Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Who Are You partnering With?

There’s a hush all over the business world, giving us an opportunity to look at places we can get better ourselves and our businesses and discover new avenues to success.

Let’s all agree; you want to market your luxury business to the top interior designers, architects, builders and stylish homeowners in your market. So, what road do you take? Do you wade into social media on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok? How about joining the digital marketing world and improve your website to best in class and set up your digital ad spend on Google? Or do you meet with the local luxury showrooms that do not directly compete with you to work out ways you can build your brands together, focusing on keeping these wealthy folks from traveling to the major design centers and making them understand that their own luxury community has what they desire.

Where else do you go to share your brand’s captivating stories? Do we dive into the local social-digital worlds, or meet our wealthy and stylish clients in their world? What are the popular fine restaurants, elegant home-furnishings store and art galleries that always hosts the packed open houses? If any of these are lacking a beautiful bathroom and equally elegant entry door hardware, there is an opportunity to meet your targeted customer. Working with businesses that also target your market can increase both brands' reach. Might the gallery want to hang a few pieces in your showroom? At your next event, does that restaurant offer a catering service? Does the fine furniture store have some pieces that would look great in your showroom? When you create a cool bathroom, all involved can plaster it all over Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. It’s all a circle.

Take a moment and list the trade showrooms in your market that your designers, architects and builders rely on. Then add the retail businesses that cater to the well-to-do. Restaurants, surface showrooms, clothing stores, elegant spas and auto dealerships. One of the finest bathrooms I have ever seen was the men’s room in an Audi dealership. Black steampunk fixtures highlighted a well-thought-out promo piece. It stuck in my mind.

Another, mostly forgotten product placement opportunity is fine salons and day spas. They are a beehive of pampering and style: if the bathrooms are not a point of conversation, you should make them so.

Think creatively and barter with these companies to help them improve their store’s customer experience. These are businesses that thrive on people who want the best, and we all know what a few carefully chosen cabinet knobs can do for a kitchen. Form a luxury service community; us against them. Help these local partners in luxury products and service set up elegant bathrooms and place your brand’s logo tastefully on the mirror and on the inside of the door. Visitors will not miss it.

All brick and mortar businesses are under attack from competition, the new generations‘ changing tastes and now this virus. So why not work together? You are stronger going into a battle with allies. Put your business in the best possible position to succeed by leveraging you and your newfound local partners’ strong brands. Why Not?

Finally: We are in a completely unknown business environment and speaking with people in your local market that target your key customers can be a very good thing. You will likely discover their fears are similar to yours, and by working together you will all emerge better prepared to kick ass when we are allowed to build beautiful buildings.

For the time being, please talk to many…while staying at least 6 feet away.

P.S. Vendors, At Phylrich we considered these installations a display and priced it as aggressively as possible. It was my mentor Alfred R. Dubin’s idea and he was 100% correct. From Beverly Hills to the upper east side of New York City, Phylrich had beautiful working displays in some of the most expensive real estate in North America. It paid off handsomely.

Plumbing Industry Demonstrates Career Stability Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Amid a global pandemic that is affecting lives all over the world, induced uncertainty goes beyond health as fear about the future of our economy is looming. Unemployment claims, layoffs, and cease of operations are all surging with the future, at this point, being an unknown. It is during times of crisis where the plumbing industry best demonstrates its career stability as an essential business.

From personal experience, this crisis is unlike anything we have had to deal with in our time. At Lutz Plumbing Inc., we immediately adapted to new health and safety guidelines. While business slowed slightly, work is still coming in as much of our work really has no room for delay. Showroom staff is working remotely, still processing orders and receiving product for upcoming projects. Company morale remains strong as our employees are discovering that it is a time to be truly grateful to be in the plumbing industry. Having work and being empowered by the feeling that they can contribute to society in a time of crisis is certainly gratifying.

