Friday, September 25, 2020

Helping Your Team Navigate Uncharted Waters

It seems that our sense of control continues to wane daily. There is no doubt that COVID-19 is having a lasting effect on just about everything – how we work, communicate, travel, purchase, relax, eat and live. We don’t have a choice but to deal with the new abnormal and we are not sure when or if the old normal will return.

Everyone has had to change work schedules and processes, and change is stressful. Nearly 70% of American workers report that COVID-19 is the most stressful time in their professional careers, writes Professor Eric Anicich of the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business. The source of COVID-19 stress is a loss of autonomy or the ability to control actions and be yourself, claims Anicich. Loss of autonomy adversely effects team member performance and well-being.

Team members are worried about the threat COVID-19 poses to their family’s health, job, freedom of movement and mandatory work from home requirements. Anicich researched employees from 41 different community colleges during the initial lock down in March to determine how those employees felt about the control they had over their lives and whether they could be themselves. The research found that after an initial feeling of loss of control, employees recovered quickly and adapted to the new normal.

How to Regain Control

Anicich recommends that if you are working from home, clearly define workspace from home space. If you have a dedicated office, that’s fantastic. If not, create a dedicated space with a door where you work privately and family members know when the door is closed, you are at work. Take advantage of the benefits of working from home. Use the time that you would have otherwise spent commuting to be more productive, to get more sleep, exercise, connect with friends, increase quality time with family or anything else that makes you feel good. Take care of yourself. Eat healthier. Exercise. Spend some time on just you. Consider earmarking funds that you typically would have spent on going out, traveling or commuting on your and your family’s well-being.

Helping Team Members Cope

Regularly check in with team members. Understand that typical schedules are anything but typical, especially among team members whose children are attending virtual school. When possible, add flexibility to team members’ schedules by not focusing on when or how much the team works, but rather emphasize what is accomplished. Also, set expectations for the team and standards for those who are working from home. You can boost team member morale by frequently recognizing and rewarding team members who are aligned with your corporate culture and values.

Anicich’s research found that neurotic employees recovered their autonomy fastest during the pandemic. They could prove to be your most reliable and effective team members.

Another lasting effect of COVID-19 will be the future of work. Many companies are questioning if team members have to be present from 9 to 5, five days a week. Work from home will be a component of the future of work. The adoption of technology will continue to accelerate due to enhance efficiencies and ease of operation. Anicich believes now is the time to take as step back and ask the question, “What would an ideal world of work look like for this organization and what step can we take now to create this future?

As This *%#! Summer Ends, Where Are Your New Opportunities? By Jeffrey Valles, Colonial Bronze

Recently we received an email inquiry from a respected architectural firm that likes to control every part of their jobs. They have a complete interior design department and have been practicing since the 80’s. Leads of this quality do not surface often and offer a great path to earn a new top-notch customer. All of my salesperson synapses were firing. So, I telephoned the designer in charge of the project and learned the exact product specification and timeline. This was a very cool job.

With Wallpaper magazine images and a massive increase in Instagram followers circling in my mind; I called our killer, local distributor. I enthusiastically related the information and was absolutely blindsided with the response. Sounds interesting, have them give us a call…*%#!...

And the most frustrating thing was that this is not the first time this has happened. Throughout my four decades in the DPH industry, this has happened time and time again. And it happens when I have contacted the very successful showrooms!. Why do these players run their business by a Hollywood dream, if we build it, they will come?

Top luxury showrooms are busy and business is good. Their engaging teams are focused on their regular customers, plus pandemic demands. But should a sales relationship reliant business leave an order opportunity, and a possible profitable long term relationship, to chance? I think not. Jack Welch always preached, “Control your own destiny or someone else will.”

Even in good and 2020 crazy times, we need to always make sure we are focusing on what is best for our business’ future. This sounds easy, but it requires management to take time from all the day-to-day noise and assess how their business is performing. Not simply the regular performance matrices, but how is the team functioning. What is working well and what is not. Who is stressed and who is not, and what might be slipping through the cracks.

You cannot be everything to everybody, but wouldn’t you rather have the opportunity to make the call if the client and the job is a profitable fit for your business’ model?

Whether it is a one-time lead, a good client asking you to enter into a new product category, or taking a calculated risk on an interesting but precarious opportunity, wouldn’t you prefer to have a hand at the table? In Maria Konnikova’s new book, The Confidence Game, Why We Fall For It...Every Time, she writes, “To do nothing is within the power of all men.”

A beautiful showroom with many talented people is a wonderful thing. A beautiful showroom with many talented people that is aggressive, accommodating and imaginative is a market-dominating machine.

Best of luck out there and please be safe.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Nood Co Welcomes You to the Modular Freestanding Basin Range.

Composed of Nood’s ultra fine concrete, the Cylinder pedestal basin boasts a stunning 400mm diameter concrete cylinder in 14 bespoke colors. Select from 7 round basin options and add an optional concrete tray.

A new consciousness in modular bathroom design is here:
  • 7 circle basin options
  • Reversible tray option
  • Adjustable foot base
  • 14 color options
  • Shadowline base
  • 870mm height
  • Wall mount bracket
  • Simple assembly

New Custom Furniture Program from Wetstyle.

Have something special in mind? Maybe you want a WETSTYLE vanity, but need some details changed to better fit your design? The WETSTYLE BESPOKE Custom Furniture Program from is here to fulfill your custom design needs!

Send in your drawing along with the quotation form and they'll return a quote within 5 business days. Once the quotation is approved, your very own custom furniture piece will be built to specs by Wetstyle's skilled artisans at their woodworking shop in Montreal, Canada.

Combine YOUR DESIGN with WETSTYLE'S CRAFTSMANSHIP to create the perfect furniture piece for your next project!

Meet Eaton, a Summer 2020 Introduction from Kalco.

Kalco Lighting recently launched its Summer 2020 new lighting collections, which showcase a variety of quality-made, thoughtfully-curated design styles.

Kalco’s newest bath vanity lighting collection is The Eaton Collection, which is perfect for spaces that call out for something a little different. Not satisfied with classic bathroom lighting shapes, Kalco cleverly uses circular downlights to provide the perfect amount of lighting over a mirror. Shown in Satin Nickel.

