November 21/28, 2016: Volume 31, Number 12
By Reginald Tucker
In an increasingly competitive market segment such as the mid-range to high end, hard surface suppliers are focusing their efforts beyond core product construction and performance to differentiate themselves from other players in the field. For manufacturers like Divine Flooring, it’s all about marketing and optimal brand positioning.
As a supplier of hardwood, LVT, WPC and laminate flooring products for specialty retail, specified commercial and residential replacement, Divine Flooring is looking to cover all the bases—with the exception of the entry-level, low-price range. Its builder and residential replacement hardwood flooring products range from $4.50 per square foot (suggested retail price) up to about $20 per square foot for some of the higher-end custom collections.
“We have products in the mix that are focused more toward builders such as Farmhouse, which is a wide-plank, rustic,” said Sean Stewart, managing partner. “We also offer a variety of finishes such as aluminum oxide, lacquers, hard wax oil finishes, oxidative oil finishes and reactive oil stains—we cover the gamut. We also have a custom wood shop where we produce all of our own moldings, and we can also do custom work for architects or dealers. This includes wall treatments, stair parts, doors, etc. That’s an advantage from our builder experience that we can take on those special projects.”
The main idea, according to Stewart, is to provide options without “oversaturating” the market. “We do really well with dealers that understand the value of selling flooring at a higher price, and they appreciate the fact that we’re not on every street corner like much of our competition in the industry. It’s not only about our brand but our brand values as well.”
One way Divine Flooring avoids the “me-too” game is by focusing on custom-made offerings that can’t be shopped around. “One of the things that we do that’s quite unique is we work with award-winning designers when we develop our collections,” Stewart explained. “It’s a significant investment but it pays off because you’re getting someone who understands color trends, etc.”
A noteworthy example of this sort of collaboration is Divine Flooring’s Cosmopolitan collection, which was introduced in late 2015. Stewart called the line—which features trendy colors like white, gray and black in a variety of gloss levels and surface textures—the company’s leading collection.
Sheldon Peregrino, showroom manager at Fame Hardwood Floors, Los Angeles, took on the line about 10 months ago. “It’s been popular here in our area. The line has really good colors and they are right on with what our customers are looking for.”
Other Divine Flooring collections are turning heads as well. The company’s ultra-high end Louis XIV collection of French oak planks featuring matching square parquet tiles was the hardwood flooring product selected for the newly renovated Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. “It’s a very exclusive high-end product compared to others in the marketplace but still delivered at a much more competitive price,” Stewart said. “It’s also something that we stock, which also makes us very different.”
Joshua Kaswell, owner of Kaswell Flooring Systems, Ashland, Mass., the company that specified the flooring product for this particular installation, recalled the selection process: “A couple of years back I was asked by my client to find a unique prefinished product for the renovation of large suites in a world-renowned hotel in Washington, D.C. I instantly thought of Sean and his Divine Flooring line of both engineered wood and engineered parquets. After some presentation work with the client, ultimately several thousand square feet of Louis XIV prefinished parquet was selected for the suites and eventually purchased months later. Sean guided us with product information, literature and other marketing tools to both secure the order and ultimately guide the client appropriately on installation requirements.”
Five months after the installation, the floors are holding up well and looking regal. “This was a difficult project with a demanding client but the material was installed without any issues,” Kaswell stated. “The client and design team are thrilled with the results. We are proud to say with the assistance of Divine Flooring we have a successful installation at the famous Watergate Hotel.”