Trend Transformations Rides HGTV Wave
It’s somewhat crazy that "Fixer Upper," "Flip or Flop" and "Property Brothers" are so popular their stars’ lives have become tabloid fodder. For Trend Transformations, an international flooring and home hard surface restoration franchise tied up with Tarek and Christina El Moussa, the drama surrounding their high-profile divorce has been outweighed by the visibility gains for their company that have risen along with the popularity of home renovation entertainment.
Originally started in 1996 as Granite Transformations, Trend Transformations has more than 150 worldwide locations and recently rebranded itself to reflect the diversity of its offerings. Based on the concept of thin veneers of high-quality and high-demand materials, Trend’s franchisees can do backsplashes, cabinet refacing, tub and shower conversions, fireplace refinishing, new flooring and, of course, upgraded counter tops.
One year into its new name, Trend Transformations is in 9 different countries. Its recent factory expansion gives the system greater bandwidth and is helping power a dramatic expansion plan to match an industry they say is currently growing at a 9.7% annual rate.
“That gives you an indication that this is a thriving industry,” said Mike Mallory, the company’s vice president of franchise development.
Compared with more traditional renovations, which often last several days at a minimum, Trend’s franchisees can often complete significant projects in as little as a day. “Oftentimes we’re done with a kitchen or bathroom in one day’s time,” he added. “Done in a day and beautiful for life.”
As a skeptical new homeowner who’s just learning the ropes of making wise renovation decisions, I asked Mallory how a thin veneer placed over existing materials can be as durable as a nice, thick slab of granite, for example. That question opened Pandora’s box and received a very enthusiastic retort from Mallory.
"There’s too many bad things about granite that people just don’t know about,” he said. “We’re making it much better, much stronger, much more resilient and, I hate to use the word, sexy.”
Including strength, which Mallory claims is at least as good as thicker, more traditional materials, the benefits include no harmful emissions, faster repairs and durability that matches the old-school approach, as he put it.
Jason Langford, Trend Transformation’s regional brand director, went even further. “To be honest with you, that’s actually not a concern of ours,” he said, addressing durability and longevity. “Our product is incredibly strong, it’s only one quarter inch thick, but it is stronger than these ridiculously thick materials that are out there in the market … [and] our product is used in some of the heaviest traffic places in the world such as London’s Heathrow Airport.”
While the company’s motto is “affordable luxury,” both men added that the company's services are “never going to be at the low end of the market.” The benefits, they reiterated, are convenience for homeowners in much shorter, much less invasive home renovations.
Our conversation got spicier when I asked about Tarek and Christina's high-profile divorce, which has received ample tabloid coverage and led to the cancelation of their show, "Flip or Flop." The El Moussa’s had previously signed on as official ambassadors for Trend Transformations. The partnership continues, and they remain under contract to promote the brand.
Langford declined to state whether the company was disappointed by their family drama. “I won’t comment, but what I will say is their show remains absolutely breaking all records on HGTV,” he said. “Our franchisees are using our marketing campaign featuring them right now … so it continues to bring people in the door.”
Mallory was more emphatic in defending the company’s celebrity partners. “I don’t think Tarek and Christina all of a sudden forgot how to do home renovations … and it shocks me when people bring up these questions,” he said. “You still want to go to a professional in the home remodeling industry and have their expertise help you make good decisions in your life.”
While your humble author has long advocated that companies avoid tying their hard-fought reputations to the whims of celebrities, so far this Trend Transformations partnership is more flip than flop—as long as the HGTV and DIY home renovation craze stays top of mind for TV binge watchers.