Introducing Instant Hot and Beverage Faucets from Brizo®.

Providing hot water on tap at a moment's notice, Brizo Instant Hot faucets are ideal for aromatherapy, steeping tea, brewing French press coffee and more.

New Brizo Beverage faucets are compatible with an array of filtration systems - and are designed to beautifully compliment your existing d├ęcor and fixtures.

From traditional to modern, Polished Chrome to Matte Black, these faucets are available in a broad range of styles and finishes.

Friday, September 18, 2020

The Effect of COVID-19 On Home Design.

What will home design look like through the remainder of the decade? That’s a question The Wall Street Journal posed to hundreds of interior designers who peered into their crystal balls to identify the trends that will dominate home design from now until 2030.

Homes will tip their hat to mother nature. Natural light, open windows, small balconies and terraces and skylights will pay homage to nature and provide more opportunities for homeowners to experience the benefits of natural light, fresh air and green spaces.

Open floor plans will wane. This trend started before COVID-19 and most likely will accelerate through the end of the decade. Homeowners will want defined spaces that separate work from home. That does not necessarily mean more walls or enclosed spaces. What it does mean is that there will be distinct spaces separated by interior windows and strategic sight lines.

Millennials will move to the suburbs, which is turn will result in home design and amenities becoming more urban.

There will be an expanded emphasis on health and wellbeing. Instead of having a fitness room, homes will feature yoga studios, meditation rooms, steam rooms and infrared saunas among other amenities and systems that allow family members time to reflect and recharge their batteries. Great showroom opportunity to tout the products that reduce stress, promote wellness and wellbeing.

Furniture goes on a diet. Sofas and other furniture will become thinner and more compact.

Handwashing increases permanently. The Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 is responsible for the creation of the powder room and popularity of easy-to-clean white subway tile. Look for COVID-19 to create vestibules and mudrooms that include sinks and package and shoe storage spaces. A great showroom opportunity is to promote sinks and smaller vanities that fit in vestibules or mudrooms.

Multigenerational households make a comeback. The high cost of housing and independent living will result in more multigenerational households with separate spaces or even in-home apartments for parents and adult children.

Design softens. Hard edges in design will give way to curved countertops, walls and woodwork to provide the look and feel of harmony and warmth.

Increased investment in quality rather than pieces that cost less whose price tag is directly related to quality or indistinguishable design.

Work from home will be the norm and defined spaces will be designed to respond to this trend. In addition, there will be multiple venues within a home and outside that enable family members to work from home, participate in video conferences and charge devices.

DPHA New Member Spotlight: Meet Foster.

Since the beginning, Foster has created solutions for kitchen environments according to this criteria: high performance with attention to energy efficiency, ease of use enhanced by our design, and advanced technology. This is the Foster philosophy which has inspired each of their products, for over 40 years. A value recognizable today in every product of their extensive collection.

Founded in 1973, Foster is an Italian company that operates in more than 50 countries worldwide. With five highly specialized manufacturing units, Foster is an integrated organization with headquarters in in Brescello, Italy. The Terranova palace - the Foster headquarter - is a former 17th century Franciscan convent, and it's not just a building, it is the expression of Foster’s love for art. Foster breathes passion for beautiful things, respect for the environment that surrounds them and a love for quality, hence their commitment to excellent service to meet the demands of a market increasingly sensitive to technological development and environmental protection.

Today Foster can offer solutions to an entire kitchen, in which each element is characterized by the functional design, for the high quality of the materials selected and its advanced technology.

Freestanding Bathtubs – Perfect for Outdoors by Liz Nass, DADOquartz

DADOquartz Anahita freestanding bathtub at Cheetah Plains.

The trending outdoor shower has gained much popularity in the world of bathroom design. The sequel to this design story is outdoor freestanding bathtubs; a newcomer to the trend of taking the indoors outdoors. Alfresco bathrooms are becoming a bold style statement in taking luxurious home design to the next level.

Summertime outdoor bathing makes the most of any private garden or patio space, 5-star game lodges, resorts, day spas and hotel suites with a view – offering you fresh air, natural scenery, sunlight and moonlight. The natural greenery or outdoor city ambience showcase freestanding bathtubs as unique focal points, creating an exclusive outdoor sanctuary.

The primary consideration when installing an outdoor bathtub is whether it can withstand harsh natural elements – whether you are in the middle of an urban setting or part of the great outdoors.

If you are ready to combine your love for the outdoors with a luxury bathing experience, then here are 3 things to look for with your freestanding bathtub:

#1 UV Resistant

Placing a freestanding bathtub outside or closest to floor-to-ceiling window as part of your bathroom design plan requires you to consider the material of the bathtub and whether it can withstand harsh sunlight and UV rays. Make sure the bathtub you choose is resistant to UV rays and stains, allowing them to be exposed to outdoor elements and to the sun without discoloring.

#2 Non-Porous and Easy Maintenance

You will want to make sure that the bathtub you select is non-porous and free of hairline cracks, ensuring an easy to clean surface that is also resistant to micro-organisms and bacterial growth – perfect for the outdoors.

#3 Tolerance for Extreme Outdoor Conditions

Not all bathtubs are created equal, and not all will work for exterior applications. A tub boasting a full-bodied, solid structure will likely work best for this application. This might sound technical, but the advantage of this for outdoors is that each bathtub has the strength to withstand harsh elements and outdoor conditions without losing its natural beauty and polished satin appearance.

An outdoor space that has iconic city views, skyscrapers, a mountain range, a sea view or even an ivy-covered garden wall becomes the opportunity to create an outdoor bathing haven of relaxation and pure happiness.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

19 Years Later: Remembering 9-11.

DPHA takes time today to remember the 3,000 lives lost during the events that took place nineteen years ago today. The impact of this catastrophic event is still being felt today throughout the economic effects, subsequent illnesses and residual physical and psychological damage of all of those near and dear to New York City. Today is meant to be a day of reflection and remembrance of what that day represented and the community and banding together our country provided in days and months following the attack. We are feeling much of the same emotions throughout 2020 and with community and sharing our stories with our peers, we will get through another major historical moment in our timelines together.

