Bathroom Origins

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Bathroom Origins's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Bathroom Origins is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Managing Directors Frixos and
Sofia Charalambous
Luce white and clear
bathroom accessories
Over the past 25 years, Bathroom Origins has grown to
recognise what people want from a bathroom. The
company, which describes bathrooms as “more than
simply a place to wash”, strives to deliver a space in which
people can make clear their own personal style through various
bathroom accessories. Husband-and-wife team Frixos and Sofia
Charalambous discuss the importance of investment and their
targets for the future.
It’s a new year, it’s a new decade and in our opinion, there’s never been a
better time for the bathroom design industry. Bathroom Origins is at the
forefront of these exciting times. We’re setting, shaping and responding to
From over 25 years in the bathroom industry, we know that the bathroom is much
more than simply a place to wash. It’s so many things to so many people: a place to
relax, to retreat, to escape from the outside turmoil. It’s fun-time for the kids and
it’s much-needed time alone for adults.
How Bathroom Origins was born
In 1995, newlywed and working for the family bathroom retail business, we
spotted a gap in the market for well-priced, design-led bathroom mirrors and
accessories. At that time, there were two main choices: cheap and ugly or
extortionate and “nice”. We knew there were far better options out there, just
waiting to be discovered.
»Managing Directors: Frixos
and Sofia Charalambous
»Founded in 1995
»Located in Romford, Essex
»Services: Supplier of bathroom
mirrors and accessories
»No. of employees: 11 and 7
»25-year anniversary in 2020
Bathroom Origins
Highlighting best practice
All the products we sell are chosen –
or designed – personally by us, Frixos
and Sofia Charalambous, reflecting
our passion for great design, love of
creativity and appreciation of quality
materials and craftsmanship.
Our mission is to help inspire people to
transform their bathrooms into spaces
which truly reflect their individual
style and bathing rituals by bringing
them a collection of bathroom wares
influenced by our passion for design,
art and fashion.
In today’s busy and competitive world,
we’ve found the edge that sets our
business apart from our competitors.
It is based on a collaborative approach
with both suppliers and customers.
For this reason, the provenance of
what we offer is more important than
ever. Bathroom Origins is not just here
to sell bathroom wares but to help,
support and inspire our customers.
Mega trends
With growing evidence of how our
environment impacts our wellbeing,
there are a number of trends that have
emerged over the last few years and
that are set to have a major impact
on the way we design our homes,
including our bathrooms.
These include neuro-aesthetics – the
study of the impact of design on an
emotional level – as well as biophilic
design, whereby the outdoors is
brought inside the home with plants
and the use of natural materials. We
find that customers are increasingly
aware of the importance of space on
their overall mental health and seek
to find opportunities to promote and
develop wellness through providing
products specifically designed to
promote our well-being.
These trends are at the heart of
our product development strategy:
creating bathroomwares that not only
look and feel wonderful but that are
also fit forpurpose.
Harnessing the power of
social media
The explosion of social media, a
growing interest in interiors and ease
of travel have changed consumers’
aspirations and bathroom-buying
journeys. Thinking of a new bathroom
usually starts online and can end there
too. From pinning on Pinterest to
scrolling on Instagram, from peeking
on Rightmove, to taking holidays at
hotels with luxury bathrooms – we live
in a world where we’re just one click
away from inspiration. Homeowners
aren’t prepared to make do with
boring and bland design, when they
can easily see what else is out there.
Bathroom Origins, although one of the
smallest companies in the bathroom
industry, is one of the biggest names
on social media. This is all down to us
harnessing this amazing tool to identify
people’s mindsets and motivations.
We connect with people and
likeminded businesses through
showcasing aspirational products and
Botanical themed
bathroom featuring
City round white mirror
and Tecno Project white
Our mission is
to help inspire
people to
transform their
into spaces
which truly
reflect their
individual style
and bathing
design. In return, they tell us what they
want for their bathrooms, which helps
us shape our offering. We’ve organically
grown our Instagram followers by over
2,000 per cent in ayear.
Challenges we face
We have found that government
bureaucracy is stifling and, on some
occasions, even pointless. Auto-
enrolment, while an excellent initiative,
is expensive and time-consuming,
especially when you are constantly
requested to re-submit information.
Making tax digital is another burden
on small businesses. Keeping up to
date and ensuring we comply with
legislation is our biggest bugbear. It is
expensive and takes our focus away
from concentrating on generating
revenues, which ultimately contributes
to HMRC.
For over three years we have faced
the prospect of crashing out of the EU
without a deal. As an importer from
Europe this has impacted us on various
levels – specifically the lack of clarity.
We find ourselves unable to make
informed decisions on investment,
especially considering the fluctuations
in foreign exchange rates. The
downturn in consumer confidence has
been one of the biggest challenges we
have faced since our inception.
We don’t believe the government fully
appreciates the impact its actions have
on small businesses. They should spend
a week walking in our shoes. If they
truly knew what we had to deal with
on a daily basis, I am sure they would
swiftly review their decisions.
An exciting future
Despite the ongoing political and
economic turmoil, we’re investing
heavily in our business. We can’t
control the actions of our government
and outside forces, but we can
control our own destiny to the best of
We recently had a major relaunch,
positioning our business as the go-to
bathroom lifestyle brand: targeted
product development, inspirational
imagery, point-of-sale tools and a
bigger online presence were all part of
the strategy.
We’ve set ourselves an ambitious
30 per cent year-on-year growth
target for the next five years. To help
us get there, we’re partnering with
our existing customers, prospecting
potential new accounts and
increasing our product ranges with
complementary categories.
In 2020 we will be creating a dedicated
campaign to increase sales from the
specification market, which includes
housebuilders and hotel developers.
This market already accounts for 20
per cent of our turnover.
The export market will be part of this
staged growth and we’re drawing up
plans to target this new area.
although one of
the smallest
companies in
the bathroom
industry, is one
of the biggest
names on
Members club themed
washroom featuring City
round black mirror and
Tecno Project brushed
nickel accessories

This article was sponsored by Bathroom Origins. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development