News

Security & Style

In the regular column in the September GGP Magazine, Jayne Sullivan, DOORCO’s Operations Director looks to the trends the company is seeing in hardware for its prepped doors. Obviously hardware choices determine the security, legal compliance and functionality of a door, but in parallel with the increasing importance of design, it’s the hardware that adds the finishing touches aesthetically.
DOORCO preps for any lock, hinge, letterplate or door handle configuration. We are totally impartial and led by demand from our customers, so we won’t be naming any names in this column!

Getting a handle on it
The first and foremost important aspect of a door – for practicality and aesthetics – is the way you open it. We are prepping more and more doors for hardware every month. As a recent example in July, 80% were prepped for a separate handle, and the majority were for Lever/Lever handles from various manufacturers. This may only be one month, but looking back over last year, the results are very similar. Where we prepped for a handle, the top 5 choices were identical (which make up over 84% of all the handle prepping across both periods). We posed the question to customers and the feedback was the same – Lever/Lever handles are still the most popular choice.


Putting the focus on locks, we prep for a wide variety, but the majority are multipoint systems. A big change in trends here is the growth of smart hardware, or at least locks that are “ready” for smart (we don’t know if these functions have been activated after installation). Last July, smart locks represented nearly 5%; in July 2020, over 16% & rising to top position on the lock trends chart.

Letters through the door
The largest proportion of doors we prep do not have provision for a letter box – around 35% in both periods. Whether it is for additional security, to reduce heat loss by removing the need for a letter flap or for aesthetic reasons, it seems many are moving away from in-door letter boxes. When we look to those we do prep for letterboxes, there is a definite correlation between handle and letterplate manufacturers, suggesting homeowners are looking for a more suited door furniture.


Keeping a spy out
It seems that only 7.5% of our customers’ customers need a spy hole in their door.

Looking forward
As suggested in previous columns, we are seeing an upward trend in contemporary door design, so we would expect to see the styling of hardware following the same trajectory. We’ve already reported an increase in the number of doors being prepped for a handle, suggesting a move away from more traditional door knobs. When it comes to the style of handle, we may continue to see increasing demand for contemporary pull handles, but when it comes to practicality, pull handles are no rival for the “all-in-one” Lever/Lever; the design of which is becoming more and more contemporary, with some good-looking suites of door furniture on the market.

The move is likely to be towards more advanced locking systems, which use fingertip or retina scanning to activate the lock. Smarter hardware that talks to an app and tells you if your door is open or closed has been growing in popularity since it was first launched at the last FIT Show. Pre-lockdown demand was steady, but post-lockdown we’ve seen a significant rise. We are also seeing increased demand for key-less security. Many of the products that offer this functionality are still Lever/Lever handles, although there are also handle-less options available too.

When it comes to doors, design is a personal choice, but security cannot be compromised. Thankfully in our industry, this is commonplace, so we don’t have to compromise on either.

We’d love to hear your thoughts? Do you have a favoured lock, handle or suite of door furniture? Are you seeing an increase in enquiries for smarter hardware for doors? Please get in touch via social media – @doorco_official on twitter, DOORCO Ltd on LinkedIn and Facebook or @DOORCOUK on Instagram.

Keeping Up With The Grammers

In GGP’s August column, DOORCO’s Jayne Sullivan looks at the rising trend in pink doors and the well-timed launch of DOORCO’s Pink Door Range which is raising money for We Mind & Kelly Matters.

Keeping up with the Grammers

DOORCO has been doing a lot of work on colour over the last few months. We’re changing the paint product we use, and this naturally leads to exploring what more we can offer. Whilst we’re initially focusing on moving forward with our existing palette, the new supplier has a ‘Top 100’ list of matched colours, including many from leading colour design specialists.

One idea that was born from this colour exploration project was the new Pink Door Range we’ve just launched 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.  Pink was Kelly’s favourite colour, so she quickly came to mind when we were considering adding the new colour.  In typical 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 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 our Creative Consultant Jeyda, and all produced for us by RegaLead. The design is completed with the stunning Rose Gold Sweet hardware from Brisant.

Pink – more than just a great gin!

During our review we felt pink was the colour missing from our collection, but as with every idea you must consider the commercial viability of it. Although traditionally it represents ‘sugar and spice and all things nice’, according to Farrow & Ball it’s “no longer the reserve for nurseries and children’s rooms, but a versatile palette for every kind of space, with grown-up, greyed-out shades and bold flashes of colour sitting side by side”. It’s also a pretty good Gin too!