Since there is no textbook on how our business is supposed to adapt and expect, this is how we have improvised:
  • Adaptations to working remotely, following up on all open and existing orders digitally has prevented the crisis from being massively disruptive
  • Offering virtual showroom appointments through apps such as Zoom or even FaceTime has bee na good alternative for us, especially since many clients are remaining at home and have the time
  • Major display and showroom renovations can be done now with no distractions
  • This is a perfect opportunity for education and re-education, utilizing the DPHA educational manuals and vendor webinars
We are a little unique at Lutz, as we have plumbers on staff. Our plumbing department remains busy with emergency calls, water heater replacements, and repairs that people just did not have the time to attend to. Being surrounded by uncertainty and negativity, being in the plumbing industry is one thing I am absolutely grateful for. Remain optimistic, be kind, stay strong and stay healthy as we all endure this fight together. Always remember, plumbers protect the health of our nation.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

How to NOT Annoy the Hell Out of Family Members When Confined

Comedian Jimmy Fallon recently joked, after being confined at home, that he and his wife really like each other. With many states shuttering all nonessential business as a means to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and numerous DPHA members closing their showrooms, there’s a strong possibility that you are spending more time at home than ever before. How do you remain sane when your kids are bouncing off the wall and your usual activities have ground to a halt? Without being able to go to the gym, watch March Madness, grab a beer at our favorite watering hole or go to the movies, we find ourselves in limbo. The only adult interaction we have on a daily basis is with our significant other, who is also stuck at home. How do you avoid, under confined quarters, annoying the hell out of one another?

The husband and wife team Julie and John Gottman have been studying partners’ conversations for nearly 50 years and have some great advice for staying sane and civil when you can’t go out.

The Gottmans found that the most successful marriages and relationships live by constant guidelines. Instead of finding fault, successful couples look at what their partner does correctly and “say thank you” dozens of times daily, even for the smallest or most routine gestures such as making coffee first thing in the morning.

Here are some of their other Dos and Don'ts:
  • Successful couples do look for beauty and positive traits in their partner and call them out.
  • Successful couples don’t make criticism or contempt part of their vocabulary.
  • Successful couples don’t call each other nasty names or roll their eyes and scoff.
  • Successful couples do express what they need, rather than what they resent.
  • Successful couples do compromise fairly.
  • Successful couples don’t fight about dreams and values that are nonnegotiable.
  • Successful couples cuddle and touch each other often with affection and not just hanky panky.
Consider this advice; At the end of the day before going to sleep, each partner should discuss the highs and lows of the day and what they are worrying about outside of the family dynamic. Those listening should not try to resolve any of the worries they hear. Instead, ask for more details and demonstrate empathy.

The Gottmans claim that there is no such thing being “too needy” or that “solo self-reliance is the ideal.” In these uncertain and scary times, recognize that we need one another more than ever – especially the person you live with. “Let’s cultivate a little more kindness between us.” Here, here!

Buster + Punch Launches LINEAR Hardware Collection

LINEAR, the new collection from Buster + Punch, is a range of elegant, small-scale cabinet handles inspired by fashion accessory hardware. Diamond-milled from solid metals, the range features new signature linear knurl pattern and machined torx screws. LINEAR features new hardware products - L-BAR and PRECIOUS BAR and new finishes – GUN METAL and BURNT STEEL. The range also includes reimaginations of the FURNITURE KNOB and PULL BAR and will also be available in classic finishes - steel, brass and black.

Superbox by Italian Bathware - Exclusively Distributed by AD Waters in North America

The Superbox lavatory faucet from Italian Bathware, exclusively distributed in North America by AD Waters, allows for the simplest gesture of turning on the water to be transformed into one that is amusing and playful with its lever joystick to steer, just like a video game. The absence of an aerator allows the water to flow neatly and sharply from the spout, as fast as a superhero’s blade. Superbox is proudly designed and manufactured in Italy by Italian Bathware, who’s bold creativity stems from a love for their culture, country and strong values. The complete bathroom series, from lavatory faucets to tub filler applications, is offered in polished chrome, brushed nickel, matte black and brushed gold.

REMINDER: We Need Your Help!

We have partnered with NKBA to gather information from our members on how this crisis is affecting business. When taking this survey, please select the category that best suits you and your business. NKBA will be sharing the results with us so that we can share with our membership. Please note: if you have already taken this survey through NKBA, we ask that you take a few minutes to take it again, as we will only be getting the responses from those who take the survey with the below link.

New Barn Door Hardware from Regal Brands' Ageless Iron Brings Form and Function to Sliding Doors

This new Barn Door Hardware from Regal Brand's Ageless Iron offers consistent performance, fantastic durability and long-lasting beauty. The collection includes an expertly engineered track crafted from heavy-duty powder coated steel for smooth operation and a choice of a grip or pull. The grip and flush pull are both meticulously crafted from cast iron and hand-finished by skilled artisans for unique surface textures. Each element can be purchased separately, and the grip and flush pull may be installed together on opposite sides of the door if desired.

