Friday, July 3, 2020

July 8 DPHA Weekly Wednesday Webinar.

It has been almost two months since our first dealer panel. Most DPHA showrooms had been closed for over a month, and the future was unknown. A lot has changed between May 13th and now! Every state in the US is in the process of opening, which looks different for each of today’s panelists. We had been using the term post-COVID, but at this point it’s clear that we won’t be getting past this for quite some time. Join Trish Klein of Willis Klein, Bill Feinberg of Allied Kitchen & Bath and Jonas Weiner of Best Plumbing Tile & Stone as we discuss what showrooms look like in the COVID world.

If you have questions you want to pose to the panel, topics you would love to see us cover, or are interested in participating in a panel, email us! Missed a DPHA Webinar? Our #DPHAWeeklyWednesdayWebinars can be found on the members' only side of our website here.


Be a Part of the DPHA Product of the Year Awards!

Has a new product been launched over the last year that deserves some recognition? Wether it is for its innovation or design, our past Products of the Year really stand out from the crowd.

The Product of the Year Awards are a great opportunity to showcase new products, especially this year when opportunities have been few and far between! The awards will be presented at the DPHA conference in October, and will be featured in Kitchen & Bath Design News, as well as other publications. Nominees and winners will be showcased to DPHA members and the A&D Community alike!

This year we have expanded our categories! Product of the Year categories include Accessories, Furniture, Cabinet Hardware, Door Hardware, Plumbing Fixtures, Water Delivery and Technology. You can see past winners here.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Luxury: By Greg Rohl.

The kitchen and bath industry, and particularly the decorative or luxury segment of our business, has experienced tremendous growth over the past thirty years. If you were in the business or starting a business in the early 1980’s, you were well positioned to catch the Boomer wave, as the peak of that generation was entering their mid to late 20’s and starting to settle down and create households.

As the years progressed, the Boomer wave and its investment in homes and particularly kitchens and baths surged as incomes increased, starter homes were remodeled, sold for larger homes, and many acquired or built vacation homes featuring large kitchens for entertaining and beautiful bathroom retreats.

Appreciation for luxury was in large part driven by status, exclusivity and achievement. Brands on our clothes, our cars, our watches and in our homes signaled our success. In particular, many kitchen and bath brands found themselves well positioned as their names became desired features and go-to choices in showrooms and by specifiers. This generational wave of wealth sustained those who worked hard and had a little luck through business challenges, political seasons and recessions great and small. But, alas, nothing lasts forever, and over the past few years we’ve seen a shift as a confluence of forces are changing the way, the why and the how consumers buy.

These forces include inevitable demographic changes, but moreover the changing consumer psychographics are motivating brands to evolve the way they talk about their products. Those who market any luxury segment are and will be particularly challenged to convey value in new ways, as the very perception of luxury is being challenged. Luxury itself may need to be rehabilitated in an age of environmental concerns, pandemics and social justice. Perhaps a new language of luxury is required if we’re to convince tomorrow's customers to invest a bit more for the products we sell and specify?

The good news is that global luxury brands with tremendous resources are well aware of these changes and can provide some guidance we can use today to start reframing the way we talk about luxury and guide our customers toward the best possible solutions. Solutions that don’t signal status, but confirm their own personal values. Products engineered not for planned obsolescence, but to be repaired, reused and recycled. Managing a budget not by choosing commodities and more, but better and less. Specifying a fixture not because it makes a statement, but because it makes a memory. Designing spaces that promote wellness instead of indulging excess. And supporting brands that appeal not by being exclusive, but by connecting people and creating community.

The decorative plumbing and hardware profession is a natural “deliverer” of these qualities, and as the business world only gets more dynamic and challenging, becoming more effective communicators of our value and the value of the products we make, sell and specify is one thing that can be controlled. Look at how luxury brands within and without the industry are changing the way they communicate their value. There are clothing, housewares, retail, and even e-commerce brands that are utilizing this new luxury lexicon and if they’re customer is potentially your customer, it's time to get fluent.

“Life is Change, Growth is Optional. Choose Wisely.” - Karen Kaiser Clark

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Barclay Introduces the Lilith Copper Tub.

Your bathroom might need a rustic touch added to it, and Barclay offers their hand-finished 67” Lilith Copper Slipper tub.  The interior and exterior are a dark chocolate brown featuring a Mexican Hammered Finish. Copper holds heat well, so come home to a beautiful tub, and enjoy a relaxing warm bath. Lilith will shape effortlessly into modern or vintage décor. A guaranteed splendid sight.

Gessi North America CEO, Larry Allen, Steps Down.

Gessi North America has announced CEO/Managing Director Larry Allen will step down from his position at the end of 2020 transitioning his responsibilities to Marco Meli, the company’s newly appointed Vice President of Sales. Allen has managed the North American market for Gessi since 2007 establishing Gessi as a leading brand especially within the architectural and design community. Gessi has been designing and manufacturing exclusive bathroom fittings and furnishings in Italy for more than 25 years. Under Allen’s leadership, Gessi has developed a strong presence in the North America decorative kitchen and bath products market while securing the brand in luxury showrooms, retail locations and high profile hospitality and design projects across the United States and Canada.

Ice Cold Water Anytime You Want with the Mountain Chill®.

