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An aluminating idea
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 16:04

TCCM says it offers something quite different as Blinds & Shutters found out

“We’ve always sought to offer customers a range of shutters and related window coverings which offer something different from the rest of the market. So, yes, we’re pretty excited to be one of the first companies introducing an aluminium shutter product to the UK market.”

Let’s be clear – what Murray Clark, director of the TCMM Shutter Group refers to is not perhaps what you’re thinking. This is not some form of roller or security shutter that TCMM has introduced. It’s something quite different. The company, which historically makes up the majority of it’s sales selling a range of wooden plantation shutters through it’s different brands, has introduced a range of Aluminium shutters in exactly the same design as it’s wood counterpart.

“Aluminium shutters have grown from being a non-existent product in Australia some 10 years ago to today, being a large part of the window coverings market. It’s proved extremely popular as solution to screen and weather protect outdoor living spaces. The product is exceptionally adaptable and can be used on windows, as a moveable ‘wall’ in it’s own right or as a roof covering.”
From Australia, the initial seeds sewn in the US market in recent years are starting to bud and the product is starting to increase in recognition and sales penetration.

The Aluminium shutter range, which TCMM markets as Weatherwell and Weatherwell Elite, is manufactured both in China and the USA. Each range shares the same core product attributes – they look, to all intents and purposes like a regular wooden plantation shutter. They have a range of slat sizes, all adjustable and can be configured as fixed, hinged or sliding panels. The differences in the range are reflected in a range of product enhancements found in the Weatherwell Elite range – increased slat strength, greater manufacturing parameters and a number of clever security features not found on the standard Weatherwell range.

However, as Clark is the first to admit, a large part of the products success in Australia has been due to the marketing focus on selling the benefits of the product as an outdoor screening solution. Regions where good weather lends itself to outdoor living have been the most successful regions where the product has seen sales success.

“We’re not under any illusions that our aluminium shutters will take some time to resonate in peoples minds as a product they might consider.  Sure, people’s first thoughts about the shutter jump to images of sunnier climes than the UK, but that’s not necessarily a true picture of why the product works. It’s also great to screen off an weather protect when weather changes giving great protection from wind and rain.”

TCMM’s initial feedback since launching the product in initially via it’s US business has seen a good amount of interest in the product, despite it’s relatively high price point versus traditional wooden shutters.
“We launched sales of the product on our online business in the US 6 months ago and the majority of interest has come from building professionals. Regular retail consumers comparing the price against wooden shutters find the price jump a little difficult to compute but architects and building professionals have found the product a good value proposition.”

Clark believes that incorporating the product at the planning stage works well as it gives the opportunity to create some interesting living spaces. Panels can be manufactured by having very large panels (4m high x 1m wide) and therefore open up new possibilities for this style of moveable louvre shutter. At present, TCMM is working to develop a range specifically for Kelly Hoppen who is looking to incorporate in a number of her own projects currently underway in Asia.

“Aluminium opens up a range of applications where wood is just not suitable. It’s weatherproof, it’s strong and it looks fantastic. Be it for outdoor structures where a customer may be looking to shield themselves from the elements – including the unreliable British weather – through to indoor installations, we are confident the Weatherwell range will find an audience in the UK, just as it has overseas”

 

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