Innovation, high standards and customer care are the hallmarks of Kichler Lighting and have been since its start during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Today, the business occupies a 640,000-square-foot building in Independence, Ohio, which is quite an upgrade from its humble beginning in the former Boulton Carbon Co. in 1938.
Kichler Lighting garnered $450 million in revenue in 2017 and attributes its success to product design, safety and performance. The company boasts more than 3,000 on-trend products—including lighting, landscape lighting and ceiling fans that span styles and price points.
Product innovation has consistently fueled the company’s growth starting with the first major product line expansion—landscape lighting—in 1991. This was followed by the introduction of Xenon under-cabinet lighting that became an industry standard in 1997. Ten years later, the company debuted the first white LED light source in the form of a landscape accent light; then a year later, it entered the ceiling fan business.
The company’s products are tested beyond what is required to achieve the “Kichler Standard.” For example, the outdoor and landscape fixtures go through a series of tests to ensure that they will stand up to outdoor demands. The company also puts integrated LED fixtures through a series of tests to understand delivered lumens, LED life and compatibility with varying dimmers. Individual component testing is conducted in the company’s on-site labs, which are certified by a third party. Depending on the product application, items are tested for water integration, salt spray, heat, cold and lightning strikes.
Kichler, once a privately held company, became part of the Masco Corp., a publicly-traded company, last year after a $550 million acquisition.
Staying Ahead of Trends
The company’s key to growth and distinguishing itself in a very competitive and fast-changing lighting market is identifying trends. “We look at trends in product styles, technology, advancements in building processes, materials, regulations and energy programs, as well as construction trends in labor, building types, top markets and more,” said Jim Jones, vice president of dealer sales at Kichler. “Partnering with distributors to find solutions for end-consumer needs has also led to positive results.”
New trends mix fashion and function, such as buildings with high ceilings that require tall fixtures and single-story foyers that require alternatives to fixtures historically designed for two-story spaces. LED fixtures with gold, black and mixed finishes are another hot trend right now as are fixtures inspired by barn lights and industrial lights that are designed to project light downward to reduce light pollution.
Two of the company’s newest products include 8T LED tape light and a 12V LED flood light with variable lumen output (VLO).
The 8T Series of commercial-grade LED tape light is designed to integrate with Kichler’s patent-pending connector accessory system to simplify and speed up even the most complicated tape light design installations. The tape features a double layer of copper that works together to support increased run lengths with less voltage drop. Connections are also simplified as the eight unique connector accessories easily snap into place and are designed to take the guesswork out of tape polarity.
The introduction of the 12V LED VLO flood light expands the company’s professional landscape lighting offerings. It features Kichler VLO technology, now in a low-voltage flood. Three-lumen output choices are offered from a single fixture and can be adjusted electronically with a switching magnet. The 12V LED flood light with VLO offers custom optics with enhanced beam spread, one of the widest available in the professional low-voltage integrated category. It also features center-to-edge reflector optics that are engineered to deliver the precise amount of light evenly across applications at each lumen output level.
The most successful distributor relationships position Kichler Lighting products to walk-in customers. Distributors located in active residential markets can offer Kichler lighting products and fans to builders—both residential and light commercial—who are looking for breadth and upgraded style.
The company’s distribution centers in Cleveland, Las Vegas and Atlanta ensure timely product delivery; most orders go out within 48 hours. Orders ship with 99.85% accuracy and a more than 95% fill rate.
Advanced Product Support
Kichler Lighting has an Advanced Product Support (APS) team that helps ensure project success. The APS assists showroom and wholesale partners with free layout design services for interior, exterior, commercial and residential spaces. The team also offers technical guidance for the company’s entire product line to help distributors increase sales. These experts can also help answer any building code and regulatory questions.
An in-house director of industry trends and training, who has been with the company for more than 45 years, hosts educational programs that are tailored to meet distributors’ needs. Distributors and their contractor customers can visit Kichler Lighting’s Cleveland-area headquarters for custom training.
As a newer IMARK preferred supplier, Kichler Lighting looks forward to getting to know the membership and embracing new opportunities.
“IMARK will serve as a great partner in connecting Kichler Lighting with the right distributors who have had success with like decorative and systems products and would welcome utilizing Kichler as an IMARK partner,” said Jones. “IMARK will strengthen our showroom relationships as well since a number of them also have electrical distributor counters. We look forward to being able to build stronger partnerships with members to grow beyond residential opportunities.”
For more information, visit kichler.com.