Thursday, February 25, 2021

Lenova Adds Solid Brass Designs to Kitchen Faucet Collection.

Lenova is pleased to unveil a luxurious line of solid brass faucets as the latest addition to their collection of designer kitchen faucets. With four styles to choose from, these premium brass fixtures are crafted from no-lead solid brass, a long-lasting metal alloy of zinc and copper known for amazing durability and resistance to rust and corrosion. 

Each of the four new faucets has its own distinctive look, yet they share the practicality of pull-down faucets, single lever flow control, two-function sprayers, and a spout with full 360-degree swivel for complete sink access. All are manufactured with superior Kerox ceramic cartridges for drip-free performance as well as the highest quality Neoperl aerators, supply lines and pull-out hoses. Lenova stands behind the quality of their work with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and a limited lifetime warranty. Each of the faucets is available in a chrome or polished nickel finish. 


BOCCHI Announces Recommitment to Corporate Sustainability in 2021.

BOCCHI recently announced its recommitment to corporate sustainability, which includes previous best practices that aim to serve the environment and is aiming to create zero waste during production. 

At the forefront of BOCCHI’s efforts to remain sustainable are the 100% recyclable materials used to make their heritage product, fireclay Apron Front sinks. Any unfinished, unfired material can be repurposed into new products, resulting in zero waste. In the United States, select industrial landfills will accept customers’ old sinks to be recycled, and in the company’s home country of Turkey, sinks are repurposed into road construction material. In addition, BOCCHI requires that their production process yields zero hazardous waste. BOCCHI’s production process utilizes kilns that better manage the output of energy, rather than the traditional method of appliance production. 


Amba Products Recognized by The Design Journal.

The Design Journal recognized The Radiant Small Heated Towel Rack among its Best Products of 2020. The Radiant Small also has been nominated for a 2021 Award for Design Excellence. ADEX is the largest and most prestigious awards program for product and project design in the architecture and design industry. Voting for the ADEX and Best Products awards is conducted by a blind panel of A&Ds’ most respected experts. 

ADEX awards represent the best product designs of the year from the perspective of top industry professionals.  In April, various design publications will announce the 2021 ADEX Award winners.


ThermaSol Now Accepts Cryptocurrency.

ThermaSol® is again embracing innovation by becoming one of the industry’s first to accept cryptocurrencies. Beginning February 15, 2021, ThermaSol welcomes payments in a variety of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc., and the process is as simple as using a credit card or PayPal. 

For a brand like ThermaSol, which does business globally, the ability to ease and simplify monetary transactions was the impetus for determining whether accepting cryptos makes sense. It does, and ThermaSol wants to be at the forefront of this secure payment revolution.


Servicing Plumbing Fixtures: Adding Value to Our Customers. By DPHA Fellow Sarah Jenkinson

When we own a car, most of us have it regularly serviced by our mechanics.  We understand that there are parts that wear and tear and need to be replaced, even when not under warranty.  When it comes to home fixtures like our faucets and showers, this common sense seems to stop. Faucets still have parts that can wear and tear, we have thermostatic valves and steam generators that need to be cleaned, and yet this information is rarely given to the end user. While admittedly I am in the industry, I still have my plumbing products serviced and cleaned every 5 years, any mineral build up is cleaned up and all O-rings are checked and lubricated if needed. My plumber laughs at me, but at the same time I never have any issues. I recently had to get a new switch for my air tub; it is 11 years old and still works, but I could no longer read the numbers.  I didn’t think it was a warranty issue, bulbs go, but the dealer was very surprised I didn’t ask if it was covered by warranty.

So, who is responsible for getting this information to the end user? Most manufacturers have care and maintenance manuals that go with their products, but let’s be honest, it’s hard enough to get the plumber to read our instructions, let alone get them to hand over the maintenance manual to the consumer. A couple of plumbers out here on Eastern Long Island have started offering maintenance contracts where the customer pays a certain amount each year and then if anything goes wrong, the plumber comes in and fixes it.  My sister in the UK purchased a program for her appliances that if it breaks down, they fix or replace, again for a fee, and it covers dishwasher, fridge, washing machine, dryer, freezer and range. This is not an extended warranty but a maintenance contract.

Should our dealers be making sure the consumer understands the maintenance of the product they are providing?  Do your valves need to be cleaned, should your O-rings be lubricated, should you be cleaning your steam generator, etc.?  Or is it the responsibility of the plumber?  Honestly it should be both.

I think that we are missing a business/service opportunity here.  Plumbers could offer a maintenance service if faucets are purchased from a local dealer, not online, dealers could also offer this service if they wished, in conjunction with their plumbers. This is not a free service but again a maintenance contract. We seem to be the only industry where product needs to be serviced where we are not addressing this, nobody complains about having their oil burner or water heater serviced but a shower valve or a steam generator then we all get “isn’t that covered by warranty?”

With the Internet offering cheap prices but no customer service, maybe this is one of things we can do that increase our value to our customers. Architects and Designers are always looking for after use service.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

That #^*! Year Is OVER…. So, Will We be Raging In 2021? By DPHA Fellow Jeffrey Valles.

2021 is almost into its third month and things are looking up.  It seems much of last year’s drama may be behind us and now that the Covid-19 vaccines are being slowly distributed, 2021 has potential to be a nice, normal year.  But then maybe it, too, will be one for the ages.

We now know it will take time for the vaccine to roll out  and, until that happens for many, the pandemic will remain a large part of our lives.  Most experts foresee Covid continuing to heavily influence our daily actions through the winter and probably deep into spring.  This means masks, social distancing and staying put  for a few more months.  In the short term, little will change on the surface. However, scratch beneath the surface, and 2021 pandemic story will be very different than in 2020.

People have been cooped up and have not been able to interact with each other for a long time.  Remove the Covid-19 fear of those now inoculated, and people have the potential to  erupt.  Bars and clubs will open and we just might see Studio 54 behavior well into the night.  In fact, future pundits are predicting another roaring twenties, this time in 21st Century style.  People will be checking off their bucket lists and doing everything they can afford.  All the fun stuff we could do prior to the pandemic will become must-do-now.  For the next few years, free time will be precious.    We will want to go everywhere, do anything and make sure our home spaces are just right.  Who knows when the next pandemic will hit and lock us down once more?  

