Friday, 22 May 2015

Independent Businesses

A survey by Which? has identified independent shops experiencing a revival on our high streets due to the high level of customer service offered by retailers. DIY and decorating shops having the greater success. This was considered a "surprise result" by Which?.

Hardly surprising to the many independent traders who work within this sector.  After all they are constantly battling on the one hand to offer their knowledge and experience to customers, all the while running the risk that the customer will use that information to search the internet for a better price.

Independent business owners have an extraordinary wealth of experience. They are obviously passionate about their products and continuously researching new and exciting trends. Customers love the fact they are able to talk to someone who is genuinely interested in their home project, and who can think out of the box regarding any potential problems that may result. They are also able to offer alternatives to the mainstream decorating tools that are found in many of the big chains.

Decorating or designing for a customer is a very personal service. There are often home visits, or the retailer will spend a considerable amount of time with the customer discussing the ins and outs of their project.

The level of stock in a showroom does not come cheap. Wallpaper and fabric books all need to be paid for by the retailer, quite often they are committed to enter into "book clubs" to maintain an area of exclusivity. Showroom displays are not free. If you want to feel a product, see how smooth it operates, or just want to find something different - then that is where an actual shop supports the customer.

Many products come with a RRP . Still in this sector it is more common for a customer to want a discount.  And again, even once gleaned all the information they want from an actual business owner, they say thanks very much- and go online to find a better price.

Of course the report does state that independents in this field are seeing a resurgence in trade. This is very hopeful for the vast majority of local shops. Many people may be aware of Shop Local schemes , the mantra of  "Use it, or Lose it".

Recently there was some debate between independent owners as to how far they worked in terms of offering free advice and planning. The response was to offer as much as they could upfront in the hope that the customer would have some loyalty to the shop, grateful to have the infinite knowledge available to them.

Hopefully the confidence in the Which? report is infectious to the general public. The knowledge that independent businesses are beating the big boys in their own game and succeeding . A little shop offering a bigger service than the sheds or the internet.

Related article 

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Dementia Friendly

Dementia Friendly is a term many of us might recognise.

Jeremy Hunt used it a lot
Alzheimer Society 
Of course there is the money he pledged for interior design in dementia environment 

Shame Wirral care providers only had 5 working days notice funds available by Wirral Council. And that's only because I reminded Esther McVey no one on Wirral had been alerted to funds.

So here we go, Tesco opening dementia friendly tills. It's a till, where you are met by someone with dementia training , and can take your time counting money.

You have never met my mum.
My mum does not have dementia, all my life she has has lost kids, lost change, bargained her socks off, exchanged every christmas present from my dad. She was that woman Boxing Day exchanging size 24 coat for size 12 skirt and jumper. My dad has sense humour.

Dementia and Alzheimer are not new. In the past maybe put it down to senility, or, growing old. Gran has lost her marbles. Or the invariable from some relative "Who are you?".

So my mum can be tolerated at normal tills with her wackiness, but a dementia person can't feel secure he is going to receive right change unless he goes to a dementia friendly till.

Thanks Tesco.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Posh Bathing

Posh Bathing is a bathroom specialist showroom unlike any other I have visited. Owner Gary Walmsley has created a fabulous resource boutique, with an impressive display of quality products by some of the leading European designers.

While some of the suppliers may sound familiar, there are are also some little known brands that are sure to be popular with private clients, interior designers, and architects.

 If you think that Gary has the usual array of sinks, taps and showers - think again!

There are steam showers, quality mineral cast basins, bespoke furniture, wall panels, designer radiators and funky taps.

On display are taps by Maier Griferias which have swarovski crystals, stylish radiators by K8 and Brem, furniture by Burgbad, steam showers, mirrors from Zierath. The list of suppliers is quite staggering.
 Gary is no stranger to the key European design shows and his interest in locating and forging relationships with innovative suppliers is key to the success of this showroom.

There are faux brick and stone wall panels, marble tiles with led lighting, mosaics, and much, much more - all beautifully arranged and complimented by a huge selection of basins and taps.
 One of the more exciting developments has been in his enthusiasm for designer radiators.

I was fortunate to be able to meet up with him in Italy this year where we visited Italian designer Brem. Quite simply their selection of both electric, and plumbed radiators are breathtaking.

Another supplier of note is Tubes Radiatori . The Scaletta shown here is available in a wide range of sizes and colours.

Zazzeri have a unique range of taps with interchangeable coloured heads and impressive eco credentials when it comes to saving water.

Furniture is supplied by Burgbad and Fiora to name but two. However there are bespoke pieces in multiple finishes with glass, wood or marble inserts.

This haven of inspiration is well worth a visit. Gary's eye for developing his product range is matched equally by his expertise in installation. A perfect blend of style and experience.

For opening hours or to book an appointment contact him here.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Zazzeri S.p.A. "Pop"

 Bathroom ware doesen't get much more exciting than POP by Italian company Zazzeri. Already they are the  winners of two awards for stunningly creative design through Red Dot and A Design Awards.

The range comes in four metal finishes, along with a range of interchangeable heads in 6 silicone shades allowing up to 40 permutations.

Consisting of taps in varying heights, shower heads, concealed and wall mounted mixers and more - this unique collection satisfies all the demands of both creative and function.

Their eco credentials are impressive with the ability to control the flow of water by offering a one touch facility on the flexible head.

Playful and fun, POP heads also glow in the dark. This innovative and sturdy marriage of metal and silicone is unique. The products themselves are what you would expect from a company of impressive credentials in manufacture.

POP delivers that splash of colour that makes bathroom design much more fun! Why do fittings have to be chrome when you can mix black and orange , or chrome and violet. The overheard shower heads really can bring a showering experience to life.

Or stay with a complete metal finish that oozes great design. Black fittings are certainly making a big impact in bathrooms at the moment, a trend we envisage to last for quite some time. Stylish white subway tiles with a black shower system looks fabulous.
Whether you are looking for an alternative to the same old fittings available on most high streets, or have a contemporary scheme that would love that injection of colour, or designing for a child's ensuite - POP is definitely worth considering.

The complete range of concealed fittings and valves means there is no worry about creating a complete system, although POP is compatible with all current fittings.

For more information on these products do contact us here.

We will be happy to advise and can offer best prices.