Getting to know Artisans of Devizes and Sales Consultant, Mark Thompson:
Our guest speaker at our July 2019 Metier Brunch event was Mark Thompson, Sales Consultant with Artisans of Devizes, a family-run business of 30 years specialising in stone and tile products. With showrooms in Wiltshire and London, Artisans portfolio is constantly developing into an eclectic collection of natural and man-made products sourced from around the globe. From classic stone that creates the perfect welcome home to porcelain in city pads and decorative tiles in the coolest cafe openings, Artisans of Devizes’ collection caters to a wide customer base.
Well, they say no stone unturned, so let’s see what lies beneath as we meet Mark and get an insight into a world of stone, marble, porcelain and ceramic.
You mentioned at our July Brunch event that Artisans is a family-run business. Can you please share with us a bit more info on that and how you came to be part of the team?
This year Artisans of Devizes are celebrating turning 30; we’re really proud to have been at the forefront of the stone and tile industry since 1989. The business still has family at the heart of it. So, knowing the reputation of the business (having lived in Devizes), I jumped at the opportunity four years ago to join such a highly regarded company.
What/who is Artisans ultimate customer?
Our product mix, including natural stone, porcelain and decorative tiles means that we are well-positioned to work with customers on projects of all types across all sectors: whether it’s a London townhouse, a neo-classical mansion in the country or a commercial project. Essentially our key customers are the specifiers, who see the value in collaborating with Artisans and continue to come back to us on every project. We love nothing more than seeing what our customers do with our stone and tiles.
Has this changed since the company started out?
Our showroom in Devizes, which opened in 1989, is a retail showroom which showcases our collections to homeowners. When we first launched, retail was the core business for Artisans. and whilst we still sell to the end-user, most of our business lies in working with professionals, be that interior designers, garden designers, architects, builders or hoteliers. Our London showroom in the Design Centre at Chelsea Harbour is a real asset for the brand and focusses on our presentation to trade customers.
What is still the biggest challenge for Artisans?
In any industry, I think the biggest challenge is always differentiating yourself and being one step ahead of the curve when it comes to product offering. Our Creative Director, Hamish Smith, curates our collections and is always thinking about the next trends in stone and tiles.
Would Artisans, as a company, have done anything differently if they knew 10 years ago, what they know now?
Knowing how positive it has been for the company, I think we’d probably have entered the porcelain and ceramics arena sooner.
What do you think the history books will say about the Artisans and the service that they have created and provided? What is its USP as a business?
Stone Experts. Tile Makers.
A heritage brand with family core values, dedicated to quality, craftmanship, integrity and collaboration.
Carefully curated, our stone and tile collections bring together the contemporary and the classic, with hundreds of decorative and concept designs. Our 30 years of experience really sets us apart and while our collections and designs are always evolving, the business itself remains true to its core values. We really are all passionate about the products we sell and the first-class service we offer to our clients.
What is still your biggest challenge when working with Interior Designers who may not have specified stone before? (There is always a first time for everything!)?
Dispelling some of the general misconceptions and myths around stone regarding cost, versatility, installation, ongoing maintenance and longevity!
What do you find are your clients’ biggest stumbling blocks?
Appreciating that stone is a natural product, and therefore tonal variation, density of veining, fossils and other markings are all things that should be embraced when using this material.
You mentioned that given such a wide area that you cover, you are on the road a lot of the time. So what is your trick to unwinding?
I run…a lot! Typically 40/45 miles a week. Without doubt I find it is the best way to unwind after a busy day and often I find I can work through issues/problems with more clarity.
Again, with so much travelling required, where and how do you find a spot to work at your best? Or have you mastered multi-tasking from your car?
I’ll always try to work from the car if feasible, but a lot of the time, especially when I’m looking at drawings, I’ll find a coffee shop and do a bit of hot-desking.
Can you give us an example of a recent project where you received a brief from a designer, collaborated with them and achieved a successful result?
We’ve recently finished a stunning project in the Cotswolds, which was driven by a designer I’ve worked with for several years. We supplied stone, porcelain and ceramics throughout the house and the external areas, and we started the process by meeting with the client in our Devizes showroom and spent 4-5 hours working through every scheme for every room. The project lasted 10 months but the result is spectacular. Happy client and a delighted homeowner!
What do you want your legacy to be? How do you want to be remembered?
I’d like to be remembered as someone who can be trusted to work with the best intentions in order to achieve the best results for my customers.
Many thanks to Mark for taking the time to speak to the Brunch meeting and for his valuable insight into Artisans of Devizes and their beautiful products. To learn more about Artisans of Devizes follow this link to their website.
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