So, what can we all do to prepare for the upcoming party so that our brands will be sitting in the sweetest spot possible?  I suggest keeping it simple and focusing on three things: 

  1. Do not take away your employee and customer pandemic safety nets, masks et all.  Leave your protection and processes in place until at least June.  One case of Covid-19 traced back to your showroom, factory or agency will lead to closure, quarantine and negative branding.  The safer people feel about visiting your showroom, the better your customer flow will be.  People are tired of always thinking safety first, that is your job.  Play it safe.  
  2. Get behind your community.  Set up a place in your showroom, on your counter and on your website to promote local businesses.  Restaurants and fellow luxury and premium businesses need your help and you theirs.  Boldly label brands that you sell that are manufactured or warehoused in your area.  Then send breakfasts, lunches and dinners to your good clients from local restaurants.  It does not have to be a PK, CEU or new product introduction.  Simply a thank you to the client while supporting a restaurant the community knows, enjoys and misses.  Surprise them all with your gracious community support and your brand will stand out as one that is authentically supporting the market you and your customers call home. 
  3. Work on your website.  In the last 8 months, ecommerce has increased from 15% to 25% of the retail economy and that genie is not going back in the bottle.  A key foundation of any business model for generations is that your brand must be where your clients are.  Today, even 80-year-old baby boomers are comfortable online.  This pandemic not only forced people to order from their computers and mobile device.  It has lasted so long that so many more people are comfortable navigating the web and buying whatever they need, want and dream of owning from their sofa.  Then we add in the X and Y generations growing wealth and you have an opportunity to be the luxury DPH brand that is the go-to in brick and mortar and digital showroom destination.  The first companies that effectively create an engaging digital product presentation that works with their bricks and mortar showroom will be very successful.  To quote Kim Frechette from her Connections article last week, “web views and reviews are, without a doubt, a crucial component to the future of business. We’ve seen how reviews shape the perception of a product or company and how reviewers, paid and unpaid, can affect mom and pop start-ups, large corporations and government agencies, to name a few. The world watches and reads what everyone has to say about a product whether what is being said is true or valuable. They can literally make or break a business.”

The good news from all this is that the DPH world has a successful history of creating new customer experiences.  In the 1980’s decorative plumbing and hardware showrooms were rare.  By the end of that decade, many forward thinking and aggressive businesspeople decided that this was a profitable path and they created stunning showrooms that delivered a novel DPH showroom experience.  In the 21st Century’s roaring twenties, that type of opportunity is again available.  Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more…

Best of luck out there and may your 2021 be wildly…

Friday, February 19, 2021

DDI System Hosts Software Demo: Pivotal Technology Driving Wholesale Distribution Leaders.

Having the right technology platform to power your business - from multi-channel selling, to anytime/anywhere access - empowers distributors to succeed. Join DDI System for a live Inform ERP product demo and Q&A session as we show you technologies that are driving success with distributors in today's market.

During this no-cost online event, you’ll get a hands-on look at how Inform ERP Software and Inform eCommerce Pro helps distributors:

  • Gain speed at the sales counter with single-screen order entry and dozens of quick-search capabilities 
  • Grow a consumer-friendly experience with embedded, real-time eCommerce that integrates with your ERP for accurate inventory levels and pricing
  • Service customers from anywhere, anytime with built-in mobile sales tools and smartphone ERP functionality
  • Offer customer convenience with contactless pickup and locker management

Turnstyle Designs Introduces Sonar.

Turnstyle Designs' latest range of flush fitted cabinet pulls, designed by Christina Roberts, are inspired by both sound and movement. 

Christina created a statement lip edge pull, by increasing the size for both practical and visual purposes. The shape and edge were paramount in the design and took many attempts to perfect. Her aim was to ensure the handle could be used throughout projects, but especially in a busy working kitchen, where grip for movement is particularly important. 

The pull is designed to sit flush within a door or drawer edge, creating a surface for finishes to radiate across. With nine different solid living and plated metal finishes, the pull can fit perfectly within most interior projects. Due to their asymmetrical form, they would also look particularly good when used in pairs on double doors, side by side. 

The solid brass is impressively heavy weighted, which furthermore adds to the quality. 


Water, Inc. Offers Most Powerful, Compact and Lightweight Water Purifier on the Market.

Water, Inc. has added the Acuva (ah-CUE-vah) Eco NX-SILVER Water Purification System to its catalogue of high-end water treatment systems. The system offers consumers the most powerful, yet compact and lightweight water purifier on the market. 

Acuva's patented UV-LED lntenseBeam Technology eliminates up to 99.9999% of bacteria and viruses and provides clean drinking water instantly at the point of consumption. Over the course of its lifetime, the system reduces the need for 1.2 million single-use plastic water bottles. The use of ultraviolet light for water treatment and purification offers several benefits including minimal maintenance costs and the ability to turn on and off automatically, making it one of today's fastest growing water treatment technologies.


Americh Storage Solution Named 30 Most Innovative Product by Better Homes & Gardens.

Americh has received the 30 Most Innovative Product award, presented by Beautiful Kitchens & Baths by Better Homes & Gardens, for their new Urban Bath Apron Storage, which features an integrated steel pull-out storage shelf to store bathroom essentials.

This Urban Bath Apron provides a 3 ½” deep by 36” long stainless steel shelf and panel that opens smoothly with hydraulic arms and closes securely with a magnet. The shelf also features a removable, stainless steel tray for easy cleaning.

Americh’s Urban Bath Apron Storage will be featured, along with the full list of winners, in the Beautiful Kitchens & Baths Spring 2021 issue, on sale February 5th.


Thursday, February 11, 2021

Inspired Celestia™ Bath by BainUltra® Debuts New FineStone™ Solid Surface.

BainUltra® found inspiration in the heavens for its newest collection of freestanding baths. Introducing the Celestia™ 6233 soaker tub, an elegant interpretation of the ethereal loveliness of the night sky. 

The Celestia is the first tub to be offered in FineStone™, the brand’s new high-quality solid surface material. Comprised of refined minerals and pure liquid acrylic, FineStone offers a new level of design possibilities. Not only does it offer exceptional insulation properties to keep bathwater warm longer, the material is extremely durable, light and color resistant, and has a non-porous surface that is naturally hygienic and easy to clean. 

