Stone Paving Supplies Brochure
Each year, a huge number of paving and hard landscaping brochures cross my desk here in the pavingexpert shack. Some are a bit bland and boring, with absolutely nothing new to offer, and some are stuffed to the gunwales with new products of which, perhaps, a tenth have a chance of having any real success. Then there are the show-stoppers, the brochures with budgets on a par with that for a pre-austerity government department, and then there are the little guys who put out a brochure that punches well above its weight.
Every now and again, a publication from a smaller supplier or a name new to the trade grabs my attention because it offers something innovative, or distinctive, or it has a novel take on format, or perhaps it has a particularly well-written piece about, say, design principles or how to choose appropriate materials. How I love these little moments of serendipity! (Dept of Education approved use of exclamation mark in that last sentence.) However, I can't ever recall being wowed by a catalogue or brochure because of who is in it, rather than what is in it.
Stone Paving Supplies is a relatively new name, and the brochure which was passed to me bears many of the hallmarks of the typical smaller start-up: well-presented, smaller 210mm square format, simple logo, appealing cover shot, everything necessary to draw me in, and then…..Blam!
Page two, just inside the cover, a line-up of faces that should be familiar to anyone who has had any dealings with the natural stone paving trade over the past decade or more. There's Paul Shephard! He used to run whatsitsname, the stone supplier in East Yorkshire. And that's the unmistakeable warm Mediterranean smile of Gino Bracco, legendary sales director who could schmooze a block of solid granite. And there's Gerry Childs, the stone man with the uncanny ability to be in three places at once. What a team!
Yes! After a brief period in the wilderness, here's living proof that you just cannot keep a good man down, or, in this case, good men.
Stone Paving Supplies is the new venture from one of the most experienced teams in the industry. What this lot don't know about what's what and what sells in the stone paving trade isn't worth knowing, so it's a safe bet that what follows in this first brochure will be rock-solid certainties, tried and tested favourites with proven track records and just enough flair to entice even the most jaded and cynical of observers.
And that's exactly what we get. Secondary processed sandstones and limestones, all high-end products with colours chosen to appeal to the mass market, supplemented with slates and granites. Honed, hammered, brushed and simply riven textures in all the imported stones that have dominated the market for the last 20 years, plus a few specials which, as far as I can tell, seem to be exclusive to Stone Paving Supplies.
Not just flagstones, but block pavers, too, in a three-size mix ideal for the traditional coursed layouts which work so well on homes of character. Sadly, they've fallen for the old, old mistake of referring to setts as cobbles, but this seems to be endemic on the supply side of the industry, probably because it's the default terminology in India. Still wrong, though!
They've even got a pleasing palette of Turkish porcelain , five colour options which should cover most tastes, and two sizes, the familiar 600x600 and a very attractive larger format 900x450mm.
Completing the offer is a selection of the Dutch clay pavers which work phenomenally well with natural stone, either as edging courses or as break bands or even as infill features. Like cheese and onion, chicken and asparagus, bacon and eggs, so with clay pavers and natural stone: some things were just made to be together.
It's a great collection for a new business. Nothing too risky, nothing that pushes the boundary too far, just certain winners from front cover to back. This has to be down to the years' and years' of experience this team have beneath their belts. If you had to draw up a shortlist of, say, thirty fail-safe paving and hard-landscaping products for residential use, this is almost certainly the list you'd have.
As for the brochure itself, it's a lot better than many first attempts, but, obviously, it's not going to unduly worry the style kings with the six-figure marketing budgets. It relies almost exclusively on photographs. Text is kept to the bare minimum, while packaging ad size information is neatly, if concisely, tabulated at the back of the brochure. The photographs themselves are just about good enough. There's a sprinkling of site shots that keep the interest level going, but many are close-ups, focussing on the product rather than the setting, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Overall, this is a very handy and relatively compact brochure that gives a good overview of what the Great British public are buying for their gardens and driveways in 2016. Feedback from stockists is, without exception, very positive. They like the brochure, as do their customers, and, more importantly, they have faith in what the team behind Stone Paving Supplies will offer. Good quality, interesting and reliable stone with a highly personal, and personable, support back-up.
Do we really need much more than that?
To get your own copy of the Stone Paving Supplies brochure....