With a long-standing heritage, South East bathroom retailer, Just Add Water, is delighted with the new product offering from Thomas Crapper. We caught up with Charlotte Schofield, Head of Showrooms for Just Add Water to see how the business was formed and what the secret of success is.
How did the Just Add Water story begin?
Just Add Water are part of Fayers Plumbing and Building Supplies who have been trading since 1884 in London, as a builders Merchants. They currently operate 4 trade counters in London.
By the early 1990s, the UK interiors market saw consumers wanting to design their bathrooms alongside the same lines as kitchen. To address this change in buying habits, Just Add Water was Birthed in 1991 with the first showroom opening in the affluent suburb of Buckhurst Hill, Essex. In 2001 Barnet was opened in North London, followed by Kings Cross in 2002. In the 30 years since taking the decision to launch Just Add Water, the business has gone from strength to strength building upon great customer service, and offering superb designs with a fantastic range of high-end bathroom brands.
How did you become involved in the bathroom industry?
My first showroom role was based in Notting Hill for Nu-Line. I then moved onto Colourwash bathrooms, later bought out by Cp Hart where I worked for further 3 years.
I have been with Just Add Water for 11 years now. Since joining, I’ve continued to expand my knowledge of the bathroom industry which is forever changing and growing.
Pictured is the Thomas Crapper display at Just Add Water
What do you like about the industry?
The best part of my job is the People, customers, my fellow colleagues and the suppliers. It’s such a great industry to be part of and it really is going from strength to strength.
What is so special about Just Add Water?
Just Add Water, along with Fayers Plumbing and Building Supplies are still a family-run business which has created a truly close-knit community for all its 90 employees. It’s great to be a part of such a great team.
We are so passionate about our projects, from the very start when we present clients with detailed drawings and mood boards. We enjoy the whole experience. We encourage an open dialogue between our team and the fitters from the very start.
When you’ve helped a customer design more than one bathroom or cloakroom, you get to know them personally. We deliver satisfaction over and over and, of course, we have a great team of people who go above and beyond to ensure all our customers are proud of the finished product. We want to provide achievable luxury for homeowners.
Is there a difference between the two Just Add Water showrooms?
Buckhurst Hill, the first Just Add Water showroom caters more for developers and interior designers; we see projects such as new builds and high-end barn and pub conversions. A recent trend has been for bespoke and daring cloakroom designs. Customers are now selecting bright or bespoke RAL-coloured Thomas Crapper 814 cisterns which they are matching with bold and daring wallcoverings and gold brassware options. They are great fun to design!
Pictured is a customised “I.P Knightly” Thomas Crapper 814 cistern.
Buckhurst Hill has recently had a complete refurbishment and I’m pleased to say we now have 40 displays across the two floors. The flow of the showroom has been reworked with sections for different brands and styles of bathroom. The main emphasis of the redesign is big, bold and bright and Thomas Crapper’s display has that covered.
Barnet has 20 displays; our customers tend to be growing families. Most of our projects this year have been for Victorian houses where people want a family bathroom and a cloakroom with character features – Thomas Crapper’s range is ideal here! Trend-wise, customers are happy to select traditional looking designs in bright colours with complementary brassware.
Who designs the projects, and do you have a particular style?
At our Buckhurst Hill showroom, we have three designers, and they each have their own style. We change the designer for the required look. Product knowledge and confidence is key to our business.
Stephanie Taylor concentrates on luxury high-end designs and serves a younger customer profile; she enjoys designing all styles and likes to be daring in her work. Stephanie loves the designs of Thomas Crapper.
Chris Boyd is very technical and has been with Just Add Water for over 25 years so knows everything there is to know about all the brands we offer.
Ian Gills has fully comprehensive technical knowledge. Ian has recently completed his first full Thomas Crapper bathroom and really enjoyed the ability to be creative with colours and textures of the brand.
Why did you choose Thomas Crapper?
My mum saw a Thomas Crapper product in a London hotel and came to Just Add Water looking for a similar design for her home. She was adamant it needed to be Thomas Crapper, so we approached the company directly. It was the first time we engaged with the brand and, to this day, have never looked back!
Our first meeting with Paul Dwyer, Thomas Crapper’s Managing Director, was brilliant and his passion for the brand was so infectious that we just had to come onboard immediately.
The most popular products we selling are the colourful Harwood basins with 814 cisterns in a bright colour with the gold or black writing. Customers are excited by the personalised element of the cisterns with their road name or a quirky slogan cast into the cistern which is always fun. It is one of those brands where the customer does not need to question the quality of the products.
Pictured is the Harwood basin from Thomas Crapper.
How do you find Thomas Crapper’s customer service. Does anything stand out for you as a business?
Josh Scott in customer service has been amazing! The attention we receive from Thomas Crapper is brilliant as we always get an efficient reply with a comprehensive answer and current lead times. It has made our introduction to the product range positive and seamless.
Have you found customer demands have changed in recent years? What bathroom trends are you seeing?
More and more clients want bespoke items and are specifying daring designs in the cloakroom, which is a great bonus for us, and our designers are having so much fun with their designs.
People often see a Thomas Crapper product in a bar, hotel or restaurant and want to emulate the look and style, which is brilliant! We are approached with definite ideas and photos and a desire to elaborate on the designs to make them bespoke. Gone are the days of white tiles, white suite, and natural colours ways!
How does the next five years look for Just Add Water?
Our focus is and always has been customer satisfaction. With the renovation of Buckhurst Hill, we are looking forward to inviting all customers old and new along to enjoy our new space.