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Marketing Maneuvers

Escea’s U.S. Launch Is a Major Success

Combining leading-edge technology with remarkable style, New Zealand-based Escea is now offering its innovative gas fireplaces to North American hearth retailers. Merging clean, contemporary, and visually appealing design with the latest advances in gas-fire technology, Escea products are sure to provide years of use and enjoyment.

Escea was founded in 2002 by Nigel Bamford, managing director, and business partners Alan McGregor and Garth Milmine. “They felt the gas fire was still mired in decades-old technology and in bad need of some innovative thinking,” Mark Cowden, marketing manager, says. Bamford (a mechanical engineer with experience managing a gas-appliance retail/installation business), Milmine (an accountant), and McGregor (a toolmaker) all set out to build a company that would offer the world’s most groundbreaking gas fires.

Three years were spent in product design and development before Escea’s official launch in 2005. This dedicated time has definitely contributed to the company’s success today. “While an average fireplace could have been designed in considerably less time, Escea fireplaces are technologically advanced, and aesthetically are very stylish; that gives us the edge in the market,” Cowden says. More important, longer product development also helped establish Escea’s culture, which focuses on blending superior quality and function with pioneering design.

Escea’s glass-fronted fireplaces are impressive enough to be used as the design focus of any room, and they make a bold statement. Both outdoor vent-free and indoor direct-vent fireplaces are available, and all Escea gas fireplaces offer a very wide and louver-free style.

According to Cowden, Escea’s designs come from a talented and experienced world-class staff and a well-defined design process with a critical peer evaluation. Vital communication with the company’s dealers and end users is also an important contribution. “One of our strong drivers is to listen to our customers,” he says.

Escea’s gas fireplaces include technical advances never seen before in the industry. While currently not available in the United States, a world-first innovation offering remote-control activation of a gas fireplace via cell phone or computer was recently developed by the company.

Every Escea gas fire comes with a wireless control, enabling the user to direct temperature from a wall-mounted cradle or from any room in the home. “We are always working on new technology and new ideas,” Cowden says.

In terms of reducing a home’s carbon footprint, Escea’s glass-fronted indoor units are also an incredibly efficient source of home heating, burning a third of the gas used by traditional open-front gas fires. The company also offers an outdoor model that features vent-free technology. This cutting-edge gas fire advance requires no chimney, which allows all heat to be directed to the outdoor area. “With the concerns of climate change, we continually strive to make our fireplaces more efficient and clean burning,” Cowden says.

In addition, all Escea fireplaces are zero rated and therefore can be built into a standard wall, since they do not require fire-rated materials. This contributes to the product’s overall efficiency, simplifies installation, and reduces costs.

In the past four years, Escea has grown to become one of the largest gas-fireplace manufacturers in Australia and New Zealand. Escea plans to continue to devote the required resources to product development by working consistently to improve efficiency and performance, while maintaining its position as a leader in sophisticated, upscale fireplace design.

Escea began its launch in the United States with its very successful display at the 2008 HPBExpo in Atlanta. The company now has sales representation in most areas, but is still recruiting representatives for some states. Its plan is to make its products available exclusively to independent specialty stores. The company is still actively seeking dealers who share its passion for good design. Deliveries from the company’s base in Griffin, Ga., are made anywhere in the United States within five days. For more information on Escea products, call (866) 615-3096 or visit www.escea.net.

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