Beggs and Partners | Trust the process

Group retail sales and marketing manager of bathroom specialist and merchant Beggs and Partners Nicola Flynn explains how trust is core to the business, from attracting customers to becoming the UK’s first flagship Atelier showroom.

11 Jul, 22

Group retail sales and marketing manager of bathroom specialist and merchant Beggs and Partners Nicola Flynn explains how trust is core to the business, from attracting customers to becoming the UK’s first flagship Atelier showroom.

Nicola Flynn and Roberto Palomba

Group retail sales and marketing manager of bathroom specialist Beggs and Partners Nicola Flynn with Ideal Standard’s chief design officer and PS+A co-founder Roberto Palomba


Founded in Belfast in 1960, family-run Beggs and Partners has been supplying bathrooms to retail and housebuilders across the Northern Ireland region.

Such has been its success; the business now totals 11 branches with seven in Northern Ireland and a further four in Great Britain.

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It has sold Ideal Standard for the past 60 years, so it’s perhaps no surprise its Belfast branch plays host to the UK’s first Atelier flagship showroom.

Providing inspiration

Group retail sales and marketing manager of Beggs and Partners Nicola Flynn says the time is right to invest in its showrooms, as the business has remained busy even during lockdowns.

black basin and bathroom furniture with pink Ideal Standard sign

The Atelier collection will be rolled out across the 11 branches of Beggs and Partners in Northern Ireland and Great Britain


She reports: “The property market remained rampant all the way through. People were confident to invest in their houses and they didn’t shirk on that.”

In fact, she explains it brought a new customer base, with people using money saved for holidays on a new bathroom.

And all its customers had one thing in common, they were seeking design inspiration for their home.

Nicola Flynn comments: “We will always invest in our showrooms and make sure the product is right, that we’re giving people inspiration and that we’re leading the way in terms of design.”

She explains Atelier by Ideal Standard has “cultivated something quite new and quite different”, with its latest designs based on classical models.

Nicola adds: “I think, in the world of fashion, the best designs are always cyclical. And that’s what we felt when we looked at the concept of Atelier from Ideal Standard.”

Curated space

It has seen Beggs and Partners invest “tens of thousands” in its showroom refurbishment but as Nicola says “it’s an investment worth making.”

Black basin and gold tap with white bath

Beggs and Partners has made a significant investment in its showroom refit because of its trusted relationship with Ideal Standard


“We certainly wouldn’t invest in that level with any supplier; it has to be a trusted relationship. So, it has been a significant investment, absolutely, but one that we know will pay off.”

Ideal Standard’s chief design officer and PS+A co-founder Roberto Palomba has created a dedicated 56sqm space.

Adam Evans, channel director (retail) at Ideal Standard UK explains the rationale behind the concept: “We would be naïve to think if someone chooses a bathroom they would only pick Ideal Standard but what we are trying to do is elevate the brand. The only way you can do that is in a good, well committed area.

“But, it’s actually as important to have the right partners with the right expertise and have the ability to sell it.”

A dedicated, branded space was an unusual move for Beggs and Partners, as Nicola explains. “We tend to blend brands, rather than having shops in shops. It’s never been our thing. I like the idea of customers walking around and discovering something quite different around every corner.”

However, she placed her trust in architect and designer Palomba to deliver a space which would meet the values of the Atelier brand and Beggs and Partners’ customer base.

Having highlighted some products and price points, Nicola adds: “We trusted the product that he wanted to lead with – the dramatic product. We trusted that was right in the positions he put it in.

“We then have some product around it that will appeal to a wider segment of the market.”

Nicola adds: “Sometimes you just have to trust and have fresh pair of eyes. What he’s done is so different. When I saw it, I absolutely loved it.”

Currently in four of Beggs & Partners showrooms, the aim is to have Atelier represented in each of its 11 branches.

Nicola adds: “Some of the branches won’t have huge displays but will have pieces that appeal to a broader range. It’s just getting the right fit for the right clientele.”

Managing supply

Having decided to update the showrooms during one of the most disruptive times in the supply chain, it’s surprising that the refurbishment only took nine months from seeing the initial concept to completion.

Adam Evans explains the company’s policy of dedicated stock holding for retail helped mitigate supply chain disruption and displays were provided bay by bay.

Nicola added: “That worked well, and certainly having product ringfenced for us and expectations set realistically.

“The communication has been really good, enabling us to understand what product was available, what the lead times were, and managing that process.

“Some of the bigger problems we had weren’t with the display product, it was things like skirting board and MDF.”

Nicola says this same attention is paid to managing its customers, as she comments: “Overpromising and underdelivering is the kiss of death and we know that as a business as well, in terms of how we deal with our customers.

“We’ll make sure the customer knows if there is a possible problem. We’ll inform them and offer a solution. We’ll work with them to get to the right outcome, but we expect the same in return from our suppliers.”

Repeat business

Supply is also a measure of success for Beggs and Partners, or to be more precise repeat business.

Gold and black Ateliler brassware

Roberto Palomba has reinterpreted classic design with refined shapes and a raft of colours for sanitaryware and brassware


The Atelier range will be benchmarked on whether its family of products will be used throughout an home or whether customers return to buy for refurbishments and advocate others to select products from the Atelier collection.

While for Adam Evans, the success of Atelier will be judged on the effectiveness of the retail team: “For us, it’s just about building on the trust and relationships we’ve got, communication with a great product. It’s actually quite simple but it’s not easy.”

Nicola agrees, and concludes Beggs and Partners is focused on its customers, building trust to deliver satisfaction, which is a secret to its four decades of bathroom retailing success: “There are two key things vital to customer satisfaction and that’s we have a core team of experts, some of which have been with us for 40 years, and our team can service our customers.

“They can sell, They can provide the right level of expertise. But then we need supply to get right product, at the right price and the right design. That’s what the secret is, if there is a secret at all.”