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Origin's blind ambition

Neil Ginger, CEO of Origin, explains how  seizing a gap in the market and listening to customers has created a £13m turnover business.

Folding sliding doors, or bi-folds, have become increasingly popular amongst homeowners, architects and developers in recent years for the abundance of light and uninterrupted views they create.

However, while bi-folds have become the door of choice in renovations, until recently manufacturers of blinds and shutters have not offered a bespoke soft furnishing solution to dress this style of door. The only solution previously available was integral blinds within the glazing, which were often considered too commercial in style. What was needed was a blind suitable for the home, offering privacy and security, uninterrupted views of the outdoors without obstructing the bi-folds.

This did not go unnoticed by Origin, a British manufacturer of bi-fold doors. The company has a history of finding solutions. In fact, the business was established when its CEO Neil Ginger, alongside his cousin Victoria Brocklesby, could not find high quality bi-fold doors for customers while working for their fathers’ swimming pool business. Neil and Victoria saw a gap in the UK market for aluminium bi-folding doors and Origin was born. Now a £13 million turnover business, with operations in Dubai and America, Origin designs, develops and manufactures its bi-fold door system from its High Wycombe facility.

In 2012, answering to demand from trade partners and consumers, the company added electric roller blinds to the Origin brand. This new offering to the market was introduced in much the same way as the bi-folding doors – as a simple solution for bi-fold doors.

Origin’s range of handmade made-to-measure electric roller blinds, available in a wide range of colour and print options, were designed to be individually tailored to any bi-folding door installation, not just those manufactured by Origin, making them the ultimate soft furnishing for bi-fold doors.

Neil Ginger, CEO of Origin says: “Introducing blinds to the Origin brand was an obvious solution for our bi-folding doors, as no one else in the market was producing this sort of blind product. The bespoke blinds for bi-folds are completely unique to Origin.

“Bi-folding doors make such a wonderful statement in a home that we wanted to create a range of complementary blinds that really enhanced the doors. Our blinds fit precisely with our made-to-measure bi-fold doors in a range of up-to-the-minute colours, prints and textures. Whether it’s for shade from the sun, privacy at night time or a specific look, our blinds are classic, practical, neat and stylish. We believe we have the perfect soft-furnishing solution for bi-folding doors with our electrically operated, roller blind system, which allows the blinds to work independently covering one door or the whole set of doors, using a discrete remote control.”

The blinds have been configured to fit perfectly with Origin bi-folding doors – each blind is made entirely bespoke at Origin’s facility.  All Origin blinds are designed for complete safety, by incorporating features such as cord and chain tidy, cord and chain cleat, bell toggle and easy break chain connectors. High quality mechanisms make the blinds easy to operate and a range of fabrics, textures, finishes and features allow a truly personal look to be created. Blackout and water-resistant options are also available.

The demand for this soft furnishing solution for bi-folds is evident through the popularity of the company’s blinds. Since launching, Origin has seen sales of its blinds soar by 250 per cent year on year from 2012 to 2013.

For Origin’s network of trade agents, the blinds offer a very profitable opportunity, as they are easy to sell alongside the bi-folding doors. For homeowners, the blinds are hidden in a colour-matched cassette, which fixes neatly inside the reveal or to the top track of the doors to completely conceal the blinds when not in use. This means homeowners can have a completely uninterrupted view of the outside, as the cassette does not obstruct the doors or glazing at all.

Homeowners can opt for electric roller blinds and Origin has recently introduced a battery powered motor to its product range, which means that no electrical work is involved in installation.

Ginger says: “Our aim was to make the blinds as easy as possible to sell on top of the door sales, as well as make the blinds simple for our trade partners to install. The feedback so far has been fantastic – many trade agents are amazed at how quickly the product can be installed, while homeowners have been delighted with the end result.”

Origin has added a whole soft furnishings department at its headquarters, which has added to the overall growth of the business. The blind materials, made from Louvolite fabric, are also available for cushions, throws and other soft furnishings, to tie together the whole decor and style of a room or property.

Ginger concludes: “As a British manufacturer, customer satisfaction, personal service and attention to detail are core to our business. We are constantly considering new ways that we can grow and offer more to our trade partners.

“We are proud of our tailor-made electric blind system, which is the perfect solution for homeowners and trade partners who have installed bi-folding doors.”





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