Flair and St James commit to bricks-and-mortar retailers

Sanbra Group had a major presence at this year’s kbb Birmingham show with two of its bathroom brands – Flair and St James.

Irish-based shower enclosure and tray specialist Flair was showcasing its latest products and its new Waterfall marketing campaign while brassware manufacturer St James was at the show for the first time.

Both brands confirmed to kbbreview that they are firmly committed to supporting bricks-and-mortar showrooms and that they will not sell their products on the internet.

Speaking to kbbreview at the show, Flair managing director Martin Murphy said: “Coming into the UK, our strategy was to enter with our high-end Harmony collection and we focused on design-led, bricks-and-mortar retailers who do not sell online. We are very clear about who we want to support and who we want to display our products, and if you won’t display our products, then we won’t supply you.”

He told kbbreview that it was all about commitment from them and the retailer. He said: “We don’t give away free displays – it is about commitment. And if you commit to put a display in your showroom, we will support you and we won’t undercut you or embarrass you with crazy prices on the internet. We do offer a 70% discount for displays.”

Flair also believes it is important to engage with the right kind of retailers and that dealing with independent retailers is the way ahead for quality brands. Murphy added: “Our focus is design-led showrooms who are not afraid to sell a premium product and start at a high price point with a high-level product. We want to support those showrooms and get behind them and when they get the sale, we don’t undercut them and let them make a margin. We are having a very positive reaction to that approach.”

Show first-timers St James has been designing brassware since the 1960s is also firmly committed to bricks-and-mortar retailers and is very much looking to grow its market share.

St James sales director Mark Davidge told kbbreview that the company until now “has traded a little bit under the radar” but is also firmly committed to showroom retailers.

“We stick 100% with bricks-and-mortar showrooms. I had a showroom myself for six years and you lose faith in a brand if you constantly feel like you’re helping other people to sell products online. Our strategy with the Living collections that there will be no online presence. We provide images because we understand that you need to be online visually, but bricks-and-mortar is our bread and butter.”

On the St James stand it was showcasing its new Living collections supplementing its existing Traditional and Distinction ranges. Davidge told kbbreview: “We believe we now have the most comprehensive range of brassware on the market from one supplier. There are more people selling taps than ever before ,but there aren’t many that remain brassware professionals.”

At Flair, Murphy revealed to kbbreview that at the Installer show in June it will be launching its new Flair Pro range, targeted at the professional installer. He said: “It’s for the professional installer who doesn’t have time for mistakes. Time is money. We offer click-fit assembly, pre-assembled rollers. It’s taking all the hassle out of it. We will never be the cheapest, but we will save them time.”

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