EXCLUSIVE: Top industry figures start up new bathroom brand

Four former directors of Vado have launched Armera, an affordable luxury bathroom brand that will sell through a select group of independent retailers.

Husband and wife team, Sarah and Jim Williams have been in the industry for over 20 years and were joint MDs of Vado. The pair founded the new company with previous Vado directors Dean Pamphilon and Dan Carter, who will keep their previous roles as sales director and operations director, respectively.

Armera was founded three years ago with Sarah Williams there from the launch. Pamphilon and Carter joined when they left Vado in Spring 2020, with Jim Williams joining later.

Sarah Williams spoke to kbbreview exclusively about why they launched the brand. She said: “The reason for setting up Armera is recognising a gap in the market for real protection for retailers. The principle and purpose are to set up a selective distribution club (SDC) selling selectively through only 150 retailers. We are keeping it to working with like-minded retail businesses.”

The company already has 40 retailers lined up to work with the brand and is working on finding like-minded retailers to join the club. The team has been researching bricks-and-mortar retailers that they would like to work with that have their same vision of quality and attention to detail.

Williams said: “We are being so selective of who we are working with, we want to be able to be choosy. We’ve hired Frances Barber, a top-level sales manager, since mid-October and her and Dean Pamphilon have been going out and taking these months to research and find out who we want to work with.”

The bathroom range from Armera is comprehensive but deliberately kept simple. There are a limited number of products within each category, as Sarah Williams believes this will help ensure retailers and customers are not overwhelmed with choices. She said: “We are trying to simplify the process. There are options for personalisation with different colours, but we try not to overwhelm with choice.

“We know what sells in the market, as we have seen the sales figures. We haven’t tried to reinvent the wheel. We have taken a round and soft square design and made it better with precision and engineering.”

In the collection at the time of launch, there are two furniture options: cabinet or countertop basins, five tap ranges, and two toilets in round and square formats that can be cistern-fitted, back-to-wall and wall-hung. There is also a range of thermostatic valves and showering brassware plus bathroom accessories.

The products also come in a range of price points all marketed as  ‘affordable luxury’. Sarah Williams said: “It’s a consolidated portfolio and coordinated. We want to provide attention to detail with our products as they have been precisely designed.” 

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