My life is so full right now. Between being a full time working mom and running a household my brim is pouring over!! My blog had to take a side car to me just being productive with my daily tasks…..plus I needed some time to develop material! LOL
We are heading into the busy season and we are noticing the demographic of our new clients is changing. We have had a flood of young and excited new home owners getting their dream stones and sparing no expense! And we have also gained more mature clients who are re-doing their kitchens and picking super high end materials!! This is so exciting!! This means the “sparkle” is coming back!! HELLO GENERAL PUBLIC!!!! NATURAL STONE IS A LUXURY ITEM!!!! Hopefully the days of “quick and cheap” (this is when someone comes in the shop with only 40% of info we need to give pricing and they demand it cheap and quick) are coming to an end. America is the breeding ground for free enterprise so there will always be a niche for someone and always a target market. Joe and I feel like we are heading towards the turning point in the stone business. There is excitement and creativity flowing. The new colors being quarried are super vibrant and offering new color palettes.
As we head into TAX SEASON it seems like the tax refunds are being used to enrich lives with upgrading in the most used areas of “ones” home…. either kitchen or the bathroom!
Joe and I strive for nothing but smooth sailing and happy customers!! I always try and open another level of communication with current technology. If you have an iPhone I can text right from my iPad or iMac. It is super easy and sometimes when our clients are in class or meetings it is just easier to look at the phone and text back. Do I like talking on the phone with clients—-OF COURSE!! 60 texts = a 10 minute conversation. I can sum certain things up in a matter of minutes opposed to feeling like someone is being neglected because I didn’t see their text! It’s a double edge sword…just like everything in life. I do feel that in this day in age, society in general, is all about convenience. So we just go with the flow and bend with the times and use our technology at our fingertips.
Ok so samples in the natural stone business have gone through many phases. Years ago builders used to swing by the shop and ask for a sample board or a sample box. Although the timing of natural stone has always been grouped in blocks and lot #’s, we always gave away samples in groups and made a bold disclaimer :”THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES THAT THE SAMPLES YOU ARE VIEWING ARE GOING TO BE THE EXACT LOT OF WHAT YOU WILL GET”. When a client came to us directly they have always been shown their actual slab and we would knock a huge chunk off the side of the slab. This can get really costly and wasteful. It also damages the slabs. If there are any existing fissures or pits near the area of impact it can cause stress fractures. As time progressed, we would Fed-Ex samples to clients directly after we cut it off with a Makita. This was also costly but now at least we were progressing from hammer strikes to strategically cutting a 4″ x 4″ square off the corner. NOW…in 2015 we actually, upon delivery of every material. cut the left or right side of the slab, whichever has the most color variation, the height of the slab by 4″. Then once we have the 60″- 79″strip we cut it down into 4″ squares. You average 17-20 samples per slab.
WHAT’S THE SAMPLE EPIDEMIC?? Well….If I have 5 clients come in 1 day and everyone takes 3-4 samples then by the end of the week I am out of samples. This means I have to once again return to cutting the strip off the side and now I am really wasting money since I am cutting away from the total length of the material. By cutting 8″ off the side of a slab can mean a kitchen now getting seamed when it should have fit in 1 piece or a kitchen spilling into a second slab when if the samples weren’t cut it would have worked. This really cuts into our margins.
We are very very serious about a customer 100% knowing what they are choosing and how the color will look in their application. I love that I can give samples out and everyone finds them helpful when they get home to see what it looks like in the lighting of their personal space. Let’s be real…. the material is displayed in 100% natural light …I am pretty sure there is no such thing as a topless kitchen unless it’s for an outdoor cooking area or Vegas….get it…
The one thing that I still find baffling is what a customer will do with the samples once they make a decision or if they choose to shop around and keep all of our samples. There really is no need to not give them back. Even if you choose another fabricator, just leave them by the front door of the showroom after hours or drop them off to the showroom during 9-5!! I will be so grateful! During my lunch break today I brainstormed as to what I thought clients used the granite samples for other than just returning them and giving potential clients like themselves the same opportunity to see their color choice in their nest.