 

DPHA’s own New York bred Kymberly Glazer shares with us her September 11th memories. Keep the stories alive and how these moments in history have shaped you. “On September 11th, 2001 I was a sophomore in college at Colorado State University. It was very early in the morning and my phone was ringing off the hook. I ignored it because, well, I was 19 years old and it wasn't even 7 am! Finally, one of my sorority sisters came bursting into my room, woke me up and said, ‘you need to come downstairs and see this.’ I went downstairs, to the only TV in our sorority house, and watched in horror as the second plane crashed into the South Tower at 9:03 am ET.

 

I grew up just an hour north of NYC and had several friends and family members who were living there. It took me over 5 hours to get ahold of my parents. Every one of my sorority sisters was trying to call, but the phone lines in NY were impossible to get through. All I could do was sit and watch in complete shock. I don't think I even cried until over a month later when I finally got to hug my parents.

 

I am thankful I didn't know anyone who perished that day. There were some miracles in my world on that morning - one of our closest friends who worked at the WTC was running late. Another had a meeting across town.

 

We all have stories of where we were that day, and this was mine. What is yours?”

Join DPHA on September 16th for the Next Wednesday Webinar: DPH and the Internet - Part 2.

Our discussion about the Internet on August 5th was so successful that we will be continuing it in September! We will drive deeper into the challenges with selling against Amazon and other large online retailers and what our dealers and manufacturers can do about it. We will also discuss reps roles in growing ecommerce, and will talk about showrooms entering the ecommerce market. Join Noah Taft of California Faucets, Daniel Chinitz of Creative Bath Sales, Adam Waller of DDI System and John Parks of Parks Decorative Hardware and Plumbing for this riveting discussion!

House of Rohl Launches A Closer Look Academy: First Webinar is September 15th.

House of Rohl proudly presents A Closer Look Academy. Just as they see the potential in stone
and clay, brass and steel, to be poured and casted, glazed, fired, and transformed into the finest of fixtures, they also see our collective potential to transform houses to homes by elevating your unique design style.

Join House of Rohl on their quest to curate the best; the best products, the best designs and most importantly, the best people. There are stories in every detail and the closer you look, the more you’ll see your own story of a life well crafted.

Newport Brass Introduces New Finish: Midnight Chrome.

Newport Brass has launched a unique and original new finish: Midnight Chrome. Featuring a blackish blue tint over a chrome base, this new offering is a specially engineered artisan finish for a modern take on classic chrome.

Midnight chrome brings an element of sophistication to what the industry knows of chrome; the finish takes on slightly different hues depending on the light. This new finish brings the total number of available finishes from Newport Brass to 28. Midnight Chrome includes a 10-year finish warranty and is available on all Newport Brass products.

Add a Touch of Flair to Your Kitchen Sink with Mountain's Duet Finishes.

The Duet Finish Collection from Mountain Plumbing highlights elements of your kitchen design to give a truly balanced and unique look. To add to and enhance the details of these finely crafted accessories and parts, the secondary finish makes the piece pop when set against the Matte Black background.

Combining their modern Matte Black finish with four complementary colors (Brushed Nickel, Polished Chrome, Polished Nickel, Champagne Bronze), specific details of each part stand out.

Americh Launches Urban Bath Apron Storage.

The Urban Bath Apron from Americh provides hidden storage for shampoo bottles, bubble bath, loofahs, rubber duckies and more! The 3 1/2" deep x 36" long stainless steel shelf is hidden behind a panel on the apron. The panel opens smoothly on hydraulic arms and closes securely with a magnet. The shelf is also removable for cleaning!

The Urban Bath Apron is available on baths with add-on skirts for a list price of $895. It is not currently available on the seamless skirt category.

New Member Spotlight: Meet DADOquartz by FC Bathrooms

DADOquartz® is the most luxurious bathroomware material since 1998. It is created from quartz ore and Southern African earth minerals. The significant difference of DADOquartz® lies in the details. We use superior resins as binding agents for a more consistent and stronger result, and to allow for higher quartz concentrations. Simply put, DADOquartz® is next-level luxury!

What began as a small family business in 1998, conquered the bathware market with their authentic, creative and innovative approach to design and manufacturing. Their hand-crafted bathtubs and basins have been featured in deluxe hotels and resorts globally and have been selected by the most experienced and skilled architects and designers from all around the world.

DADOquartz® bathware is available in two collections namely Sirene, the premium brand and ULIA, the premium luxe brand. Both the ULIA and Sirene collections feature products with two edge options wide edge and thin edge. To demonstrate confidence in the quality and reliability of their products every bathtub and basin is backed by a lifetime warranty.

An expert in-house design team is able to translate and bring any concept to life. Using state-of-the-art technology, they produce their own molds, giving them a significant advantage in turnaround time and cost in a highly stringent international market.

The exceptional customer support includes marketing and sales teams that offers personalized distinctive bathware solutions with sale drives, brand awareness and run various informative online platforms to assist customer care.

Their ability to customize is unparalleled, making DADOquartz® a favorite among contractors, designers, builders, and resellers.


The Updated Outlook for Kitchen and Bath from NKBA


The optimistic prediction at the start of the year, like most everything else that has occurred in 2020, took a dramatic about face when sheltering in place orders were issued in the middle of March. Word from DPHA showrooms is that they are busy, some having record months since COVID began. The National Kitchen & Bath Association publishes an industry outlook each year, and recently updated its outlook to account for the impact of COVID-19. The updated study found the following according to a recent article in Kitchen & Bath Business.
  • 11% of planned kitchen and bath remodeling projects as of mid-April were cancelled or postponed because of the virus
  • Spending on kitchens fell 25%, master bath dropped 18% and second baths dipped 14%
  • Spending on medium and larger K&B renovation projects is expected to drop by 22%, while spending on smaller projects is expected to fall by 14%
  • Projects that continued saw reliance on designers at 25% compared to 38% before COVID-19
  • Homeowners who continued with their projects during the pandemic opted for lower priced products and were more likely to use DYI labor
Primary reasons why projects were scrapped or postponed was fewer resources, fear of strangers entering their homes, limited access to industry professionals, decline in income, fear of job loss and showroom closures. Financial concerns were cited by 25% of homeowners that delayed or cancelled their projects.