The Celestia is the first BainUltra tub made with FineStone to be available in the 62” x 33” x 24” size, with generous accommodations that allows bathers to stretch out and relax while soaking. The tub features two integrated armrests and a comfortably angled backrest for supreme comfort. A beautiful satin finish ensures this tub will maintain its good looks and continue to offer blissful soaks for years to come. 


Gerber® Plumbing Fixtures Presents the Industrial Chic Kinzie® Kitchen Collection.

The rustic yet polished vibe of Gerber® Plumbing Fixtures' Kinzie kitchen collection draws inspiration from vintage-era plumbing forms with a touch of modern style. The collection spans many product options for a complete look including, pre-rinse, pull-down, and pull-down prep faucets, as well as a wall-mounted pot filler featuring an articulating arm for long reach and compact storage.

All Kinzie kitchen sink faucets feature a toggle button to easily change between spray and stream functions, 360-degree swivel spouts, and durable ceramic disc valves for smooth operation and drip-free performance. Pull-down and pull-down prep faucets feature both the proprietary SnapBack® retraction system for smooth, consistent sprayhead retraction, and the easily retractable GripLock® weight which allows for customization of the hose retraction length for specific installation needs. 

Kinzie brings a sense of urban loft living to any kitchen, while also complementing contemporary, modern, and farmhouse spaces. The line offers multiple finish options, including Chrome, Satin Black, Stainless Steel, and the all-new Brushed Bronze.


California Faucets Expands Kitchen Collection with New “Squeeze” Handle Sprayer.

Putting the “squeeze” on dirty dishes, California Faucets has added the new Squeeze Handle Sprayer to their Kitchen Collection. Both ergonomic and visually captivating, the easy-to-use lever activates a powerful spray function to tackle dirty dishes in no time. Simply squeeze the lever to unleash the vigorous spray function and release it to return to an aerated stream. 

The addition of the new squeeze lever practically doubles the already vast array of pull-down faucet choices. The variety of available styles, combined with a selection of more than 28 artisan finishes, gives at-home chefs all the ingredients they need to whip up a delicious design statement for the kitchen sink.

Going beyond the company’s signature solid brass construction, the design team engineered an insulated sprayhead to ensure it’s never too hot to the touch, even with scalding water. The sprayhead also features easy-to-clean spray jets that withstand mineral build-up.


hansgrohe to Unveil New Locarno Collection Via Livestream.

Welcome to the Aquademie. Discover the latest innovations from AXOR and hansgrohe, including a first look at Locarno– the new hansgrohe collection inspired by the luxury and glamour of another era.

Locarno offers a complete range of products in the bathroom, shower, and kitchen for consistent style and effortless cohesion throughout the entire household. With a transitional-style design inspired by the Art Deco movement, premium quality, and the availability of five elegant finishes, Locarno boldly exudes the appreciation for premium quality, iconic art and design, luxury, and personalized expression.

Join hansgrohe as they livestream their newest products at the one-of-a-kind hansgrohe USA Aquademie. Get acquainted with the newest collections, including Locarno, Aquno Select, AXOR EDGE, and FinishPlus. 

9AM - NOON, 1PM - 4PM

FEBRUARY 24 & 25 



How to Accomplish More in Less Time.

How is your productivity?  Are you able to manage your time efficiently to get the most done in the least amount of time?  Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist who teaches at Duke University and is the author of three best-selling books on irrational behavior, developed a smart calendar application, Timeful, to help people improve their productivity.  Ariely found there are six keys not improving individual time management.

Step One: Recognize that the world is working against you.  Traditional advertising interrupts and encourages you to purchase products and services.  Internet links encourage you to click.   Text messages make you stop in your tracks.  If you responded to every email, beck and call, Ariely claims you quickly would be broke, obese and constantly distracted.  His advice is to develop a plan to reduce distractions.  Set aside a certain amount of time each day to read emails and texts.  

Step Two: Control your environment or it will control you, claims Ariely.  Your environment matters.  Create an environment that makes things that you need to do easy and the things that you should not do difficult.  Google conducted an experiment at its New York headquarters where it offered M&Ms in a basket.  When the company switched containers to a bowl with a lid, the consumption of M&Ms declined by 3 million a month.  

Step 3: Develop daily, weekly and monthly to-do lists.  Seems like a no brainer, but few employees document what they need to do.  

Step 4: Take advantage of the most productive hours in a day.  Ariely found that not all hours in the day are equal.  Most people are more productive in the morning approximately an hour after waking up.  So if you get up at 6am, your most productive time of the day would be between 7am and 9:30am.  Schedule your most important to-do list items for those hours.  Ariely found that most people miss this opportunity, instead focusing their attention on email and Facebook.

Step 5: Avoid the biggest productivity drains; meetings, email, multitasking and structured procrastination.  The latter is defined as focusing on tasks that give the feeling of progress instead of focusing on deep work that really makes progress.  Ariely explains that crossing off items on your to-do list may give you sense of accomplishment, but real achievements take time.  

Step 6:  Reduce the amount of time on email and texting.  A University of London study found that constant emailing and texting reduced mental capacity by an average of 10 points, five for women and 15 for men.  This is the equivalent of working after missing a night’s sleep.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Providing Decorative Product During a Pandemic: Thoughts from the Manufacturer Perspective. By Kim Frechette with contributions from Ben Aliker-HamatUSA, Barbara Kratus-Infinity Drain, Harris Wattles-Amba, Patrick Weidl-Thermasol

The DPH manufacturer concentrates on quality product and superior customer service.  We are expected to provide both at competitive prices and with as little friction as possible, and I would say, most of us do.  However, as we’ve witnessed the ‘Amazoning’ of the marketplace, amplified by a pandemic world, DPH manufacturers are fighting to maintain stability between logical expectations and ‘the Amazon effect’.  While we all appreciate the convenience of an Amazon marketplace, not all products can be treated equally.  Unlike some other industries, hardware, plumbing, appliances and lighting often have specific shipping, installation and service needs.  

