ceiling ones.
Do you want to anticipate some new projects of Best for the next year?
We are developing different projects, following various themes. The main idea is to dust off some hoods that we sold very much in the 90s and 2000, and renew them in a modern way, such it happened in the automotive sector, for example with Fiat Cinquecento.
In some cases we called the same designers who had worked for us in those years, who responded enthusiastically to our proposal and started working immediately to renew the old models, sometimes with materials come into use later, and providing them with all modern technologies.
Another issue to which we want to work is connectivity, now widespread. Again, however, we would like to focus on something innovative like accessory functions that allow to concretely simplify the life of those who live the kitchen. In particular, while they are cooking, the hood can work as an interface both with the other rooms and with the outdoor.
Another trend that we are developing is the expansion of our range with other products that are associated with the treatment of the air, such as air purifiers. After all, we are part of a group with a great expertise and leadership in ventilation and to extend our business to other devices for the air treatment is the most natural evolution for us.