The Mountain Chill® unit hides cleanly and simply beneath the sink and provides 3 gallons per hour of crisp, cool water from your own faucet. Having the Mountain Chill® Water Chiller in your home is the ultimate in convenience by providing cold water for drinks and chilled water for cooking…all in an instant!

Consider pairing the Mountain Chill® with the Mountain Pure® Filtration System so cold, clean, pure water can be yours to enjoy anytime day or night. Then above the sink, utilize a Mountain Plumbing Point-of-Use Accessory Faucet to have this water easily accessible and on demand. Available in a number of styles and finishes, these faucets are designed to work seamlessly with this water chiller.

Happy Birthday USA.

This is the Independence Day issue of Connections. Tomorrow, July 4, is the day we celebrate the noble experiment that has led to the greatest democracy in the history of the world. Let’s take our time machine back to the Colonial era where a group of educated, successful ideologues decided that they wanted to have a larger say in how they lived, were governed and taxed. Thomas Paine’s best-selling Common Sense argued that an island could not rule a continent. Many colonial intellectuals believed their right to self-determination was manifest from a higher authority. And given the outcome, perhaps there is more truth to that sentiment than many would like to admit.

“The republican experiment launched so boldly by the revolutionary generation in America encountered entrenched opposition in the two centuries that followed, but it thoroughly vanquished the monarchial dynasties of the nineteenth century and then the totalitarian despotism of the twentieth, just as Jefferson predicted it would,” wrote Joseph J. Ellis in his Pulitzer-Prize winning book, Founding Brothers. In 2020, the United States is the oldest enduring republic in the history of the world, with a set of political institutions and traditions that have stood the test of time.

When we look back on the revolutionary era, it’s hard to imagine how our founding brothers believed that they could defeat the most powerful military in the world and win. How could they imagine that creating a republican form of government based on the principle of popular sovereignty could succeed when it had never done so previously for any sustainable period of time or attempt to oversee a landmass as large as the 13 original colonies?

Brilliant, principled men with a dream met in Philadelphia in June and July 1776 to debate breaking ties with their motherland and declaring independence. John Adams, who was very much the COO of the American Revolution, convinced Thomas Jefferson to draft a formal statement to justify their actions. Jefferson was up to the challenge. On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted affirmatively to become independent. Two days later, the Congress formerly adopted Jefferson’s declaration. For the past 244 years, Americans have celebrated this remarkable event. As we barbecue, enjoy the summer weather with family and watch fireworks, let’s take a moment to reflect and marvel at the unfathomable accomplishment that resulted from our founding father’s vision. We enjoy the great fortune and opportunity – despite all of our problems and current day political climate – to live in the greatest republic in the history of mankind. Enjoy our independence and freedom.

HamatUSA Launches Pair of New Anti-Microbial Finishes.

HamatUSA is excited to announce that their new 2020 Catalog and Pricebook containts a revolutionary new pair of finishes – PVD Brushed and Polished White Copper.

Hamat has integrated CuverroShield™ into their own proprietary formula to create PVD White Copper. This finish has all the anti-microbial properties of copper in a more aesthetically pleasing nickel tone. This finish kills 99.9% of harmful bacteria such as MRSA Staphylococcus E Coli, and VRE within 2 hours. 
The finish is easy to maintain and extremely durable.  PVD White Copper never fades or wears away. It is also tarnish resistant and will not oxidize.

Even more relevant, according to the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as published in the New England Journal of Medicine on March 17, 2020, copper was effective against Coronavirus. They found that no viable Covid-19 virus was measured after 4 hours. We have also tested the finish independently and found the same results.
White Copper is available on the Gal Pull Down Kitchen Faucet, contemporary soap dispenser, and our new Clear Lavatory Faucet – the first bathroom faucet in the United States for HamatUSA. These finishes will be in stock by September, and we plan on expanding offerings available in White Copper in the next few months.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Ikea Develops Ingka Centres, a New Type of Mall.

Malls across North America are struggling. More than 13,000 mall stores are expected to shutter in 2020, according to Coresight Research projections. Ikea has a different idea. They are looking for locations in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago to develop malls, known as Ingka Centres. The company is expected to expand to 75 Centres worldwide by 2025.

Ikea’s Ingka Centres envision a new type of mall that serves as a meeting place where consumers can connect, socialize, be inspired and experience new things in addition to shopping. The new developments also are responding to changing demographics. Currently, 83% of the U.S. population lives in urban areas. That percentage is expected to increase to 89% in the next 25 years.

A key to the success of the Ikea mall concept is to attract retailers that are like-minded and understand customer journeys and can blend online shopping with in-store experiences. Ikea being a destination in and of itself is another advantage the company has to attract cutting edge retailers and emerging brands that typically would not consider leasing at a traditional mall.

DPH showrooms could be a great addition to Ingka Centres. What do you think?

More info:

Manufacturers are Back for July 1st #DPHAWeeklyWednesdayWebinar.

Next week we will have a fresh set of manufacturers on our panel. Join Patrick Weidl of Thermasol, Anthony Hajjar of Jaclo and Melanie Busch of Berenson as we address the changes they are seeing in the industry. Have questions you want to pose to the panel? Email them to!

We still need panelists for our next DEALER and DESIGNER panels! Please email Kymberly with suggestions and interest!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Don't Lose your Members Only Status, Renew by July 1!

When COVID-19 hit, DPHA leadership decided to extend membership benefits for an additional 3 months. We simply were not comfortable asking for dues when many of you were having to quickly shift your business models and protocols at light speed. We hope that you have enjoyed the benefits of what DPHA has to offer and used your member benefits while working remotely or simply looking for that industry connection.