Nearly 33% of Americans reported that they have changed the way they view their kitchens and baths as a result of COVID-19, focusing on health and safety, quality, function and design. For Americans working from home, 38% have changed the way they think about their kitchens and baths and 19% of those working from home reported wanting to renovate their kitchen or bath.

The report is free to NKBA members. Call 800-843-6522 to order 2020 Kitchen & Bath Market Outlook: Q1 Update. The full article can be found here.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Celebrate Labor Day with Gusto.


Most Americans associate Labor Day as summer’s last hurrah. It’s a welcomed three-day weekend to go to the beach, mountains, barbecue or simply hang out in a safe socially distanced environment while we are in the middle of a global pandemic.

Here are a few fun facts about Labor Day that you may not have known:

The History.  The first Labor Day was celebrated in New York City, September 5, 1882. At that time, most Americans worked 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. The irony of that statistic is that there are more than a few DPHA members who are working as if it was 1882. American labor law changed with the passage of the Adamson Act on September 3, 1916, officially establishing the eight-hour workday.

White is Alright.  The fashion world continues to debate if it is okay to wear white after the first Monday in September. This no white clothing after Labor Day stems from a class distinction in the early 1900s. After the Civil War, it became more difficult to distinguish women who came from old or new money. The ban on white clothing is reportedly attributed to “old money” patrons to identify those with new money who did not belong in their social circles.  There are other theories about no white after Labor Day. Traditionally, the fashion industry introduces its new fall lines to stores that historically did not feature white clothing. A third theory is that Labor Day marks the end of the summer, lighter clothing is no longer needed.

Irony of Labor Day.  Another irony of Labor Day is the burden it has historically placed on brick and mortar retail. In a pre-Covid-19 world, retail workers, which used to represent 6% of the American workforce, had to put in 10 and 12 hour+ days. Others who work on Labor Day include police, firefighters, medical professionals and others whose job it is to protect us.

Go to the Dogs.  The National Hot Dog & Sausage Council claims that Labor Day marks the end of the hot dog season. Why?

Be Careful Out There.  Labor Day is the second most dangerous holiday to drive behind Memorial Day.

Are You Ready for Some Football?  Labor Day also has traditionally marked the beginning of the NFL season in a pre- and post-COVID world.

Last One Until Thanksgiving.  Another reason to celebrate Labor Day with gusto is it is the last federal three-day holiday until Thanksgiving.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Where Do You Put The 800 Pound Gorillas in Your Showroom? Thoughts from DPHA Fellow Jeffrey Valles, Colonial Bronze

Central Arizona Supply Showroom Designed by SH Design Build.

You are laying out your showroom, starting with placing the most popular brands in the market. These are the big brands that spend a lot of money promoting their products and that help motivate people to visit your showroom. So, you place these asked for companies right up front. Your customers will immediately know that you are THE place for big brands A, B and C. Life will be good.

However, how many other showrooms in your market also proudly shout they distribute these mega lines? In addition to those competitors, the local big box stores are also proud distributors, and then there are all the internet companies that would be happy to sell these customer-trusted brands. In reality, these best-known industry brands are being sold by a lot of companies that are targeting your core customers. With all this competitive noise, is it a sound merchandising move to set these familiar and heavily distributed brands front and center? Do you really want them to be the first products your customers see and align with your brand? Does this initial hit move your client to think your showroom is different from all the others in your market? Is this a way to help improve quote closure and profit? Life will be tough.

Today’s experience-craving customers are looking for showrooms to introduce them to new brands, new products and creative applications. Luxury and premium designers, architects and design enthusiasts want to see and interact with the latest and greatest, not necessarily the most advertised stuff. If they are using your showroom to simply buy products that they have seen in their email feed, you are no longer a go-to showroom and can easily lose the customer to your local big box or ecommerce site. What story do you want your professional design, build and homeowner clients to share? Buy it here! Or, let us help you design your best space. Life will be a story.

For a lot of showrooms these broad reaching brands are your top sellers, actively drive customer to your front door and are good partners. I am not saying that the lines should be removed. I am saying that they should be moved from the front and set elsewhere in the showroom.

We all know why supermarkets set the milk and bread in the back of the store. Customers must walk through the entire store to see all the fabulous brands and products they offer. Maybe they will add a few items to their cart that they had not intended to purchase on this shopping trip. Simple and time-proven. So why not do the same in your showroom?

Most of your business is from your returning design and building trade professionals. If the everyday brands are in the back, the wandering eyes of your good customers will see some of the smaller designer brands you offer, the new products you have just set and the smashing vignettes you have created. You want them to know you are so much more than just the big brands. You want them to understand that they can rely on you to show them the latest and greatest from the most obscure company to the household names.

People are becoming increasing comfortable buying on their computer and the pandemic has increased the speed of this change. Just look at the sales at Wayfair. They were given up for dead in January, now they are a Wall Street darling. You must make your showrooms a step above and away from your many levels of competition. It must scream different. They have to see what it is that makes the trip to your showrooms special and by placing the known brands in the back you will help your customers better understand the amazing possibilities you have found for them.

Most important of all, your client has to know and appreciate you are the very best partner in the analog and digital worlds to help them design, order and install the right products to create great spaces. Your team knows how to help them put it all together. You want to make sure all customers know your showroom is a place to build something, not simply buy. That is the story you want your customers to share. Afterall, life is a story.

Don't Miss Professional Development Training at DPHA CONNECT 2020.

Offered each year at the DPHA Annual Conference, the Professional Development Training is an opportunity for your sales consultants to learn from some of the best trainers in the country. This year we are bringing the program to DPHA CONNECT, giving even more members access to great training!

Your customer needs your empathetic ear and a willingness to meet them in their own comfort zone now more than ever. Customer service expert Teresa Allen will share an interactive virtual program that will enable you to grow sales through common sense service encounters. Explore how to navigate through conflicts and ask the right questions to become more than an order taker. Learn how to build confidence and generate referrals by taking a genuine interest in your customer’s life and the unique challenges they are facing in today’s anything but normal world! This will be a Zoom Meeting with a limited attendee list and video will be required.

