“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.
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 foresaw that a great opportunity was on hand to grow their business by veering towards a different direction.
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.”