Caesarstone's Edward Smith on leading the charge in surface design

InsightFeatures Mon 8th Jul 2024 by KBBFocus

Caesarstone's Edward Smith on leading the charge in surface design

Caesarstone's Edward Smith on leading the charge in surface design

Following the launch of Caesarstone's low silica Mineral Surfaces range, we talk to UK MD Edward Smith about the new products, current trends and what's next in the pipeline.

Q: You joined Caesarstone last autumn – how have the last 6 months been?
A: Busy! It has been incredibly informative to immerse myself in the business and get to know our partners, both fabricators and showrooms. In a short time, I have seen the company grow from strength to strength. The launch of our pioneering Time Collection in April this year was a big step for Caesarstone. The collection introduced 10 new products to the market and saw the launch of our low silica Mineral Surfaces range. This collection cements our ongoing commitment to excellence in innovation, premium design, and sustainability.

Q: What have your main priorities been since you joined the business?
A: Primarily, it’s been about really understanding the business proposition, the market, the competition, our customers and colleagues have been at the forefront, keeping what is working well for the company and then ramping up our abilities in areas such as customer service, operations and logistics. We have a reputation for premium products, and we are now developing a reputation for having the best customer service too.

Caesarstone's new 5113 Solenna design

Over the last few months, the surface industry has undergone significant transformation. Brands are being rigorously examined from all angles, which from my point of view, is not a bad thing. Our brand heritage at Caesarstone dates back to 1987. We have established a legacy through our commitment to premium design, craftsmanship, and an unwavering dedication to sustainability. There is of course always room for improvement, however, I am pleased with the direction the brand is heading.

Q: How is the worktop market in the UK changing?
A: The worktop market in the UK is in a period of significant change. The transition that end-consumers are making towards engineered stone and porcelain shows no signs of slowing down. Caesarstone pioneered the quartz industry nearly 40 years ago and became a player in the porcelain market in 2022 with the launch of over 20 designs. This year, we were delighted to add 7 new porcelain designs as part of our Time Collection, further establishing ourselves in this market. 

Caesarstone's 5310 Brillianza, which is new for 2024

We are also seeing customers prioritise engineered stone over other materials in the kitchen and bathroom sector. A focus on premium design, provenance and ever more sustainable practices has never been more prominent. The philosophy of ‘buy once, buy well’ is at its peak. Consumers want to invest in brands they trust with the correct certifications and the reassurance they will not be disappointed in the near future.

Q: What sets Caesarstone apart from its competitors?
A: Our commitment to sustainable, innovative premium products, service to our partners and aftercare is unwavering. The quality of our product is testified by our lifetime warranty, offered across all residential applications. This warranty can even be passed onto the next owner of the home, offering tangible proof of our dedication to premium products that really will last a lifetime in the home.

5140 Dreamy Carrara

Q: What key trends do you see coming through?
A: For engineered stone, this year, we are seeing warmer colours, especially creams, and textures including more depth. Transparency when it comes to provenance and processes is another key trend, as customers and specifiers are increasingly prioritising eco-friendly products. The Porcelain market continues to grow with multi-room solutions emanating from the kitchen, into the dining room and living areas downstairs, and even into master bedrooms that are merging with en suite bathrooms upstairs.

Tell us about the recently launched products – are they in response to any particular trends?
Our Time Collection saw the launch of 7 new Porcelain designs and 3 new Mineral Surfaces. Our design team work on surfaces years in advance of release, taking inspiration from the world around us. Rather than responding to fast-paced design trends, we strive to create timeless surfaces that will be loved in the home for generations. Alongside our 3 new Mineral Surfaces, as part of the Time Collection, we have now transitioned 27 stocked quartz products to Mineral Surfaces in our UK portfolio, with the aim to progressively transition more designs to low-silica alternatives.

507 Marbannova

Q: What support do you offer your retail customers when it comes to the new products?
A: We work closely with our retail, fabricator and housebuilder partners to improve customers’ knowledge and understanding of our surfaces. We provide them all the information and material they need to discuss our new products and sell surfaces effectively – from POS displays and brochures to training days. We see our partners as an extension of Caesarstone and offer them a large amount of support. Retailers have the important role of educating and informing customers on brand products for both new and existing collections. Opting for a premium product may entail a higher cost, however, it is essential to recognise (and for retailers to communicate) the long-term benefits, both environmentally and financially, that come with investing in tried and tested products.

Q: Are you optimistic for the year ahead?
A: Yes, the market is strengthening. Commercial projects are reporting a strong return, and our retail and showroom partners are reporting stronger footfall. The Time Collection marked a pivotal moment for Caesarstone, however, we are already looking forward to 2025/6. Our design team has been extremely busy! I am delighted to announce that we have another exciting launch in the pipeline towards the end of this year. This will see the transition of more Caesarstone designs to low-silica alternatives – keep watching this space.

5113 Solenna

Tags: insight, features, edward smith, caesarstone, porcelain

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