THE LIKELY LADS
Written by Chris Bentley, Smithkin Baker, Photos by Emma Solley
From small acorns big oaks do grow and, if La Fabrico’s first year is anything to go by, expect there to be a very large tree right in the city centre!
In just under a year, their tile showroom in the heart of Exeter has taken on the established big boys, signed up some of the hottest developers and now boasts a nationally renowned brand ambassador. We can’t wait to hear how this happened never mind their plans for year two!
Talking with directors Paul Greenslade and Simon Pearce, the passion they have for all things tiles exudes from their very pores. Greenslade has managed a few of the existing big-name outlets in the region and had the radical thought of doing it for himself. As he already knew Simon as the proprietor of SCP Tiling, the concept was put to their third director, property developer Jon King, and La Fabrico was born.
Taking on one of Jon’s premises on Mitre Lane (at the back of Mary Arches Street) they set about designing and building the La Fabrico showroom. Using their network, established over twenty-five years in the tiling game, the guys soon had a superb outlet and set to work on building their brand in the rather noisy tiling market.
Paul, who is never shy of saying a word or two added:
“At first, we wanted to get the word out that we were different to other tile retailers. For a start we’re not on Marsh Barton or down by Darts Farm where 99% of tiles are bought and sold in Exeter. Add to that our real one to one approach in designing space and we felt we had an offering like no other.”
“But we needed to get our name ‘out there’ so I placed banners around all of the main routes in and out of the city. We were keen to get ourselves recognised and I’ll blow my trumpet when I think we managed that pretty soon and then came phase two!”
“In no time there was a steady stream of retail customers coming for a look, but we were keen to grow a trade base as well and worked on a sister brand, La Fabrico TRADE, specialising in helping address the challenges developers, architects and designers may face. Very soon we had managed to secure ‘official tile partner status’ with both Gould and Tomahawk Homes.”
At this point Simon interjects with the final prong of their three-point plan. Simon continued:
“Paul has been the catalyst for a lot of what we’ve done but I really wanted to differentiate us from the noise in the market and felt if we could secure a recognisable ambassador it would be a real coup.”
We discussed his ponderings with nearest and dearest about finding the right face for their brand and how, after a fair few weeks, he decided to pursue the star of ‘A Place in the Sun’, Jasmine Harman.
“With so many of our tiles coming from Italy and Spain we were keen to land someone who represented the Mediterranean style yet maintained an air of classy sophistication and Jasmine ticked all the boxes. After a few calls to her agent, she bought into the concept and came down for a photo shoot in the shop and across to record a radio advert.”
Now with an established retail and trade outlet, not to mention an Exeter first with their brand ambassador, the inevitable question for the boys is ‘What’s next for La Fabrico?’
“We are very excited to have teamed up with Spillers of Chard and hope to have a presence in their huge shop soon just as we’ll be getting one of their kitchens in here.”
“This is only the beginning for us. Our plan was always to grow the brand and look to take La Fabrico around the region with 5 outlets over the next few years. With Jasmine fronting the company the sky is the limit and we hope that our strapline ‘Wall to floor luxury’ will resonate with anyone in the region looking at their next flooring project.”
I for one wouldn’t put it past the likely lads doing just that!!
For more information visit La Fabrico at lafabrico.com/
La Fabrico Tile Showroom
1 Mitre Lane, Exeter, Devon, England EX4 3BB