Since the beginning of 2020, DPHA has:
  • Added new Vendor partnerships
  • Added new National and Independent Dealer Members
  • Created a content rich and relevant Weekly Webinar series
  • Increased participation for our Recognition Program
  • Strengthened our relationships with the A+D communities nationally
We wouldn’t be where we are today without the support of our DPHA family, and we hope you will choose to stay with us. While we experienced ups and downs, we went through it together and offered community, education and transparency when we all needed it the most.

We hope that you will continue to be part of DPHA, but it has come time to mention your member benefits will expire on July 1. We would love to see you stay on with us.  Should you need us to prorate your payments, just email staff and we will get that set up! We are here to help and support you, but because we are a not-for-profit association, DPHA simply cannot operate without your financial support.

MTI Baths Celebrates Free-Flowing Forms of Nature with Leona Sink.

The elegant, uncluttered Leona is the perfect addition to create a calming, beautiful bathroom. The newest addition to MTI’s Boutique Collection, the Leona basin is a semi-recessed model that allows only the top 2” of the sink to rest on the vanity. Its sleek minimalist vibe is a natural fit with today’s trendy industrial chic look and is versatile enough to pair equally well with a contemporary, transitional or even retro design space. The sink measures 20” x 13” with a 5” bowl depth and is crafted from MTI’s signature SculptureStone®. Leona is available in material colors of white or biscuit, in either matte or hand-finished deep high-gloss, with eight optional exterior colors.

Nantucket Sinks Introduces New Compact Vanity Sink.

By popular demand, Nantucket Sinks is introducing the new UM-159-W, a very compact rectangular undermount vanity bowl. This new vanity bowl will allow for shallow vanity top installations without sacrificing design.

Exterior flanges measure 17" x 11.25" x 7.5", with interior measurements of 15" x 9" x 6" depth, making it one of the smallest undermount rectangles on the market. First versions will be white with biscuit coming in the future.

Nantucket Sinks is constantly seeking to fill voids in the market. Available late July 2020.

HamatUSA Releases New Catalog and Pricebook.

HamatUSA has released their new catalog and pricebook, which goes into effect on July 1. Most prices are the same or lower than 2018, they have reduced FFA, Fixed Freight Rates are the same as 2018 AND they have simplified their discount structure.

New product highlights include:
  • New fireclay and granite workstation sinks
  • A new suite of 16 gauge stainless workstation sinks
  • New undermount fireclay sinks
  • New faucet suites and finishes

LACAVA Expands Cigno Line of Faucets, Valves and Shower Heads.

The Cigno faucet collection by LACAVA has been recently enhanced by introducing a new sophisticated shape for the spout and handles. The tall elongated curves of the gooseneck spout have been supplemented with a more compact squared profile, and the new lever handles follow the same arching silhouette. These new additions have greatly increased options available in this collection for bathroom sinks as well as shower vales and tub fillers. Cigno is available in polished chrome, polished nickel, brushed nickel, brushed gold and matte black.

Good Product Design Delivers Twice: Thoughts from DPHA Fellow Jeffrey Valles

A company discovers an opportunity for a new product. They first investigate thoroughly, define the target market, set a budget, and send the complete spec to the design and engineering teams. They craft what they feel is the best product to dominate the defined opportunity. The design is then sent back upstairs to marketing, sales and finance. This product is reviewed to make sure it can be promoted, it will sell, and it will be within budget parameters. STOP. This is where badly designed products start their lives.

Is this really the correct path to create the go-to product for your target market? Haven’t we all agreed that groupthink does not produce the best results? Do we not tirelessly quote Henry Ford about faster horses and Steve Jobs on how the public cannot see its future? All the people from sales, marketing and finance are so wrapped up in their immediate worlds, they are just as myopic as John Q. Public.

The best way to woo customers to your brand is with innovative, beautiful and highly functional products. Your new product’s look catches a person's eye, they investigate and bring it home. They use it and are impressed with the experience. Next, they do the greatest thing of all...they tell their friends and family. They extoll your product’s unique style and commend its functionality. They have become your early adopter and will be on the lookout for your brand’s next cutting-edge product release.

Would you rather be competing against a product made in a cheap labor factory and sold at rock bottom price?

Risk is a four-letter word that can lead to wow, good, okay, bad and train wreck. On the other hand, playing it safe mostly leads to okay and bad. 

Please manage this process with the goal of the best product. Not the best product possible created within the constraints of sales, marketing and finance. Even if you have to price the item a bit more than the projected optimum estimated price point. Play the long-term game. When the early adopters get on board and share their enjoyable experiences, price limitations will fall away. I think it is worth the risk.

What game do you want to play?

Related Reading: from Fast Company, Jonathan Ive & Marc Newson comment on today's design process

Friday, June 19, 2020

Conference Registration is Now Open!

We are excited to announce that we are opening registration to the 19th Annual DPHA Conference + Product Showcase in New Orleans! Our conference will be the first face-to-face opportunity for our industry to safely gather in months. Sure, conference will look a little bit different this year, but we promise to provide content that addresses the new business climate and keeps DPHA members ahead of the curve. We miss our ability to Connect, Educate and Elevate business with one another and we hope to see you there!

