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RETAILER PROFILE | The Tap End


BC Designs bath


with Tavistock basin and vanity unit


started looking for a part-time member of staff and she ended up going to work there. We worked together for seven years and we both loved the bathroom side of things most.” So when she decided to start up her own business, it was an obvious choice to join forces with Rees. She remembers: “I thought it would just be myself and Lynda. It would be really calm and maybe we’d have a little showroom, finish early some days, close for a couple of weeks in the summer – and it would be very chilled. But we were very wrong and from day one it has been crazy.” Rees had no specific training as a bathroom designer, but Bullock confides that she is “amazing at customer service”. She handles operations, logistics and dealing with clients and suppliers.


“I am really passionate about the marketing, advertising and the design side,” says Bullock, “so we make a great combination.”


In terms of project numbers, Bullock says that despite the pandemic, they did 500 bathrooms last year – up from 350 the year before. So the first lockdown didn’t really affect things too badly? “No. If anything, people were stuck in their homes, and because we were very active on social media during that time, we were getting people who were asking whether, if they measured it all up, could we do a design for them, and they would come in when lockdown was over. And so, we actually got busier.


“Covid brought us clients that were serious and ready. And turnaround has been quicker from


56


Tiles from Original Style, Ca’ Pietra, Silver Lion, and Lapicida


“We have had lots of business from Houzz. Instagram is probably our favourite social media platform because it is so image-led. We are not on


Pinterest, which we should


enquiry to completion.” Because


of ongoing Covid


restrictions, The Tap End has been doing ‘pre-consultations’ by phone. They have been getting clients to measure up for themselves, using their guidelines. Clients would normally then go into the showroom for a 3D presentation. But under the later, stricter lockdown in Wales, even that became impossible.


No pressure


Bullock explains: “For clients who have been to the shop and have samples to look at, we are doing Zoom pre - sentations, but not for first-contact clients. If they have never been to the store, we are asking them if they would mind waiting. If they can’t, we can proceed using Zoom. “There’s no pressure. We know it will take longer with nervous clients. We joke all the time that our job is 50% counselling and 50% bathrooms.” So why did The Tap End set up in the village of Pontyclun, which is around 10 miles west of Cardiff city centre, rather than in the city itself? Bullock responds: “We had long


debates about whether to open in Cardiff or out of town. We decided to go outside of the city centre because there were a number of larger bathroom showrooms closing in Cardiff. We said, ‘why go to the graveyard of bathroom showrooms?’ “We didn’t have the means, resources or staff to do that and if we had gone down that [city centre] route, it would have been for all the wrong reasons. We decided that was not us.” Also, there was no local bathroom shop in Pontyclun.


They got the keys to the shop in November but did not open until Easter 2018. Although the shutters were down during the fit-out, they put signs up outside. Bullock says that even before they were open, they had lots of people contact them, which she suggests was all down to their social media presence and website. Bullock explains: “It was remarkable.


We weren’t expecting that response from just putting a sign up, but I don’t think we would have had that if we hadn’t had a social media presence. For us, social media remains crucial now and will always be.


probably look to go on in the future.” The Tap End deals with mainly Laufen, Roca, Hansgrohe and Axor. The showroom has three full room sets and then smaller single bays with basins and toilets. Bullock says it is set up to suit the kind of client who knows what they want and that The Tap End can create something special. She says that they do “everything from rental-quality to super high-end”. Average client spend is around £8,000, but can top £30,000. She adds: “We like the mid-range products. We like to be constantly busy with loads and loads of projects that have quite a quick turnaround. The middle ground is where we thrive.” There are no brands mentioned on their website. Why is that? Bullock says: “We don’t highlights brands on the website because we don’t want people to think we’ve got loads of displays. It’s about people understanding that we’re about design and not being a brand collector.” And for


installations, they do not


employ their own installers at this stage, but have 12 teams of trusted fitters they recommend to clients. Looking ahead, what does the future hold for The Tap End? Bullock concludes: “We have


discussed a second showroom but it won’t be something we rush into. We love the showroom that we’ve got and the staff that we’ve got.


“For us, I think it will be organic rather than forced.”


· March 2021


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