LAUFEN Announces New Representation

LAUFEN is pleased to announce the appointment of new DPHA member VERTICAL SALES LLC as their new representatives beginning April 1, 2020. Vertical Sales will be covering Southern California, Las Vegas, Arizona and Hawaii. Bobby Dean and Susan Littlebrook, principals, bring years of experience and relationships to their new agency along with energy and know-how.


Now, more than ever, we need to focus on DPHA's passion for connection. We would like to connect our membership with one another to make the most productive use of our time at home. Do you have any educational webinars you will be hosting in the coming days or weeks? Please let us know so we can share with the DPHA community!

Shop Small, Shop Local.

It is sometimes hard to find silver linings during a crisis like we are currently facing, however I am finding some in my Facebook news feed. Every day I am seeing posts of people wanting to support local businesses, especially small, locally owned restaurants. It seems neighbors of all age groups have a common concern for our communities, our people, our local businesses, our local restaurants and yes of course, our local kitchen and bath store too. This concern is a call to action, but in an organic way. This is surely not a demand but a way to build back up what is presently being lost. This is what America is all about, this spirit to help our neighbors. This is one way, a very helpful way, to follow through and do it.

Shop Small, Shop Local. The trend was already in motion to combat very large websites, but this event is something much more serious and personal. It’s affecting us all simultaneously. It’s time when we can see things more clearly. So spread the word and share the why it's important, for many people will not connect that dot so quickly. Spread the word - support your restaurants and other small businesses locally, and the support will come for your local kitchen and bath stores when the storm has rolled away.

Special thanks to Robert Foster of Foster Companies for bringing this thought to our attention and for finding the valuable information on small business loans that can be accessed here.

Leveraging Your Brick and Mortar Brand: Thoughts from Fellow Jeff Valles

Okay, we all are cooped up at home. Our normal workflow is gone and some of us are making busywork so we feel productive and to keep us from going bonkers.

Now that you have both a clear mind and time, let’s look into some new ways to grow your business. Have you ever thought to leverage your brick and mortar brand and go big time e-commerce? Have you thought about setting up or expanding your online store?

Why not? You know your business and your customers are already online purchasing and researching everything they can, and right now they are all stuck at home. By simply leveraging your day-to-day brick and mortar showroom business you can be THE player online.

Before building your online business plan, let’s dig deep to make sure your plan covers all affecting factors. Below are some questions that are not always included in online e-commerce business plans that are leveraging a successful brick and mortar showroom.

Please take a moment to review your target online customer and their unique needs. Keep in mind that your target customer in this instance is likely your current showroom customers, as they can’t access your showrooms right now. You may not even need to be fully e-commerce, but simply allow your clients to browse on your site and then receive a call or email from your showroom staff who may be working remotely.

  1. Why are you adding an online purchase point to your retail showroom?
    1. Make life easier for your current customers
    2. Reach new customers that only shop for your core products online
    3. Create a new online brand that focuses on a special niche of your product mix that you think offers an online opportunity
  2. What special terms will your online customers be looking for that you might not be currently offering in your brick and mortar showrooms? 
    1. Free freight
    2. Expedited delivery
    3. Free returns on all products
  3. What factor will you use for marking up prices from your cost?
  4. Will you have to increase your inventory to meet your online customer’s perceived needs?
  5. What kind of customer service will they expect?
    1. Email and text only
    2. Personal telephone support
    3. AI chatbot with personal chat support
    4. Any mix of the above
  6. Will you have to add any people?
  7. What do your direct competitors offer?
I suggest you take the time to answer these questions. With this information you will be able to build a better selection site that will delight your customers. After all, if you build a go-to site you will have added another quality way for your customers to interact with brand.

P.S.: In the E-commerce world it is easier to start small with one profitable, underserved product niche. This path allows you and your team to market your E-store to a needy market and learn the unique challenges of the E-commerce game. Those that open their E-stores with thousands of SKUs covering many product categories can get quickly overwhelmed and damage the brand they worked so diligently to build.

Good Luck and keep sane...

