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History of Conservatory Blinds Ltd.
The business was established by Peter Matthews in May 1995, who still remains the owner and Managing Director.
The business offered pli-sol pleated blinds and French pinoleum blinds, both of which were highly exclusive in the mid-late 90's. We were also one of the first conservatory blind specialists to create our own web site in December 1998.
By the end of the 1990's we had grown to 10 members of staff.
In December we also procured new premises in Ewell, near Epsom in Surrey, with a large showroom area, as well as enough office space for future expansion.
The year was mostly dominated by the need to establish our new offices and 2000 ft² showroom, as well as increasing our sales staff to try and cope with the higher demand for conservatory blinds.
2001 really was a key year for the company as we grew very quickly, increasing sales by over 25% and expanding our staff to cover even greater areas.
Following the huge increase in sales during 2001 and 2002 we noticed that our suppliers often struggled to keep pace with demand. So, at the end of the year we established our own manufacturing facility near Ashford in Kent.
This was another pivotal moment for the business and is probably the key reason why we have remained so successful, when so many other blind companies have struggled and failed.
This allowed us to develop the manufacturing process to achieve a much higher quality than ever before and provide truly made to measure conservatory blinds with complete control over quality and production schedules.
2003 was a very busy year, expanding our manufacturing and starting to design our own unique components based on our experience of UK conservatories, as opposed to just putting up with the generic options available.
During 2003 we also started to move away from using self-employed blind fitters (still the norm in this industry) and began employing our own full-time salaried conservatory blinds installers.
Although employing installers is much more costly, this allowed us to achieve far greater attention-to-detail than previously thought possible; the results of which can be seen in our exceptional customer feedback.
Fabric Control Cording was added to our pleated roof blinds in 2004, making them fit and operate much better, as well as preventing the fabric from "fanning-up" when shaped roof blinds were retracted.
Whilst this was a very costly addition to the manufacturing process, the resultant improvement in appearance and operation were significant.
In 2005 we moved to a much larger 6,000 ft² conservatory blinds factory in Ashford, Kent which allowed us to make a lot of improvements, as well as cope with a much higher demand.
2005 was also the first year when we manufactured all of our own conservatory blinds completely in-house. In fact, it was something of a breakthrough year for us.
Our conservatory blinds manufacturing also dramatically increased in 2006 to 25,000 conservatory blinds a year, thanks to our improved processes and investment in the latest technology.
These unique innovations in product development resulted in a huge leap in demand.
Following 3 years of co-development we launched puresolo™ Remote Control Blinds in April 2008 - the only system designed completely and specifically for remote control conservatory blinds.
The clear benefits in control options, appearance and reliability are obvious, which quickly made puresolo™ Remote Control Blinds the market leader.
Not only were the benefits clear to the public, but our innovative design meant that the blinds were neater, more reliable and much easier to install.
Following the 'credit crunch' we were determined to concentrate on increasing the quality of what we do, rather than worry about cheap prices.
We spent a great deal of 2009 continuing to develop puresolo™ remote control so that it could control up to 99 conservatory blinds individually, in groups or all at the same time.
January 2010 saw the launch of a new range of cheap conservatory blinds aimed at competing with general blind retailers. Our Classic Pleated Blinds offer much better quality – but at the same low price.
Our pureaspect™ Gable Blinds were launched in March 2010. These unique blinds not only fit any shape of gable neater than other pleated blinds, but are completely retractable - with no wires or cords covering the glass whatsoever.
With the increasing number of different conservatory colours now becoming popular, 2011 saw us introduce two new colours to our standard hardware colour range (Lichen Green and Golden Oak).
We also expanded our manufacturing into an additional factory unit, allowing us to establish our own powder coating facility allowing us to colour all of our aluminium components in-house, and even provide completely custom finished rails to any colour.
In September, having outgrown our existing work space, we expanded our Surrey offices and redesigned our showroom as part of a company-wide rebranding that would take a number of months.
New technical innovations included completely new mounting profiles for all types of roof blinds, helping to create much neater fitting at the top and bottom of conservatory roofs, as well as the option of mitred corners... something that is impossible to achieve with any other blind system.
2012 also saw us employ new staff from the very top echelons of the industry, including top installers and salespeople with market-leading expertise.
In March of 2013 we designed, manufactured and installed the world's largest remote control Duette® Blinds.
In November we recruited a new member of our Installation Team in the North, with over 25 years experience.
We also launched our online customer help area, allowing customers to troubleshoot any problems with their blinds themselves, without having to pay for a service call.
New Child Safety Regulations brought a huge shake-up to the Industry, with changes to Duette® blinds, Pinoleum blinds, Roman blinds, Roller blinds and Vertical blinds.
We introduced a popular new colour (Porcini) to our existing hardware range and created a new mounting profile to reduce light gaps in gables and roof vent blind installations.
But the biggest news of 2014 was our purchase of new 14,000ft² freehold factory premises in Ashford, Kent that we custom-designed and built to our specialist manufacturing requirements.
2014 was also a year of record enquiries and record sales for Conservatory Blinds Ltd.
2015 marked our 20th Anniversary, and we were able to take a look back at how we had changed over the last two decades – becoming true conservatory blinds experts, with our own unique ranges of blinds designed specifically for conservatories.
We also improved our lead times by implementing a new system of sending paperwork into our offices, which involved each member of our sales and installation teams being given a company iPad outfitted with a range of custom apps.
I was really pleased with the positive attitude of the staff, they swiftly measured my conservatory and provided a very reasonable quotation.
Very impressed when they came to fit the blinds, excellent and superb quality of the blinds. They fitted them and cleaned up after they had finished, explained how to operate them and went through the cleaning of the blinds.
I felt very satisfied with this company and would recommend them to anyone who needs blinds. Very polite and friendly, happy to answer any questions.