Manufacturers are often viewed simply as marketers and salespeople, but as you may have seen when visiting a factory, manufacturing is a multi-faceted and complex business.  Manufacturers in the U.S. and around the world are more tightly bound together through raw materials, labor and freight than may appear from a finished product.  

Raw materials are tied to industries as varied as oil and microchips.  Most can be, and are, sourced nationally, but some must be sourced internationally.  The flow of these products is regulated by countries, politics and commerce vagaries all around the world.  In a normal year, price increases are expected and applied where necessary.  In a Covid year, price increases have been compounded by national and worldwide slowdowns in supply and increases are reflecting the upheaval.

Ben Aliker of HamatUSA explains, “2020 was not kind to many parts of the construction industry, mainly due to increased demand and decreased supply.  Appliances and lumber both faced an initial crunch, and appliances remain on short supply and long lead-times.  For many DPH manufacturers, it was a mixed bag.  Kitchen products, unlike a shower valve or new freestanding tub filler, don’t require an extensive remodel project.  It’s relatively easy to install a new kitchen sink and faucet into an existing kitchen.  Because of a huge number of people staying home across the world, and the relative ease of installation, HamatUSA saw a huge spike in demand over the summer and into the fall for kitchen sinks and faucets – both in the US and in foreign markets.”

Production and inventory for manufacturers is handled in a wide variety of ways.  That is to say that some manufacturers work on a made-to-order, just-in-time basis with very little inventory while others continually produce and maintain large inventories.  There are pros and cons to both, but both take deft skills to balance output with demand and costs with profit.

Freight costs have skyrocketed.  The freight industry has been working throughout the pandemic, putting themselves at risk, but also realizing their undeniable necessity to the buying public.   Their charges are reflecting their increased importance.  ‘Fuel surcharges’ have become more common.  Most DPH manufacturers have decided to keep freight rates as stable as possible, absorb many increases and/or set free freight levels.

Returns and restocks have become a flashpoint.  We know, stuff happens.  We all want to make these transactions as painless as possible.   However, returns in our segment are not as easy as logging on and printing off a return label or simply scanning a QR code.  Returns and restocks are expensive for everyone and cannot be ‘solved’ by simply raising prices to try and speed up the process.  The customer changed their mind?  It happens. But a faucet, toilet, steam unit, drain or tub cannot simply be Rambo-taped back into its packaging and dropped off.  Return transport, reception and inspection, repair (if necessary), repacking (if possible) and return to inventory are only a few of the things that need to happen to a return.  But let’s be honest, we all know that a consumer wants a NEW product so reselling product is difficult and frowned upon.  What can be done with returned goods in our industry?  How many ways are there to reduce, reuse, recycle? Manufacturers are often caught in a difficult position to satisfy consumers even when issues are not manufacturing related.  

“Absorbing the costs associated with returns would most likely come with a price increase,” says Barbara Kratus of Infinity Drain.  “Ultimately, it’s the consumer who will pay for it in the end whether it’s Prime delivery or no questions asked returns---just as they do now on Amazon or any other online retailer where it’s baked into the price.”

Harris Wattles of Amba adds, “Re-stock fees are put into place for a variety of reasons and a price increase simply to help offset a reduction/elimination of restock fees is not the answer to the problem. Increasing our prices for this reason will only make it harder to compete with other brands, especially the low-cost companies that you frequently see on Amazon,  further eroding a company’s image while likely pricing our products out of the market.” 

Labor costs in manufacturing are more competitive than ever.  Recruiting, hiring and retaining the best people at every position is not exclusively difficult to showrooms or agencies.  Most jobs in DPH manufacturing are not on assembly lines but require trade training or artistic skill.  

“Production facilities (during Covid) had less time/resources available for new product production.  As responsible suppliers, we had to initiate protocols to keep production teams safe and healthy,” Aliker explains.  “That universally meant less people in the factory at one time, and different production schedules, and thus decreased production capacity.  We have seen Covid-related delays to the supply chain for new components as they also deal with Covid realities.” 

Service is the other main component to successful manufacturing.  We all remember bad service when we encounter it, and good service doesn’t always get recognized but is expected at all levels.  Good service can be a simple smiling voice or a clear instruction about how to turn something on and off.  Good service to a consumer can be slowly walking through how to operate a control or good service can become bad service by not changing out that same control, that is working properly, because the user doesn’t like how the control operates.  There is a fine line between the customer being always right and easy on-site solutions.  

Labor costs in the field are now jungle competitive.  Skilled tradespeople have never been as busy as they are now.  Product support for warranty issues or installation inspections is a critical component in the overall experience of a product offering.  Your warranty can be 100 years, but if you can’t get a professional to a job site it’s not worth much.  And we are all dependent on how professional and experienced the tradesperson working with us can be during the initial installation or during follow up servicing.

“I think products that incorporate tech could inspire young people to enter the trades,” says Kratus.  “There are incredible innovations in building materials!  We have to tout that at all levels of the building process.”

Patrick Weidl of ThermaSol adds, “ThermaSol, like many of us, is reliant on 2 trades, plumbers and electricians, to install the products.  Have their expectations changed? Yes, absolutely. To meet those expectations, we introduced virtual trainings as it relates to product knowledge, installation and general 101s.”

The web runs the world.  It would be an understatement to say that the web has gotten us through a lot this past year and we have all learned new angles to using it. It has become indispensable to our everyday lives.  You can order a car, a boat, a diamond necklace, your groceries, birdfeed, a towel bar or a potty, all from the phone in your hand.  But as we all know, the web is a catch-22 for everyone selling product, any product, around the world.   Amazon and similar companies ruled the web pre-Covid but now ALL companies have improved their online presence either as a seller or simply as a store window showing off their skills and products. Today, if your storefront isn’t well represented on the web, your brick and mortar isn’t going to get the attention it deserves.  We’ve all become accustomed to checking out a product or business on the web before we head out to see it.  A web search can be simply to see what kind of Covid protocols are in place or to actually see if the product you want is on display or to read reviews of that product or business.  

Web views and reviews are, without a doubt, a crucial component to the future of business.  We’ve seen how reviews shape the perception of a product or company and how reviewers, paid and unpaid, can affect mom and pop start-ups, large corporations and government agencies, to name a few.  The world watches and reads what everyone has to say about a product whether what is being said is true or valuable.  They can literally make or break a business.  So we ask, should we raise our prices to be more ‘Amazon like’?  