Monday, March 23, 2020

Things to Do During Slow Times

Whether your showroom is slow or you are trying to fill your day while working remotely, here are some tips for filling your time.
  1. Re-read the DPHA Education Manuals. Even if you have read them in the past, it is always good to refresh your knowledge. Make sure you check out the newly updated Shower Systems manual!
  2. Sign up for the Recognition Program! Since you have just re-read the training manuals, you might as well get recognized for the work you have put in!
  3. Reach out to your clients. They are likely in a similar situation as you, and showing you care can build a relationship for future sales.
  4. Focus on merchandising.  It's hard to take a deep dive into your showroom displays and commit the time to display and line reviews during busy times.    
  5. Take a webinar. Many manufacturers and other training companies offer online training on product knowledge, sales skills and more.
  6. Expand your mind. Several Ivy League schools are offering free online classes.
  7. Keep moving.  You can't hit the gym right now, but there are many online workouts that are free during this crisis.
  8. Don't forget your MIND.  This is an incredibly stressful time for everyone, and mindfulness is key.  Headspace is free right now to help those during shelter-in-place and social distancing stressors.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Change in the Blink of an Eye

On March 2nd, I had the pleasure of joining designer Jonathan Rachman to discuss a case study on brand ambassadors at the Design Influencer Conference in San Francisco. Hundreds of enthusiastic and engaged attendees enjoyed a varied program presented by both brands and designers, with keynote speeches from design luminaries Nate Berkus, Alexa Hampton and others. The apprehension about Coronavirus was present and growing, with more fist and elbow bumping and hand sanitizer as evidence. Still, everyone crowded into presentations and explored a small but wide ranging trade show.
Today, just 20 days later, it seems a little like a dream. San Francisco’s streets, and those of an increasing number of cities, are quiet. It’s an example of the jarring psychological effect of going from “normal” to “pandemic response” at what feels like warp speed.

Each day the news is more frightening, the toll on humanity more tragic, and the myriad effects on our lives like a hail of slaps to the face. Many have already shifted to working from home, all the while managing children home from school closings or extended spring breaks. Investments have entered a time machine, returning to levels two or three years ago, and businesses across many fields have been forcibly closed or ground to a halt as customers stay home, delay or cancel. Under these conditions it’s no wonder people want to fill every corner of their home with something as soft, comforting, and simple as toilet paper. That behavior might seem bizarre to many, but probably not to members of the kitchen and bath industry. We understand how ensuring ones supply of something so intrinsically connected to the bathroom might be of psychological comfort in the midst of so much chaos.

Like all businesses, the decorative plumbing and hardware community is grappling with this rapid change. This event is truly global and affecting business at every level, from manufacturers managing global supply chains to small town design/build firms dealing with clients wanting to hold off on planned projects due to financial uncertainty. It’s been good to see so many messages from our industry leaders sharing their commitment to the health and safety of their employees, moving quickly to facilitate home officing, and finding creative solutions to work safely, within the guidelines of government direction.
Amid all the alarm and disruption, we all look to find something positive, and though the shut downs and self-quarantining requirements continue to grow, we’re starting to hear some good news about treatments and the early testing on a vaccine. Social media is also sharing moments of human courage and beauty, with plenty of advice for how the make the most of this forced sabbatical.

Think of Venice, where locals are sharing photos of the canals with water turned clear as the turbidity caused by the usual commercial and tourist traffic drops. While, unfortunately, the water isn’t actually any cleaner, for the first time in a long-time aquatic plants, schools of fish, swans and even dolphins are being seen. Perhaps, like the clearing waters of Venice, the enforced ceasing of normal commercial activity, aside from slowing the speed of the pandemic, managing our medical resources and saving lives, may decrease the turbidity of life for a while. While we do what we must to protect and care for ourselves, our families, community and country, we may see and enjoy some beautiful things that for too long have been obscured.

Alno Launches New Vita Bella Cabinet Hardware

Creations by Alno, Inc. is proud to announce the launch of their new cabinet hardware series, Vita Bella! This collection is a versatile, contemporary line produced in Italy. It offers both smooth and knurled aluminum pulls in three different styles. These pulls are available in five finishes: Champagne (CHP), Matte Black (MB), Matte Nickel (MN), Matte Black bar with champagne posts ( CHP/MB) and Matte Black bar with Matte Nickel posts (MN/MB). These aesthetically pleasing pulls come in standard CTC's measured in inches and are trending now both in plumbing fixtures and door hardware.

