EDS-KBB Consultancy | Spanish bathroom brands launching in UK

EDS-KBB Consultancy is UK distributor for Spanish bathroom companies Ramon Soler and Decosan. We discover the plans for retail growth.

29 Feb, 24

EDS-KBB Consultancy has recently been named distributor for Spanish bathroom companies Ramon Soler and Decosan in the UK. We talk to  owner of the sales agency Eddie Streader about the plans for both brands – starting with their launchpad at  Kbb Birmingham.

EDS- KBB Agencies | Ramon Soler and Decosan launching in UK 1

With over 25 years’ experience in the KBB industry across retail, distribution and manufacturing, Eddie Streader started his own agency in 2021.

He represents a variety of kitchen and bathroom brands – including The Kitchen Sink Company and Aquavision.

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Most recently, he has become UK distributor for Spanish brassware manufacturer Ramon Soler and compatriot furniture manufacturer Decosan. Both brands will be exhibiting at Kbb Birmingham from March 3-6.

EDS- KBB Agencies | Ramon Soler and Decosan launching in UK

Spanish bathrooms

Having taken on Decosan as a client, Eddie Streader says he was approached by Ramon Soler. “Both companies are based in Barcelona and the sales directors and owners know each other, so they work really well alongside each other.”

Eddie Strider explains why: “Whenever you specify bathroom furniture, you also need at least a Basin Mixer and Complimentary Bath taps or Shower.”

The “quality mid-market” brands are complementary but have distinct history. Ramon Soler is a 130-year old family business and has been present in the UK as an OEM, but is now returning under its own brand. It supplies brassware to 40 countries worldwide and has 115 filed patents.

While also being family-owned Decosan is 30 years’ old, run by the second generation of the family, and is making its debut in the UK market, with both bespoke, wall-hung bathroom furniture and stock ranges dedicated to the distribution customers.


Quality mid-market

While both markets offer sales opportunities, brassware and furniture are also highly competitive sectors in the UK.

“The majority of the bathroom market is now furniture-orientated – you can’t have a bathroom without storage”, says Streader, but admits: “Obviously the whole market is awash with different manufacturers.”

But he points out: “One of the main USPs of Ramon Soler is it is a 130-year old manufacturing company. It’s a third-generation family business and the owner of Ramon Soler designs all the ranges, making them a unique proposition to any showroom.

“The manufacturing is on a direct basis, so the company has complete control of the product quality.”

And Streader points out the UK growth opportunities for the Decosan furniture brand., which also has its own production facilities: “It’s very design-led. The company uses a lot of different types of materials, such as Plywood with a real wood veneer product, as well as standard MFCs and Lacquered HDF.

“The furniture is “realistically” priced at around £1,000-£1,5000 RRP for a basin unit combination.”

Decosan joins KBBG bathroom suppliers

Stock investment

Such is the confidence of Ramon Soler sales in the UK, there has also been investment into stock and warehousing.

It has two benefits, not only providing enhanced availability, but also lack of complexity when dealing with European suppliers, as EDS-KBB Agencies takes on the costs of import.

Eddie Streader adds: “One thing we found, very quickly, is a lot of brassware manufacturers have a UK base. So, the company invested in UK stock with €50,000 of product (or equivalent of 4 or 5 pallets) now available in a Southampton-based depot. Location isn’t as important due to courier companies offering a next-day service.

“The idea is that we have five or six of each basin mixer and shower, stocked, in all colours including special finishes.

“The product is also available on a 5-6 day delivery time from Barcelona to top up our stock levels”, says Streader. He adds, there is plenty of room for growth, “I’ve got an 800 sqft warehouse unit, so I’ve still got plenty of capacity.”

Decosan furniture is made to the customers’ specification, so it is sent direct from Spain on a six-week lead time, and is also a supplier to buying group the KBBG.

However, Streader adds Decosan has recently joined the Nofer Group, which specialises in contract furniture and so provides an entry-level range, which is stocked in the UK. “We’ve got a range of eight basic units in three different colours and four sizes all available from stock”, he explains

Both brands are also supported by marketing materials, such as point of sales, display modules, as well as retail training from EDS-KBB Agencies.

Seeking retail network

Eddie Streader is seeking retailers to “ideally” take on both brands. But more importantly, Streader says, he is looking for retailers who will act as business partners. “The target market for us is independent retail showrooms, selling mid-market quality product. We’re trying to find businesses who will partner with us on making the brands a success”

Streader says retail reaction to both brands have been “very positive”, but recognises the industry is challenging. So, he has thought of a different way of working with gaining commitment from retailers, with a long-term vision: “Whenever there is a recession, a cash crisis, or whatever you want to call it, people shut up shop on making investments in their own showroom. So, if I’ve got a customer that I’d like to deal with, but there’s not a space in the showroom at present, I would still supply them to show them our level of service.

“Customer service is paramount.  If we can show our customer service is better than another supplier a retailer is working with, it’s half the battle of getting a space within that showroom.”

EDS- KBB Agencies | Ramon Soler and Decosan launching in UK 2

Million pound benchmark

So, what would be the benchmark of success in terms of retailers and turnover? “It’s difficult to put a number on it. Obviously, making our first million within two years, would be a stick in the sand”, Streader confesses.

However, he explains it will be a process: “Starting from a zero ground point, what we’d like to do is turn £50,000 worth of stock into sales of £150,000-£200,000 in year one would be probably a good starting point to be able to move forward.”

And he believes a 50-strong network of bathroom retailers, selling the product on a regular basis, will help him achieve his aims.

To regularly service a UK-wide showroom network, Streader says he has a long-term vision of employing other agents around the country. “Taking on the role of distributor you can then work with other sales agents ultimately to push this these brands. The KBB world is my oyster really.”