New Summer 2020 Introduction from Allegri Crystal by Kalco: Nuvole.


New DPHA member Allegri Crystal by Kalco recently launched its Summer 2020 lighting collections that highlight quality crystal and contemporary designs. Allegri’s Nuvole Collection features Firenze crystal situated within an individual chrome square, allowing enough movement to ensure brilliant refracted light. The overall gently sloping domed shape was designed specifically to cast a warm glow. The Nuvole collection is offered in an island and four pendant sizes.

Barclay's Newest Arrival: Winslow.

Be enchanted with Winslow 66" Resin Freestanding bathtub, a new arrival from Barclay Products.  The alluring design is versatile. This bathtub can fit into a modern or traditional setting. Winslow features an integrated overflow slot with a built-in overflow channel in the tub wall.

Be ready to enjoy a Zen moment any day in this relaxing bathtub.

DDI System's September Webinar on Conquering Disruption.


Inform ERP Software is a single-source solution that equips wholesale distributors and showroom businesses with the tools they need to create an exceptional customer experience and profitably manage their business operations.

Thursday, September 17th at 1:00 PM ET / 10:00 AM PT

Learn how distributors are succeeding with Inform ERP's industry-specific technology and continuous innovation to reach customers whenever and wherever the market takes them.
  • Increase Customer Engagement - Easily track and report on detailed customer information, allowing your sales team to be proactive and equipped with conversational touch-points related to contact activity and order history.
  • Keep Up with the Modern Buyer - Real-time Inform ERP & eCommerce Pro integration provides a connected online storefront with customer self-service access and the ability to take orders 24/7.
  • Gain Speed and Efficiency at the Sales Counter - With single-screen order entry, Inform allows you to provide fast, personalized customer service, leaving a lasting impression with potential buyers.
  • Manage Your Business On-the-Go - Enable your sales team with the information they need to take immediate action. Touch-screen technology lets you easily create a quote or order and see customer service details.

Brizo® Announces 10 Year Anniversary with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital®

St. Jude patient, Ashley
St. Jude, a leading children’s hospital, started the St. Jude Dream Home® Giveaway campaign in 1991. The campaign includes the chance to win a newly constructed, beautiful home in 40+ communities across the country. Since the start of the campaign, it has raised $500 million for the kids of St. Jude. To help provide these services, Brizo became the first National Sponsor of the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway! Since 2010, Brizo has donated over $6 million of bath and kitchen products to St. Jude Dream Homes and is excited to announce 10 years of partnership to help support the life-saving mission of St. Jude!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

New Member Spotlight: Meet Pan American Sales & Marketing.

Pan American Sales & Marketing provides professional and comprehensive representation on behalf of manufacturers within the Decorative Plumbing and Hardware Industry. The products and manufacturers they represent are recognized leaders within their product category. Pan American Sales & Marketing combines products of the highest possible caliber with superb customer service to create a winning recipe for all members within the distribution chain.

Principal operations are conducted from their main facility located in Sunrise, Florida. In addition to their office headquarters in Sunrise, Florida, Pan American Sales & Marketing also maintains four additional offices strategically located throughout the state of Florida. This allows them to offer their clients the highest possible level of sales and service within the territory. From specification to installation, Pan American Sales & Marketing is able to offer the quality products and industry experience you require and deserve.

Bertch Introduces New Bath Quartz Countertop Program and Free Solid Color Promotion on Kitchen+ Cabinetry.

Quartz has overtaken the countertop segment as the material of choice due to it’s durability, color consistency and beautiful appearance. And now Bertch has it for you ready-to-install without the high cost of field fabrication.

Bertch is waiving the solid color upcharge on all Bertch Kitchen+ cabinetry from August 3rd through October 3rd. This offer applies to standard solid colors only.

ICO Announces New Calma Vessel Sinks.


Starting with the Cavalli which is available in 2 options, white and white with a black exterior. Much like its namesake, the Cavalli sink creates a dramatic effect sure to elevate your bathroom landscape. Second on the list is the new Puccini featuring a matte black exterior with the same smooth shape you already love. The final sink on our list is a much-desired update to the Vivaldi Plus. The overflow drain has a new sleek design that is easy to match with any faucet finish.

Built to last a lifetime, Calma sinks are made from environmentally friendly rock and coated with a UV gel-coat layer guaranteeing a perfect finish for years to come.

Infinity Drain Honored with Multiple Awards.


Infinity Drain has been announced as a winner of the Kitchen & Bath Business (KBB) Magazine Readers' Choice Award in the Bath Accessories category! 


They have also been announced as a 2x Finalist for the prestigious Architizer A+ awards for the Stainless Steel Shower Base (Kitchen & Bath Fixtures & Fittings Category) and for the Slot Linear Drain (Kitchen & Bath Plumbing & Drainage Category).

Elkay Announces Reserve Selection.

Elkay® is thrilled to announce Reserve Selection, an exclusive assortment of sinks only available through Elkay traditional wholesale distribution partners and their showrooms. From stainless steel to quartz, innovation is at the heart of everything we do. For designers, builders and homeowners who are looking for something special — a sink that goes above and beyond everyday looks and functionality — Elkay has created the Reserve Selection. You won’t find this collection online or at a local home center. Reserve Selection consists of:
  • Lustertone Iconix® Stainless Steel Sinks and Sink Kits
  • Quartz Luxe® Sinks with Perfect Drain®
  • Fireclay Workstation Sink Kits

The Downside of Insufficient Sleep.


The medical community constantly advises Americans to sleep more and sleep more soundly. Easier said than done for many. When you and your team members don’t get enough sleep, what is the typical remedy? Coffee. Unfortunately, while caffeine offers short-term pick-me-up benefits, it is not a long-term solution to insufficient sleep. Plus, caffeine could be one of the reasons you stay up later than necessary or desired. Use caffeine strategically and not as a crutch to make sure you are awake and alert.