Hydro Systems Extends Free Tub Options Promo and Introduces 24-Hour Stock Tub Program

Due to the current health crisis, Hydro Systems has decided to extend their free tub options promotion through at least May 31st. This date may be extended further depending on how long it takes for the market to normalize. Hydro Systems is trying to help out the American consumer and brick and mortar showrooms by extending this promotion.

In addition to the above promotion, Hydro Systems is excited to announce the launch of a 24-hour stocking program consisting of their most in-demand bathtubs. This program will allow you to have a tub shipped from one of their facilities within 24 business hours of receiving your PO.

Hastings Tile + Bath Unveils Redesigned Website

Hastings Tile + Bath has unveiled their long awaited redesigned website!  Acting as an online mood board, architects, designers and consumers get a visual of each product plus technical specifications, product finish options and downloadable catalogs showing the design flexibility for which Hastings’ collections are known. Designed to be as user-friendly as possible, the site is filled with lifestyle images, videos and event news.

Advance Plumbing Celebrates 100 Years in Business

This year, Advance Plumbing & Heating Supply Company celebrates 100 years of success. Four generations have kept this business afloat—Harry Chernick opened the doors in 1920. He then passed the business on to his son-in-law Ronald Moss, who took it to new frontiers in the face of uncertainty. And now his son Jeffrey Moss, (president) runs the business alongside his wife Wendy Moss (human resources) navigating innovation and more expansion. And their sons—Joshua Moss (vice president), Justin Moss (operations manager), and Andrew Moss (marketing consultant) are heavily involved in the day-to-day operations, as well as preparing the business for the future. Advance Plumbing was DPHA's 2018 Showroom of the Year.

CEU Events Fast Tracking Webinar Functionality on Platform

CEU Events has fast tracked functionality that allows instructors to schedule and manage webinars via their platform. The event creation process now provides an option to input webinar links generated by your preferred webinar application (Zoom Video Communications, Webex , GoToMeeting , etc.).

CEU Events understands the power of face-to-face presentations and the valuable experience that you provide your attendees. Nevertheless during these unprecedented times, webinars are suitable alternatives for providing that value.

Make the Best out of Working from Home

In these uncertain and difficult times, it may not be prudent, advisable or even legal to work from your showroom. If your showroom or office has to transition to team members working from home, what are the most successful practices? Author and frequent blogger Austin Kleon offered the following guidance from his book, Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad.

  1. Be positive and take one day at a time.  Don’t spend time worrying about things you can’t control. Try to create beauty every day.
  2. Establish a daily routine.  Working from home is filled with distractions, especially when schools are closed. 
  3. Create a comprehensive to-do list and prioritize your most important tasks.
  4. Avoid the temptation to look at email or the newspaper when you first start your day. The first hours are generally the time when you are at your sharpest. Take advantage of that time to engage in creative tasks.
  5. Put your phone on airplane mode for at least one to two hours per day.  Longer if you can! 
  6. Stay light and play. “You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty. Then you will be able to DO…. You are only responsible for your work so DO IT.”
  7. Clean up when in doubt. If you are stuck on a problem, take some time off to clean up. It will help to loosen your mind.
  8. Naps are a secret weapon. Have a cup of coffee or tea. Lie down for 15 minutes to let the caffeine kick in and then go back to work.
  9. Take a walk or schedule time for exercise. Fresh air is good for your physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. “Demons hate fresh air.”
  10. When the workday is done, it’s over. Tomorrow is always another day.
One last tip from the DPHA team - wear pants with non-elastic waists at least three times a week!  This helps you hold yourself accountable for the snacking you will likely be doing while working from home.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Barclay Named Forte Group's Brand Partner of the Year

Michael Berger, Zaira Barrera, Liz Martin and
Tim Witherington of Barclay
Barclay Products was named the Forte Brand Partner of the Year Award at this year’s conference. Barclay has been a member of Forte for 19 years, and realizes just how important it is to work together to offer their customers the level of service only a Bath and Kitchen Showroom can provide. Barclay remains committed to supplying the best the industry has to offer in quality, design and service.  Barclay has been a DPHA member since it's inception back in 2002.

It’s A Good Time to Communicate with Customers & Improve Your Team

As I was reading Monocle Magazine’s update on Italy’s CONVID-19 situation, this section popped out: “La Scatola Lilla, a bookshop in Milan, might be closed but the bookseller, Cristina di Canio, isn’t on holiday. Instead she is recommending a book a day and taking orders for free home deliveries.”