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Going Nuclear: Thoughts from Chris Ramey of The Home Trust

Are you ready for the most business-changing marketing imaginable? It’s hyper-focused, affordable, effective and quantifiable. It converts your competitor’s prospects into your best prospects. It introduces your brand to active buyers who visited your competitor’s showrooms.

Up until now competing has been relatively nice and tidy; print, radio, TV and social media. Everybody got along well; it was appropriate to smile at your competitors in the evening and then cut each other’s prices during the day. Here’s a better idea.

Instead of cutting competitor’s prices, cut their jugular; walk-in traffic. Attack your competitor’s showrooms by leveraging satellite technology. Go nuclear.

My firm has run more than 10,000 nuclear campaigns advertising to shoppers who are visiting competitor’s showrooms and other areas of interest. Here’s how: your smart phone is a beacon. And, it’s far smarter than you may realize. In truth, it’s a traitor that outs you.

Do you know why apps are free? They’re free because they have their own little secret: when on, they communicate where you are located. This may be necessary for Uber and Lyft; but not so great if you have a competent competitor.

Competent competitors are those who aggressively use every technology possible to increase sales. If you’re not leveraging nuclear then you’re not really competing. Social media is now child’s play.

Nuclear is employing satellites to tag the phones of customers who walk into your competitor’s showrooms. You can assume these individuals are predictive prospects because they’re actively shopping inside the wrong showroom.

You’re already at a distinct disadvantage because these shoppers chose your competitor’s showroom instead of your showroom; you’re not their first choice. Nuclear can change that. Do they know you exist? Do they understand your value proposition? Do they know why your company is superior? Have they been to your website? Probably not or they’d be in your showroom. But they’re not – they’re out there being misadvised and sold.

Now you can save your best prospects from the agony of buying at the wrong place.

This is how it works. Have you noticed your smart phone will generally “wake-up” when you pick it up? You probably consider that a convenience. App developers know it as a revenue stream. The moment a smart phone lights-up, the opened apps start looking for satellite signals. Satellite signals trigger digital marketing directly to those captured inside your competitor’s showroom; something akin to “You’re in the wrong showroom: My showroom is better. Get out before it’s too late!”

Well, that’s probably the wrong message, but you get the idea. They’ll continue to see your ads for a month on their PCs, tablets, laptops and smart phones. You’ll be everywhere.

The ability to affordably advertise directly to those who are active shoppers in the wrong showroom is a Holy Grail. It will earn you the best ROI you’ve ever experienced.

If you want to compete more effectively, affordably and intelligently, then consider nuclear as an obvious tactic to deploy immediately. You will be serving ads to active and wayward shoppers looking for your products and services.

Your private dashboard will inform you of ad impressions served, clicks to your site, where ads are delivered, which ads are pulling and when the prospects walk into your showroom. And, because it’s all driven by satellites, data can’t be manipulated; it’s real.

My favorite data point is the number of prospects served ads who consequently visit your showroom; immutable proof that nuclear works better than any imaginable marketing tactic. Your customer acquisition costs are going to drop dramatically.

Can it get any better than marketing directly to active buyers caught inside your competitor’s showrooms? Nuclear is how you will increase your share of market by leveraging technology.

Anything less than nuclear and you’re not really competing.

Chris Ramey is president of The Home Trust International and his consultancy is Affluent Insights. He can be reached at   

Originally published by Hearst Business Media.

US-Based Manufacturing Ensures Quality, Predictability for STRASSER Customers.

STRASSER, manufacturer of high-quality luxury vanities, has long prided itself on offering products fully made in the USA and using materials sourced from North America. And that detail feels more important and relevant than ever before.

STRASSER sources all raw materials, primarily plywood and hardwoods, from the United States and Canada (the only exception is Italian hardware). It’s the first step in quality control that continues in the factory. In addition to quality assurance, “Made in USA” brings greater predictability and reliability for customers. Even though each STRASSER vanity is made-to-order, a designer or building pro will receive their order within four weeks. From start to finish, STRASSER is in control of the process and therefore not subject to the unpredictability from shipping, tariffs, or other overseas concerns.

Sink Drip. The Good Kind. From Nood Co.

The Bowl Basin is back with a stunning new outfit. Two tones add a dynamic to your bathroom space like never before seen. The top color is the standard sample color, and the strip color is a unique color, of the same tone, designed by Nood Co.

As with all Nood products, this sink is available in 14 concrete colors.

LAUFEN Appoints New Sales Agency in the South Central US.

LAUFEN is pleased to announce the appointment of Adream Décor as their new representatives covering Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas. Dan Fingerhut and his Adream Décor team bring years of experience and relationships, along with energy and know-how.

Adream Décor joined DPHA earlier this year and represents several DPHA brands. Contact Dan at 512.202.2333 or

Berenson Launches Premium by Berenson Display Program.

Premium by Berenson is a new signature display program, designed for luxury showrooms with a discerning eye. We’ve curated our bestselling parts & finishes and distilled them into seven exclusive display boards organized by style. These larger, more sophisticated boards can be wall mounted, allowing for a unique and elegant presentation.
Boards can be purchased as a set or separately. Branding is available upon request. Boards measure 15 9/16 in. X 23 3/4 in. X 1/2 in.

