Beyond a bathroom

HAI CEO Annemarie Harte travelled out to Niko’s new showroom in Tallaght, where Sales Director David Glass spoke about the growing importance of bathroom aesthetics.

One of the ‘perks’ of this job is that I get to see products in which I genuinely have a personal interest. So when I heard that Niko Bathrooms were developing a new showroom, I was on it straight away. As Paul Thompson – newly promoted Managing Director of the Uppercross Group – said: “It’s the first room you see in the morning, and the last one you see at night, so it needs to be pleasing on the eye and highly functional.”

The new showroom is principally about supporting retailers, as the recently appointed Sales Director of Niko David Glass explained: ‘’We are ultimately trying to assist our customers, from those who have ample display space to those who may be limited. Our showroom will allow the merchants to send their customers to view an entire range of Niko products that they may not necessarily be able to display in store.”

The Niko showroom – situated conveniently off the Belgard Road in Tallaght – will allow both merchants and their customers the opportunity to actually touch and feel the entire range of Niko products, while inspiring them with both traditional and contemporary bathroom settings. The showroom will further add value by placing the core Niko products of ceramics, furniture, baths, shower doors, shower trays and brassware with coordinated radiators and other accessories.

As David explains: “We started Niko Bathrooms in 2010 and it has been a massive success story for us. We relaunched Niko to the trade at The Hardware Show in March last year and the response was excellent. A recent part of our marketing strategy has seen us exhibit at The Ideal Home Show, generating brand awareness and creating an in-store demand for Niko products. This is something we will continue to build upon in the coming months as part of our 2018 marketing strategy.”

“The new showroom is a real statement of intent by Niko about who they are, where they are and their long-term investment in supporting their customers’ business.

“This is a €3 million investment, with 6,000 sq. ft of showroom space, arranged over two floors as well as a new 20,000 sq. ft warehousing facility,” says Paul. “It’s something we are very passionate about and we see it as further enhancing the relationships we have with our customers.”

In recent years, the bathroom has become a space of relaxation and beauty, where you want to feel tranquil and fresh. It’s no longer a purely functional room intended only for hygiene purposes. The bathroom trends for 2018 back this forecast, predicting space and comfort as being top of the league for bathroom trends going into the new year.

Other trends for the bathroom industry include showers incorporating a rain head shower and side jets, for an all-out relaxing experience. The freestanding bath is also here to stay, but you will see it in a feature colour like black or navy. Wet rooms are also proving popular, and trends indicate that traditionally-designed sanitary ware is as popular as ever, while the increasing demand for a contemporary minimalist look is satisfying the needs of modern living. The continued volume of renovations and repairs being put through the Home Renovation Incentive scheme – almost €1.7 billion since October 2013 – indicates the demand for quality bathroom products. Merchants can benefit in this growth by utilising the new Niko showroom. Although recent trend forecasts focus toward an almost zen-like bathroom, more often than not we need more space and the need to maximise our space is always essential. “Wall hung toilets, short projection storage units and vertical radiators are products we can utilise in order to maximise space. All of these concepts and products are on display in the showroom,” explains David.

In addition to the bathroom products, the entire Niko Heating collection is included in the new showroom, with these stylish, contemporary and space-saving radiators complementing the bathroom products. Furthermore, they provide a stylish replacement for the standard panel radiators we see in most homes. The new Niko designer radiators are proving a key trend, given the amount of space traditional radiators occupy in the home. The heating collection features as a unique opportunity for merchants to upsell away from the traditional heating products.

These radiators can become a focal point in any room, without the need for an entire refurb. “It was clear from the attention our contemporary column radiators received at the Ideal Home Show that there is a strong demand for more aesthetically pleasing radiators in a range of colours and new designs,” says David. “Our column and vertical flat panel radiators offer style at affordable prices without compromising on functionality.” The showroom will cater for every budget whether it be entry level or the Italian designed GSI Ceramica range.

Some of the added bonuses within the Niko showroom include an impressive 50 bays, with over 700 products, a dedicated area in the showroom for mobility products, and a working shower valve area. With all this in mind Niko’s showroom is sure to help their customers’ bottom line. On that note, I look forward to seeing the positive impact the showroom will have on Niko, its merchants, and the end consumer.

If you have a story to tell as a supplier or manufacturer in the Irish market, please contact Annemarie on 01 298 0969 or annemarie@hardwareassociation.ie for more information.