Stoneasy.com, the online wholesaler of hard landscaping materials, has expanded its portfolio of outdoor porcelain paving and launched a new range of artificial grass. PBM reveals more.
Initially established in 2007, Belgium-headquartered Stoneasy.com started supplying into the UK market in early 2014 by offering a broad portfolio of ethically-sourced natural stone products such as Indian sandstone and limestone, Chinese granites, Vietnamese bluestone and Turkish travertine. Central to its approach from the outset was a bespoke online trading platform intended to greatly simplify the process of sourcing and importing hard landscaping products, delivering cost savings through affordable prices, improved efficiencies and — removing even more headaches — no paperwork.
PBM first spoke to founder and Director Bram Callewier two years ago to ask him what set Stoneasy apart from its rivals in what continues to be an increasingly crowded and competitive market. In reference to the firm’s natural stone collection, he said at the time: “Stoneasy.com should be seen as a highly efficient supply chain system that provides peace of mind for the busy merchant — we take care of quality control, shipment, customs, transport and any administrative hassle that might interrupt your working day, but our customers can still benefit from as competitive a price as they would by importing directly. This all comes at a fixed price at the time of ordering, so there are no surprises if exchange rates or freight rates go up later on.”
This exacting philosophy has continued to underpin the company’s more recent product expansion, with the online approach remaining central to its service offering. Considerable investment has been made in further developments to the website, ultimately allowing the business to concentrate on providing a better service — fixed prices are instantly available, whilst the customer is able to track orders any time of the day. Equally, as the site proclaims, the portal is streamlined to such an extent that new customers wanting to set up an account can simply “sign up today and buy your stone online tomorrow!”
Porcelain paving solutions
Building on its core offering of natural stone, last year Stoneasy.com launched its first range of outdoor porcelain paving products. Reflecting the growing popularity of porcelain, the firm successfully launched its OCS range with an initial collection of nine designs on full body, 20mm thickness tiles. The supplier has now expanded its OCS porcelain portfolio for 2018 with brand new designs, bigger sizes — from 600 x 600mm and 900 x 600mm, to 1200 x 600mm — and a choice of pack sizes (depending on the collection) suitable for any outdoor patio.
As also detailed in an accompanying brochure, the collection is described as providing “a wide range of extremely durable, ceramic, outdoor tiles that will retain their beautiful colours for years — even in the most extreme weather conditions.” Requiring virtually no maintenance, the range is marketed as six individual collections — Tea-time, Naturals, Bluestone, Pietra Sabbiosa, Reverso and Cardoso Grigio — to offer a choice between both sleek, contemporary and more traditional styles in a selection of colours, patterns, and sizes.
For example, the minimalist Tea-time offers a “warm pallet of colours, with subtle beige and grey shade variations” whilst the Naturals range is inspired by natural stone designs such as travertine, basalt, granite and quartzite. Of the three options under the Italian Coem brand heading, Pietra Sabbiosa offers “the pleasant look of sandstone in warm, neutral shades” whilst Reverso “interprets the back side of travertine slabs… in line with the ‘raw’ trend of irregular surfaces”.
Soneasy.com holds product on the ground in the UK and, starting from a single box up to a full load, the products can be swiftly delivered to merchants’ own stockyards.
From a customer perspective, thanks to their straight, ‘rectified’ sides and angles, the tiles can be installed quickly and tightly with small joints. The tiles — which are fully tested in line with relevant European Standards — have a minimum anti-slip value of R11, whilst they are also impervious to moisture and temperature change to ensure they are fully frost-proof to EN ISO 10545-12.
In addition, the porcelain paving range is suitable for different tiling systems including traditional, on screed or — as a result of their “nearly perfect calibration” — on pedestals.
Porcelain tiles are said to be very easy to maintain, ensuring that any patio will look like new for years. Indeed, sweeping or regular cleaning with water and a non-aggressive detergent is sufficient as periodic maintenance — after installing and grouting, any cement residue can be removed by using Lithofin KF Cement residue remover but sealers and oily detergents are not to be used as, due to the low porosity, they will remain on the tile surface as a greasy layer.
As part of its desire to be a single source supplier for a merchant’s hard landscaping needs, the company has also recently introduced a brand new range of artificial grass. Available in 15, 30 and 38mm thicknesses, the product is said to facilitate easy installation, is UV-resistant and requires only minimal maintenance. Designed and produced in Belgium, the artificial grass can be despatched in quantities from as little as just one 25 x 4m roll.
Support for stockists
Whilst its online platform is central to the company’s ‘all-in-one’ service provision, Stoneasy.com recognises its stockists also require comprehensive ‘offline’ support. Merchants will have access to a dedicated account manager, whilst a full package of brochures (which can be overprinted with the stockist’s details, if required) and samples are available.
Account Manager Charlotte Verschueren said: “The Stoneasy.com promise is to take cost issues out and allow merchants to set good margins. Once a customer has confirmed their price, it is fixed — there are no hidden costs in terms of exchange rates or shipping, for example. Registration via the website is a very easy process — just click and sign up — and this is typically processed within 24 hours. We have high levels of repeat business because our customers know that if there’s anything we can do to help them to increase their sales, we will do it!”
This article first appeared in the June 2018 edition of Professional Builders Merchant.