Doing things differently: Day True reveal their alternative approach to business
As they open their third showroom in London, Day True directors Hayley and Tony Robinson reveal the difference in their approach
There can’t be many kitchen and bathroom showrooms with a working spa area, let alone a well-stocked gin bar, a fully functional tandoor oven, a blast chiller and a Big Green Egg barbecue.
There’s a ‘better life’ consultant on the books (of which more later), a top floor show apartment, a seven-day-a-week opening schedule, even Day True-emblazoned water bowls for pooches that pass the front door.
“We want to redefine the way people buy kitchens and bathrooms,” says MD Tony Robson, sitting in his newly opened 3,500 sq ft, four-floor Wimbledon premises.
Who are we? Tony Robson, MD, and Hayley Robson, creative director
Business history Founded in 2013, Day True is owned by husband and wife team Tony and Hayley Robson, and Mark Sherwin and Simon Manley.
What do we do? Day True offers bathroom products by Rexa Design, Hansgrohe, CEA, Catalano, Impey, Dornbracht, Gessi. Bespoke kitchens made to Day True designs in North London; also kitchens by Rotpunkt. Appliances by Gaggenau, Miele, Sub-Zero & Wolf, AEG. Sinks and taps by CEA, Dornbracht, Hansgrohe, Kohler, Zip, Quooker.
Prices Bathrooms start from £10,000; average £13,000; most expensive to date, £30,000. Kitchen prices start from £15,000; average £35,000; most expensive to date, £140,000
Sales stats “Turnover is about £2.8million now and as we develop the contract market and this showroom, I’d like to be pushing £4million in the next 12 to 18 months,” says Tony Robson
This is the third Day True showroom for Robson, who set up the business with creative director – and wife – Hayley, six years ago. And why Wimbledon? “The opportunity came up,” says Hayley. “Tony’s always looking – he gets itchy feet – and he spotted this place. When we came to see it, we were blown away by the potential of the unused space.”
Previously used as a kitchen showroom, the owner had used only the ground and first floor for displays, while Tony and Hayley decided to explore the potential of the entire premises to showcase their “kitchen, bathroom, home” complete design offering, which covers everything from flooring to lighting.
In the basement, spa displays are designed for customers to try out the equipment. “More and more people want a sanctuary at home and we wanted to showcase what can be achieved in real size en-suite spaces,” says Hayley, explaining that she chose to make the area “the least techy as possible."
"There’s a place for smart technology with connected appliances in the kitchen, but why put it in the bathroom, where you want to relax? It’s the one place where people can escape technology” she added.
On the ground floor, they have converted the empty courtyard at the rear into a garden room and entertaining space for all year-round use. There are plans to host a pop-up restaurant during the Wimbledon tennis fortnight, and to use the space for local events, maybe even a coffee shop in due course.
“We like to be part of the community,” says Tony. Working appliances allow the better life consultant to demonstrate new kit to clients and to help them make informed choices, geared to individual lifestyles.
The top floor features a compact two bedroom-two bathroom show apartment. “Spatial planning is one of our super-powers,” explains Hayley, who says that almost every bathroom designed by Day True will involve reconfiguration of the layout or adaptation of the space to maximise its potential.
With the economic climate putting pressure on retail sales, Tony says he has recently employed a new member of staff to grow the contract market (sales are currently split 70% retail, 30% architects and designers) and to develop ecommerce opportunities.
“Turnover is about £2.8million now and as we develop the contract market and this showroom, I’d like to be pushing £4million in the next 12 to 18 months,” he says. “We’re also looking to bring some investment into the business so that we can develop and grow the brand further over the next three years.”
Company Q&AYour greatest challenge? “The depressed state of the current market”
Your greatest opportunity? “To raise our profile so people understand and buy into the difference that Day True offers”
Strange but true “A friend gave us a spider plant, which we keep in the showroom. We give each client one of its babies, then they have to bring one back – that’s the law”