Family values

Helen and Laura Richardson
Helen and Laura Richardson

A family ethos has been key to the ongoing success of TWR Group. Glass Times talks to Helen and Laura Richardson to find out more, daughters of MD, Terry Richardson, to find out more.

Operating for over two decades at the top of the industry is something to be acknowledged and for TWR Group it gives customers a huge sense of confidence when purchasing the Northeast-based company’s products.

One of the main reasons the PVC-U and aluminium fabricator has continued at the top for so long is the family side of the business. Indeed, it’s the family-run ethos of TWR that is said to be behind its long-lasting success.

Started by managing director, Terry Richardson, in 2001, TWR has grown from starting life as a PVC-U fabricator before gaining a significant foothold in the aluminium bi-fold market in 2012.

Alongside Terry in the business are daughters Laura and Helen, who have progressed through the business on quite different paths.

“I joined the business straight from college and took a job in the office on the phones before taking an interest in the finance side. I was trained by the accountants and did an open University course, and it progressed from there,” said finance director Laura, who has been at TWR for 15 years. “I’ve always been more like my dad in terms of wanting to get straight into a job instead of going down the academic route, so it was a natural progression.”

Key accounts director, Helen, who has been at the company full-time for seven years, said: “I worked on the trade counter from 15 in the holidays and through university to tide me over, before I went to university to do a degree in psychology. I spent time working as a staff nurse before I came back to work here in 2015.

“But there was never any kind of pressure that we’d have to work here for neither of us, Dad’s always left it open for us to discover our own path, and I’ve just naturally come into it.”

“It’s wonderful working as a family as we are really close, although it does have its moments of course,” said Laura. “You’ve got to take things with a pinch of salt and just move on if there’s a disagreement, and business can take over outside of work. I think it’s nice from dad’s point of view as we’re younger and bring new ideas to him.”

Family run businesses offer several unique advantages including an atmosphere that puts customers and staff first – and it’s a USP that both agree has been crucial to TWR’s success.

“That personal investment and the family values are what shine through; we’re not just working for somebody, we care about what we do, the business, our customers and our staff too,” said Helen.

“It’s personal and we never switch off, and there’s a greater sense of commitment and accountability, as it’s the business and family at stake. We’re more invested in the business and I think that has help us form tighter, and more long-term relationships, with customers – and it’s why we have many long-term customers and repeat business.”

And what does the future hold for both daughters at TWR?

“We know dad will take a step back one day but that doesn’t daunt us as he’ll always be on hand, plus we’ve worked together a long time and know the business, staff and our customers inside out,” said Laura.

And Helen added: “We want to make sure we’re quicker and more efficient and modernise the company a bit more where it needs it. We introduced a tracking system five years ago on the aluminium factory floor so we could see a job from order to going out on the van and we now need to get the PVC-U side of the business to follow suit.”

The secret to TWR’s success in such a competitive market is simple then – a combination of family values with high-quality products and outstanding customer support.