Arte Form acquires bespoke finishing company

UK-based brassware specialist Arte Form has acquired finishing company Finish X, which has enabled it to apply a variety of different satin and polished metallic colours to chrome products.

Arte Form struck a deal with Finish X around six months ago to acquire the technology and processes that now allow it to spray not only any of its own chrome products to match many other manufacturer’s colours, but to spray any chrome product from any manufacturer to match a specific finish.

The process involves spraying a specially developed primer/etch to the product, which prepares the surface and allows the chosen colour to be sprayed on top. The final colour is said to blend with the primer to form a permanent bond.

Arte Form director Nathan Helms told kbbreview how he heard of a boffin in the West Country who had developed a special primer that was the secret to the whole process. He said: “The wow factor is that usually nothing wants to stick to chrome because it is too hard and too shiny. So you can’t just spray a chrome hinge another colour out of an aerosol can, because as soon as it dries it will peel off.”

 “What this guy in the West Country had developed was a primer/etch that you spray on the chrome, then you pick a colour, spray that on top. There is no dipping and stripping and all of the horrible chemicals that are involved with that. And no waste by-product to dispose of.”

After supplying some sample products for respraying, Helms was convinced he had a potentially successful product on his hands and did the deal to buy the stocks of primer and paints and Finish X, the specialist spraying company that did the final finishing. That was previously co-ordinated by Joe Muhl of Ocean Bathrooms in Bridport who used the service for his own products and also supplied other retailers, but he was too busy running his own contracts division to be able to take it further.

Arte Form director Nathan Helms

Not only can Arte Form spray their own chrome products to match many other manufacturer’s finishes, but retailers can also post them other chrome products for them to match to one of their own colours. Turnaround time is around four to six weeks.

Retailers can also send other brands of chrome products to Arte Form for them to spray match to other manufacturers’ colours. Helms said that they can normally match 80% of colours from its standard colour line-up, but if it can’t, they offer a bespoke service where they will colour-match to a specific colour for a small extra charge.

“The problem we have,” said Helms, “is that retailers may like our satin brass finish, but they then say we don’t do a flushplate for a loo. Now we can help them. Similarly, if one company does not do a shower tray waste, we can help. And the fact that we can help with these ancillaries helps carry our product over the finishing line for the retailer and helps them close the sale.”

Arte Form was set up in 2014 by Nathan Helms and Mark Livesey who have over 30 years’ experience in the UK bathroom industry. It supplies brassware sourced from exclusively European designers and manufacturers, primarily in Italy and Portugal. It sells exclusively through bricks-and-mortar retailers and its products are not available for sale through nationals or online.

Helms said Arte Form supports its retailers with good terms and margins, preferential display rates and geographical exclusivity.

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