DPHA Panel Discussion: Industry Round Table

DPHA is unique in that it connects the three segments of our industry: Manufacturers, Showrooms and Representatives. Join us for this Industry Round Table as we ask Steven Weinberg of California Faucets, Kate Brady of General Plumbing and Heather Kolos of Milestone Distributors some tough questions. It will be very interesting to see how the perspectives vary per industry segment! Have questions you want to pose to the panel? Email them to!

We still need panelists for our next DEALER and DESIGNER panels! Please email Kymberly with suggestions and interest!

The Fate of Brick and Mortar Retail.

As the country continues to reopen at varying rates, the news for much of brick and mortar retail is not positive. Coresight Research predicts up to 25,000 brick and mortar stores will close in 2020, a majority of them in malls. Neiman Marcus, J. Crew and J.C. Penney have filed for bankruptcy protection. Pier 1 Imports, GNC, Victoria’s Secret and Papyrus are closing multiple locations.
In this dark cloud, there is a silver lining, predicts past DPHA Conference Workshop leader Bob Phibbs in a recent blog. Malls are in trouble, but they were in trouble before the outbreak of coronavirus, and for good reasons. Phibbs notes that fewer consumers want a cookie cutter retail experience offered by Kay and Zales, Gap, Victoria Secret, Macys and J.C. Penny to name a few. “Shoppers are carrying every mall on their smartphones and have the ability to do anything as most any price point. Forget messaging or selling over the phone, the way forward is click-to-start-video chat.”

Phibbs does not believe the worst is over for retail. The pandemic will change brick and mortar retailing and shopping forever. Consumers will make an effort to visit your showroom because they want to see and touch faucets, hardware, countertops, vanities, accessories, finishes, floor and wallcoverings, sinks, and so on. Every product that a showroom sells can be acquired online. What can’t be acquired is the experience that your showroom delivers. And therein lies opportunity.

Re-opened showrooms will be best served by investing in team members. Showroom sales professionals must ask the right questions to determine why a stranger decided to make an effort to leave the comfort of their couch to visit the showroom. No one who makes the effort to visit your showroom is really interested in picking up their new toilet curbside. Phibbs believes that you need to adopt a merchandise mentality, focusing on how to raise margins, improve conversion rates and sales volume. Showrooms need to move beyond having to sanitize after every consumer visit, which is necessary right now. Creating strong customer relationships is what’s important and comes from adopting a merchant mentality, Phibbs claims.

Video meetings with consumers are not going to end once it is safe to return to whatever the “new normal” looks like. Showrooms will have to embrace new technologies to stay connected to their consumers. You can’t rely on field of dreams marketing where you rely on your built showroom to attract consumers. You will need to be available virtually at all times.

Consumers working from home for the last three months have, out of necessity, had to go online to work, shop and buy groceries. That behavior is not going to change. Showrooms have adapted by using new technology to reach customers and staff and must continually use technology to connect with customers.

The demise of iconic brands such as Neiman Marcus, Victoria Secret is because they attempted to standardize the customer experience and failed to invest in their teams. In showroom speak, they hired people whose skill set did not extend past their ability to take orders. An expensive and valuable lesson.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

This Is No Time to Bury Your Head in Your Business; Explore the Channels of Change. Thoughts from Fellow Jeffrey Valles.

As we begin to poke our heads out of our shelters, this is not a time to be a hedgehog. Nobody knows what will emerge in the short term, nor the long term really. We must not get caught up in the way things were and immediately return to the old day-to-day processes. To build an agile, successful strategy, we need to look beyond our business, beyond our industry, and discover what is working for other businesses that cater to any segment of the luxury market.

I am looking for three distinct channels of change.

Number one is how we will interact with our customers inside and outside the showroom. How will they gather at restaurants, events, and, most importantly, how will they shop? People will act the way they feel. They will take the path that makes them the most comfortable coupled with what individual governments legislate. My guess is that actions will be all over the board. Some seniors will feel they have survived the war; what can a virus do to me? Other Boomers will default to absolute safety. And I expect similar attitudes to manifest themselves in varying degrees in the younger generations. You and your team will have to watch, listen and carefully note each customer's preferences and react accordingly. It will be quite a dance.

The second path will be discovering the technologies now ready for prime time after being on the verge of going mainstream before the pandemic hit. Before Covid-19 shook things up they were either not applicable to your business, such as virtual conferencing platforms like Zoom, or they were still in development. Many of those still in development have improved into a viable tool for your business over the last three months. This might be using artificial intelligence to help in your payables department, changing to an AI phone receptionist, adding a robot or two to your warehouse or adding a virtual showroom tour to your website.

The real game changers will materialize from those companies that took their quarantine time to create a new way. It could be a new platform, a new process, or a killer new product. These can range from a time-saving tool to market game changers. These will be the most difficult to discover and, by far, have the opportunity to be the most impactful.

How do we find these game changers? Certainly not by sitting in your office and hoping a salesperson simply wanders in. You need to constantly question the internet, set up a regular time to call your DPHA colleagues. Visit, meet and converse with your non-product competitive local luxury showrooms. If you are a manufacturer, independent sales representative or a luxury showroom, learn what the other folks catering to the wealthy customers are doing.

Our initial instinct is to survive and that will lead us to dig into our business as fast and as deep as possible. We truly believe we learned it all in surviving and thriving after the Great Recession. “My customers are still the same.” “They still need what we deliver.” “They love what we do.” Are you sure? Should Henry Ford have bred a faster filly, the Wright brothers crafted a better bicycle or President Kennedy reached for an orbit instead of a moon landing?

