Reporting from ISH 2019, Frankfurt
A Newcastle businessman planning to open a bathroom studio in the area in June revealed at ISH that he will be giving 50% of his floor space to challenger brand Jaquar as it agreed to become a dealer and stockist.
David Langston will open Langston Luxury Bathrooms in a few months’ time. He said most of the familiar European brands had “lost their identity” and he was “excited” to offer to the UK a new and “exciting” unknown brand.
“Many brands these days are sold online and the companies cannot control pricing. This just leads to a race to the bottom, which is really unhelpful to the whole market, not just showrooms.
“Jaquar has pledged to protect its retailers, and I’ve been impressed with their approach and the quality and finishes of their products.”
Jaquar is an Indian company, with five manufacturing sites in India and one in South Korea. It’s been around for 60 years, but only recently began a mission to expand globally and is very focused on increasing its footprint in the UK.
Langston said: “As a showroom owner, you are looking for your own identity. You don’t want to look the same as the showroom down the road, selling exactly the same brands, especially when the market is this tough. Grohe is everywhere; Roca is everywhere.
“You need to take on some of the well-known European brands for familiarity. You can’t get away from stocking them. But once the customer is through the door, I want to surprise them.
“Lots of unknown brands have come to ISH this year. I have been speaking to a German brand called AM.PM, which is hoping to grow in the UK. I am hoping to sign a deal to stock their products. I would hope to sell between £5,000 and £10,000 worth of stock for them a month and help grow their brand here.”
Acknowledging the threat from online bathroom retailers, Langston, who recently sold an investment in the bathroom business Inspira, which has showrooms in Gateshead and North Shields, said: “I like having a showroom. It allows you to give a full service to your customer. They can come in and touch the products, and if there’s a problem, they know where to find you. It’s just a more personal experience, which I enjoy.”