A Nose for Op­por­tu­nity

Bath­room Gallery’s growth hinges on iden­ti­fy­ing the right mo­ment and giv­ing it the right re­sponse

Portfolio - - IN THIS ISSUE - By Vic­tor Chen

That Gallery Bath­room grew out of a ply­wood trad­ing busi­ness is proof of fore­sight and nim­ble­ness on the part of its own­ers. A se­ries of well-planned moves led the fa­ther and son tan­dem of Mr. Henry Tay and his son Jef­frey to sup­ply kitchen sinks to de­vel­op­ment projects, even­tu­ally ex­pand­ing their range around the time that Raf­fles Ho­tel was un­der­go­ing a ma­jor ren­o­va­tion and was look­ing for a con­trac­tor for bath­room fix­tures. (Mr. Tay’s other son Ben­jamin runs the fam­ily busi­ness’ sec­ond brand.) Mr. Tay fore­saw that a great op­por­tu­nity was on hand to grow their busi­ness by veer­ing to­wards a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion.

“Raf­fles Ho­tel was look­ing for a con­trac­tor that could pro­vide good qual­ity Bri­tish fix­tures,” Mr. Tay re­calls. “There wasn’t much reg­u­la­tion in the mar­ket then, but Sin­ga­pore be­ing a for­mer Bri­tish colony, its re­quire­ments were mostly main­stream Bri­tish prod­ucts. Sim­i­lar prod­ucts were avail­able in the mar­ket, but good qual­ity ser­vice and main­te­nance was lack­ing.

Work­ing on mar­ket and de­sign trends, they hand­picked brands to show­case and of­fer to their clients. “We also made sure we rep­re­sented brands that were known for prod­ucts of great qual­ity.” Among their early house brands were Hans­grohe, Kohler, Laufen, Cisal, which have re­mained in­dus­try pil­lars to­day.”

The move would later en­able Bath­room Gallery to de­velop a one-stop hub for a full range of bath­room prod­ucts. “We have been of­fer­ing good qual­ity prod­ucts on a pro­ject scale, so we de­cided to of­fer it on re­tail level. It was only a small and sim­ple step, but it proved to be worth­while. At that time, Euro­pean fix­tures were held in high re­gard for both qual­ity and de­sign. That has changed over the years, but although our cri­te­ria has stayed the same, we are no longer lim­ited Euro­pean brands.”

To­day, Bath­room Gallery draws its rev­enues from projects, re­tail, and distri­bu­tion, with re­tail con­tribut­ing the most to their bot­tom line. Mean­while, bath­room fix­tures still make up their fastest grow­ing seg­ment. “Fun­da­men­tally, it is a prod­uct range that most peo­ple are still con­cerned about – not only for the price point and de­sign, but also the qual­ity. Un­like other eas­ily dis­pos­able mer­chan­dize, bath­room fix­tures can­not be re­placed or dis­carded eas­ily. Peo­ple pay close at­ten­tion to and care of these prod­ucts.”

Mr. Tay’s plans for re­gional ex­pan­sion are un­der­way, along with for­ays into yet un­tapped seg­ments of kitchen and home fur­nish­ing. “We have es­ti­mated our­selves as the com­pany to go to for qual­ity at an af­ford­able price.”

Mr. Henry Tay, Manag­ing Direc­tor of Wan Tai & Com­pany Pte Ltd

Mr. Jef­frey Tay, Sales & Mar­ket­ing Direc­tor

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