‘I’ve always had a passion for bathrooms’

After finishing a degree in accounting and finance, 22-year-old Angelika Kotarska changed direction and decided to open her own bathroom showroom. Chris Frankland visits Angelic Bathrooms to find out more

Setting up a new business can be challenging enough, especially with the cost of living crisis in full swing. But when you are only 22, your degree is in accounting and finance and your last job was as a bookkeeper, launching out into a new industry makes it an even bolder move.

Setting up a new business can be challenging enough, especially with the cost of living crisis in full swing. But when you are only 22, your degree is in accounting and finance and your last job was as a bookkeeper, launching out into a new industry makes it an even bolder move.

But this was the daring step taken by Angelika Kotarska, the young entrepreneur who founded Angelic Bathrooms in Northampton.

Located in a small retail arcade in the town centre, Angelic Bathrooms rubs shoulders with hairdressers, beauty salons, a florist and a recruitment agency, all of which help bring in a steady flow of people. And with a hairdresser right opposite, word should soon get around that there is a new bathroom showroom in town.

So what made her give up what many would see as a steady career in accounting and join the ranks of the nation’s KBB retailers?

She explains how, once she had graduated, she first joined a bathroom showroom as a bookkeeper. “I worked in accounting for two years and decided that it wasn’t for me. I’ve always had a passion for bathrooms and the construction industry and that’s what made me change my mind.”


Her father was also a major influence on her eventual career path. She tells me: “My dad came here one year before me in 2006. He worked in a big construction company, and then he started working for himself. When I got older, I started helping him, doing quotes and going to see what he does and how a project goes from nothing to something.

“I really enjoyed it. So I thought the best idea for me is to open something that I could actually see myself in, and bathrooms was the way forward. Here I can see something through from the beginning to the end.”

At the time of my visit, Angelic Bathrooms had only been trading for three months, having opened its doors on September 24 last year. What, I ask, were the major challenges?

“When I started  looking into opening my own business I was 22 and I was still employed full time. Having an accounting background, I knew how to start a company, but one thing I was always concerned about was where I’d get my customers from? I would be on my own with no additional income, but I have always had that push from my mum and dad, who said just do it and we will help you.”

I am curious how she publicised her new business. She tells me her first step was social media, which she recognises as “the most powerful thing at the moment”. She was active on Instagram and Facebook before she opened the showroom doors and still posts regularly on Instagram about the latest trends.”

Kotarska’s father also helped. He has many contacts and said he would make sure that if any of his customers wanted a bathroom, he’d send them to Angelic. 

Her father also takes care of installations for her. Kotarska explains: “He has his own customers and jobs, but when he has the time he will come and help me. In the future, when the workload increases, my idea is to have him managing a group of fitters for me.”

New businesses often need some form of financial backing, but this was not a problem for Angelic. Kotarska tells me: “It was purely my parents. They had faith in me. I can’t thank them enough. I didn’t want to get a loan. I was nervous about how I would repay it.”

I ask what it was like approaching suppliers as a 22-year-old woman looking to go it alone with her first ever business venture.

“Surprisingly, it was not that bad. Some of the brands knew me from when I worked in the accounts department at the bathroom showroom. I just went directly to the companies and asked to open a new trade account. And I have credit limits with all but two or three. They were very helpful and I got some of my displays free of charge and some at a discount.”

Affordable luxury

So what is her philosophy at Angelic? “I have a slogan,” Kotarska replies. “Feel the Beauty of Luxury with Us. You can have affordable products, but you can have that hotel feeling. People come in and say that they want that hotel feeling in their homes. Not everyone can spend £10,000 on a bathroom, but they still want that feeling. I try to help them create a spa at home.”

Asked if the location has worked out well, Kotarska says that although it is not the busiest area in town, she feels she does not need a constant flow of people walking past. She shares her reasoning: “When you go into a clothes shop, you know you can buy something there and then if you like it. Whereas when you are looking for a new bathroom, it takes time to consider. It’s  not an impulse buy. They will look online to research where the nearest bathroom shop is and look at reviews, prices, what we sell and our customer service.”

She surprises me by revealing that she has been actively pursuing contract work. Most of her sales are residential, but she has already picked up a contract for 16 new-build homes where there was a total of 42 bathrooms.

“I was out walking my dog,” she remembers, “and saw a development. I contacted them and gave it a shot. Also, there are portals online where you can win contracts.”

Kotarska is clearly focused on where she wants to take Angelic Bathrooms in the next year or so.

“I am hoping to grow as a business,” she tells me. “I want to employ another member of staff and divide the business between residential and contract work. That will mean I can go out and look for the bigger developer jobs and have someone who can sit in the showroom and look after the residential projects. My plan is to open a bigger showroom eventually.”

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