We need to reach out to businesses in our immediate markets that cater to our target clientele. In the short term, you will witness a wide range of behaviors. All of which will both help prepare you for your customers’ new quirks and will likely introduce you to new business improving tools and practices.

If we work to set a strategy for success while not knowing what our target market needs, we will fall flat on our faces. The broader your exposure to your market, the more you will learn and the better prepared you will be to win the post-pandemic market share grab.

Your brand is a respected go-to for your targeted market segment. But things have changed, and your customers are looking to you for solutions to new issues. This is an opportunity to show how your brand brilliantly understands its clientele and is there to help them not only survive this mess but make them better.

A lot of companys manufacture products, represent products and distribute products. The superior companies are constantly searching for the next effective ideas, be it big or small. Ideas that make their brand better. Those ideas are out there, they simply need to be discovered.

Suggest Reading

5 Ways that Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Accounts Payable

3 Ways AI Will Shape the Future of Retail

What Enterprises Can Expect From An AI chatbot in 2020

Friday, June 12, 2020

MrSteam Shows How Top Showrooms are Selling Steam.

MrSteam products offer a practical home wellness solution that fits with any design. We asked some of the powerhouse showroom sales teams to discover how they successfully sell steam, and these are our top three takeaways:

1.     Health and Wellness: Wellness is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Yes, steam showers are a wonderful way to relax, but there are dozens of proven health and wellness benefits, from respiratory care to skin care, too. Discover more on the Steam Therapy blog.

2.     Designer Friendly: MrSteam products are sleek and discreet, making them a great fit to incorporate for any individual style. SteamHeads come in a variety of finishes, including multiple designer metal finishes as well as black or white glass. The linear steamhead is even more subtle, offering a low-profile design that sets flush with the wall.

3.     High-tech Simplicity: To make things simple for both you and your client, MrSteam offers pricing and installation information that’s easy to find and share online. Use the free Virtual Spa feature to build the perfect steam shower match, with inputs for dimensions, controls, upgrades and accessories in one place.

Watch these sales stars share their tips and more at the video below.

A Homage to Kitchen Klutzes

This Saturday, June 13, is National Kitchen Klutzes Day. It’s a celebration dedicated to everyone who has ever been a klutz in the kitchen. Saturday, we embrace home cooks who may have dropped a dish, cut a finger or burned a creation beyond recognition. June 13 is your day. It’s a day to acknowledge that you may not be the next Julia Child or Bobby Flay. It's a day to remind you that it's okay to be clumsy in the kitchen. And don’t worry, you are not alone. 15% of Americans agree that they are “not very good when it comes to cooking, often messing things up or having other mishaps.”

Celebrate the day by being your klutziest in the kitchen and embrace your inner klutz. Spend some time reviewing safety techniques or curate your kitchen drawers and eliminate those items whose functional purpose you have no clue about. Visit the Burnt Food Museum to find kindred spirits. Go to and watch an episode or two of Worst Cooks in America.

Want to know the best way to celebrate National Kitchen Klutzes Day? Order takeout.

#DPHAWeeklyWednesdayWebinar : Reps Take the Stage

Next week the Reps take the hot seat! Join DPHA award winning reps Traci D’Antoni, Cynthia Carter, Mary Labowitz, Yana Haralanova, Joan Patters and Debby Stehr as we discuss business in this new post-COVID world. We will talk about the changing roles of reps, the shift to virtual trainings, and many other hot topics. We will be joined by Have questions you want to post to the panel? Email them to!

SH Introduces Diamond-Finish Acrylic Pods for Showrooms and Manufacturers.

Experience the best acrylic pods and bases on the market thanks to the newest offering from SH Design-Build. These acrylic bases are engineered specifically to support decorative plumbing elements like faucets, accessories and hardware, produced in a crystal-clear acrylic that creates a feeling of luxury. SH offers competitive pricing and the fastest turnaround in the industry, with pods manufactured and shipped in as little as one week.

With a collection of SH acrylic bases, you can have a consistent look across the showroom no matter what products you sell. SH offers a variety of standard and custom sizes, as well as custom configurations to suit merchandising display needs. Choose from clear or white acrylic pods to best compliment your showroom’s style.

Infinity Drain Launches New CEU Course in Partnership with Architectural Record.

Infinity Drain is launching a new online CEU in partnership with Architectural Record. The new course, entitled Linear Drain Systems for Barrier-Free Bathrooms and Wet Rooms, focuses on the design and functional benefits these drain systems offer for both indoor and outdoor applications.

From a design perspective, the curbless or barrier free shower that linear drains enable result in a seamless, spa-like environment design that can't be achieved using traditional shower drains. Without barriers, there are a range of design details that can be incorporated that truly open up the room. On the functional side, a barrier free shower can cater to everyone's needs and abilities allowing people of all ages to safely enter the shower without the need to climb over a threshold or into a tub.

LACAVA Newterra Line Features Concrete Sinks and Solid Wood Vanities.

Lacava's Newterra collection features concrete sinks made in the US and a solid wood vanity. The vanity is hand made, with soft close drawers with routed finger pulls along the bottom edge and an open bottom shelf. This collection features natural and renewable materials and rustic design. The vanity top is made of concrete slab with the option of an incorporated sink or a vessel sink in various shapes: round, oval or rectangular. Each is available in four beautiful neutral tones blend seamlessly with the Driftwood vanity.


