Bespoke” /be – spoke/


–  (of goods, especially clothing) made to order –


I have been seeing the word bespoke used today more often than ever before, but is it really deserving? Once reserved for Saville Row suits, the word is now used for coffee (yes, I have had a café offer me ‘bespoke coffee’) websites, beer, and apparently every kitchen company in the UK.

I thought it would be worth exploring the true meaning of the word and what, in the world of furniture, it means to be truly bespoke.

When clients are buying a bespoke kitchen, they will often tell me the names of other companies they have been to who have somehow convinced them that they are a bespoke manufacturer of kitchens.
Most German kitchen producers will only make their units in certain sizes. They may be able to tweak them slightly but they are constrained when it comes to a lot of dimensions, shapes and layouts. This is why you will see a lot of these kitchens which contain random blocks of material in places that feel completely unnatural.


Above: What purpose does this piece of material serve??
Above: What purpose does this piece of material serve??


They have had to make the furniture fit into the existing space with what they have. This is like putting a square peg in a round hole. A truly bespoke manufacturer will be able to make the units any size or shape necessary in order to make units fit perfectly in the space.


“Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black” Henry Ford (1909)


Many kitchen retailers these days will convince a customer that they are buying a bespoke kitchen. Effectively the salesman has pushed the client down such a narrow path that because they have chosen the fridge or a different colour worktop from the one in the showroom display – it is bespoke. It is easier for companies to do this, rather than actually offer the client unlimited choice.


A lot of larger companies simply could not get to the size they are whilst still offering a bespoke product. There are too many variables and too many economies of scale that would be lost in order to make it profitable for them.


Using carcasses (interior of units) as an example; most companies will offer a client a choice of between 2 and 6 [at a stretch] options for the interiors of their units. This is because by keeping the choice so limited they benefit from the economies of scale of buying only a few different coloured boards, or stocking only a few colours of paint, or even cutting down on any mistakes made when someone only has to choose between a handful of colours. By contrast, we offer clients whatever they want. You want a carcass in the colour of your hair? Sure thing – we’ll go match it and have sprayed it in our booth in the factory. You want a carcass that matches the quirky MFC colour you’ve chosen for your doors? Of course, not a problem.


We offer clients whatever they want. Because we design and manufacture everything from our factory in Hertfordshire, we are able to provide the flexibility very few others can. If a client has come up with a door design they are desperate for in their kitchen we are able to make it for them. If a client has seen a quirky detail online that they want to incorporate into their bedroom furniture we’ll just have our CAD Technicians work out the details and have it designed.




When buying your next kitchen make sure you keep an eye out for this level of detail and if no-one else is willing to produce exactly what you want, why not give us a call?

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