Managing director of Bathnet Harj Panesar believes he has spotted a niche in the market, bringing brands and retailers in the bathroom industry together
Having worked in the bathroom industry for over 10 years, with brands that include Saneux, MyLife Bathrooms and Bathroom Brands, Harj Panesar believes he has spotted a niche in the market.
He is set to create a series of regional networking events for independent bathroom retailers.
Using his knowledge of the bathroom industry, he is set to host three Bathnet events this year.
Q: How would you describe Bathnet?
A: Bathnet is a new platform where we bring brands and retailers together, mainly in the bathroom industry.
We let brands showcase their products and services by arranging networking events, regionally.
Brands and retailers in the bathroom industry can meet to discover new business prospects.
Bathnet is going to be holding three events, initially. throughout 2023. One will be the in the South, the next will be in the Midlands and then in the North of England.
What we’re hoping to do is get brands to showcase their products and services to independent retailers in different regions of the UK.
Q: What is the size and scale of those events?
A: The first will be held February 23, which will take place at the Village Hotel in Maidstone, Kent.
There will be 15 spaces available for brands to take a space, where they will be able to discuss opportunities and deals for retailers.
Q: Why did you decide to launch Bathnet now?
I’ve been thinking about this for over a year. Looking at the current market, retailers are faced with huge price increases and I think that is affecting relationships with suppliers and brands.
I thought why not create a platform, at a competitive cost, and which showcases products to a wider audience but in regional stages.
It means retailers don’t have to travel too far and brands are not swamped with retailers from all over the country.
It’s a little bit for easier for brands to manage while also maintaining/gaining relationships with retailers.
Q: How many manufacturers have committed to the first event in Kent?
A: We are in talks at the moment with around 12 brands. Sanipex UK, Lakes Showering, Hansgrohe, Arte Form and SycamoreLED are among the manufacturers committed to exhibit.
Q: Do retailers who want to attend have to be a member of Bathnet?
A: No. It’s free for retailers to attend and what I would like to see is a good mix of retailers, so those with showrooms or with a trade counter, for example.
On the Bathnet website, there is a partner section and retailers can advertise their business as a listing, for free.
What that does for me is, when we hold our events, I’ve got a good gauge of retailers in that area and it also provides extra advertising for retailers, providing greater brand awareness
Q:How are you promoting the regional events?
A: I am going out and visiting retailers to create awareness. I’ve got a lot of knowledge about retailers in all the different areas of the country.
Not only that, say a brand comes on board, I can get customer information from them and make sure they are getting their customers to these events as well.
I work with brands on a collaborative basis, rather than just giving them a space.
Q: What are your expectations of the audience size for a regional Bathnet show?
A: I will be visiting around 75 retailers and for any brands that come on board, I can work with them to make sure we are targeting the correct customers.
Q: What is the cost for manufacturer brands?
A: Spaces start at £850 plus VAT.
Q: What do you hope to achieve and are you on track?
A: I want to make sure all the bathroom brands know about Bathnet.
I joined the Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA), as it has established bathroom brands as members. But I want to work with bathroom brands who are not in the BMA too.
Every single brand I’ve spoken to has said it is a brilliant idea. It’s been a good journey and the feedback from bathroom retailers has been really positive.
Our first event is on track and spaces have been taken. If any brand in the bathroom industry wishes to come onboard please contact myself at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: What is your longer-term vision?
A: We have three events in 2023 and what I want to do over the course of the next three to five years is to hopefully add networking events in Scotland and Ireland.
My longer-term goal is also to look at brands not yet in the UK and offering alternative European or Asian suppliers.
I would love for the independent bathroom retail market to get to know new brands through Bathnet