The new Naturals collection from Leeds-based JT takes its inspiration from Yorkshire landscapes, and offers a stone-effect look combined with a total of 27 different size options. We talk to sales and marketing director John Schofield to find out more about the latest shower tray trends and what's up next on the technology front.
Tell us about the inspiration behind the new Naturals collection.
The new Naturals by JT range of products was conceived as we wanted to reignite our former Naturals brand name, which still holds a lot of support within the market, particularly among retailers and showrooms. The coloured products, which we have already launched within the Fusion and Evolved ranges, have done very well so we wanted to expand this into a more stone-style product. In conjunction with the Naturals branding, it seemed logical to incorporate a selection of stunning Yorkshire locations into the colours to reflect our heritage and where these products are made – Yorkshire!
What current trends does the range tap into?
The range taps into the continued desire for utilising colour within the bathroom, be that for enclosures, brassware or how the bathroom is accessorised. The stone-style finish on the tray has been a popular trend in Europe for some time and we have witnessed this demand through our Softstone by JT range. With this in mind, we wanted to expand on our current range offering to open up the product to more of the market and help the retailers with a pallet of colours, so the consumer is not restricted to having to choose a white tray when designing their bathroom.
When it comes to shower trays, are you noticing that consumer tastes are changing?
The key change with trays is definitely in sizes. The consumer is choosing bigger trays and increasingly in different colour options. The size of the showering space has been driven by individuals’ experiences in hotels, gyms and spas where they are realising that a large showering area, in conjunction with large showerheads, offers a sense of luxury in their own home. Likewise with colour, design plays a big part in the bathroom and where the shower tray has historically been viewed very much as a functional item, we are now able to utilise it to add to the overall look and feel that the consumer wants to achieve for the bathroom.
JT has been at the forefront of innovation over the years – what are the next innovations when it comes to shower trays?
We are working on a number of things, so I can’t say too much at this stage! Suffice to say that the materials from which the trays are manufactured still have some space to be improved, both from a green perspective but also in terms of the weight and the way that the trays are installed. Designs are of course important and we are experimenting in this area as well, to ensure that the shower tray continues to be an integral part of the bathroom design – by adding something extra rather than just being functional.
What’s next for JT?
We have just opened a second factory alongside our original plant, where we are now manufacturing the Naturals trays and also a number of ranges that we are shipping to customers in France, Spain and Italy. We are extremely pleased with the way that business has returned to the construction sector following lockdown and we are hopeful that this will continue. We're supporting this demand through increasing our shifts from two to three, which means a drive in employment for JT – something we are always proud to be doing. A healthy construction sector is a strong base for a number of areas within the economy which can only be good news for the recovery!