April 2020

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A view from the inside

As the UK adjusts to life in lockdown, doors seem heavier than ever with their symbolism. Never has it been more important to us which side of the door we’re on. The one thing we can all be certain of, is that no matter how well crafted a solid, hospital fire door may be – it’s not something we’re hoping to have to ponder anytime soon.

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As I sat wistfully dreaming about the days when I can roam the streets freely again, admiring the doors all around, it dawned on me that I could take this crisis as a forced shift in perspective… a front door has two sides and both deserve appreciation and care!

Why should the external-facing side of a door get all the limelight? Sure, it’s what your neighbours see – but only fleetingly when they’re getting into the red Volvo to pop to get some ‘bits’ from the shop. Isn’t it important that we ensure the inside view of your door is as equally aesthetically pleasing? What should we value more – what the outside world views or what we’ll see countless times a day, every single day?

So I asked friends to send over the ‘inside view’ (admittedly much less juicy than the ‘inside scoop’). Perhaps out of sheer boredom, people rose to the challenge and the photos came flooding in. But it soon became apparent that whilst a door seen from the outside holds a certain air of intrigue and mystique – (who or what lies behind there…?), the reverse view seems cold and oppressive. That could be lockdown speaking, but see for yourself how a crack peeping through to the other side makes a world of difference.

Of course, some doors look better than others left ajar and I’m certainly not suggesting that doors should be left open all over the country for the sheer tantalising beauty of the outside view. But if the inside view of a door is too depressing, then crack it open and see if that eases the melancholy.

The other thing that struck me about the inside view of a door, is how it can actually be like a piece of art within your home. Maybe you don’t have the money to buy the latest oil pastel canvas from a budding artist but who cares when you can ensure your door has enough striking features to be considered a work of art all by itself.

In making the case for the internal view of doors to be deemed art, consider these:

How this classic, subtle glass design reinvigorates the otherwise plain, white entrance.

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How this almost psychedelic, modern-art looking glass commands attention.

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How the pleasing symmetry of geometric glass gives a calming feel of order shielding you from a messy outside world.

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How bold coloured doors give an enormous splash of fun – who needs a feature wall?!

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So although the inside view of a door might in current times remind us of being shut inside, it’s a great time to start thinking about how both sides of the door can be appreciated and add value to a home.

Until next time,

Jeyda

Cheif Doork and DOORCO Creative Director

 

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Update – An Important Message From DOORCO Regarding Shutdown

To all our customers,

We are currently in COVID-19 temporary shutdown until further notice and will re-communicate opening up plans in due course, please rest assured that we have developed robust social distancing procedures which will be implemented at the point of re-opening to ensure that we can protect our staff throughout this period

Please note any orders placed in the interim will have the despatch date pushed out in accordance with COVID-19 related temporary closure*. (*Final despatch dates for orders placed in the interim will be confirmed on re-opening per order).

Any orders in production prior to shutdown have been placed on hold.

Thank you for your understanding, please keep yourself and loved ones safe.

Dan & Jayne

Doors with Style

In this GGP column, Jayne Sullivan, Operations Director at DOORCO, looks at the trends the company is seeing in door styles and examines whether some of the market’s perceived perceptions are reflect reality.

Doors with Style

DOORCO, and indeed the wider industry, often talk about the front door proving the homeowner with an opportunity personalise their homes, adding individuality and personality effortlessly. Whether on a new build development or in the middle of a terrace, the front door is an easy option to add differentiation. We say their tastes are becoming bolder, more modern and inspiration is coming from contemporary European styling. Door design is essential to this and DOORCO offers over 130 individual styles – but what is the reality when you look at the stats, are homeowners really taking the bait for the innovations we create?

What the report says

DOORCO’s Top 75 Door Styles table is just one part of our monthly stats report, but it provides a great overview about what is happening in the composite door market. Looking back over 2019 and what’s happening so far this year, makes interesting reading:

The best-selling door in both reports is Carnoustie – a twin vertical design, on a standard woodgrain slab. We offer slight variations on the design in Birkdale and Penina, and this whole style family made up 21% of all doors sold last year by DOORCO. It’s the perfect partner for property refurbishment in the UK, particularly in the social housing sector, and relatively fast and cost effective to produce with standard colours and glass. Or it can be styled-up with more modern colours and glass for a new build or private sector house.
Next we have Lytham, another stalwart door design, that made up around 8% of overall sales. Again a favoured option for both refurbishment and new build, with its half glazed panel or grid option, Lytham is the perfect back door solution.

We also see some of our unique traditional designs in the top 10 – Farmhouse, Gleneagles and St Andrews to name just a few.

All of these designs are part of our Traditional collection, so in summary, in 2019, Traditional design was definitely king, reflecting the UK’s tradition and historical build design. DOORCO has 53 designs that are currently deemed as traditional – and they made up 78% of our sales last year.
When we look at contemporary, the most popular styles were Monza II (number 7 in the charts and making up 29% of all contemporary door sales), with Inox, Flush and Links styles making up the rest.

Growing Contemporary

Looking to January this year, as an indicator of what trends are emerging in the coming year, we are seeing significantly more contemporary designs sold. Although the figures overall are similar, with only a slight decrease in sales of traditional styles, the focus is certainly shifting. Monza II is still our best seller, making 44% of all contemporary door sales for the month.
The earlier indicators tell us that homeowners and specifiers are indeed taking the bait; contemporary styling is growing in popularity. But what I think is important, is to recognise the effects of other trends that we’ve already looked at in these columns – colour and glass. The design lines are becoming blurred and it’s no longer feasible to state that a door is either ‘Traditional’ or ‘Contemporary’. DOORCO offers any door, in any colour, with any glass, and customers are increasingly turning to more modern colours or glass design to give a contemporary edge to a traditional style.

