Photo by Melanie Acevedo
In an episode of ICONIC Hour, Barbara Sallick shares her experience of being a woman entrepreneur in the ‘80s and how she created the Waterworks brand.
Barbara Sallick is a role model for all entrepreneurs, changing the narrative of a woman’s role in a male dominated industry. Sallick is the co-founder of high-end bath and kitchen design brand Waterworks. Her son Peter Sallick, is the CEO and creative director. In a recent episode of ICONIC Hour, she shares her experience of being an iconic woman entrepreneur and how she created the lavish brand you see today.
To hear the full conversation of Sallick’s story, take a listen to the podcast episode.
Before Sallick’s time in creating her luxury brand, she worked at Yale for six years. There, her position was in the 18th century department of arts. Within this job, her love for design began to blossom. Her understanding of how to elevate an object’s craftsmanship began to go far beyond her work at Yale and into her dream of creating a distinguished brand.
“There’s nothing like being inspired by majestic masterpieces, to allow you to think differently about the way you look at everything,” Sallick says to ICONIC LIFE Magazine founder, Renee Dee.
Sallick shared that she took her “Paul Revere teachings” from Yale and “reapplied it to faucets.” This was in close attention to detail of an object’s scale, proportion, balance and execution of overall design. She was on a journey to create designs that were out of the ordinary.
As a business owner herself, Dee shared her point of view of design influence as well.
“Art gives you the ability to focus on something that is beautiful or provocative . . . but that new perspective starts to color everything you see around you” Dee expressed.
In collaboration with her father’s plumbing company and support from her husband, Robert Sallick, Waterworks was born.
“We had a vision of what a bathroom could be,” Barbara Sallick says. Although her and Robert Sallick’s contributions to Waterworks were different, they shared a “mad love of 18th century American decorative arts” for all designs. To find volume in their brand, they completely shifted the idea of modern design.
The change from colorful bathrooms to all-white bathrooms was a pivotal moment to not only their brand but a complete shift in the industry within the next five years. Sallick explained the incredible feeling it was to know she had found success in her vision and the brand overall. After this moment Barbara called herself the “queen of white.”
Photo by Max Kim Beep
“I feel that I could have made better decisions if I had someone to bounce them off of. Unless you have a mentor or a coach it is so much harder to move forward,” Sallick shared.
It’s important to not see competitiveness as a form of undervaluing your own work. Dee shared a first-hand experience with her son and how she tackled this mindset.
“We can have moments of doubt, sometimes you see someone doing something so well and if you don’t have that strong confidence in the moment, it can have a little impact. You’re good at what you’re doing . . . by eliminating those distractions it helps you stay true to what your mission and vision is, you can’t get caught up,” Dee says.
Under the helm of Sallick’s son, Peter, since 1993, the now globally recognized leader in bath design will be celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2028.
Photo by Nicole Franzen
Marketing and design keep evolving and changing. “We’re in a digital revolution,” Barbara Sallick says, so moving forward they will evolve with it.
“I did my best, I thought it through, I’ve made adjustments and I feel like I’m putting something out there that is genuinely beautiful,” Barbara Sallick shares.
Waterworks will continue making creations that will be ICONIC.