Antique baths business taps into new market
A couple who took the plunge and opened an antique bath business to the rich and famous are branching out.
Stewart and Kim Joyce opened Antique Bathrooms of Ivybridge & Marlborough in the Wiltshire town in 2014. Now, they have joined forces with Nick and Donna Cowen to open a second branch in the Devon town where the business was founded way back in 1991.
Stewart and Kim bought the business in 2013 after Nick and Donna emigrated to Australia to start a new business. But missing life, friends and family in the UK, the couple are now back – and refurbishing their old showroom in Ivybridge.
Marlborough was chosen as a location because of the number of period properties in the area, and to benefit from easy access to London, and the South, where many of the finished baths go.
Stewart said: “When I took over the business, I opened a showroom in Wiltshire – which is home for me – while the workshop stayed in Ivybridge.
“The re-opening of the Ivybridge showroom is great news for our customers, great news for the business, and great news for me as I was driving between the sites two or three times a week. This allows me more time to concentrate on growing the Wiltshire side of the business.
“Nick and Donna are old friends, and it’s great to have them back – both as mates and as business partners.”
Nick said: “We ran a fencing company in Melbourne for four years, but we missed our antique baths, as well as our friends and family of course!”
Antique Bathrooms of Ivybridge & Marlborough buys and refurbishes cast iron roll top bathtubs before selling them on to plumbers, interior designers, boutique hoteliers, Lords and Ladies, and regular homeowners looking for an authentic tub for an older home. Personalised baths can vary in size from 4ft 6ins long to nearly 7ft long.
Clientele include world-famous actors, musicians and politicians.
It takes between four and six weeks to re-enamel, prime and polish an antique bath – which all date from the last 19th and early 20th centuries and are English, British or French in origin. An individual bath can range in price from between £800 and £10,000.
The company also refurbishes and sells antique taps, along with a full range of traditional style basins, cisterns, toilet pans and wooden toilet seats – which alone can sell in excess of £500.
The showrooms can be found at the Elcot Lane Trading Estate in Marlborough, and at Ermebridge Works, Ermington Rd, Ivybridge. For full details, log on to www.antiquebaths.com