it from some of the big brands in the market,” Geary says. “The other main plus point is that the products have been designed by a plumber, so the designs benefit from that functionality and installation expertise as well. The support we will give to installers and retailers is a big part of the story too. “Riobel has a very close relationship with the trade in North America and that’s certainly something we’re looking to replicate here in the UK. We strongly believe that this attention to detail from the professional’s perspective gives us a special edge. Naturally, if an installer

has an easy time fitting a product and a retailer gets great customer service, then obviously they are going to use that particular brand, so it’s an absolutely key part of the development to market journey of a product.”

House of Rohl

Of course – considering the boom the KBB industry experienced during the pandemic – you could argue that now is as good a time as any to launch a new brand and, as Geary points out, aside from the brand-specific advan- tages, there are other reasons why a new brand, like Riobel, could do well in a busy market.

“Like the other brands under the House of Rohl umbrella, Riobel is aimed at the luxury end of the market and the products rely on consumers being able to touch and feel the quality,” he explains. “These are considered purchases and they need to be displayed in showrooms so, for this reason, independent retailers will always be a key part of our journey. “Our criteria for a Riobel retail partner are simple: we’re looking for people that understand the bene- fits of handcrafted, artisan products and those who are willing to commit to telling that story to their consumers. When we find the right partners, we will invest to help them tell that story and that investment will be tailor-made for each individual retail partner that wants to come on board.


What is House of Rohl?

• House of Rohl is made up of a small group of specially selected kitchen and bathroom brands, each with a unique story to tell. In the UK, that includes Riobel, Perrin & Rowe, Victoria & Albert and Shaws of Darwen.

• The company says collections from across the brand portfolio naturally complement each other, which makes it simple for retailers to specify products that will automatically work together in their designs.

“We’re taking a long-term view.

We’re taking a long-term view. We’ve committed to the House of Rohl initiative for decades to come

We’ve committed to the House of Rohl initiative for decades to come – we’re starting with the concept in the UK, followed by the rest of Europe.” Talk inevitably turns to the internet and as a brand that is said to champion independent retailers, I’m keen to understand where it stands on the online vs showroom argument and how it aims to support retailers against heavily discounted online products.

“As I’ve said, the strategy for Riobel will be a showroom-led one,” he says. “We obviously recognise that

online is a key business channel, but our products rely on consumers being able to see the product for themselves. “A lot of the retailers we deal with already have their own web presence and many do sell online as well. It is a

• The company says that retailers choosing to partner with House of Rohl brands benefit from working with a single organisation, with support from a sales team that looks after – and understands – each individual brand, including dedicated displays and improved terms. • House of Rohl is owned by a Fortune 500 listed company which, it says, has a long-term commitment to the brands and their customers.

part of modern life, but the showroom retailers will still lead our strategy. We are actively seeking to work with people that can help us tell the brand’s story and those that can give us the display space that we need to do that.” So, what are Geary’s aims and objectives for Riobel and the rest of the House of Rohl portfolio in the UK? “It’s hard to talk numbers at this stage, but what I can say is that we really are at the start of something here,” he says. “Riobel was the missing piece for House of Rohl in the UK and sits alongside three established brands each with a great heritage of their own. “We’re looking to get the infra- structure right, get the displays in showrooms and get the House of Rohl concept set up as an entity to allow us to build and we’ll see where it takes us. This is the luxury end of the market, we’re not a volume business and our route to market will reflect that.”

· October 2021

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