Inspired by a letter from Kitchen Kompact rep Leon Raider expressing the need for a dealer association, a small group of kitchen dealers met in 1963 near Philadelphia, contributed $463, and formed the American Institute of Kitchen Dealers (AIKD). Dues were set at $10 a month and H. Dean Church of Custom Kitchens by Church, Swarthmore, Pa., was elected the first president.
The group set goals 50 years ago that are still the cornerstone of the association today, including “Education, Standards and Advertising and Public Relations.”
Robert Wieland, an early founder of AIKD, became the first CKD after the Association spent several years developing and applying for a patent on the term “Certified Kitchen Designer.”
The goal was to encourage people to make kitchen design a career and ensure that, a “kitchen specialist is a valued and recognized profession.”
In keeping with its goal of furthering industry education, AIKD signed an agreement with the University of Illinois Small Homes Council to develop the first five Kitchen Industry Technical Manuals. These became the basis of our certification program.
The first AIKD Kitchen Show drew approximately 24 exhibitors and 250 attendees to Philadelphia in 1964. In 1973, show management was turned over to the trade show division of Gralla Publications, which at the time, published Kitchen & Bath Business magazine. The AIKD Kitchen Show joined with Gralla’s Apartment Builder/Developer Conference and Exposition and became the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show and the National Kitchen and Bath Conference.
In 1981, the AIKD Kitchen Show changed its name to the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS). That show, initially a very small gathering, has grown to be the centerpiece of North America’s kitchen and bath industry. Since 2014, the show has been held in conjunction with the International Builders’ Show (IBS), sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Other construction-related trade shows are held at the same time, and the coordinated events are called Design & Construction Week. DCW brings together 80,000 design and construction professionals in the largest annual gathering of the residential design and construction industry.
The AIKDs coined a new name to address the interests of the burgeoning bathroom industry, and in 1983 the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) was born. That same year, the NKBA created the Ambassadors’ Club to recognize members who have dedicated themselves to growing the Association by recruiting new members.
The growing bath industry led to a new NKBA certification, the Certified Bath Designer (CBD) designation. Now, professionals specializing in the design, planning and execution of residential bathrooms could became part of the NKBA certification program. Martha Kerr became the first CBD in 1989.
To mark its 25th anniversary, NKBA created the industry’s first Hall of Fame to honor individuals who have contributed to the growth and professionalism of the Association and the kitchen and bath industry as a whole.
The Association’s 31 Kitchen Guidelines and 27 Bathroom Guidelines are revised in 1992, reflecting the current industry environment, future trends, consumer lifestyles, new research, new building codes and current industry practices.
NKBA began an ambitious lead generation program for its members in 1995 and offered its first consumer planners. The “Direct to Your Door” consumer marketing program generated 4,000 leads that year.
Today, the Kitchen Planner and Bath Planner produce qualified leads of consumers who are actively researching a kitchen or bath project.
In 2006, NKBA completely revamped its existing manuals and , created a full-color Professional Resource Library. The nine volumes areall written and reviewed by industry experts, and are currently being updated and expanded.
The Kitchen & Bath Career Center (KitchenAndBathCareerCenter.com) was created in 2012 and serves as the premier electronic recruitment resource for the industry. The NKBA’s Business to Business Industry Directory offers a way for industry professionals to conduct targeted searches for products and services.
Early in 2013, the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) announced an agreement to co-host the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) with the International Builders’ Show (IBS) under the banner of Design & Construction Week™. DCW has more than 80,000 design & construction professionals in attendance with over 2,100 exhibiting companies in 900,000 square feet of exhibit space.
The NKBA offers a variety of professional development CEU opportunities, webinars, courses and certified instructor-led seminars designed to help members and nonmembers stay up-to-date on emerging technologies, design insights and business strategies. The NKBA Certification + Design professional coursework helps increase practitioners’ expertise and value to the consumer by staying up-to-date on the constantly changing, ever-growing kitchen and bath industry.