Yes, the next few months will be rough, but there are opportunities to be had. Customers may not feel comfortable coming into your showroom or office, so why not ask them if you can deliver samples for a meeting and sit in to help present your part of the job? This can be at their office or at their client’s preferred location. This is a good time to show how you can support your loyal clients.

If they are also slow, ask them if they have time to talk about your shared business. This is a great opportunity to gather information on your product mix, service and sales support. They might be interested in you training their team on key product categories. This can be done in person or via Skype, FaceTime, Zoom or any other digital video conferencing tool.

If your showroom slows down, this becomes a good time to improve your team. Reach out to manufacturers to see if they have time to do a video PK. These don’t have to be in person! There are a plethora of video classes on everything from sales to AI. You could take a few key personnel, put them in the conference room and play a video discussing sales techniques and follow up with a round table discussion.

This is a challenging time and you cannot wait for your customers to come back to you. This is a good time to reach out to those customers that do not buy from you. You just might get the attention and earn a new customer. In slow times it is those think creatively that will emerge with a stronger business.

P.S: Should you like any suggestions on videos do use with your staff please email me (Jeff).

Mountain Introduces New Mountain Pure Water Filtration Systems

Mountain Pure® Water Filtration Systems from Mountain Plumbing Products bring fresh, pristine water to you directly through your own faucets. Access to clean water is of the utmost importance in everyday life, and having the freshest, best-tasting water available anytime can save you both time and money. Just think how much you spend on bottled water from week to week – savings and convenience can be found when you have your own filtration system. The Mountain Pure® Water Filtration System allows you to enjoy clean, safe water for drinking, cooking, and even face-washing when you add it to your bathroom.


Interior Design and Architecture firms are inundated with sales people calling on them for carpet, wall coverings, lighting, extrusions, glass, furniture, you name it. Product training seminars, aka lunch-n-learns, are very often not considered unless they are accompanied by a CEU course for their staff to gain credits.

For years I've had the good intent to stop everything and work to create my own CEU course. All good intentions were detoured by daily work and so it never came to fruition. When I found out about the CEU Events program, which is now offered through DPHA, without hesitation I signed on immediately and began presenting the course titled "Does Internet Price Outweigh Industry Expertise and Knowledge".

For our brand Franz Viegener, which does not sell online or even for those who permit some sales via their showroom clients, this topic really resonated with the AD clients to whom we've presented this. It's helped them communicate to their clients the importance of fully utilizing the showroom and the value the showroom brings to them and the entire project. Having access to and being a presenter for this program has been the common bond to bring our brand, our showrooms' staff and their clients together for the common good. In addition, CEU Events platform is super easy to work with and we look forward to soon also utilizing the “Bath Innovations” course.

Forte Honors Belmont Hardware as Shareholder of the Year

Jimmy Georgitsos of Forte with Brad Clore and 
Richard Campbell of Belmont Hardware
Congratulations to DPHA Member Belmont Hardware on being named Forte's Shareholder of the Year!  The Belmont Hardware family of stores are Northern California’s premier outlets for the world’s finest decorative finish hardware and plumbing fixtures. Their seven locations boast hardware and plumbing solutions for both residential and commercial projects. Belmont Hardware has been a favored source of architects, interior designers, and custom home builders for over eighty years. They have been actively involved in DPHA since the association launched in 2002.

Time to Get Lucky

Okay, we realize that some of our loyal Connections readers won't open this issue, because it is dated Friday, March13. They are among an estimated 17 to 21 million Americans who fear this day. Some refuse to fly. Others won't buy anything and still more may not leave their homes. Why is Friday the 13th feared by so many?

It has something to do with the number 13, which is viewed as unlucky. Next time you go into a high-rise, look at the elevator pad and see if there is a 13th floor, or at the airport, do you see gate 13? What's behind this superstition and fear of the number 13?

One theory dates back to Greek mythology. Twelve gods were having a dinner party in heaven (are you curious as to what was on the menu?). A thirteenth uninvited guest known as Loki arrived (we all know a Loki don't we). Loki was a manipulator and convinced Hoder, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow. How does a blind person shoot someone and consider that unlucky?! When Balder died, Earth went dark, causing the entire planet to mourn. It was a bad, unlucky day. From that point on, the number 13 has had negative connotations.

