Gaggenau, the manufacturer of modern-day high-end home appliances ranging from wine climate cabinets to steam ovens and induction cooktops, began as a metalworks foundry in the Black Forest region of Germany in 1683. Three centuries, one ocean and an entire continent later, the American headquarters of the global company has now introduced an exclusive membership program called Club 1683, a moniker that honors both the brand’s rich history and the trade clientele that has bolstered its growth.
“Gaggenau appliances have been offered in the United States since the 1980s, with a focus on developing the brand with consumers, through appliance dealers,” says sales and marketing director Heather Ryan. “We realized that we needed to talk directly to those people influencing our business the most: the design community.” Considering how complicated new-build kitchens can be, from installation to ventilation—never mind the endless aesthetic choices and constant upgrades to smart tech—Gaggenau recognized the importance of connecting with decorators, architects and contractors. Hence, the club initiative, which offers personalized support, promotional opportunities and financial incentives to select specifiers who must meet certain qualifications to participate.
Launched in late January 2021, the program currently has 70 members. The goal is no more than 750 total. “Because we are a comparatively small company and provide such a high-touch level of service, we have to maintain a degree of exclusivity,” explains Ryan. There is no membership fee, but Club 1683 partners preferably make an annual purchase of $50,000 in Gaggenau products—the equivalent of at least eight individual appliances—and typically work with the brand on three to five residential projects per year (single homes as opposed to multiunit or hospitality properties), each with a kitchen renovation budget of around $150,000. “The program is just in the U.S. market at this point, and our target is to have 500 to 600 active members by 2026,” she says.
In return for their loyalty, members receive a plethora of benefits. Perhaps most practically impactful is the one-on-one relationship with a designated concierge, who, acting as their “Gaggenau Go-To,” can address any query about products and planning to make specifying hassle-free. The concierge then liaises post-sale with the dealer best suited to the project (according to experience level and proximity) to oversee delivery and installation. Afterward—or at any time—the concierge is available for support. “We have your back,” says Ryan.
Club 1683 gives plenty of front-facing support, too: Once accepted into the program, members submit biographical information and visual assets that are then crafted into publicity materials to be pitched for media coverage. To boost their professional profile and networking opportunities, the program offers invitation-only access to private functions, product development charrettes and training sessions, plus international trade fairs like Maison&Objet and EuroCucina.
Partners may have the option to not only attend industry events but participate as panelists and thought leaders as well. “Now that we’re seeing some relief from pandemic restrictions, we’ll bring more events to the community,” says Ryan, citing VIP experiences with Michelin-starred chefs as one possibility. (Gaggenau’s short film series A Taste for Design—which marries haute cuisine with high-end kitchens and culinary stars like Éric Ripert, Emma Bengtsson, Andrew Zimmern and Curtis Duffy—provides a sneak peek at such future festivities.) Another cherry on top: 10 club members’ projects will be spotlighted in Gaggenau’s annual digital and print lookbook of aspirational spaces, Art of the Kitchen.
And because cost is a concern for even the most high-net-worth homeowners, Club 1683 partners also enjoy some straightforward monetary rewards, redeemable upon proof of purchase via the program’s dashboard portal and then transferrable to their account. “We want designers to understand the quality of Gaggenau appliances firsthand in order to recommend them to their customers, so members can apply exclusive discounts not just to their clients’ kitchen upgrades but to their own,” says Ryan.
The program is still in the early stages, but feedback has been positive. “Members appreciate that we’re helping them market themselves,” she explains. “And most critical, of course, has been all the product information we supply.” So if luxury kitchens make up a significant part of your portfolio, what are you waiting for? Join the club!
This story is a paid promotion and was created in partnership with Gaggenau.
Homepage photo: A kitchen featuring the Vario downdraft and cooktop from Gaggenau | Courtesy of Gaggenau