Dual act

Farmhouse is the perfect platform for this dual act: once seen as a traditional replacement for a cottage door, DOORCO has developed styles, where colour choices make all the difference.

Sunningdale Farmhouse was ranked 2nd in January (3rd in 2019) and the largest proportion (27%) were Anthracite Grey – ideal for any new build property…In fact, Anthracite Grey was the colour of 25% of all doors sold in January.

Door 1 - Sunningdale Farmhouse Anthracite

Taking this a step further, there is nothing old fashioned about a Belfry 3 Farmhouse in Bahia Blue, with Aurora glass!

Door 2 - Belfry 3 Bahia Aurora

Farmhouse is just one example of this evolution from traditional to modern.

What’s new for 2020
We’ve got lots of plans in the pipeline this year that aid this shift towards modernising traditional designs, from new styles such as Merion, to colour options and our recently launched Glass Additions Range. We’re also taking contemporary a step further with the new Monza II Patina doors, which are really gaining traction. Inox is also growing in popularity, mainly thanks to our Glazing Service, which offers expert support for this tricky component, making it a far more appealing choice to sell and we expect this desire for flush styles to develop further this year too.

We’d love to hear your thoughts? What are you installing in new build, social housing and retail homes across the UK- totally contemporary Inox, or traditional Carnousite – or somewhere in between? Get in touch via social media – @doorco_official on Twitter, DOORCO Ltd on LinkedIn and Facebook or @DOORCOUK on Instagram.

Q&A With Windows Active

Windows Active talks to Dan Sullivan, MD of DOORCO, for an insight into the composite door market, the business and 2020.

So how would describe the status of the composite door market?

I think it’s fair to call the composite door market mature now.  And in any mature market, where competition is rife and choice abundant, there’s an increased pressure on suppliers to innovate to try to keep one step ahead of market demands. But what innovative suppliers like DOORCO try to do, is drive new demand for new products and solutions, opening up markets and opportunities for themselves and customers. In effect, they tell customers and end-users what their demand and desire could and should be. Such investment in innovation offers a refreshing and much-welcomed approach to mature markets hit by race-to-the-bottom pricing.

 

One of things DOORCO has helped do, is make composite doors firmly seen as ‘designed’ product.  What were the biggest trends you saw in 2019?

Without doubt the two biggest areas of demand are colour and glass.  Both offer the homeowner the chance to personalise their homes effortlessly. Whether on a new build development or in the middle of a row of identical Victorian terraces, the front door is an easy option to add differentiation.

2019 was definitely the year of colour for composite doors and another year of double-digit growth over the previous year, with more sophisticated choices being requested, pointing to the impact on retail sales Composite doors is now having.

When it comes to glass and glazing, a third of all our prepped doors are now sold with glass. We’ve just overhauled our offering, introducing more suppliers and styles fit for 2020.

These figures both represent the shift towards design as a key driver, and it’s not uncommon that the “designed doors” highlighted as hero images in our marketing are the biggest sellers.

 

DOORCO is very service driven – what are you seeing as the biggest service trends emerging?

Going the extra mile, providing the customer with more products and extra services.  Our prepping business now makes up 40% of our overall business, breaking month on month records, and our bespoke glazing service is a big contributor to that growth.  We deliver expert service and fast lead times, and we’re working towards a fully operational Just In Time (JIT) ordering service which is central to the future of DOORCO.

 

JIT is ambitious.  Can you expand on what this means for your customers?

Thanks to the likes of Amazon, with Prime/ same day delivery service, consumers want everything as soon as possible.  We’re surpassing our five-point Customer Service Charter (which, at the time, promised market-leading lead times) with a move towards JIT. Rather than customers tying up investment in their warehouses, DOORCO is taking the responsibility. We’ve developed systems which integrate/partner electronically with customers’ own systems so we can use, for example, their own barcodes from the point of order.  Not only does this make a significant difference once the door arrives at their own facility, we’re able to provide real time information through manufacture and delivery.

 

How does DOORCO look today and what’s next?

We’ve been working very hard to strengthen all areas of our business for 2020 and beyond. We made significant investment in our team structure with the recruitment of several industry respected people and experts in their particular fields. Plus, our investment in apprentices paid dividends in 2019 with the development of two rising stars in Finance and IT, and with more to come in 2020, we’ll continue to balance the experience and youth ensuring future development across the team.

We’ve also made other changes to our business infrastructure – IT, transport, prepping and manufacturing have all undergone further investment and expansion ready for the next stage of service deliver, i.e. JIT.

This also forms the platform for our big 2020 plans.

 

So, there seem to be some hints here at big plans, please elaborate?

The DOORCO ethos is to keep evolving the product offering and 2020 is set to be another pivotal year with the introduction of brand-new products providing us with huge sales potential. This will also see us push a review of branding and marketing, as some of the new products will give DOORCO the opportunity to compete in market sectors currently limited on choice. The plan for 1 to 3 year growth is to top £30 million revenue.

 

Brand-new products, tell us more…

Not at the moment I’m afraid John, but it will be a game changer!  One thing I can mention is our new/revised composite fire door offering SureFire. The return of composite fire doors after a 2-year absence, almost feels like having a brand-new product! It will provide further new sales opportunities for DOORCO, and though sales may take some time to gain momentum, there is potential large volumes with a small network of customers experienced and trusted in this sector.

All I will say is that we are a composite door supplier and always will be. But, as the market continues to evolve, we will adapt to continue to provide the best customer experience.  DOORCO is a robust, dynamic, future-proofed business, with the energy to continue to drive the market forwards: something we are determined to do.