St James | Unveiling a new look and expanding into kitchens

St James has unveiled a new look and broader portfolio. Divisional marketing manager – heating & plumbing division Andy Burton explains all

30 Apr, 24

British brassware brand St James has unveiled a new look, a broader portfolio of products and expanded into the kitchen sector. Divisional marketing manager – heating & plumbing division Andy Burton explains what it means for the brand and retailers

St James | New look and exp

Premium brassware brand St James is front and centre of bathroom and kitchen retail, with a revised identity, broader portfolio of products and lifestyle POS.

Having been launched by Marflow Engineering in 1990, new life has now been breathed into the St James brand, with a refreshed aesthetic, addition of the Living range, and customisable POS introduced at Kbb Birmingham 2024.

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Divisional marketing manager – heating & plumbing division Andy Burton comments: “For the last 10 years, although St James is a well-respected brand, I think it’s fair to say it has been under the radar.

“The opportunity has been for us to re-energise that brand and take it to where it should be.”

He continues: “The whole ethos of St James is iconic British elegance. With our revitalised brand, the objective was retailers who knew us from years ago would see something different and retailers who didn’t know us would be introduced to a top-end brand. I think we achieved that”.

Portfolio of products

However, the story for St James is much bigger, than a refreshed identity, with the development of a portfolio featuring Traditional, Distinction, and now Living ranges.

St James | New look and exp 3

St James Traditional is inspired by Victorian design, while Distinction – which features four ranges (Arno, Stratton, Wallace and Corinthia, named after iconic London buildings) embodies British design but with an Art Deco or Industrial twist.

While the Living range of taps and sinks takes on more modern styling, with a slightly lower price positioning.

“Previously, St James resided in the top-end of the market – with the Traditional and Distinction ranges – but by adding the Living, we’ve got a much broader and more comprehensive offering for different price points and design tastes”, says Andy Burton.

Living for lifestyle

“With Living, we have brought in a range which sits in-between our Now and St James, It’s upper mid to lower-premium priced”, says Burton.

St James | New look and exp 1

So why it is called Living? “It’s more of a lifestyle brand”, he explains, adding: “because it includes products for kitchens and bathrooms, it can be more of a brand for the whole house rather than just the bathroom.”

St James has expanded in the kitchen sector, to meet its future growth ambitions spanning rooms and broadening its current network of retailers.

“If a consumer has St James in the bathroom and they’re refurbishing their kitchen, we’re missing a trick if we don’t sell kitchen taps. The same quality, and the same attention to detail feature on both.”

Alongside the kitchen mixers, St James also offers sinks, including the addition of new granite models, and is set to introduce two waste disposers.

However, Burton also highlights its 13-strong Living bathroom collections, unveiled at Kbb Birmingham, will also offer growth for the business.

In particular, he points to a Bronze finish introduced at Kbb, which closely matches the shower profiles of its sister company Flair Showers.

He says the companies are working together to provide matching finishes across the bathroom space.

Speaking about developing Living bathrooms in the UK, he comments: “We want the brand to be available across the UK but with a caveat that local retailers won’t be fighting each other, and discounting, to gain the sale. That’s what rankles with retailers.

“We want the brand to be exclusive to a retailer in a particular area. We are trying to build long-term relationships with bricks and mortar retailers, and so the brand won’t be available online.”

Having completed its key objectives of launching the revitalised St James brand and Living collections, and carefully not to reveal specific KPIs, Andy Burton says success will be based on working with a “good” number of retail partners who take the Living range into stock and start displaying it.

“We think once consumers interact with the products in the showroom, they will almost sell themselves”, he says.

Retailer support

St James will be supporting retailers with “more and better” marketing materials. It includes individual brochures for St James Traditional, Distinction and Living collections and customisable tap and shower boards, where retailers can choose the models on display, alongside lifestyle images.

St James | New look and exp 2

“The POS displays have been developed to help retailers engage consumers in their showroom. For the Living range, they can mix and match and pick a display that suits the customer demographic in their locality.”

Burton explains the company has “heavily’ invested over the last 12 months with “significant” stock levels – offering core St James Traditional products on a 7-day lead time, as well as a new but experienced sales team, alongside an established and knowledgeable customer service.

The divisional MD is Alan Hogan who was MD of Heat Merchants Group in Ireland and before that international specification director for Kingspan Renewables, and Mark Davidge who is GB sales director, leading five category and sales managers.

“It’s a very experienced team. They know the brassware market but more importantly, they know how to work with retailers to grow their business.”

He continues: “The team will be working with retail partners to provide training and support alongside highly competitive terms.”

Optimistic outlook

Despite a challenging market, with St James positioned at the premium end of the market, Andy Burton says it has performed well: “I think consumers will always want quality, so our sales have been fairly strong.

Kbb Birmingham 2024 | St James

And he is equally optimistic about the rest of 2024, following the brand’s appearance at Kbb Birmingham 2024.

Not only did the company surpass its target of enquiries at the show by 52%, three quarters of visitors to its stand were new to the company.

“I know Kbb Birmingham was busy but I think the number of enquiries also reflects the brand, the exclusive product ranges and the way we presented them.

“The reaction from existing and new customers was really positive for us. I think the potential is significant over the next few years”, Andy Burton concludes.