Ulster Life Recently caught up with Exquisite Tiles MD Fintan Bradley to talk all things tiles and of course to hear all about the new Showroom in Downpatrick.
What is your position in the company?
Managing Director, general dogsbody!
Tell us a little about Exquisite Tiles?
Exquisite Tiles originally started out as a tile installation service but through demand from our clients we moved to an online store to supply tiles, as well as fitting. Following on from the success of that, the natural decision was to open a showroom to actually showcase some of the fabulous ranges that we promote. The response has been amazing to our new showroom in Downpatrick. Buying tiles is a very visual and tactile experience and the showroom allows customer to appreciate their aesthetic appeal.
Talk us through a typical working day at Exquisite Tiles?
First job every morning is to check the orders from the previous day and ensure the information is passed on to our warehouse for speedy dispatch. If the tiles chosen are special order then its liaising with the manufacturers in Spain and Italy and our shipping company to have the tiles delivered to us as soon as possible. As well as supplying tiles we also have a dedicated team of installers. I’ll make sure that their diary is filled for the week and meet with the head tiler to find out how everything is going and if they require anything to complete their jobs. With a background in marketing, I’ll spend time updating our social media channels before setting out on appointments to see clients.
What is your favourite part of the job?
I enjoy travelling to the tile trade fares around the world and seeing the new tile trends but on a day to day basis it has to be meeting our potential and returning customers, whether that is in our new showroom or in their homes. We are one of the few companies that will actually bring sample tiles to your door so you can see them in your own home. It can be time consuming but very worthwhile and you meet some great people.
What are some current tile trends?
There is such a huge choice on the market right now and it can be quite overwhelming. Tiles are being used in every area of the home, and not just reserved for the kitchen or bathroom. Patterned tiles with a Mediterranean look are quite popular along with textured tiles with an architectural feel that makes an eye catching feature. Technological advances in manufacturing mean that we see porcelain tiles being produced that mimic wood, stone, granite and even concrete. These give a realistic and convincing texture and are cheaper to install and maintain. One thing I think you will definitely see this year is mixing tiles not matching. Customers are using tiles in a more exciting way, mixing materials, colours and patterns.
How do current trends compare to what was in style 10 years ago?
Fortunately, or unfortunately I get to see quite a few examples of tiles from ten years ago as a lot of our residential customers are usually doing a refurb of their kitchen or bathroom. I’m almost always met with small format and garish tiles, with wide grout lines that you can’t keep clean. Most customers tell me they don’t know what they were thinking when they had them installed. Now you will find that large format tiles are all the rage. Once only the choice of architects, these large tiles with a rectified edge have come down in price are now commonplace and give a very stylish finish with added impact especially in an open floor plan. Customer are ditching carpet and tiling all their down stair living spaces not just for the look but for practical considerations – easy to maintain. Of course, wood effect tiles are also very popular and were unheard off ten years ago. Customers want their rooms to be bespoke these days and tiles are a great way of achieving a unique living space.
MAIN IMAGE: Fintan Bradley & Daniel McGarrity celebrate the showroom opening!
T 028 4461 9082
Exquisite Tiles Ltd, Unit 3A Cloonagh Road, Downpatrick, County Down, BT30 6LJ, Northern Ireland