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Riobel | MANUFACTURER PROFILE


brassware manufacturing prob- ably isn’t high on many lists. However, as it prepares to launch into the UK market, French- Canadian brand Riobel is looking to change that. “The story behind Riobel is quite unique,” explains general manager for Fortune Brands, Steve Geary. “The brand was established by Mario Bélisle in St Jerome, near Montreal in Canada – a plumber who was so frustrated by the quality of products available on the market during the 1990s, he decided to set up his own distribution company. “He started by buying products in and ended up designing and manufacturing his own products under the Riobel name in 2002. Almost 20 years on and the brand has a significant share of the North- American market.” For those of you wondering whether the months following a global pandemic is perhaps the right time


O


to introduce a brand to a new market, there is a little more to this launch than meets the eye.


Five years ago, Riobel was acquired by Fortune Brands (FBHS) and the brand now sits alongside well- established names Perrin & Rowe, Shaws of Darwen and Victoria + Albert in the division called House of Rohl. This autumn, Riobel is being launched in the UK, and selected other EMEAA markets, and will join the family of brands at the new House of Rohl showroom in the Design Centre, in London’s Chelsea Harbour. The launch ranges include four bathroom collections: Parabola, Paradox, GS and Venty, plus five kitchen taps: Mythic, Solstic, Ludik, Azure and Trattoria. “Fortune Brands is a publicly listed


October 2021 ·


f all the things us Brits associate with Canada, it’s fair to say that


American business,” Geary explains. “It has a plumbing division and, over the last five years, has acquired the Rohl business – a luxury distributor based in California, Riobel and, from the UK, Perrin & Rowe, Shaws of Darwen, and Victoria & Albert.


This is the luxury end of the market, we’re not a volume business and our route to market will reflect that


“I joined the business three years ago to bring those three UK acquisitions together under the umbrella brand – House of Rohl. Riobel is our latest addition to the UK division of House of Rohl. The fact that


Riobel’s introduction is supported by a multibillion-dollar company makes it a bit of a different launch story.” Having the support of a company as robust as Fortune Brands, and sitting alongside such well-established British brands, are obviously huge plus points, but the fact of the matter is that the UK isn’t short of a brassware brand or two, so what can Riobel do for retailers that other brands aren’t already?


Installation expertise “From an aesthetic perspective, because of the brand’s French- Canadian roots, the contemporary design of the Riobel products is very European without actually being European, which does distinguish


FACT FILE: Riobel


• Established in 2002 in St Jerome, near Montreal in Québec by plumber Mario Bélisle


• The brand’s French-Canadian heritage is said to be reflected in the contemporary, geometric style of the products


• In 2009 Riobel launched to the rest of Canada and the US market


• Riobel opened its training academy for installers in 2014


• In 2016 the brand is acquired by Fortune Brands (FBHS)


• 2021 - Riobel launches in the UK and joins established British brands Perrin & Rowe, Shaws of Darwen and Victoria & Albert under the House of Rohl banner


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