Independence, innovation, investment

Sarah Hitchings, sales and marketing director of The Residence Collection and Window Widgets, opens up about the recent management buyout and outlines what can be expected from them in the future, thanks to investment and a new way of thinking.

Now that the dust has settled, we can look back and reflect on the process of the management buy-out and, more importantly, look to the future where our destiny is very much in our own hands, yet with the added security of strong financial backing from Shawbrook Bank.

While customers have seen little change if anything, inside the business it’s a flurry of activity as we commence an investment and business growth programme.

Now that the shackles of being a corporate subsidiary have been removed, the business is evolving back into an owner/managed entity that is being built on entrepreneurial flair and spirit. We already have a detailed budget for the year ahead, with bold aims for further growth and an investment programme across all aspects of the business including marketing, operations and product development.

The response at the time in the middle of December was nothing short of remarkable and the well wishes from across the industry was really quite humbling. Yet the festive break was also an opportunity to put the buy-out behind us and to focus on the year ahead with a clear head and conscience.

We’re very much going back to the founding principles of the business in terms of innovation and both a can and will do attitude. We’ve already started a product development programme under the watchful and expert eye of Mike Hart, technical director, while Gregory Pigott, finance and commercial director, is tasked with looking after all things money related.

The financial backing that we now have will also enable us to invest in the business operations across both brands under the stewardship of operations director Richard Bonner. So, collectively, we all have a strong role to play to help support the further growth and aspirations of both The Residence Collection and Window Widgets.

Window Widgets is a more mature entity and so we will continue to develop solutions for PVCU and aluminium window and door manufacturers, along with installers of all glazing materials. We will also look to communicate the benefits of an instantly recognisable brand to all industry sales channels including the trade counter segment, which is still showing strong growth.

But from a product perspective, The Residence Collection is more than likely to receive the greatest attention when it comes to innovation and development. R9 was the beginning of our sortie into super-premium window and door systems and remains the ultimate true timber alternative window and door. R7 as its younger sibling is enjoying a surge of interest over the last 12 months thanks to its 75mm platform, seven different substrates and a defining range of colours, finishes and hardware.

The plan is to also help ignite sales of R2, R9’s true contemporary cousin with a same 100mm footprint, yet with all the 19thcentury timber window detailing replaced with square contemporary lines and urban appeal. Alongside R2, we’ll also be pushing our engineered RD door range which offers a number of positive benefits over a composite door including a broader range of sizes and the use of strong, stable PVCU profiles for outstanding product longevity. For homeowners with windows from The Residence Collection, it’s the opportunity to finish off their respective homes with a beautiful and accompanying front door.

With independence, innovation and investment very much part of our future, we’re already back on track as an owner/managed company that is being built and nurtured with entrepreneurial flair and spirit. It’s the feeling of comfort and coming back to our home and ultimately our residence.

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