We have a client that WE LOVE!!!!!….she got a brand new amazing kitchen update with Nettuno Bordeaux but was just unhappy about her sink situation. She chose the U105 under mount rectangle sink but after it was all installed she felt like it was A. just not big enough and B. maybe too cold of a look..she wanted more warmth with this rich lush creamy quartz granite. This is not a usual circumstance. Usually you get granite to have the under mount sink application since in reality most have had FORMICA and a drop in was a must. I gave this client all of her options and she chose the bisque colored BLANCO SILGRANIT Drop- in model 440212. Let me tell you!! It actually looks amazing!! Creates some dimension while giving her what she wanted…SPACE!! Being an Italian woman she has needs with the kitchen sink to be a certain depth and width. She got it wight he BLANCO and just couldn’t be happier!! Yay! Score for us and score for her!!
Just a moment to vent about how these big corporate BIG BOX stores just drown this market with nonsense!! When it comes to your natural stone purchase or even a solid surface – visit your little guy..the mom and pop fabricator…or just a direct fabricator!! Do not listen to an employee with minimal training in this area! I know they are just doing there job and after a while they just do as they are told or trained to say BUT it smears the market for natural stone!! It’s all sales tactics to sway the consumer in favor of what they are promoting. In most cases the general public purchase everything from nails to cabinets from these places and they look at it as one stop shopping. I get it! I am a busy mom, business owner, etc. You have to make sure the facts are correct. I am venting at this point because too many defensive patrons arrive at our location spewing what they have been told about how “porous” natural stone is… how it “stains” .. too high maintenance.. When the fact of the matter is natural stone is one of earths wonders and it is actually an amazing concept to think that somewhere in Brazil there are mountains being quarried for granite and it is shipped and fabricated and installed into your residence! Simply amazing. Humbling actually!
Carry on with your day peeps… needed to get that out in the universe. #missionaccomplished
The weekend was really really relaxing and now I am in the drivers seat once again. My #MCM is a product called Supreme Surface!! Yes it sounds corny but this new sealing/conditioning agent is exactly what our clients have been looking for!! It not only cleans and polishes the stone but it conditions the stone to retain the sealant that is in the compound. The more your use it the more it repells outer agents that can penetrate the stone surface! It smells really good and it makes the surface feel silky smooth without any residue! We recommend using anti-bacterial dish soap to do your initial cleaning and squeegee right into the sink or off the edge. Then apply the Supreme Surface! Let the solvent sit for a couple minutes then wipe away with the orange micro fiber cloth that comes in the kit!! We sell them in the showroom for $20.
This is just too cool not to share!! We recently finished up a penthouse apartment in Rittenhouse at the Barclay building. It’s public knowledge between the realtor and Colossus that the stone sold the place. The unit wasn’t even finished yet and a potential buyer walked in and became the owner!!! The kitchen sold it!! 1.7 mILLLLLLLLLion for the unit and the Super White Quartzite 9 piece island was the show stopper!! It was our creative concept to fabricate and install this long island being that we had to overcome height and length restrictions with the Barclays elevators. We brought 5 pieces of 3cm Super White and 4 pieces of 3cm Absolute Black to the unit and the magic began. It took all day but the outcome is so amazing!! I would love to get into the unit now to see the kitchen complete but the owner has moved in and wants to keep it all to himself!! I hope he’s not upset that I just unearthed his big secret!! DISCLAIMER TO THE LADIES…If your out and about at ROUGE or PARC and you meet a handsome guys in his 30’s and he’s bragging about his 9 pieces of what not back at his place…..Its his island top!! LOL Enjoy the pics!! It’s Fabrication Friday peeps!!
This is really an amazing transformation!! We sat back and looked at these pics and we just can not believe how much time and energy and FINANCES it took to make this building OURS!! It is still a work in progress but it is coming along nicely! We are actually picking paint colors now to re-vamp the showroom but I thought it would be cool to show how far we have come in 6 years…..2190 days!
Just a girly girl in a male dominated industry trying to get my point across…