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Solus Ceramics: creativity and customised solutions

Solus Ceramics Ltd., the winner of the Confindustria Ceramica Distributor Award 2016, is one of the UK’s top distributors with showrooms in Birmingham and London

by Simona Storchi

Founded by Peter Bentley in 1995, Solus Ceramics is one of the largest British tile distributors with a ceramic tile showroom in Birmingham and a Creative Centre in the heart of London. It has a turnover of more than 21 million euros, annual sales of 600,000 square metres, a warehouse stocking more than 5,000 pallets and the capacity to cut 70,000 sq.m of tiles per year.

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“Our desire was to be recognised as the trusted market leader of tiling solutions for the specification industry,” explains Marcus Bentley, Managing Director of Solus Ceramics.
“Initially supplying tiles to the vehicle dealership sector, Solus Ceramics soon became a leading name in the architectural specification market.” Solus Ceramics grew rapidly and what started as a small family business soon became a large organization with two showrooms (300 sq.m in Birmingham and 400 sq.m in London), over 10 departments, 83 members of staff and projects in countries worldwide (more than 600,000 sq.m of tiles shipped to the UK and as far as Chile, South America and Japan).
“The Solus Creative Centre, located on Baker Street in Central London, was opened in 2014 and is an architectural showroom that serves as our primary hub in London. Set in a busy retail area in a popular district, the showroom is stocked with the latest and most trendsetting tile ranges and also attracts residential buyers looking for high quality ceramic products.” Marcus Bentley believes that “2017 will be the best year ever for the Creative Centre”.

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The creative centre

The Solus Tile Studio in Birmingham is a retail showroom that supplies high quality yet affordable material, primarily for residential use.
“The majority of our clients are from the architectural industry,” continues Bentley.
“We have a vast amount of experience in supplying tiles to large-scale commercial specifications such as retail roll-outs, car dealerships and hotels.
We also work with interior designers supplying tiles to unique bars, restaurants and residential projects.” Solus Ceramics supplies a wide range of Italian products according to market requirements in terms of fashion and technology.

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“The past few years have seen a particular interest in shaped tiles such as hexagons, three-dimensional tiles and other interesting shapes. Concrete effect porcelain tiles have also been very popular and we supply a huge variety of concrete styles for every taste and aesthetic. In 2017 we expect to see a renewed interest in mosaic tiles and metallic tiles, so I expect that we will add many new and trendy products to our range to meet the appetite of our clients.” So what’s the secret to a successful showroom? “The most important aspect is having an excellent selection of the best products available,” Bentley explains. “Good lighting is also essential and can make the difference to how a customer will react to a particular product. In addition, it is important to display the products in a simple way so that customers can visualise how a product will look in their own project.” In order to build a lasting, successful and trusting relationship with customers, “it is crucial to have knowledgeable and helpful sales people who can not only offer fantastic technical advice, but also have an eye for interior design and an understanding of style and trends”.

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At Solus Ceramics, Italian products are synonymous with quality. “Italian manufacturers possess the most advanced technology and produce the highest quality and most innovative products available,” explains Marcus Bentley. This makes them unique products renowned all over the world. “With close proximity to the UK and excellent transport links, it is no surprise that Solus Ceramics should choose to sell Italian-made products. However, with competition from Asia, Turkey and other European nations, Italian manufacturers must work harder than ever before to offer more cost effective products.”
With a very robust national construction industry that has so far defied the expected negative effects of the Brexit referendum, Solus Ceramics is ready for the challenges of the future.

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