Does anyone even care about quality these days? Is “Made in China” really the best we can do? Will no one manufacture here anymore? Must it always be on the cheap? Doesn’t anyone at all care about honestly putting in the pride before the label goes on? How in the world did we ever get to such a place, and where do we go from here?
Excuse that little tirade, but these are the questions I ask myself whenever I go in search of various products for our home. And, really, it doesn’t seem to matter very much what you’re looking for. The odds are very good that it’s been made in China on the cheap. We have a sectional couch in our living room that has truly seen its day, but I’m reluctant to replace it for fear the new one will be made, you guessed it, in China on the Cheap. It’s really that bad nowadays. Busted and outmoded is better quality than the proposed replacements. These days it’s hard to even get a woodworking tool made to professional standards because so many manufacturers have sold out to cheap China made.
But Jeez Louise, we haven’t all lost our wits, have we? Surely, some of us continue to believe in quality and expect to pay for that wonderful attribute. I’m not alone in this, am I? And even as I say that, I know I’m not. So, really, I think the better question is, who are those others who feel this way, and how do we get those people to work for us? And suddenly I find myself with the very concept with which to start a blog on a company that really is going up the down staircase—and doing so quite nicely, I might add.
Unlike so many other products these days, Diamond Spas is not made in a Chinese sweatshop of some sort. They do not cut corners in the choice of materials. They do not promise one thing and deliver another. Their products are not made to look like quality; they are made to BE quality. I should also point out that they are decidedly not inexpensive, but hey, if cheap is what you want there is an absolute abundance of that going around these days. Want it fast, what it cheap, want it shoddy—you certainly don’t need me! Read a shill’s blog. But if what you want is that rarest of things these days, an honest-to-goodness, well-designed, superbly crafted product, then let me introduce you to one of the slickest companies going around these days.
Interestingly enough, the company itself grew out of a wish, a craftsman, and a total commitment to quality. Stephanie met Tom in Colorado. She’d gone there for a bit of rest and relaxation after graduating from college. The planned short stay became four years, and the friendship blossomed, and then Fate intervened. For the life of me I don’t know why a new tub becomes that important at that point in one’s life, but it was Stephanie’s lifelong dream, and she shared it with Tom. His response was, “You design it, and I’ll make it.” And damned if that’s not what happened! A few weeks later they were in his shop assembling a metal bath, bending and tacking until they had the form just so. It was for Stephanie the perfect bath, and the epiphany followed hard on its heels. Why not combine resources and form a company to make quality baths for others?
That was in 1996, which really amazes me, given the size of the company today. It took several years for the product line to gain attention, but it was more than just clever advertising that built their success. It was the products themselves. People just don’t do work like that anymore, or at least not with the consistency that was once the norm in this country. Quality used to be the hallmark of Made in America. Now it’s Made in China, and it’s junk, but NOT, I am happy to say, everything. There is still Diamond Spas.
Because it’s how we started this blog site, I have spent a great deal of time with kitchen designs, but the one constant for me has always been a sense of wonderment at the way those rooms are put together these days. Almost invariably, those rooms are assembled of prefabricated cabinets. You have a wall of such-and-such a length, and you then find ways to make those cabinets fit into that space because going over or under the prescribed dimensions is a variance that will only cost you more. I have never understood why people seeking a new kitchen don’t enlist the services of a small independent cabinetmaker who will happily make those cabinets to any size, but there it is.
I bring that up, though, because ALL of the work done by Diamond Spas is custom fabricated exactly to their clients’ specifications. Tell them what you want, and they’ll deliver. Oh, man, will they deliver!
They don’t use PVC or plastic or any other such material for their spa bodies. They use only stainless steel and copper, both of which are substantially recycled, up to 95% in the case of the latter. When they get an order, they don’t roll out the X49 model or any other prefabricated, preformed, pre-thought-out model. They consult with their clients and build accordingly, which means they haven’t the foggiest idea of what they’re going to build for you until you tell them! If it’s something they’ve never done before, so much the better. Face it. Creative people live for that kind of challenge. And if, on your end, you’ve enlisted the services of an architect, landscape architect, pool builder, interior designer, custom home builder or sundry and varied other outrageously creative people, MAN, are you in for a treat! That sort of thing is very often a case of genius meets genius, and it is surely a significant part of what has helped them assemble such an awesome portfolio. Well, that, and the people who work for them.
It began as a him and her team, a dynamic duo, if you will, but along the way it became husband and wife but still dynamic. As their company has prospered they have added to staff, but the employee turnover is any Human Resources Manager’s dream, pretty close to zero, really. It’s not hard to figure out why this should be so. I’ve no doubt that they’re nice people, but what they’ve put together is the dream workplace for any craftsperson who truly loves the work. You don’t stand at an assembly line; you don’t do the same damned thing every day. You create projects that might better be described as adventures. You go places you’re not often sure you can go, and you do it with the finest in materials, and never, never, never a mold to repeat a project because the next one will be like this one: unique.
Diamond Spas is, to paraphrase the tagline from a car commercial some 45 years ago, a most unconventional company, has been since its inception. Armed with little more than an idea and a pittance in seed money, they set out to make high-end products from the very beginning. They do not use conventional materials or take conventional shortcuts, and the conventional wisdom of elevating the ROI (return on investment) over product quality has always been anathema to them. Then and now it is a company run on passion; their projects are their heart. Unconventional? Decidedly so. Diamond Spas does not build conventional spas.
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