If 13 is associated with bad luck, then why is it only Friday the 13th that causes some heartache? You can thank Chaucer for making Friday deadly. When The Canterbury Tales were published in the 14th century, Chaucer wrote, "And on Friday fell all this mischance."

We believe Friday the 13th is a lucky day because we get to share Connections with more than 2,500 members of the DPHA community. Happy and lucky reading.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

QTOO Introduces Trio of Wall-Mounted Faucets

Renowned Danish plumber designer and manufacturer QTOO introduces an eye-catching trio of wall-mounted faucets that bring a hip modern aesthetic to the bath.

QTOO brings their expert engineering and marine-grade stainless steel to create a series of wall-mounted faucets that are visually pleasing and impressively practical. All three designs feature a fixed spout, built-in aerator, and an eco-friendly water flow rate of up to 1.3 gpm. Options for spout projections include 4.5 inch, 7.4 inch and 9.84 inch. Clean lines and gentle curves give each faucet an elegant, minimalist style that works well in a wide variety of bath decors. The faucets are available in matte or polished finishes and are fully lead-free compliant.

Don't Miss Out on 2020 Membership!

Thank you for your continued support of the Decorative Plumbing and Hardware Association! We have some exciting initiatives for this year, including more updated education manuals, a revamped robust training program and a new website. Not to mention our Annual Conference is in New Orleans this October! To ensure that you continue to receive all of the benefits of membership without interruption, please have your dues paid by the end of March. Renewals can be paid here.  If you need help logging in, or would rather renew via phone or email, contact Kymberly at kymberly@DPHA.net or 504.475.8111.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Updated Shower Systems Manual Released

The DPHA team is proud to share the updated Shower Systems manual with our members! The revised manual is available for download through the member portal of the DPHA website.

What has changed:
  • Updated format to match branding
  • Updated content with new technologies, such as digital showering
  • Updated imagery
  • Testing for the manual is reserved for Recognition Program participants
Check it out here.

How Showrooms Can Emulate Apple

Have you ever noticed how crowded Apple Stores always are? It doesn’t matter the location; enter an Apple Store, and swarms of people will surround you. Apple Stores attract crowds because going to an Apple Store is enjoyable. The open environment features lots of room and a plethora of products that anyone can test drive.

Apple provides pleasurable experiences by offering:
  • A place to learn
  • A place to congregate
  • A place to serve
Apple makes it easy for its customers to learn about its products in the showroom and online, and DPHA members can do the same. It’s amazing how much time busy professionals take to research bath products before coming to a showroom. Does your website allow customers to research products from the comfort of their own home? Do you offer educational seminars to consumers? Many of them don’t have a clue how to specify products that complement one another and work in a bath. This opens windows of opportunity to help explain the elements of a well-specified space, how to avoid the most common mistakes that blow renovation budgets, what’s trending now and other numerous topics.

Showrooms can also be places to gather. What prevents your showroom from holding community fundraisers for local schools, charities or other worthwhile causes? The goal should be to create a place where members of your community want to come for purposes other than buying a new kitchen or bath.

As good as the store design and products may be, Apple also excels at the basics of retail blocking and tackling. The genius bar is genius. If something goes wrong with an Apple product, you make an appointment and show up at your designated time to have it fixed. It’s easy, it's seamless, and it works.

Apple has mastered the basics of the meet and greet. Apple sales professionals don’t ask if they can help customers. They are trained to identify the problems that customers are trying to solve and then present solutions. Showrooms can emulate Apple’s approach by asking customers how they want their new baths to feel every time they enter. By better understanding the emotions that customers want to reach with their remodel, your showroom and sales professional will be better positioned to exceed your client’s expectations.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

BLANCO Sink is Honoree of the Interior Design Best of Year Awards

BLANCO proudly announces the BLANCO QUATRUS® R15 ERGON Apron Super Single sink has been named a 2019 Best of Year honoree in the Kitchen Fittings category at the 2019 Interior Design’s Best of Year (BoY) Awards. Featuring a transitional, geometric design the QUATRUS® R15 ERGON refreshes the classic farm sink with a modernized look and functionality that meets the everyday needs of the most practical, yet beautiful kitchens.

