In the 80s it was net curtains, in the noughties it was Venetian blinds. But now there’s a new fashion sweeping across the Atlantic and into UK homes – window shutters.
The timeless, elegant, sophisticated look of shutters has been part of Canadian and American heritage for decades, so much so that in the picturesque town of Woodstock it is illegal for residents not to have them.
But the high-end, classic look and stylish appeal of shutters has finally caught on over here – and one local blinds retailer has launched a new luxury sister company to satisfy the demand in Milton Keynes and surrounding villages.
Craig Hindmarsh (pictured above left), owner of Hinds Blinds, has set up Elizabeth Francis Shutters with his best friend and business partner Joe Connolly (above right).
The brand name is a combination of the name of Joe’s mum, Elizabeth Angela Connolly, and his auntie, Helen Francis Dunbar.
Craig revealed that the incredible growth of Hinds Blinds over the past three years and the increased demand for shutters has left him with little option but to expand his business portfolio.
“In our first year at Hinds Blinds I had to turn down at least 25 shutter jobs,” he said. “People were asking for them all the time and now it has just gone crazy, so Joe and I have decided to launch a new company, Elizabeth Francis Shutters.
“Our ethos for the business will be the same that has worked so well for Hinds Blinds. I treat every customer like they’re my auntie, so I’ll go round and look after them when I’m going through samples or measuring up.
“Our job is all about quality so I try to be millimetre perfect with my measurements.
“I want your friends to come round your house, see the great job we have done, and then call us up to do their blinds or shutters too.
“That’s why the business has been so successful, it’s grown through word of mouth and often we end up doing fittings for a whole street.”
Craig now has a team of staff working for him, each with their own van, and he is excited about the launch of the new business.
“I’m excited because I know it’s a great product, they are all Sandringham shutters and they look really nice,” said Craig.
“Joe’s bay window was the first set of shutters we fitted and it looks fantastic (pictured above left). That gave us the confidence to go for it, so we gave our first 25 customers their shutters at cost price.
“I always aim to be about 30% cheaper than all the competitors and this will be the same with our shutters.
“Our quality is outstanding but we are able to offer such great prices because we don’t have a shop, so we don’t have any overheads.”
But what is it ultimately that entices customers to go for shutters over blinds? “It’s a high-end, clean look and we’ve already started to sell lots to people who live in the nice villages around MK,” explained Craig.
“You can open them to get some natural light in but still keep your privacy. The house looks a lot more secure too.
“If you want that high-quality, fashionable show-home look then shutters are certainly the way to go.”
For more information visit http://www.hindsblinds.co.uk or call 01908 900142.
This article was published in the February issue of Celebrate:MK lifestyle magazine. Read the full digital magazine here