The latest Italian tiles are nothing short of Inspirational, the way in which they mimic natural stone and wood is incredible. When laid, it is difficult to see the difference between the real material against the porcelain tile. You get the real look and feel without the maintenance negatives.
Until now these magnificent products have been available to a very limited market which could afford the ridiculously high prices. Italian manufacturers would be pleased if they got a repeat order every six months. These shops would try to sell these high end products at circa $100 /m2.
In 2011 we at Tile Factory Outlet (TFO) Smithfield, Australia made our first visit to the Bologna Ceramic Fair.
When we came across the Italgraniti stand, we found a mesmerising series called “ Mineral D”, it looked like sand stone in various colours, the more we looked at it the more we were impressed. The thought of buying such an expensive Italian tile would be against our philosophy, we specialised in selling first quality, middle range tiles from Asia and the middle east at incredibly low prices, all based on volume.
Notwithstanding this, we could not resist ordering three containers as a trial order (thinking, how the hell are we going to sell such expensive tiles). We believe that Italgraniti had their own reservations about selling to a “Tile Factory Outlet”, they were not expecting much from it. The hardest part was convincing a high end boutique factory to sell at cheaper prices so that we can sell it at prices to allow these top end products to really compete with the Chinese product. To do this we needed to show them the volume we could provide. It was a volume that seemed unrealistic for any store in Australia.
We sold most of the three containers within 6 weeks and ordered more containers, whilst adding other colours in the same series.
In a period of less than two years (we are booked to visit the fair this November 2013), we have added another two ranges with great results and are currently selling about ten containers per month of Italian tiles (and growing) and will be keenly looking at the latest trends, for we now have more confidence in trialing new Italian tiles.
We believe that the main reason for our success is that we apply the same selling principle in selling Italian products as we do for other products.
This has confirmed that people are more than happy to buy the latest Italian products, as long as they pay a reasonable price and not an over inflated one. On the other hand the Italians are learning that it’s not much good to have the best and latest products in their range (at great expense) without selling volumes. It has been a slow process which we are at the forefront of promoting with great success, the great thing about this experience is that everyone is a winner especially the Australian consumer who can save well over 60 percent on Italian tiles.