Lack of sleep adversely affects health and effectiveness. When you and your team members are tired, the likelihood of errors increases and quality of work erodes. That’s why you should prioritize your day around your level of alertness. When you are cognitively sharp, do tasks that required creativity, innovation and novel thinking. When you are tired, focus on routine tasks that don’t require a lot of mental energy. Most people are typically the most alert at the start of the day. Don't use the first hours after you turn on your computer to check emails or respond to texts. Use that time to create and innovate.

If your sleep routine leaves you tired, consider taking more frequent breaks during the day or even try napping for 20 minutes. In his best-selling book When, Daniel Pink makes a strong case for short naps during the day:
  • Naps improve cognitive performance and boost mental and physical health
  • Nappers are twice as likely to solve a complex problem than people who have not napped or who had not spent the time in other activities
  • Napping boosts short-term memory and associative memory (the ability to remember names and faces)
  • Napping improves healthy and strengthens the immune system
  • The best naps are 10 to 20 minutes

Do You Really Know Who Builds Your Brand? Thoughts from DPHA Fellow Jeffrey Valles, Colonial Bronze


Chapter 1: This Is H U G E, They Will Love it.. And Our Sales Will...


A few years back I was approached to join a brand’s thank you trip to a wonderful far away land all expenses paid. We would visit the factory, talk with the people that make and support the fabulous products and visit a worldly city as only a native can. It sounded wonderful. But then I asked myself, why did they ask me? I did not really sell any of their products. If their numbers dropped in volume or profit dropped significantly, I would remove the line. There was no upside for this brand to spend thousands of dollars for me to have a good time. So, I sent one of our managers. A manager who sells. A manager who works to influence the sales team to sell the products that are best for us. This person can learn so much from this special opportunity. They can absorb the brand’s foundational story from its people, actually see the product being crafted and understand the culture in which it was created and continues to influence its maturation.

They will arrive back in the showroom working to build this brand’s product sales with their clients. They will also leverage their newfound respect and understanding of the brand to motivate salespeople not only to present this brand more often, but passionately explain what makes this brand special in the never-ending sea of products. Now this was promotional dollars well invested.

Showroom owners, I am sure you love these fabulous trips and would not be happy to see them disappear. However, if you work to find the time to send your influential salespeople on these elegant brand excursions hosted by your key, profitable brands, I think you will see the results in key brand sales and your bottom line. Sure, you will miss out on that particular memorable trip, but with a larger number on your bottom line and a happier team, you might be able to take the time to travel where you have dreamed to visit all on your own.

Most of your good salespeople will never have the opportunity to travel the world. Every day they sell products designed and manufactured in Italy, Germany, France and Torrington, yet those places may only exist in their dreams. Why not replace those dreams with actual dreamlike experiences that will also help improve your company and your sales of the brands you want to sell?

Chapter 2: Hi-Ho Hello: Who Do You Want to Love?

After this experience, we decided to watch our manufacturer representatives and see how they worked in our showrooms.

Some would go straight to the purchasing agent, check to see if there were any issues, then wander around the showroom, wave at me and leave.

Others would make an appointment with me. We would chat a bit about what is new with their product lines. What is going on in their territory and say au revoir. On their way out they would stop by to talk with the purchasing team, wander through the showrooms and leave.

Then there were those that waved at me, spent time with the purchasing people and then hit the sales floor. They would take great care not to interrupt or waste the showroom salesperson’s time, but they made sure to greet each salesperson and quickly ask if they needed any help or had any questions. That was it. They knew that it fried my bananas if a rep distracted a salesperson from their job with chit-chat, that’s why we had off the floor, weekly product knowledge meetings focusing on key brands. But, they did know I encouraged saying a quick hello and seeing if there were any issues to address.

So which reps’ lines did the best? Pretty obvious.

If you are a manufacturer or the local sales representative please understand, it is the salesperson on the floor or on the road that makes your brand strong. Your brand can wine and dine non-selling management and make the purchasing agents dance with glee, but if you do not support, properly educate and respect the people who actually presented your products to the designer, builder, plumber and homeowner, you will not be a strong brand in that or any showroom.

Vendors, sales representatives, you have so much to cover and so little actual face time with these key salespeople. Before you enter the showrooms, know whom you need to talk to and follow that guide. Sure, you will be sidetracked, but work to stay on plan and touch base with those people that you want and need to promote your brand. The owners and managers still need to be addressed, but without the key salespeople fighting for you, you will struggle mightily.

Friday, August 21, 2020

iPlate Flush Plate by OLI – Distributed brand by AD Waters.

The versatile iPlate by OLI is one of the latest innovations in the world of flush plates. The plate is offered in polished chrome, matte chrome, white, and in black soft touch. Aside from it’s sleek design, the push buttons can be personalized with a variety of colours anytime after installation with the Elegance kit, which includes 5 color options: polished chrome, matte chrome, black soft touch, white and taupe. OLI, Portuguese world renowned manufacturer of in-wall toilet carriers and flush plates, allows you to expand your design options in an easy one click replacement. That’s all it takes!

Are Showrooms Still Relevant?

COVID-19 caused most every decorative plumbing and hardware showroom to pivot. Sheltering in place orders proved necessity is truly the mother of invention. Savvy operators held webinars that proved to be one of the showroom’s most effective marketing tools. Others developed templates for their clients to use to measure their bathroom space that enabled showroom professionals to develop preliminary recommendations. DPHA members learned to present plans and recommendations remotely, using video conferencing and screen sharing and conducted showroom tours via Zoom or Facetime.

With so many clients shopping from home, DPHA members learned that both social media and an improved web presence can be competitive differentiators and invaluable tools to reach customers who were sheltering in place.

Now that showrooms have re-opened, many DPHA members have adopted an “appointment only” model that has proven to be highly effective because prospects who make an appointment tend to be more serious. Appointment only has deterred the tire kickers. It also has reinforced the value of what the showroom brings to a client. It’s hard to visualize different finishes, dimensions or textures on a Zoom call. Plus, when customers experience vignettes, working displays and different product categories firsthand, a showroom serves as a source of creativity and inspiration that can’t be duplicated online or via Facetime.