It’s been a challenging time for all, but the future of construction and renovation is bright and we are hopeful.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Amba Products Announces Harris Wattles' Promotion.

Amba Products is excited to announce the promotion of Harris Wattles to General Manager. Since beginning with Amba over 9 years ago, starting as a warehouse employee, Harris has diligently climbed the ranks to customer service manager and most recently Regional Sales Manager covering the Midwest and West coasts. He has played a key role in the growth and success of the company and has shown the leadership, hard work and know-how in his varied roles and responsibilities across departments to lead Amba. 

In his new role, Harris will continue to manage the Midwest and West coasts territories as well as overseeing the day-to-day operations for the company. We are excited to see Harris in his new role and proud of his accomplishments and the passion and compassion he shares for his job, team, the company, and industry. 


Turnstyle Designs Introduces Echo.

Turnstyle Designs has created an edge pull which aims to support the look and feel of a British classic, the Range cooker. The Range is known for its strong, timeless industrial qualities, and Turnstyle Designs' founder Christina wanted to create hardware which embodies the strength and reliability, while ensuing a sophisticated look. The most important aspect of the design was to have a deeper leading edge than others on the market, to create a stronger line and distinctive feel.

For balance, she gently rounded and broadened the front section creating a rolled edge, helping to lighten and soften the overall design. Christina has produced a design that is ultimately easy to grab when needed. The Echo is available hand hammered, adding a further dimension and texture to the design. With nine different solid metal finishes and six hammered finishes, these pulls will stand out in any project.


BLANCO Introduces BLANCO UNIT, Including Free Shipping.

BLANCO introduces BLANCO UNIT, a fully integrated sink, faucet and accessory concept that works together seamlessly to enhance the experience with water and make everyday life in the kitchen easier.

What better way to get your customer to think beyond the kitchen sink than to offer them free shipping? Help them customize their own BLANCO UNIT by selecting a BLANCO faucet & sink, then note on your PO the promo code “BLANCO UNIT” and they both ship free, along with all the accessories to make their BLANCO UNIT perfect for them!


DPHA Webinars: Post-KBIS Design Trend Review.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021
2 pm est

February is going to be a very busy month in the DPH world! KBIS is going all virtual and will be held February 9-12. Kohler, hansgrohe and other companies are having their own digital events to launch new products as well. We are very excited to see what everyone has to offer and what design trends are coming down the pipeline.

Join designer Garrison Hullinger, designer and wellness expert Jamie Gold and industry veteran Janice Costa of KB Designers Network as we dig into what we can expect to see in design for 2021 and beyond.

MEMBER VIDEO SPOTLIGHT: Newterra Sinks and Furniture from LACAVA

The Newterra collection of bathroom vanities - consisting of concrete countertops with an integrated sink bowl and wood or metal consoles stands – showcases the beauty of natural and renewable materials. As your 2020 DPHA Product of the Year Fixture winner, the goal of this collection is to bring the texture and experience of the outdoors into the living space while maintaining the simplicity of modern design. The versatile nature of concrete, easy to mold into different shapes, creates opportunities for custom designs. Standard or custom, we can't wait to bring your designs to life!

DPHA Broke the Internet: New Lavatory Faucets Manual!

Last week we launched our revamped Lavatory Faucets education manual, only for our server to crash and the manual was inaccessible for three days! Now that the site is back up and running, please make sure you check out the new manual. You'll need to log in for access - please reach out to staff if you need your login information.

Our updated Kitchen Faucets manual will be released later this month, and the cutoff to have your images included is next Friday, February 12th. Adorning the Door is coming up next month, followed by Accessories. Please email staff if you would like to take advantage of these great opportunities!


Wednesday, February 3, 2021

California Faucets Announces Two Executive Promotions.

California Faucets is pleased to announce the promotions of Brian Hunt to Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Noah Taft to Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). The promotions will provide key strategic support to the company as it navigates the demands of dynamic growth and further solidifies its reputation as the industry’s premier custom fittings manufacturer.

“As consumers continue to look for exceptional fittings and finishes for their homes, we’ve focused on satisfying these aspirations with handcrafted products that stand out—and stand the test of time,” says CEO Jeff Silverstein. “By leveraging Brian’s operational and managerial prowess and Noah’s creativity, we will meet the challenges of growth today and beyond.”

A seven-year veteran of the company, Brian Hunt most recently served as Vice President of Operations. In the newly created position of COO, Hunt will be responsible for overseeing the manufacturer’s day-to-day operations and profitability, including production, sales, finance, human resources, customer service, engineering, purchasing, and technology. He will assume the presidential duties of Silverstein, who will continue as CEO, focusing on big-picture strategy and opportunities. Silverstein will also continue to lead product development and design for the company.

“During my time at California Faucets, I’ve come to appreciate not just our exceptional products, but our warm and friendly culture,” says Hunt. “We have an excellent team here that is collaborative and service-oriented by nature. I’m excited to contribute and help lead us forward as we endeavor to create new standards in the industry.”

As Chief Marketing Officer, another newly created position, Noah Taft will focus on California Faucets’ strategic marketing efforts to further sharpen brand identity and position the company for additional growth. Taft joined the company in 2002 following a career writing and producing popular television shows, and most recently served as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales.

“Noah’s a gifted storyteller and has been invaluable for conveying our ‘artisan hands, not mass produced’ narrative,” says Silverstein. “In the increasingly digital world, he’s introduced new marketing approaches that effectively convey the spirit and value of handcrafted product.”

As always, California Faucets remains committed to its core values of delivering custom faucetry with superior service and delivery. “This ‘people first’ philosophy is in our DNA,” Silverstein says, “and we’re grateful to our team, our vendors, and our customers for their continued support, and genuine collaboration.”

Friday, January 29, 2021

Pace Supply Welcomes Eric Gonzalez as new Director of Showrooms for Premier Bath and Kitchen.

Eric has been in the kitchen and bath industry for 15 years, serving both southern and northern California territories as part of Ferguson; starting in showroom sales, moving into management, and now in the Director’s seat with PBK. Eric grew up in Southern California, is a graduate of the University of Arizona (Tucson), and currently resides in Santa Rosa with his wife and three children. 


