Baby birth drama has not halted dreams of showroom

Hazel and Damian Brant, of Azulejos Tiles, based at Grove Technology Park

Hazel and Damian Brant, of Azulejos Tiles, based at Grove Technology Park

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , covering business and Books Editor. Call me on 01865 425461

IT WAS a dream come true when Hazel and Damian Brant signed the lease to set up a tile showroom at Grove Technology Park.

But soon after, she discovered she was pregnant with her fourth child — and medical problems meant she spent the next three months in hospital, much of it in intensive care.

She said: “We had been trying for a fourth child for a long time and decided it wasn’t going to happen.

“But I fell pregnant just as we were signing the lease and spent three months in hospital. Damian was setting up the showroom in between visiting me in the intensive care unit.”

Mrs Brant gave birth six weeks early after being diagnosed with the rare condition placenta percreta and ended up having eight blood transfusions.

Both mother and baby made a full recovery and the showroom, Azulejos Tiles, opened last May.

She said: “Damian has been running a tile fitting business for 20 years, working for housebuilders and domestic customers, and people have asked if we could supply the tiles as well as fitting them.

“With the new showroom, the idea is that people can come here and see how the tiles would look in a room.

“We have a lounge area and fireplace, a bathroom and wet room. People who find it difficult to imagine different designs and colours can come and look.

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“Some people like to take their shoes off and have a walk around. It’s quite interactive.”

As the mother of four children aged 15 months to 12 years, she realises how difficult it is to make a decision with the family in tow.

So she set aside a play area for customers’ children, complete with sit-on dinosaur, tent, jigsaws and other toys.

Before taking the Grove lease, Mr Brant ran his business, Tiling Excellence, from home in Drayton, having learnt his skills building and repairing swimming pools on cruise ships.

He said: “We never advertised and it has all been by word of mouth.

“Before now we have either worked with tiles supplied by our customers, or been told where to get them from, as specified by the architect.”

The name Azulejos comes from the word tile in Portuguese – a language Mr Brant picked up from one of his staff – and supplies come from Italy and France as well as the UK.

As the business grows, the couple hope to take on more staff and Mrs Brant is keen to work fewer hours to fit in with family commitments.

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