2020 sure has been a year for the history books. The world has suffered losses, a worldwide push for equality and the closing of many businesses across the globe. This year the DPHA Conference + Showcase will look a little different, but we will offer the connection, education and push forward into the new business climate we have all been craving.

Safety has been in my every fiber since COVID-19 started, as I am one of the faces of those that are high risk. We are going above and beyond the protocol of national, local and hotel recommendations in regards to social distancing and member safety. Meals will look a bit different, showcase will look a bit different, but that does not mean you won’t walk out of this year’s conference with the same benefits of previous years when we could see everyone’s smiling faces.
  • DPHA has been able to secure 200% more space to hold our educational sessions and meals at the Hyatt Regency.
  • Our meals will be incorporating the safest food prep protocols available and tables spaced with minimal seats per table.
  • DPHA has made each exhibitor booth twice their previous sizes to host a holding area, so that product and business strategies can be done more safely.
  • This year a mask will be required while attending any of the sessions and showcase (regardless of what our preselected conference tagline may state).
DPHA membership has proven to be a community that supports one another through the most difficult of times. The 2020 Conference will offer the chance to bring us all together to support, lift and build our businesses into the future. Conference will allow you the chance to cherish the partnerships, relationships and support that was offered through this turbulent year and the ability to celebrate the survival and beginning of the better business strategies found in all of us.

For those of you that won’t be able to make the trip, we have something a little extra in the digital realm that we will be sharing with you very soon!

The WELL Building Standard: An Introduction by Greg Rohl

Wellness and Self Care are increasingly popular areas of study and practice. They are popular subjects in social and traditional media, with health and fitness mavens promoting teas, lotions, meditation, yoga, Pilates, or whatever Gwyneth Paltrow and the folks at Goop are highlighting. Now the tragic human costs and resulting shutdown and self-quarantine due to COVID-19 have made the importance of Wellness a very real priority. We are learning how critical it is to strengthen and support our immune systems and manage our stress through healthier diet, proper sleep, exercise and mindfulness.

After spending months at home, we are now very in touch with our living environment and the role an intentionally designed space can play in supporting a healthier lifestyle. The kitchen and bath industry is a natural home for these concepts and language. Many of our bathing, showering and food preparation products already incorporate features and extolling hygienic, relaxing and restoring benefits.

Those who specify and sell kitchen and bath products are well positioned to meet these important needs, helping to create spaces that are central to family and personal care. Having a working knowledge of the subject enhances authority and value, as well as differentiation from competitors in our increasingly omni-channel marketplace.

Wellness, however, is a large and multi-faceted area of study. Only in recent years have prescriptive programs for the built environment been introduced, focusing on particular areas of health. Wellness Within Your Walls and the Hayward Score focus on air quality in the home. The Living In Place Institute educates on how to modify and build homes that are safe and comfortable for all ages. The Global Wellness Institute highlights building wellness into buildings and communities, as there is a huge need and opportunity. It sites a number of guidelines and standards that can be followed. Of these, FitWel and the WELL Building Standard are more focused certification programs to promote health and wellbeing through the built environment. Both programs initially focused on commercial work spaces and expanded to include commercial culinary and multi-family structures.

As the WELL Building Standard is administered through the same organization as LEED, and is strongly aligned with ASID, its use and profile will continue to rise in the design community. Like the LEED certification, WELL presents a series of very specific requirements across a range of categories that a building must meet to achieve certification. Although focused on commercial and multi-family (for now) WELL’s goals, organization and vocabulary will become used more generally, as LEED’s did for green building. Kitchen and bath specialists should have a working knowledge of WELL, so here is a very brief introduction.

The WELL Building Standard is based on a series of Concepts, each Concept containing a number of Features that must be met to achieve certification. The first version of WELL had Seven Concepts, which were augmented and expanded to 10 Concepts in the current WELL Version 2. These are: Air to ensure indoor air quality. Water provides for safe water, proper consumption and control to prevent damage to a building. Nourishment promotes healthy food choices in work environments as well as their safe storage and preparation. Light ensures one’s exposure to natural light, as well as lighting design for optimal comfort and performance. Movement focuses on providing opportunities for exercise and limiting sedentary behavior. Thermal Comfort directs temperature control and customization. Sound controls for disruptive or harmful noise. Materials prevents exposure to toxins from hazardous materials. Mind promotes policies and activities to improve mental health. The Community Concept focuses on access to healthcare and building stronger communities within and without a building through accessible design and outreach. Finally, the Innovation Concept allows for new ideas and strategies.

Consider presenting products and services through the lens of these WELL Concepts. The fan and filters we market address “Air” concerns. Low flow and touchless faucets, water filters and leak alert technologies address “Water”. Appliances that preserve and even grow fresh food address “Nutrition”. Kitchen and bath designers address concerns of Light, Sound, Comfort and also Mind. The products DPHA member manufacture, distribute and represent contribute to achieving many of these goals. Learning and incorporating these concepts and language into our design and product selection process will benefit both our clients’ and our own professional wellness.


Friday, June 5, 2020

Barclay Introduces the Chapal Double Slipper Copper Tub.

Chapal features a stunning black exterior highlighted by its highly polished copper interior. Handcrafting makes every tub distinct. Copper is one of the most enduring and striking metals; it is no wonder why it tends to be a popular choice. Copper can hold heat longer, and that is only enhanced when you purchase their compatible air jet system as a supplement. The striking Chapal Slipper Tub will allow you to have a Zen moment anytime.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

New From NOOD: The Shelf Oval Basin.

