So as most of you know, we closed early last night. Why, you ask? Well, we had booked a staff event and wanted to make sure that each member of staff had the opportunity to enjoy it.
We make the effort every month to organise an event to unite our staff and add a bit of fun to our everyday work life. This month was a bit different because we had planned out a whole evening – and it was a huge success!
The evening began with a presentation (in our enormous photography studio) from one of our directors. These events are key for our staff; we learn about new products coming in and get to speak to colleagues that work in different buildings. We also played a few games to get everyone in the spirit.
After this, we headed over to our next door neighbour, The experience in Hillington. We enjoyed dinner, drinks and go karting. It was a fantastic evening, and our staff had a ball! We’d like to take this opportunity to thank The Experience for making the evening so enjoyable, there’s no doubt we’ll be back!
Turns out it’s not all about bathrooms at Wholesale Domestic, we’ve got some seriously talented drivers!!
Here’s a few photos from the night. Team bonding at its finest, enjoy.
So, it’s time to renovate your bathroom. You’ve calculated everything and let’s tell the truth, the balance is making your eyes water. But, surely you can’t opt for a cheaper tile? It won’t be the same, will it? Will it let your new bathroom down? What should you do?
Well, firstly take a deep breath, we understand that this can be a huge dilemma for some customers. Instead of giving you some unwanted and immensely annoying sales chat (is there anything worse?) about how you need to buy the MOST expensive tile (like some companies do) we’re going to debunk all the myths that have been doing the rounds. Ready? Let’s do this…
Budget tiles crack easily Tiles are either made from ceramic or porcelain, or sometimes a cold pressed granite compound (usually the really expensive ones). Essentially, the material that each tile is made from is different, and some tiles can be stronger than others. But remember that a tile is made for a specific purpose, and if it wasn’t suitable then why would companies make them? Even a ceramic tile (usually the cheaper tiles) will do exactly what you need it to. Some tiles aren’t recommended for use on floors (like ceramic) but they’ll be perfect for wall use. Will they crack easily? No, they won’t. Unless you take a hammer to them to test this theory out.
Low cost tiles lack quality Low cost tiles are made in exactly the same way as luxury tiles, so I don’t think this theory stands up. Ultimately, it depends on the design of the tile and your individual taste. Do you like the design or do you think it looks like a budget tile? It’s down to your prerogative, don’t let someone put you off a design that you love (especially if it’s much cheaper). The difference in price comes in when there’s ceramic or porcelain options (porcelain is usually more expensive) and luxury tiles tend to feature different surface and design techniques that budget tiles omit.
Affordable tiles won’t live up to luxury brands It’s a waste to time to compare a tile that’s £100/m2 and a tile that’s £12.95/m2. Why? Well, one might be made from ceramic and one from porcelain, one might have bits of really high quality materials like mirror or quartz and one might have a standard surface. Although the designs may be completely different, they’ll both do the same job in your bathroom. Remember that both ceramic and porcelain tiles have been fired in a kiln and glazed, so they’re both waterproof, they’ll never fade, shrink or distort. The comparison between budget and luxury isn’t important. If you can afford to spend thousands on just tiles and love a design, then go for it. But if the thought makes you break out in a sweat, look at something more affordable – don’t let pride deplete your bank balance, they’ll do the same job.
Cheap tiles are difficult to clean In terms of cleaning, a tile is a tile – so this statement really is complete hogwash. It’s got a lot to do with the grout you choose too. What do I mean? Well, don’t choose white grout for a floor or you will make keeping it clean a nightmare, regardless of how much the tile cost. Most tiles either have a matt or a gloss finish (some have variants in between) but the cleaning process is exactly the same. Another thing to bear in mind; a gloss finish can be tricky because you see every smear and every water spot, but again this has nothing to do with the cost of the tile itself. Choose a finish that you know will be easy to keep by yourself.