Showrooms are not going away. A valuable pandemic lesson is that people still want to interact with people, face-to-face. At the end of the day, a decorative plumbing and hardware showroom is a service business. Customers who are willing to trust a showroom to renovate one of the most important rooms in their home expect a certain caliber of service otherwise they would go to a home center or order online. As Doug Stephens pointed out during his DPHA keynote address, there is nothing particularly satisfying or emotionally gratifying about shopping online. Purchasing on Amazon is the quickest way from wanting to receiving.

COVID-19 illustrates the value of upping a showroom’s digital presence. However, most customers want to see, touch and experience the products they select for their new baths firsthand and that can only be accomplished by visiting a showroom. When the COVID-19 crisis ends, showrooms will continue to be venues for exhibits, vignettes, social gatherings, education, information and experiences that customers desire.

In Case You Missed It: The 19th Annual DPHA Conference is Going Virtual!

DPHA is taking the 19th Annual Conference and Product Showcase VIRTUAL! While we are saddened that we will not be able to gather in-person this year, we are excited to be able to launch DPHA CONNECT 2020. Held during our original conference dates of October 22nd + 23rd, DPHA CONNECT will allow our membership to still obtain all the benefits offered at our in-person events but from the safety of your own home or office.

The best part - there is no travel required this year! With a registration cost of $135 and no travel fees, this is the year for your whole team to get involved. A swag bag with some goodies will be sent to the first 250 registrants, so don't delay! If you are registering five or more people from the same company, please reach out to staff.

Barclay Products Launches New Timon Freestanding Resin Tub.

Remarkable Timon features a trendy modern design, comfortable soaking capacity, and an elegant white finish; this tub will meet and exceed all expectations.

It has a durable resin construction that upholds Barclay's high standards of craftsmanship. The solid surface can give a lifetime of maintenance-free and lasting beauty. The advantage of a solid surface bathtub is its non-porous and anti-stain surface and seamless construction.

Mountain Plumbing Products Offers Strainers to Match Any Kitchen.

You have just installed a new kitchen sink, but are not satisfied with the standard sink strainer that your plumber provided. Amazingly, Mountain Plumbing offers multiple designs of sink strainers with basket options depending on your exact needs and style preferences. Select designs with lift-out baskets, stemball strainers, and stoppers.

Additionally, a variety of both metal and plastic finishes are available to match virtually any type of sink. The metal finishes lend themselves more to metal sinks for a perfectly crisp, tied-together look. The plastic finishes are perfect for matching stone or composite sinks for a completely different feel with more colors.

Kalco's New Summer 2020 Introduction: Bistro.

New DPHA member Kalco Lighting recently launched its Summer 2020 new lighting collections, which showcase a variety of quality-made, thoughtfully-curated design styles. One of Kalco’s standout collections from the Summer launch is Bistro, which is a lively re-imagining of Mid-Century Modern fixtures. The 6-or-8 light chandelier, with its long stems punctuated by glass orbs is perfect for dining rooms, billiard/game rooms, entry and family rooms. The matching Wall Sconce stands as a silent sentry and complements its chandelier offerings. Polished Nickel finish with glass orbs.

Everything is an Opportunity. By Stephanie Azran, SH Design-Build

Even if things seem challenging right now, decorative plumbing showrooms have always been in it for the long haul. The industry has seen many challenges over the years and weathered them all. This pandemic is no exception.

These past few months, retailers have been adjusting to a major shift in consumer habits. Researchers have been scrambling to track and analyze how people are shopping online and in-store. Changing the way you sell or market to clients based on trends, especially such new ones, may lead to unsustainable sales practices. On the other hand, there’s no doubt that some ‘trends’ may actually be long-term solutions that will improve customer service and sales long after the pandemic is over.

So what’s new for consumers? People are more mindful about their spending. They are often purchasing less expensive products. They’re researching more before buying. Supply chain disruptions have led people to explore different options when they can’t find what they want- meaning they are open to trying new brands and stores.

When choosing where to shop in person, research is showing that shoppers look for places with visible safety measures in place (enhanced cleaning and physical barriers, for example). More than this, people are turning to brands that show they care for the health and safety of their clients and employees.

Decorative plumbing showrooms already have an edge. Cleanliness and spaciousness have been watchwords for years now. If shoppers are going to feel safe anywhere, it’s in a kitchen and bath showroom.

And now, showrooms can really step it up by offering the products that people want to make their own lives safer and healthier. People are interested in touchless technology in faucets, showers and toilets, as well as products that make cleaning and sanitizing easier.

With the consumer browsing mentality out of the way, showroom salespeople have an opportunity to interact with their clients in a more meaningful way. It’s time to have lots of options at the ready, at several price points. Additionally, if shoppers are more committed to purchasing, it’s a chance to present quality, durable products they will not be able to get anywhere else. As for pre-shopping research, showrooms can optimize their online presence to get in on the first stage of the buying journey. That kind of authority inspires confidence and leads them to the showroom when they are ready to make their final decision. Once a client is in a showroom with experienced, knowledgeable salespeople who truly want to help, the battle is won.

There’s plenty of research out there to help adapt to pandemic selling and shopping. But at the end of the day, we know what really matters in the kitchen and bath showroom world. It’s turning everything, no matter how difficult, into an opportunity to succeed.

Friday, August 14, 2020

New Member Spotlight: Meet Kalco Lighting

For 40 years, Kalco Lighting has been crafting and designing lighting for residential, commercial and contract projects. The brand’s vast collection of pendants, sconces, chandeliers, flush mounts and exterior fixtures each convey a spark of livability by effortlessly fusing together timeless styles, authentic materials, artisan craftsmanship and a human approach to technology. The two brands under the Kalco design umbrella; Kalco Lighting and Allegri Crystal as well as their collection called The Hollywood Reporter Home, each showcase Kalco’s unique ability to create functional, differentiated and artistic lighting for audiences seeking products whose designs transcend time. In Kalco’s quest to deliver a superior experience to its clients, the brand offers a large inventory of standard collections, design modification capabilities to existing designs, and custom lighting capabilities to fulfill any design vision.



DDI System Hosting Live Webinar as Part of Summer Series Virtual Event.


Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and new digital selling tools are driving success for distributors and their sales teams as we manage the communication shift away from face-to-face contact with our customers and vendors. Having the right product, sales, and contact information available, anytime and anywhere will elevate your customer relationships, build trust, and drive new sales.

