Young at heart

Amelia Gaughan and Ryan Fisher
Amelia Gaughan and Ryan Fisher

What does a modern fabricator look like? We talked to Affordable Windows Systems’ head of marketing Amelia Gaughan and sales manager, Ryan Fisher.

When it comes to offering a modern range of products, the first step is to define what your average customer looks like.

This is the view of Amelia Gaughan and Ryan Fisher, head of marketing and sales manager at Affordable Windows respectively.

Blackpool-based Affordable Window Systems has been supplying direct to the trade for 30 years, and have consistently supplied relevant products throughout the whole period – changing tack where necessary.

“People always want new technology and better-looking windows,” Amelia explains. “And in 2015 we decided to start manufacturing a flush sash casement window to meet these changing demands.”

Affordable Windows’ Timberlook windows are made with Aluplast’s Ideal 70 profile and flush sash using Timberweld technology. The result is an authentic timber-effect window, with all the advantages of PVC-U, including thermal efficiency, security, and minimal maintenance.

Amelia says that moving into this high-value market was risky, but it was something the company’s owners believed in. Plus, the market for window sales was changing, and Affordable Windows discovered they could directly influence the end user with their designs.

“Homeowners scroll through Pinterest and Instagram and they see lots of different things that they hope the installer will be able to provide them,” Amelia says. “We can take leads from here and pass them on to our trade customers, resulting in sales for us.”

Ryan explains that this shift in buying behaviour extends to the sales process, with homeowners engaging positively with modern techniques.

“I’ve been at Affordable Windows for 10 years now,” he says. “When I first started, a lot of the quotes were done by hand – customers used to fax drawings through to us, and we used to write the prices on by hand.

“Now, everything is done on the computer. Today, we are live on Tommy Trinder’s platform, with access to all of their 450 subscribers.”

This puts Timberlook windows directly in front of the homeowner, who can design windows in the comfort of their own home, including colour, handle options, and glass designs.

“Timberlook is a high-end product, so high-end services like this are priceless,” he says. “It actually frees up time for us to speak to customers and develop relationships.”

Affordable switched to Aluplast for the supply of flush sash windows in 2020, at the height of the Covid pandemic when its original supplier couldn’t supply coloured profile in the volumes required.

Aluplast stepped in with a suitable design, and thanks to a secure and reliable supply from the systems company, Affordable Windows maintained and grew its customer base during that difficult period.

In a commitment to delivering a comprehensive product suite, Affordable Window Systems took proactive steps to engineer bespoke single and double outward-opening flush doors, leveraging the profile already available from Aluplast. Recent updates to their product line-up have yielded impressive results, with these doors now boasting a remarkable thermal efficiency rating of 1.4W/m2K U-value.

Additionally, they have been rigorously tested and found to fully comply with Document Q of the Building Regulations, guaranteeing top-notch security standards. This dedication to innovation and compliance underscores Affordable Window Systems’ and Aluplast’s commitment to offering its customers the best quality products, profile and performance available.

Remaining youthful is a clear strategy for Affordable Windows, both in terms of remaining relevant to a changing market, and employing a young dynamic workforce.

“We became an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT), much like John Lewis, in 2018,” Amelia says. “So, the better the company does, the better the employee does as well. While many in our industry complain that glass and glazing isn’t attractive to the younger generation, this model is attracting lots of young candidates.”

“And being able to offer the digital sales tools attracts the younger window fitters to work with us,” Ryan explains. “Which, in turn, builds a younger customer base as well.”