You only had to be at this year’s Hearth and Home Show to see how healthy the solid fuel market continues to be.

This was our third year at the exhibition and we were fortunate enough to be included on the SFL stand who manufacture the FlueCube chimney cowl for us here in the UK. After 3 years we felt very much a part of the industry.

However, for any new company starting out, you can never underestimate how long it takes to get your product known. At least half the people I spoke to had never heard of the FlueCube.

Most of the products we buy in our everyday lives have either been established for years, or in the case of the new technology, have millions in marketing spend behind them so the challenge for any new business without millions to spend, is getting the product known. This demonstrates why the Hearth and Home Exhibition is so valuable.

The value for us is in talking to both new and existing customers directly. By engaging with them face to face, we can understand their particular situation and are able to explain how the FlueCube will solve the problems they are experiencing.

A traditional way to get these points across would be a sales demo but today it’s about education and engagement – on both sides. For example, we had an interesting conversation with a stove retailer and their installers, who were telling us that installing a stove and liner for one of their customers (at a cost of over £3000) turned out to be a nightmare, as the customer continually complained about the difficulty they were having in lighting their stove.

It was clear that there was a problem and it had got to the point where the customer was telling them to remove it all. For the stove company, it wasn’t just about the money it was also the damage to their reputation, which in the internet age of reviews has never been more important.

Of course there was nothing wrong with their installation, the problem was the chimney and surrounding area were causing atmospheric pressure issues that in turn affected the stove. Once they had the FlueCube installed, it solved the problem, but they admitted they had been stumped at one point and if it hadn’t been for a conversation with SLF they would not have found the solution in the FlueCube.

So why is the Hearth and Home exhibition so important to us? It gives us an opportunity to find these people, to network with our potential customers, retailers and installers and demonstrate to them what a great product the FlueCube really is. Every retailer, installer and happy customer who loves the product, is another voice spreading the word about FlueCube.

For us, that kind of word of mouth advertising is priceless.