DDI System combines ERP functionality together with leading-edge eCommerce, CRM, and mobile phone operations in a single solution. Join the webinar Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 1:00 PM EDT and see how DDI can support your entire team in delivering personal and successful customer experiences that incite loyalty for new and repeat business.

Michael Risser Announced as President of Frank Allart & Co in North America.

Following the accomplished growth in Frank Allart's robust product line, streamlined production, dedicated cutting edge machines, and the desire to always reach higher, Frank Allart has become the luxury hardware company the trade industry deserves. With that accomplished, Frank Allart is committed to broaden and deepen its relationship across North America. To achieve this objective, they are excited to announce the addition of Michael Risser as President of Frank Allart & Co. in North America. After over 15 years in the industry, in both manufacturing and in a showroom, Michael is eager to preserve the legacy of Frank Allart while also navigating the company to its next chapter.

Michael can be reached at michael@frankallart.com

hansgrohe Introduces New Decorative Finishes.

Introducing 3 new finish options to the Talis E collection: Matte Black, Brushed Black Chrome and Brushed Bronze. These exciting new finishes are available now in lavatory faucets, roman tub fillers and come in corresponding shower products to complete your new bathroom.

Don’t forget about the Kitchen either. The classic Talis C Kitchen faucet is now available in Matte Black!

Look for a new digital brochure coming this month. It will encapsulate this new finish offering to the Talis E collection and more finish extensions coming to other hansgrohe collections and products.

CEU Events® Announces Collaboration with HKS.


This collaboration between CEU Events and HKS, a design firm of more than 1,400 architects, interior designers, urban designers, scientists, artists, anthropologists and more, will help expand the tools for the A&D community. The process of managing and tracking continuing education credits between multiple associations and state requirements has been outdated and inefficient. CEU Events' goal is to challenge themselves to think outside the box in order to build necessary tools that will harmonize Continuing Education with the A&D community.

CEU Events is honored to be recognized as a solution by the HKS Learning Team.

The Psychology of Money

Morgan Housel, a venture capitalist and blogger, recently penned a new book to be published next month, The Psychology of Money. In it, he notes, "Money isn't primarily a store of value. Money is a conduit of emotion and ego, carrying hopes and fears, dreams and heartbreak, confidence and surprise, envy and regret.”

Housel relates two stories. One involved a person who made a fortune and who skipped gold coins worth thousands of dollars across waves in the ocean, "just for fun." To him, Housel claims, money was a plaything (he subsequently went broke). The second story involved a modest man whose life work was as a gas station attendant and janitor. When he died at the age of 92, his estate was worth more than $6 million that he gifted to local charities. Housel asks, how did a janitor “with no college degree, no training, no background, no formal experience and no connection massively outperform” many professional investors?

The answer points to one of Housel’s conclusions. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be a successful investor. It takes patience and a willingness to defer gratification. You need to be able to withstand market volatility. Housel uses Netflix and Monster Beverage as examples of the benefit of patience. If you invested $1,000 in Netflix in 2002, by 2018 your Netflix stock would be worth $3.5 million. If you made the same investment in Monster Beverage in 1995, by 2018 your stock would be worth $30 million. During those time frames, each stock spent 94% of its time below its all-time high.

Housel considers market volatility a fee for the cost of investing. No one knows that better than Warren Buffet, the Oracle of Omaha, who is regarded as one of the savviest investors of all time. Housel discovered that Buffet accrued at least 95% of his wealth after his 65th birthday. Buffet recently celebrated his 90th. If Warren Buffet had only invested for a 30-year time period, his net worth would be 99.9% less than it is today. Buffet’s “skill is investing, but his secret is time,” Housel writes.

Luck is another major determinant of long-term returns, greatly influenced by your date of birth. If you were born in 1950, between the ages of 13 and 30 your investments earned next to nothing. If you were born in 1970, you would have earned nine times more than those born in 1950 during that same age span. If you are a millennial born in 2000, you will have to save much more than your parents.

Housel makes the distinction between being rich and being wealthy. Rich people make a lot of money. Wealthy people have the freedom not to spend. Many rich people are not wealthy because they feel the need to spend to impress others. Wealthy people don’t care about what others think. What’s important to them is using their resources to control how they spend their time.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Mistakes to Avoid when Selling Virtually: by DPHA Fellow Hank Darlington

Many showrooms are including virtual selling and showroom tours during these unusual times. It’s a great way to keep your name, products and services in front of potential clients in a time where people aren’t as comfortable shopping in stores.

Showrooms have a unique challenge to try and out-market or outsell their competitors. You need to find ways to engage clients in conversations and try to connect with the individual person. Both sellers and buyers are experiencing their own unique struggle in how to make this connection.

As many of you start to experiment with virtual communication, you need to be aware that there are a lot of mistakes or problems that can occur that would turn off the client and send them to a competitor.

A June 2020 survey from Rain Group found that buyers (defined as influencers and decision makers who purchase goods and services) noticed a host of issues when being “pitched” virtually. 89% of the respondents cited “experiencing technology problems “ as the leading virtual selling mistake. This is a hard problem to avoid, as internet outages can be out of our control. Even CNN guests and reporters have glitches with their videos.

Roughly 8 -10 buyers cited poor visuals during online meetings, issues with responsiveness and preparedness, and a lack of presentation skills as other top mistakes. These responses indicate that buyers notice the level of organization and professionalism from sellers, who must adapt to this new normal as remote work continues amid the pandemic. These mistakes are much easier to avoid by preparing and practicing.

Following is a chart that reflects the mistakes that buyers experienced while engaging in virtual selling:
  • Experiencing technology problems     89%
  • Using poor or no visuals during the online meeting     86%
  • Not responsive to my questions or concerns     84%
  • Not prepared     83%
  • Lacking presentation skills     80%
  • Sending poorly written emails     80%
  • Distracted by people, external disturbances     77%
  • Making an unprofessional impression     75%
*Source: Rain Group, “Virtual Selling Skills and Challenges“, June 25, 2020

Hopefully, being aware of these common mistakes will help you avoid them in your virtual selling efforts.