For tight spaces, powder rooms, hotel and apartment blocks this medium sized Shelf basin has a space for soap or a tap hole, and a further option of overflow, wall mount or surface mount. A masterful design with a clever bracketing system that ensures a beautiful aesthetic. Available in 14 colors, there is something for everyone! Pictured in Blush Pink.

Mountain Introduces Kitchen Sink Suites to Ease Product Selection.

Mountain knows that their plumbing parts category can sometimes be intimidating to the showroom salesperson and that's why these packages connect them with the practical uses of their products and not the technical functionality. Their hope is to combine their various kitchen sink accessories and water appliances into easily understood and application based packages that make it easier for the salesperson to sell to customers. These packages can facilitate more in-store sales and help increase the average ticket when selling a kitchen faucet or sink.

Learn how to reduce stress with BainUltra, Dr. Redcross and the American Institute of Stress.

For over 40 years BainUltra has promoted Relaxation, Health and Well-Being. Their bathtubs are certified by the American Institute of Stress and offer a world of benefit to bathers. Join us as Dr. Redcross tackles the topic of Stress or “The S-Word” and learn how stress works, how serious it is and how you can help reduce it in your daily life. Whether suffering from severe chronic stress or just looking to relax. BainUltra has a customized therapeutic solution just for you and your home.

DPHA Weekly Wednesday Webinar: Wellness in the Bathroom.

The COVID-19 pandemic has many of us focusing on wellness. How we create it. How we maintain it. How we bring it into all aspects of our lives. As kitchen and bath specialists, our businesses are ideally positioned to be authorities on helping out clients create spaces that support personal wellness. Join Greg Rohl, wellness enthusiast and founder of The Rohl Model, Martha Orellana, creator of MrSteam's wellness program, and Wellness Design Consultant and author Jamie Gold as we discuss the WELL Standards and how to bring them into residential bathroom design.

Common Website Mistakes to Avoid.

Location, Location, Location
All search is local. In both the real and online world, consumers visit the central places that provide goods and services that they need, making these decisions to minimize travel distance. That’s why it is extremely important to include your physical location on your website on every page. Where you are located is part of your brand because people search by location. Your customers are no different from you. There is a maximum distance that homeowners in your service territory will travel to buy a new kitchen or bath.

Showcase the Best

Avoid the temptation to showcase your latest projects. Instead post examples of your best work. Website visitors don’t care if you did the project last week or five years ago. Showcase projects that reflect your brand and serve to differentiate your skill sets from competitors whose competency is limited to taking orders.

Speed Wins
Website visitors don’t have the patience to wait for pages to load. You can check your website’s speed on Google’s PageSpeed platform. You want a score from 90-100. If your speed is 50 or lower, speak to your web master or other expert to determine what needs to be done to load pages more quickly.

Less is Better
What do you want your web site to do? For many, it is to provide reasons for potential customers to come to your showroom. As Robb Best explains, when you give customers too many choices their brains shut down and people walk away because the brain does not have the capacity to process multiple inputs. That’s why Robb recommends offering customers a choice of A or B instead of A-F. The same thinking should apply to your website. Carefully curate images to provide a representation of projects and styles. One or two contemporary, transitional, traditional, eclectic or other types of projects that reflect your best work should be featured, not multiple images of the same type of project.

Look Through the Lens of Your Prospective Client
What do prospective clients who visit your website want and need to see? Marcus Sheriden advised DPHA members to answer the questions that your clients and prospects ask most often. These might include: How much does a new bath cost? Why is there a vast range of prices for different products? How long does a renovation take? What should I expect from the showroom? Are you providing information that clients can use to make their customer journey easier, or does the focus of your website tout how wonderful your showroom is?

Making Your Website More Effective
Every week DPHA produces a blog that you can use as your own. We recommend that you select the images that reflect your brand instead of the generic images that accompany the blog. Blogging weekly will increase your search engine optimization, and many showrooms that blog regularly show up on first pages of Google searches without having to pay for ad words or incur other costs.

Friday, May 29, 2020

New iWash Bidet Seat by Icera is a Smart and Stylish Upgrade to the Bathroom.

Introducing the iWash S-11 bidet seat, the latest addition to Icera's iWash product line, created to enhance the functionality of a traditional toilet with features focused on comfort and superior hygiene. The system includes a stainless-steel self-cleaning sprayer with customizable spray options. The iWash's ceramic water heating system provides an instant and unlimited warm water spray and allows for a tankless design with a slim 5" profile. Users can also choose settings for water temperature and pressure and enjoy a heated seat and warm arm dryer. The iWash can be programmed with two memory presets for ease of use. Other favorite features include a built-in deodorizer, in-bowl nightlight, silent close lid and a wall-mounted remote control with LED-backlit buttons.

DPHA's Next Panel Discussion: Manufacturing in the New DPH World.

First, we had a designer panel, then a dealer panel, now it is time for our manufacturers! The economy is slowly opening up, and our manufacturer members have had very different experiences over the past three months. Please join Infinity Drain Director of Sales and Marketing Barbara Kratus, hansgrohe President Oliver Bahr and Amerock Senior Channel Marketing Manager, Distribution and Showroom Direct Keely Roberts as we discuss what the new DPH world looks like for our manufacturing members.