July 2020

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The Famous Four Doors

If asked to name the most famous doors, there’s a handful of usual suspects that would top most people’s lists. Here’s four of the world’s most famous doors… whether real or fiction.

Downing Street

Perhaps I’m biased by my own geography but Downing Street is truly a door of international fame. Tourists, journalists, protestors and politicians swarm around the area making it possibly the most photographed door in history.

The property was first offered to Sir Robert Walpole in 1732 but it wasn’t until 1766 that the door was redesigned into the six-panelled Georgian style, made from Black Oak, that we all recognise. A distinctive feature of a central lion head door knocker was made of cast iron, which soldiers heading to the trenches during the First World War used to touch for good luck.

During these years, the door was actually green rather than black to suit the tastes of then prime minister, Herbert Asquith. I’d be curious to know what palette Boris would choose, given the choice.

Downing Street also features a rather endearing wonky 0. There is some speculation as to what possible reason there is for the skew-whiff numbering but as far as I can see, no-one has been willing to suggest that it was a botch-job by the installer.

The black oak door was replaced with a blast-proof steel door following an IRA attack and today the door cannot be opened from the outside and it’s letterbox is purely decorative. I had wondered why Boris has never returned any of my postcards.

 

The Hallway of Doors in Alice & Wonderland

In C.S.Lewis’s famous novel, Alice & Wonderland, young Alice finds herself in an extremely frustrating hallway where there are doors at every turn – all of which are locked. As a reader, you’re sympathetic to her fate – what could be more disheartening than being surrounded by options but none of them being available to you?

Eventually, Alice finds a curiously small key and then happens upon a curtain which she draws back to reveal a teeny, tiny door. As luck would have it, the miniature key does indeed unlock the pocket-sized door. She peers through the door and sees the most luscious looking garden. It’s a feeling that many of us recognise from the past few weeks of lockdown in our homes. Alice turns to drink to solve her problems – again something possibly familiar. However, unlike a drunk person stumbling over a threshold, Alice successfully manages to pass through the famous door.

Notting Hill’s House with the Blue Door

One particular door from popular culture has really captured the hearts of the masses – the house with the blue door from Notting Hill.

The door is first introduced in the 1999 romcom’s opening scene when Will Thacker (our protagonist – played by Hugh Grant) narrates how easy to spot his house is due to the standout coloured door. Later, when Will accidentally spills orange juice on a film star in his bookshop, he assures her that his house – the one with the blue door – is just nearby so he can help clean up the mess. Of course, a love story inevitably ensues. I’d like to think the blue door is central to this and otherwise this film would have ended up more of a Shakespearean tragedy.

Today the street where many scenes were shot still reap the benefits of the famed door – with local cafes and bars finding they frequently get business from those wanting to stop for a drink having just travelled to marvel at the sight of the blue door (and of course, get a photo for instagram).

The Wardrobe leading to Narnia

C.S.Lewis is truly a leader in the door game – having produced two of the world’s most famous doors. The second of which is the wardrobe from the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. In this novel, a young girl (Lucy) stumbles through a wardrobe door and finds herself in a magical land – Narnia. Lucy later comes back and brings her siblings through the same door and the story goes on through countless mystical twists and turns.

Eventually, the children grow old (and wise) but return back through the wardrobe to find themselves young once more. It’s a beautifully tantalising idea that we might come across a door that would allow you to explore exciting other worlds and yet return back to normality. Although I’ve never found a door that’s able to deliver this, it’s definitely possible to play this game using your own door and children. Asking a child to look at a door, walk through it and then describe what magical world they’ve entered is a wonderful way to pass many a lockdown hour!

 

As you can see – some of the world’s most famous doors have each achieved their status for different reasons. The door’s symbolism and mystique is universal and people will continue to be intrigued by what lies behind.

Until next time,

Jeyda

Chief Doork

Door Trends of the New World

In GGP’s July column, DOORCO’s Jayne Sullivan looks at the trends that are emerging for the leading composite door supplier since they returned to work.

Door Trends of the ‘New World’

The return to manufacturing has been quite a journey. When we opened back up on 4th May, we had a skeleton team of staff and many apprehensions. Fast-forward six weeks and the landscape is very different to the one we had imagined so early on: all of our manufacturing staff are back at work, we’ve introduced an evening shift and recruited three people to keep up with demand, 70% of our delivery vehicles are out on the road and door sales are exceeding pre-COVID levels.