Aquabrass Introduces Barley Kitchen Faucets - Distributed by AD Waters.

Aquabrass' new BARLEY collection offers quality kitchen faucets in the finest materials. Available in Polished Chrome, Brushed Nickel PVD and Brushed Gold PVD finishes, the BARLEY and BARLEY PREP Pull-down kitchen faucets offer two stream modes, aerated and spray, as well as a 140-degree spout rotation, perfect for controlling both water outing, direction and pressure. In addition, it provides a single volume and temperature lever control.


Water, Inc. Appointed SMEG's Western US Distribution Partner.

Water, Inc. is proud to announce that it now represents Italian breakout appliance brand SMEG in Arizona, California, Nevada and New Mexico. Smeg is renowned for creating beautiful kitchen products that combine technology and style, and makes appliances that are both high-performing and crafted from quality materials.

Water, Inc., a DPHA member since the very beginning, is a premier distributor and supplier of drinking water filter and purification products, whole house water treatment systems, decorative plumbing and luxury appliances. Stay tuned for more new partner announcements from Water, Inc!

Americh Enhances Product Offerings with Launch of New Bathtub: Valerie.

This new tub features the same spacious, rounded and contemporary design as the best-selling Contura II tub from Americh, but with a pair of integrated armrests for a convenient and relaxing effect. Valerie is also an ideal choice for couples, as the double pair of armrests can be enjoyed by two bathers soaking face-to-face.

Valerie is constructed of long-lasting and durable acrylic that provides a non-porous surface for easy cleaning and sanitizing, and an enduring brilliance that will stand the test of time without fading.

Valerie includes an integral waste and overflow in polished chrome, and is available in a variety of Americh colors. Dimensions are 72" X 40" X 24".


Thursday, January 28, 2021

The Lowdown on the New Payroll Protection Program.

On December 27, 2020 the U.S. Congress enacted the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020.  The Act provided another round of Payroll Protection Program funding to any business with less than 300 people and whose gross receipts dropped 25% or more during any quarter of 2020 compared to 2019.  If your company was shut down during the second quarter of last year, it is likely your gross receipts dropped by 25% or more.  Don’t miss the opportunity to apply for the next round of PPP funding from local banks providing PPP loans.

The December 2020 Act also amended and extended the employee retention credit of the original CARES Act and allows eligible DPHA members to obtain both a PPP loan and claim an Employee Retention Credit for 2020, which was not possible under the original CARES Act.  The eligibility requirements to take the tax credit are complicated but do provide a tax credit of up to $5,000 per employee for compensation paid between March 12 and December 31, 2020, but only on wages where the business was shut down due to government order or experienced a large decline in year-over-year gross receipts.  There are lots of qualifying criteria necessary to take the tax credit.  Determining whether your company is eligible should be determined by a qualified tax professional.  Even if you don’t qualify for the tax credit, don’t miss out on the additional PPP loan opportunity!

The Definition of Success: Are You Growth-Minded or Fixed-Minded?

How do you define success? One certainty is that if you don’t have a definition, you will never know if you are successful. Success is not only definable, but it is also actionable. There are generally two types of people; those who look forward, are driven and willing to take calculated risks, and those who believe they are victims of their circumstances, that others are responsible for their current condition and do not believe they have the ability or opportunity to change. The latter rarely takes responsibility for whatever life throws at them.

In her best-selling book Mindset: How We Can Learn to Fulfill Our Potential, Columbia University Professor Carol Dweck terms these two groups of people as growth-minded and fixed-minded. Dweck writes, “A growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things that you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people differ – in their initial talents, aptitudes, interests or temperaments ¬¬– everyone can change and grow through application and experience.” In other words, you can succeed if you take control of what you do.

On the other end of the spectrum, fixed-mindsets believe that they are incapable of changing and there is no use in trying because no matter what you do, the result will be the same. Not believing you can be successful is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Think about the people you know who are successful. Do they honestly believe that their success was pre-ordained? They take risks. They have sleepless nights. They always strive for improvement. They believe perfection is an achievable goal. They make mistakes, but strive to learn from them and move on.

Which group are you in? Fixed- or growth-mindset? If you are in the latter, the chances of achieving your dreams are greatly enhanced. If you are in the former, the is no time like the present to change.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

New Member Spotlight: Meet Trueform Concrete

Trueform Concrete is a concrete-centric design and fabrication company that specializes in high-end commercial and residential concrete sinks.

Trueform’s mission is to champion concrete as the ultimate material for creative expression. They do so by creating signature product lines as well as custom, build-to-spec concrete pieces for clients around the globe. Concrete's unparalleled versatility earns it the reputation of being a choice material for those seeking a multitude of design options. It can be cast into nearly any shape - in nearly any color - and routinely finds its way into architectural features for residential, commercial, hospitality and recreational settings.

While they offer a variety of off-the-shelf solutions, what sets Trueform apart from other manufacturers is their agility. The fact that all of their pieces are proudly hand-crafted in NJ gives them endless flexibility and control when it comes to attributes factors such as color, shape and size. They are therefore a key resource for those seeking sinks in precise dimensions or those with unique or otherwise impossible-to-find features.

Having opened their doors in 2006, Trueform has worked alongside thousands of architects, designers and homeowners to create custom sinks, vanities and other concrete architectural features. Respect for the craft and attention to detail goes into every product that leaves their facility.  
Trueform Concrete is extremely excited to be a part of DPHA because they recognize all the talent in this association and are shifting business strategies to enter the showroom business in order to provide showrooms with a new alternative source for decorative sinks.

Trueform's Director of Sales, Matt Tighe, can be reached at

BOCCHI's Forte Sink is Latest Product to Join Established Line.

BOCCHI recently announced the latest product offering to join its line, the Forte apron-front sink. A modern classic, the Forte is sleek, durable and contemporary and includes BOCCHI’s traditional features, making it heat, stain and impact resistant. 

The Forte is now in showrooms and is currently available in a 30-inch edition. Colors include white and black, in both matte and glossy finishes. Other colors available are glossy biscuit and sapphire blue, as well as matte gray, dark gray and brown. Its blend of organic materials and aluminum provides the warmth and elegance of fireclay with the added strength of metal. The ultra-thin walls bring an updated elegance to the already trending farmhouse sink. 


