KubeBath, a company which specializes in exclusive vanities and washroom accessories, first appeared on the map in 2008, and. Miguel Braga is the young entrepreneur behind this Toronto brand, that promises to continue to revolutionize the bathroom concept. Today the company operates in North America, South America and Europe and has achieved a record $25,000,000 in annual sales.
LusoLife: How did this company start?
Miguel Braga: In a way, by accident. After obtaining a degree in architecture, I began working for a construction company, and used the skills I learned in school to create kitchen furniture. One day, my previous business partner showed me a magazine showcasing some of the most modern apartments in the world. This led to us doing a market study and we started designing bathroom pieces.
LL: Who did the design?
MB: Usually it would be me, especially the furniture and shower equipment. With regards to bathtubs, we did a market study to see what the latest trends were in terms of color. The products have to be attractive, practical and easy to store. Our design is inspired by European style. Our materials are different and water proof. Incorporated in the furniture, we have washbasins in acrylic, that are very easy to clean. We have shower equipment made with solid brass, a material that will never rust and has a lifetime warranty. There’s nothing like this on the market. In fact, our only competition comes from Italy, but our prices are more affordable.
LL: Where do you export?
MB: US, Canada and recently, South America. Although we mostly sell to US, we also have clients in Europe. Although we only started exporting in 2016 the Americans have great purchasing power, which has served us well. Our catalog is composed by 1000 products and our team does everything possible to ensure we always have every piece in stock. We deliver the product to our client within 48 hours, which is rare in this business—most of the companies take two weeks.
LL: Can Portugal be the gateway to Europe?
MB: Through the Netherlands would be easier considering the taxes. However, Portugal can also be an option because the transportation is cheaper. I have visited Portugal several times over the past few years and the country has grown immensely. The urban buildings which were abandoned are now being rebuilt and since our products are contemporary, they and are perfect for these projects. Moreover, I think the quality of our products is superior to everything else that exists in Portugal.
LL: Have you already been invited to go to retail?
MB: We don’t have an aggressive attitude in sales because our products sell quickly. We.ve had proposals from Home Depot, Lowe’s and Rona, however we did not accept as we want it to continue to be a boutique store product.
LL: How can we buy your products?
MB: Through our website – kubebath.com. In the final section, to find a dealer simply insert your postal code to access a the list of stores near you where you can buy our products.
LL: What are your long-term goals?
MB: I would like to expand to South America and Europe. Soon we will be doing market studies in Portugal and then we will see!
LL: In case you had children, would you like the company to continue in the family?
MB: When I go to a store I like to come out with a new client, it’s not for the money, it’s something I enjoy. If I have children, he/she would go with me everywhere and I would teach him/her how to do sales (laugh)….but I’m always travelling , so it’s still early to think about that.
LL: What was the best sale that you have done?
MB: It was Saturday, the store was completely full. I had to talk to 20 people at the same time, that day we beat a sale record that had stood for two and a half years. The secret to a good sale is to not pressure the client. For the first five minutes, we have to break the ice, especially if it’s a new client, only after that we should discuss the benefits of our products.
LL: In school, you used to sell bracelets and jeans. How did that work?
MB: First, I would give away the bracelets to create a trend and then I would sell them. With the jeans, I did the same thing, I would wear them first, if my colleagues liked the style, I would tell them that I had more to sell. Everything without pressure (laugh).
LL: Who is Miguel Braga?
MB: A workaholic that can never take time off, even if I go to an island, the computer is always there with me. When I wake up, I make my coffee or tea and then start to work. I like to travel and help people. I’m friends with everyone, I don’t say anything bad about others and I don’t like it when others do. I’m obsessed with cars, I enjoy watching a good soccer match and love to dine with friends.
LL: Do you consider yourself vain?
MB: Very. I have friends in the fashion world. I like to personalize my clothes—every time I buy something new, I make alterations. I like shoes and combining colors. I have a huge collection of shoes, of all colors. I used to own a clothing store in Toronto and one day, I hope get back into it and create my clothing brand.
LL: Are you a typical “man from the North”?
MB: I don’t consider my personality to be a lot like the men from Northern Portugal, although I recognize that I’m aggressive in business and like to eat well.
LL: Why Canada?
MB: I came here to visit my mother and instantly hated it because was to cold (laugh). But then I thought about the future. At that time, I had a restaurant in Portugal and was tired of working every night. I love Toronto, it’s a safe, clean and multicultural city. It’s not like the US, where everything is segregated. Also, I have my mother here, so half of my heart is always in Canada.
LL: You are Portuguese and your wife is Chinese, who cooks in your home?
MB: We divide the work (laugh). On Wednesdays we eat Chinese and during the week we alternate between Portuguese restaurants. She loves leitão (roasted piglet), some types of fish and rapini rice.
LL: What is your favorite dish?
MB: I don’t have one, I have many. Cabidela Rice, cozido à portuguesa (portuguese stew), duck rice and snake. In China, the restaurants don’t have menus, the snakes and fish are alive in baskets and we choose how we want it to be prepared.
INTERVIEW: JOANA LEAL
PHOTOS: NOAH GANHÃO