A few points to remember…
• Ceramic and porcelain are different – ceramic isn’t recommended for floors, but will be fine on walls. While porcelain is stronger, but is typically more expensive • Surface designs can mean the difference between budget and luxury • Both luxury and low cost tiles are waterproof, they won’t fade or shrink over time • Porcelain is stronger and more durable than ceramic, but that doesn’t mean ceramic won’t do the job • If you can afford it, opt for your favourite regardless of composition • Compromise if you have a tight budget, your bathroom will still be tiled • Look out for tips like ceramic isn’t recommended for floors, porcelain is recommended for floors - these will ensure you’re not let down by durability • You can mix and match ceramic and porcelain to cover all traffic bases
There you have it, there’s no need to feel uneasy about budget tiles ever again. We hope this post will give you the confidence to go out there and choose the perfect tile for your new bathroom. The next time a sales person tells you different, give them the eyeroll – now you know better!! Catch you all next week.
This week, I’m delighted to introduce you to our warehouse assistant, Thomas. Thomas has been with us for almost a year, and has shown exceptional dedication and commitment. Thomas is based in our new warehouse at Montrose Avenue, and his job is to make up customer orders, restock the warehouse and provide the best customer service. I wanted to find out more about Thomas’ life at Wholesale Domestic, and so I asked if he could spare some time this week to tell us (lucky for us, he did).
Thomas, can tell us what your job looks like on a day-to-day basis?
“As a member of the warehouse team I have many different duties to perform which start with serving customers by picking their order from our new distribution centre. I then need to go through each individual item to make sure the customer receives their exact order, and finally solving any problems if they arise. My other duties include picking orders for deliveries, restocking the warehouse when stock is low, and checking stock for sales and customer service. I provide great customer service by being a friendly face to the customer and always help in any way possible.”
When you say picking an order, what exactly does that involve?
“Well, first I get the order slip (what the customer has ordered). It’s then my job to locate each item on the list, take it from that place in the warehouse and collect everything together, ready for the customer. This sounds easy, but it can require the use of forklifts, flat bed trolleys and even hand-picking smaller items to bring it all to one place. On average, we complete this process up to 40 times a day, sometimes more at weekends or when our sale is on.”
I then asked Thomas what he likes best about his job…
“I like keeping busy by making up orders, and by checking stock and refilling where possible. I also like providing the best customer service. I work with a great team, which makes this whole process really enjoyable.”
I asked what he dislikes, this is what he told me…
“The only downside to working in the warehouse is being in to 7pm as it’s usually quieter, and we don’t create many orders after 5.30pm.”
Do you have any words of wisdom for customers?
“Yes, if you’re in a hurry I’d recommend popping in either really early in the morning, or later in the evening if you can. You can collect from 7am to 7pm!”
What do you think of the new distribution centre compared to its predecessor at Hillington Road?
“It’s great. We now have the ability to stock a lot more, which means that we have more items ready for collection the same day which is ideal for our customers. It’s given us an edge that really makes us stand out in this industry; order and collect the very same day. It’s exciting that we can provide our customers with exactly what they need for their bathroom without a ridiculous wait time.”
Is there anything that you don’t like about the warehouse?
“It can take a few minutes to walk from end to another because it’s so vast. You can understand that sometimes this can be annoying if you need to get somewhere in a hurry.”
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us Thomas. Your colleagues are delighted with your work ethic and team values. It’s certainly given us better insight into your daily work life. If you liked Thomas’ WD story, you can read more on our blog. Maybe you’ll get to meet him the next time you collect an order! Thanks for reading, catch you all next week.
Last month, we invested in a new field. We launched a new technology named CGI. But what does CGI mean?
It means Computer-generated imagery in 3D or 2D. This program is often used for creating video games or even movies. You must think right now ‘why are they investing into CGI technology if they are not going to do video games or movies?’
Well, CGI will be very beneficial for our customers to help them to make the perfect choice for their new bathroom.
We have recently employed a new member of the team who has extensive knowledge on this subject. This technology will allow our customers to have more information about the dimensions of a product, and even to see a product in a real life setting. I spoke to our new CGI Artist, Enzo and here’s what he told me…
“I started working in Wholesale Domestic as sales on the 20th of Feb. Then the opportunity to do CGI for the company came around, and I was employed on the 22nd of May to create realistic visuals for our products.