Metal Style Bouvet Introduces the Latest Handle Collection from Alfredo Porro: Bronzo.

Well known for their high-quality material and work, Alfredo Porro came with a new handle collection made specially to meet the needs of the most demanding customers in their search for “unique pieces”.

Inspired by Haute Couture, the Bronzo collection is divided into four styles of pulls and knobs.

Completely made in Italy with the finest bronze, each handle is sand casted and then finished by a skilled artisan, giving more character and uniqueness to each piece. This timeless collection will complement any decor easily, giving a touch of elegant exclusivity to each home.


Gerber® Plumbing Fixtures Adds New Bridge Faucet to Parma® Collection.

Gerber® Plumbing Fixtures is thrilled to expand the Parma® kitchen collection to now include a bridge faucet. The all-new Parma bridge faucet bridges the style gap, providing a modern flair with traditional bridge faucet form. With a look that transcends time, the Parma bridge faucet is equally stunning in a family farmhouse kitchen or an urban loft. This transitional faucet is available in Chrome, Stainless Steel, Satin Black, and the newly launched Brushed Bronze. The two-handle design allows for independent control of hot and cold water to adjust for the perfect temperature and flow. Featuring durable ceramic disc valves for drip-free performance, this faucet also includes a matching side spray for maximum functionality. 

The Parma collection exudes a contemporary design with slim cylindrical details and modern minimalist touch. The line also includes pre-rinse, pull-down, single handle, and bar faucets, as well as a wall-mounted pot filler. For an aesthetic that can be carried through the home, Parma also includes a full offering of bathroom products. 


Atlas Homewares Introduces Three New Collections and New Finish.

Atlas Homewares is pleased to introduce three new collections of knobs, pulls and appliance pulls: Erika, Lennox and Sweetbriar Lane.  In addition to three new collections, Atlas Homewares will debut a new finish, Café Bronze (CFB), as well as product extensions of their existing collections, Steam Punk and Bronte, in 2021. 


Erika favors the traditional look, but makes a striking impact with clean lines and a contemporary feel. This collection is available in five finishes and seven pull sizes, including an appliance pull.


With its minimalistic form and subtle curve, the Lennox collection makes a powerful statement. This collection of knobs and pulls is available in six finishes.

Sweetbriar Lane 

A reinvention of its parent, Sutton Place, the Sweetbriar Lane collection is refined with a tailored look. The 10-piece collection is available in knobs, pulls and appliance pulls in six finishes.

The Café Bronze (CFB) finish is a relieved bronze hue with gold highlights reminiscent of a fresh café americano. Shown here is Steam Punk, which has been extended to include three new sizes as well.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Delta Invites You to Newest Webinar in Pipeline Series.

Ever wonder how to best describe various shower spray patterns to clients? Need the right language to recommend certain settings? If the answer is yes, tune in for some incredible showering coverage with Sr. Product Manager Clinton Cardinal and R&D Engineer Josh Wales. They'll discuss what it takes to imagine, design and execute such a variety of user experiences, including the new PowerDrench® and UltraSoak™ sprays.

January 20, 2021 @ 1:00 PM ET / 10:00 AM PT

MTI Introduces Adel 2: A Stylish Solution for Small Spaces.

As part of MTI’s Designer Collection, the Adel 2 is a chic freestanding tub with clean, organic lines and a thin lip with integrated faucet deck. It is available as a soaker or air bath, both featuring ergonomic interiors for sublime comfort and indulgent options to soothe the senses such as chromatherapy and thermal therapy. Measuring 57” x 31” x 22”, the Adel 2 can easily fit into an existing 60” alcove, making the tub a smart choice for remodeling projects with simple installation.

DDI System Hosts 20 Minute Software Demo: Learn How to Keep Your Customers Close.

Join DDI System for a live Inform ERP product demo and Q&A session with founder, Adam Waller, as he showcases technologies that are driving success with distributors in today's market.

January 21, 2021 @ 1:00 PM ET / 10:00 AM PT

During this no-cost online event, you’ll get a hands-on look at how Inform ERP Software and Inform eCommerce Pro helps distributors:
  • Strengthen customer connections with detailed contact history, follow-up tasks, and professional quoting tools
  • Offer a seamless shopping experience with built-in eCommerce and real-time ERP integration for accurate inventory levels & pricing
  • Serve customers instantly from anywhere, anytime with a real-time sales suite on your smartphone or tablet

What We Learned From Our Member Roundtables.

This week we hosted the first of our quarterly member roundtables where our members discussed several of the challenges facing their businesses today, including how COVID is affecting their workplace, the increase in internet shopping, challenges with training and reaching the A+D community and more.  Here are some key takeaways from the roundtables:

  • Most showrooms have gone to appointment only and are finding their clients to be more prepared and more serious shoppers.  Some showrooms plan on staying appoint only in the post-Covid world, while others will return to their more retail focus.
  • The increase in online shopping has affected the customer expectations, bringing added challenges to the showrooms.  Showrooms must focus on selling on value and expertise rather than price.  Showrooms also have to adjust their stocking position and selling based on availability to compete with Amazon's two-day delivery.
  • Reps and dealers would like manufacturers to rethink their return policies and restock fees to allow easier selling against Amazon. 
  • Samples are HOT!  With access to the showrooms limited, designers and consumers alike are asking for finish samples.  However, they are still often hard to come by.
  • There is a shortage of trades people across the country.
  • Costs of raw materials in our industry are increasing, with two to three increases happening since Covid started.  Expect significant price increases this year.
  • A main challenge right now seems to be getting in front of the A&D community because they have all decentralized away from offices and will probably be some of the last to go back to the office.
  • General consensus is we will not return to "normal" until at least mid-year or until the vaccines have been widely distributed.

If post-Covid life is anything like after the pandemic in 1918-1919, get read for the Roaring 20's!   Our next Member Roundtable will be hosted in April, so stay tuned for registration information!


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Showroom Training With Your Local Sales Representative: By DPHA President Ryan Paul, with input from Dealers, Manufacturers and Independent Sales Reps.