Architectural Digest Features NativeStone Tub

Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul and his wife Lauren think Native Trails' Avalon Bathtub is "pretty epic." Follow Architectural Digest as they take a tour of Aaron and Lauren Paul's amazing Idaho cabin. Designer Jake Arnold and Pearson Design Group included Native Trails’ concrete Avalon bathtub as one of the many incredible installments throughout the home.

Check out Keuco's Customizable Edition 90 Furniture

Keuco's Edition 90 merges the round with the squared in perfect harmony. The 90-degree angles that inspired the edition’s name are found throughout the entire collection of furniture pieces with matching bathroom accessories and light mirrors. Possibilities are endless when it comes to bathroom design with Edition 90 furniture pieces can be combined freely and in multiple ways in both size and color with separate washbasins, enabling individual design creativity. Plinth packages or polished chrome legs as well as ceramic cover plates in slate or marble optic are available for the furniture.

California Faucets Rolls Out New Website

With a wealth of beautiful new photography and a focus on the artisan spirit that infuses every California Faucets product, the new easy-to-navigate site tells the complete story of the brand—and the people behind it. In addition to an expanded Finishes section with videos that demonstrate the various processes, there is a library of inspirational photos and videos of kitchen and bath products to get creative juices flowing. Other highlights include enhanced searchability and navigation, detailed information on care and maintenance, and an expanded FAQ section.

Warmth in the Bathroom: Thoughts from Marketing Committee Member Harris Wattles

There are few things less appealing than getting out of your warm, cozy bed after a good night’s rest. Sliding out from under the covers, you stumble into the bathroom, eyes half open, fumbling for the light switch as you start your day. Unless you are one of the lucky few, you are likely walking into a cold bathroom – cold bathroom tiles, cold toilet seat, cold towels and cold ambient temperature.

Close your eyes for a second and imagine your normal morning routine, but with a few improvements. Entering the bathroom, your feet are welcomed with warmth. You no longer need to remember to put on your slippers before walking into the bathroom. Each step is greeted with the warming touch you’ve always hoped for. Not too hot, definitely not cold, but warm enough that you fall in love with it again and again, each time you start your morning routine.

Continuing into the bathroom as mother nature calls, you walk over to the toilet. But instead of making the dreaded drop onto the freezing cold toilet, you can relax as you rest yourself on a warmed toilet seat. Finally, awake and ready to seize the day, you emerge from a hot, steamy shower. You quickly wrap yourself in a warm, fluffy towel, briefly bringing you back to the sensation of being under the covers again.

Doesn’t this sound so much more appealing and less abrasive than your normal morning routine? That’s because it is! But it could be your routine. There are many companies out there that offer these products for the consumer. From your basic heated toilet seat, to single zoned underfloor heat, and a simple towel warmer – the options are plentiful and don’t break the bank. Then there are the over-the-top options. Smart toilets with self-opening and closing lids, heated seats, bidet, fan and a remote to operate it all. Multi-zone underfloor heating so you only heat the desired section or room, all via a smartphone app. And towel warmers with temperature controls so you can adjust to the desired setting and that can also warm up the bathroom.

Several companies offer underfloor or radiant floor heating products. There are choices between hydronic heating (running water through pipes/tubes) and electric heating technologies. Most people opt for the electric variation within the home as it is less costly and easier to install. They can also be used outdoors where climates stay below freezing for longer periods during the winter months. They act as defrosters that melt the snow from driveways, walkways, and roofs.

Towel warmers are one of the greatest luxuries in the bathroom that are frequently overlooked. Nobody wants to get out of the shower and dry off using a cold, damp and stinky towel. Towel Warmers or heated towel racks, depending on who you ask, provide a great upgrade to the standard towel bar. Not only do they dry and warm towels so they are always smelling fresh, but they can also double as a drying rack for clothes. Combine a towel warmer and underfloor heating in your bathroom and you have a great way to take off that morning chill in the bathroom.

Homeowners are pouring more money into bathrooms than ever before. Splashing money on lavish faucets, elegant freestanding tubs and custom vanities. So why not spend money on products that could really turn their master bathroom into the ‘master suite oasis’ that gives them the ‘spa away from the spa’ experience? The technologies and products are out there for the consumers to use. Its simply a matter of telling the customer this is what they need. It’s the simple luxuries that play to the human senses that really affect us most. A gentle, warming touch can go a long way to make the master bathroom the oasis that melts away the tensions and stresses of life.