I’m qualified in '3D Computer Animation and Digital Art' and had worked producing 2D marketing for other companies as a freelance artist. I then worked doing 'Architectural Visualisation' which is the process of making 3D buildings, so it was natural going from exterior buildings to interior room sets.
The opportunity here was a real game-changer. It allowed me to do what I’m passionate about while working with good people.
My experience in the showroom was critical. I gained invaluable knowledge and with the products. It was the perfect position as it gave me strong foundations.
This background has prepared me to dive in and start 3D models without delay. Each 3D Model I create is like its own art piece. In order to replicate real life, it's not only about capturing its form or its colour; It's about capturing its imperfections. The life of a CGI Artist is a strange one, because your aim is to allow people to not ever realise they are looking at 3D.”
Choosing between photography and CGI can be a difficult decision for marketers.
Both of these techniques require patience, technical skills and physical work especially in photography. It can be a long and laborious task. Many challenges are involved to capture the perfect photo. The setting of the studio can take hours, the adjustment of the lightening, and the camera angles are necessary details to guarantee a good final result.
We then need to transfer products from the warehouse to the studio, not a big deal when it is only taps or accessories, but when it comes to baths, shower enclosures or furniture it can be physical and risky. The risk of damaging products is high, as is the risk to injure yourself.
This is one of the many reasons that we recognised the need to journey to the realm of CGI.
We have already started to create roomsets for specific products, to give you the ability to project yourself into a room, which definitely helps you to imagine the product in your bathroom.
But all good things have disadvantages, it takes time...
To design one product, it could take hours to build a unit because we must take into account the texture, the lights and other considerations like render-times. As you can see with the photo above, being patient pays off. It’s hard to tell the difference between CGI and a photo.
We have invested a lot into this technology, and our hope for the future is to develop new imagery every week, to help you envisage your new bathroom with ease.
Wholesale Domestic won Independent Bathroom Retailer of the Year 2017 at the BKU Awards. A BKU Award is a prestigious stamp of endorsement acknowledging outstanding service and hard work as voted for by the industry.
The BKU Awards 2017 took place last night at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in London. The evening was a roaring success with 300 members of the kitchen and bathroom industry celebrating hard work and achievement across the sector.
Organised by the publisher of BKU Magazine, Datateam Business Media, the BKU Awards is designed to recognise and highlight excellence across the sector, from leading retailers, to commendable manufacturers and outstanding individuals.
On arrival at the venue, guests were greeted with an exclusive champagne reception, sponsored by Claygate, providing the perfect environment for networking. Attendees then proceeded into the main hall where they received a warm welcome from BKU Magazine’s sales and advertising manager Max Shannon and publication and event manager Carl Hearnden.
Guests were treated to a sumptuous three-course meal before the brilliantly funny Jimmy Carr took to the stage to perform his comedy routine and present the awards.The proceedings concluded with the charity raffle, sponsored by Blanco, raising generous sum for Rennie Grove Hospice Care. A fantastic night was rounded up with a final chance to network with clients, colleagues and friends.
Event and publication manager Carl Hearnden comments: “I am overwhelmed with the amount of support we have received from the industry this year. The BKU Awards 2017 had a fantastic turn out and it was brilliant to see both familiar and new faces alike at the event.
“All of our finalists should be congratulated; they have demonstrated exceptional hard work and dedication to the industry and should be very proud for having been shortlisted in such a prestigious event, it truly is a great achievement.
“I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all of our brilliant sponsors, without whom the BKU Awards wouldn’t be possible.
” The BKU Awards 2017 were sponsored by BA Components, Blanco, British Ceramic Tile, Claygate, Compusoft and EQ Software, Frontline Bathrooms, Hӓfele, KBB Birmingham, Liebherr, Methven, RAK Ceramics, Uform and Virtual Worlds by Logicom.To see the full list of winners and highly commended please visit www.bkuawards.co.uk/winners-2017