How do you motivate a showroom sales team to present a product with conviction and passion? How do you best engage your audience and make presentations memorable? How do you approach sales people during a presentation when they each have a different level of knowledge? These are all significant challenges. One thing is certain, a single presentation delivered the same way – over and over – will not impact or resonate with the broad spectrum of personalities in our unique markets. Training salespeople is a craft.  An art.

A great sales representative knows a “one size fits all” approach is a poor way to train. As an expert both on product and on sharing information, a quality sales rep succeeds in exciting and motivating listeners. When focusing on a strategic purpose while also resonating with participants, the sales representative becomes an even more valuable asset to the manufacturer and showroom.  Such expertise often becomes the deciding factor when the showroom chooses to partner with a brand, or a manufacturer chooses to contract with an independent rep agency. 

Your local sales representative knows their local market and has the personal relationship with the showroom sales teams that contributes to effective brand and product training.  As a result, good things happen. Everyone benefits financially.


A significant aspect of valuable training includes information about what is happening with the manufacturer and the product segment on a national level.  Also important, is how the brand and new product fit into the local showroom and market.  The local sales representative is in a strategic position to understand the micro-geographic market, allowing them to train on how the brand or product fits the need in a specific showroom.  

A quality sales representative focuses training on aspects that most impact sales staff in their specific market.  Styles and finishes that sell in one part of the country aren’t necessarily appropriate for the consumer and showroom in another market.  Local design trends from New York to California to Florida to Texas are often not the same.  Regional certification and code requirements differ from market to market.  Finally, the sales representative can employ relevant examples trending in their market.  


The local sales representatives in the field maintain and cultivate relationships with the showroom salespeople, architects and designers in the territory.  Consequently, local sales reps know what interests and excites showroom personnel as well as their level of industry knowledge. That understanding enables the local sales representative to cater a training specific to the needs/wants of that showroom and each salesperson. Such presentations connect on a personal level of understanding and empathy.  Personal relationships most often make the difference between success and failure.

The local sales representative is balancing not only the qualities of the brand and products they are engaged to represent, but also the concerns and interests of the local showroom and their sales people.  The local sales rep is best positioned to address genuine concerns from a showroom honestly yet diplomatically, allowing relationships to grow and strengthen. Over time, a bond forms between a quality local sales representative and the local showroom sales people.  That increases the ebb and flow of discussion because everyone feels more comfortable and open to embracing new ideas.  Open and involved discussion during a brand and product training leads to better understanding and willingness to in turn share with clients and customers.  The showroom appreciates and relies on information from a trusted local sales representative with a long-standing relationship. Education takes root.


The industry expects DPHA sales representatives, the crème de la crème, to have a deep knowledge of their industry, the product, and the ins and outs of each brand they represent.  Most representatives have a long and enduring historical perspective of those brands. They tie that background into top-tier training on luxury brands and products.  A respected DPHA sales representative presents with a targeted approach while simultaneously capturing the attention and developing the enthusiasm of their audience.  

In the face of the pandemic, this group of sales representatives has been adapting and changing more than ever.  This includes, amongst other activities, the rise of web-based video training.  Many DPHA representatives have built long-term relationships that open doors and computer screens to the opportunity of conducting a training. 


As we emerge from the pandemic into an ever-evolving world and marketplace, training platforms and approaches will also have to evolve and most likely include a mix of formats.  Web-based live video training is a creative way to stay in touch and help deliver time-sensitive training on new product and programs to multiple people and locations.  In addition, there will be a place for vendor created “canned” video training modules that a showroom can use flexibly to provide training on specific products when time allotment is tight or irregular.

In-person training proves the most effective at building a stronger personal connection, which ultimately facilitates a feeling of trust, comfort, and excitement towards a brand, products, and the people who represent them.  In-person training permits interaction, which fosters reading the audience. Thus, the sales representative directs the discussion where it needs to go for a lasting impact.  Sometimes an in-person training will consist of a complete staff training, sometimes a one-on-one training… sometimes a time slot of up to 90 minutes… sometimes as short as 15 minutes… sometimes very basic… sometimes more advanced and technical.  These trainings are uniquely tailored to the audience and the salesperson’s availability.  

The local DPHA sales representative exudes passion about their industry, their brands and products, and their partnerships with local showrooms.  They offer a valuable perspective for impactful showroom training.  Please invite your local sales representative in and reward the best with mutual support, partnership… and business.

Top Knobs Offers A First Look at New Product Introductions Launching Throughout 2021.

Top Knobs is excited to announce four new additions to its ever-growing catalog in 2021. During this year’s virtual KBIS experience, Top Knobs provides designers and homeowners an inside look at the new Regents Park collection of knobs, pulls and appliance pulls as well as the new Mixed Metals Bit pull series. Additionally, Top Knobs expands on the Charlotte pull series and the Bit pull series.

The Regents Park Collection

Inspired by the royal grounds of London’s Regents Park, this new collection bestows interior designers and homeowners with the innate poise and rich personality of European design. Comprised of 258 pieces and five series, Regents Park welcomes the romantic ambiance of this noble British estate into the home. The five series of knobs, pulls and appliance pulls include, Clarence, Kingsmill, Cumberland, Ulster and Ormonde. 

The Bit Series Mixed Metals Expansion

Forge a feeling of wonder and excitement with the new mixed metals Bit series expansion. This new look shies away from the classic appearance of one-tone decorative hardware and presents an eclectic mix of 36 pieces in Top Knobs highly sought after Flat Black finish paired with the Honey Bronze or Antique Pewter finishes.

The Charlotte Series Size Expansion

With influences rooted in the timeless appeal of 19th-century design, the Charlotte series of pulls and matching cup pulls features a harmonious blend of traditional charm and contemporary style. The expansion invites four new sizes to the series including 8” cc, 12”cc, 12” cc appliance pulls and 18” cc appliance pulls.

The Bit Series Size Expansion

Top Knobs invites modern edge to interior spaces with the expanded Bit series. These smart and sleek cabinet pulls invigorate kitchens and baths with a powerfully level hand grip and a detailed base that exudes authority. Now available in 5 1/16” cc, 6 5/16” cc, 7 9/16” cc, 8 13/16” cc, 12” cc, 12” cc appliance pulls, 18” cc appliance pulls.