Richard Hassell, frequent vocal critic of many bathroom suppliers over their relationships with online dealers, has set-up of a collective of 127 like-minded retailers to team them up with approved suppliers.
Hassell runs More Than Baths in Doncaster and says he founded the group of retailers – christened ‘The Independent Network’ – as they are all ‘looking for brands that protect them from heavy online discounts’.
“The main reason I set the network up is that I felt I was constantly being undercut by some big brands,” Hassell said in an interview with kbbreview. “We fully understand the internet has to discount as the online market operates as a source of ‘cheap’ products so with that in mind I reached out to many independent showrooms and found that they all had the same ambition to strive for more.”
However, Hassell says The Independent Network is not a buying group.
“We simply bring showrooms together with suppliers. From there they negotiate between themselves to find the best path to make a deal. I don’t dictate terms or prices for anyone – I didn’t want that type of ‘power’.”
According to Hassell, there are currently 127 showrooms signed up to The Independent Network, with 23 suppliers on board including Bette, Graff, Vega, Catalano, GSI, Lamborghini, Dune, Creavit, selected brands from Dell, Aquabella and Hotspot Titanium. There are, he says, another 12 brands pending.
“I didn’t want to collect the brands that are mainstream,” Hassell said. “instead we want and have those I believe to be the best. I could have over 60 suppliers but I have turned them down because they have had their time when it comes to online discounts, and many of them are losing displays due to the lack of support.”