Photo Courtesy of Elegant Additions
If someone told Julie Koch when she was starting out that she would end up with three showrooms in two states, turning an idea into a multi-million-dollar luxury kitchen
and bath fixture company, she never could have believed it. We spoke with her recently to discuss how homeowners can find the style that is right for them, how she stands out from her competition and the project that changed her life.
JustLuxe: Tell us a little about Elegant Additions and how you got your start.
In 1986, it was just me and my partner. I thought if we had beautiful products and a good sales team that would be good enough to get us going. I was wrong. My partner left with just a couple of day’s notice so I got a crash course in plumbing fixtures. We had a project for the Hard Rock Café and I had signed a penalty clause that was going to cost us $250 a day for every day that we were not providing. The project was due in one week and required all lacquered brass to be delivered to Hawaii. I basically called every person I knew and told them the story and everyone helped me. I drove my car to the airport and put everything on the plane. It was an interesting way to start to learn the product.
JL: How do you guide someone through the selection process?
Because we are a trade business, we try to work through architects or designers. We like to know as much as we can about the project, including what kind of living it is, with or without kids, what the budget is and then we can take someone through an individual selection process. For some people, they might not be aware that they can create their own personal spa in their bathroom and people love that.
JL: How can someone best determine the style that is right for their home?
At the beginning, we didn’t do that but we have such a great rapport with the design community now that we are doing this. We have an architect and general contractor on our staff so they are comfortable with this. We try to focus on a particular look that someone might like such as classical. We are finding that we really have to keep up with the hotels because people say they love the bathrooms in a Four Seasons.
JL: Tell us about the Concierge service.
This is something we offer through our production and customer care departments. It does nothing more than give us the opportunity to own a project. It takes all of the stress off of the designers. We go to a job with major deliveries and talk about specialties.
JL: What makes Elegant Additions so unique?
We are not just a distributor. People in general seem to get agitated by not receiving calls back from contractors. We take extra care in the service area and want the end user to have a fabulous experience with us.
JL: How do you appeal to an upscale audience?
It’s more about forming relationships and we are a boutique business and are able to do that. We work with a lot of busy and affluent people so we work closely with our architects, designers and manufacturers to ensure the customer walks away with a great experience.
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