What else can you do

While this is all great news, we are all operating under a lot of strain. There are strict health and safety guidelines and safe working procedures in place and the welfare of our staff remains our top priority. We’re also seeing a shift in what products we are selling. Pre-COVID there was a 70/30 split between distribution (slabs sold directly to our fabricator customers for them to manufacture) and manufacturing (prepped doors). Now, all our customers are asking what else DOORCO can do. Levels of prepping and painting have risen by nearly 10% and customers are utilising our added-value services like glazing in droves. Compared to January, the number of prepped doors sold fitted with glass has nearly doubled. Glass sales overall are up 45% on January as customers rely on DOORCO’s added value offerings.

New Trends

Another interesting trend emerging in ‘new world’ sales is the impetus on more “retail” designs. Our ultimate contemporary door styles, Inox and Monza II, are selling at unprecedented levels.  While Carnoustie is still top of the chart, its lead is shortening, and the more contemporary designs are increasing.  The DOORCO Glass Additions range launched late in 2019 is growing in popularity too, making up around 20% of overall glass sales.

Never before has DOORCO had so many enquiries direct from homeowners, which we’re happily passing on to a fabricator local to the customer. We’ve seen engagement spike on our more consumer-facing/ aspirational social media channels, particularly Instagram, and are even gaining with some of the Instagram Influencers. To us this suggests a focus from homeowners on investing in their homes while they’re unable to have holidays etc. But, will this last?

Peaking too soon

While sales figures are positive and the pipeline is bolstered, we are still making tough decisions on a daily basis. The media is reporting good news and bad, and there are companies that haven’t fared so well through lockdown. This current state could just be a bubble and there’s little confidence in what consumer behaviour is going to look like mid-term. You can’t be closed for 9 weeks and not expect cashflow issues. I believe by mid-August/early-September we will have a clearer picture of what the future looks like.

The conclusion of my last column remains true: businesses with strong leadership, the ability to flex and adapt and grab opportunity are the ones that will survive. Customers are looking for added value and you need to offer a solution. Never has a true entrepreneurial spirit been more important.

Pink Door Range launched to support We Mind & Kelly Matters

DOORCO announces a brand-new and exclusive Pink Door Range in support of We Mind & Kelly Matters, a charity set up by Glazerite’s John Hewitt in memory of his daughter Kelly, which aims to raise awareness of mental health and try to prevent suicide.

Dan Sullivan comments: “During lockdown we did some reviews on our products and in particular, colour. There was a lot of talk about pink doors and we remembered Kelly Hewitt because pink was her favourite colour. We had a good relationship with Kelly when she worked at Glazerite and we were all affected by her suicide. We were aware of Kelly’s Heroes, the cycling challenge John and his friends are undertaking in August and wanted to show our support. While we could have just made a single donation, we wanted to do something that had more longevity. So what better way to support We Mind & Kelly Matters than to create a pink door in Kelly’s honour.

“Of course in the usual DOORCO fashion, we didn’t stop at one pink door! We’ve created an exclusive collection of four doors, each one in a new shade of pink. We’ve opted for a more traditional style, using our best-seller Carnoustie and half-glazed Lytham, but adding a modern twist with brand new exclusive glass options, some designed by Jeyda, and all produced for us by Regalead. The design is completed with the stunning Rose Gold Sweet hardware from Brisant.

“DOORCO is going to donate 20% of all the door blanks sold from this range to We Mind & Kelly Matters.”

John Hewitt, Glazerite Group Chairman and Kelly’s dad comments: “When DOORCO approached me about this new collection I was blown away. We originally set up We Mind & Kelly Matters to keep Kelly’s memory alive, but as time has gone on, we are determined to make a difference in the prevention of suicide. All the money we raise through the charity goes to mental health awareness, trying to remove the stigma and prevent other young people from taking their own lives. We’ve recently teamed up with Rushden Mind, our local Mind charity that has supported us through this impossible time, and funded a brand new project called S.A.F.E – Suicide Awareness For Everyone. Back in Oct 2019 they started SAS groups (Support After Suicide) with the intention of taking S.A.F.E into schools, colleges or businesses to educate everyone about the “S” Word – Suicide. This is about to be launched and we are aiming to roll this out across the county of Northamptonshire. We are also talking to other mental health charities to see how we can support them as well.

“I intended to do the ride alone, but thanks to friends and family, Kelly’s Heroes was born and the event is certainly gaining traction. We’re are extremely grateful to DOORCO for this initiative which I’m sure will provide us with funds to help realise our plans to educate the next generation about mental health before it’s too late.”

For more information on We Mind & Kelly Matters visit: www.wemindandkellymatters.co.uk

The Pink Door Range is available soon. Please email info@door-co.com to register your interest.