Winning a TTA Award can have a very positive impact on the winning company or individual – as Sharon Taylor of Viva Tiling discovered when she won the Award for Fixer of the Year in 2017.
She landed the sizeable job she has been working on for the last few weeks directly as a result of her TTA Award win last May, for instance. Sharon’s speciality is in the highly-skilled area of mosaics, and, having won the Award last year, the industry has become aware of Sharon’s skills in this particular area, and she has has benefitted from a number of referrals as a result. The project in the upmarket London townhouse she is currently working on, which has mosaics in three rooms, came her way as a result of one of these referrals.
“Winning the Award has been really good for me and I would encourage all fixers to look seriously at entering this year. I have certainly found that it has greatly increased the profile of my business,” says Sharon. “A lot of tilers don’t like working with mosaics, especially translucent ones, as they view them as difficult to install, but this Award has enabled me to position myself 100% as a mosaics expert, and that has led to increased business. Not only has my turnover gone up, but the new work tends to be high end, higher margin jobs. This allows me time to be more creative, which is what really interests me.”
The creative side of tiling has always been important to Sharon, unsurprisingly, given her background in graphic design. Following a number of years in packaging design, she decided in 2007 to retrain in wall and floor tiling. After completing a course with Specialist Trade Courses at Harlow, Essex, Viva Tiling was born.
Early influences were the Bisazza Mosaic Course ran by STC which introduced a love of mosaics. Following completion of the Advanced Bisazza course in Italy in 2008, Sharon became determined to be a mosaic specialist, an aspiration which is now fully realised.
Sharon steadily developed a reputation for working on steam rooms, ice fountains, spa baths, curved seating and shower units, and any other surface that requires mosaics. Her projects have included work on new spas in leisure centres, including the new Hilton Conference Hotel at Heathrow (T5), as well as private domestic steam rooms around the UK.
On the back of winning the Fixer of the Year Award, Sharon has moved her online promotion up a gear, updating her website and making sure she is fully exploiting the benefits of social media, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. She is also now on the point of getting more heavily involved in training, passing on her skills to new entrants into the trade.
“The whole area of training is one that interests me, since there are so many specialist skills involved with fixing mosaics,” she says. “The developments which have taken place within my business over the last year, mean that I am now able to look at ways I might be able to make a contribution to skills development in our sector, which is very exciting for me.”
Aspiring entrants to this year’s Awards should visit the special TTA Awards website, where they will be able to enter online.