Looking to social media we were astounded to discover that #pinkdoor has 62.k posts on Instagram and is regularly used by the growing number of influencers. Mrs Hinch (a cleaning guru on Instagram with 3.3m followers) started a new trend of pink doors amongst her ‘Hinchers’ and it’s now sweeping the UK. They’ve already taken notice of our initial posts about the collection and our customer, Xtremedoor has also picked up the trend with an increase in orders for pink doors.

We’ve already had a good deal of interest in the collection which will be available soon. If you would like to register your interest, please email info@door-co.com . We are excited to see where this goes, especially as we are donating 20% of the door blank sales from this collection to We Mind & Kelly Matters.

What do you think of pink? What colour would you like to see trending next? Please get in touch via social media – @doorco_official on twitter, DOORCO Ltd on LinkedIn and Facebook or @DOORCOUK on Instagram.

Glass

This month I’ve been focussing less on doors but instead seeking out excellent glass design within the frames. It’s been illuminating what I’ve found.

Let’s start out with one of the most common designs I’ve seen all over the country. I call this ‘Elmer the Patchwork Elephant’. The glass is cut into square or diamond geometric shapes and splashed across in vibrant colours. Sometimes it’s placed above the door, sometimes within and each time it adds a bit of excitement to an otherwise plain door. Much like Elmer, a multi-coloured elephant who paints himself grey in order to blend in, only to find he’s loved as his original vibrant self, this glass design is a great way of showcasing a fun personality.

When it comes to jazzy glass design – some people go all out. I love to see examples where the glass has been used to pay homage to a particular passion of the owner (see the bird lover below) or paint an entire domestic scene (see the territorial cat perched on the window by sunrise).

On the flip side, if you’re looking for subtle design and high levels of security (perhaps you’re undertaking some serious intelligence work or maybe just don’t want your neighbours to know you’re in), there are endless variations of frosting glass design. Your imagination is the only limit here.

When it comes to coloured glass, semi-ornate patterns with flowers or circular shapes are commonly used. Whilst these can be striking, they often appear on older style doors & can look dated on modern numbers. Here’s two examples…

Personally, this style isn’t something I’d go for but I’d argue that it does suit the older style of door. On the modern door, the style of glass juxtaposes the chic encasement.

I’d suggest a modern door should come with an equally matching artistic design, which is something I’ve been working on in partnership with DOORCO. Watch this space for more details.

However – if you’re too indecisive to commit to a particular style or perhaps already have doors with plain glass, here’s a little hack. Take some fabric and fill your panes with that. Added bonus that any leftovers can be used to make a stylish face mask.

Until next time,

Chief Doork

Open letter to the trade press: stock

There’s been a lot of talk in the press over the last week about lead times and the supply chain and I have to agree that we are all creaking at the seams in this post-lockdown boom. Let’s not bury

our heads in the sand and pretend that any one of us is delivering on time, in full – no matter what investment has been made into systems, machinery, facilities, etc. But, what I think is a fair point to make is that the majority of us in the supply chain are doing their very best to deliver and agree that the most important thing is to be transparent with your customers.

DOORCO is one of those companies that has invested, across the board. We place a huge emphasis on stock and came out of lockdown with bolstered levels. We are also in the unique position that we are independent in both the UK and Korea, so we can react quicker than most.  But it’s still not enough. We saw 1000’s more doors than usual come through our prepping lines in July, a 34% increase, plus a 10% increase in distribution slab sales. There has also been a massive shift in demand, with consumers making bolder choices in style and colour – this adds even more pressure to suppliers because we move into supplying the “added value” services like painting.

As we came out of lockdown, we were just thankful to be opening up and unfurloughing some of our staff. We certainly didn’t predict this boom. We are doing all we can to keep on top of this with double shifts in Korea to get the slabs to the UK, and in the UK to make the doors and support our customers. We are in constant communication with our suppliers and customers, sharing stats and predictions, and ordering as much as we can but we are up against widespread stock outages higher up the supply chain.

I appreciate the patience and understanding the customers are showing right now. We will improve and we will improve quickly, and we all hope for the continuation of the good problem to have – higher volumes than expected.

Yours sincerely

Dan Sullivan

MD, DOORCO

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.

Colourful Opportunities

Dan Sullivan, DOORCO MD shares the latest developments in colour with Total Fabricator Magazine

Designer Colour

Around 45% of all the doors DOORCO supplies are painted – whether to order from our premium or bespoke ranges, or special RAL’s as one-off orders.  Colour is very much still at the top of the agenda for the composite door market and the ability to deliver on it is fundamental. We must look beyond fast turnaround and choice; there is a growing desire for something more.  Take our new Patina range for example.  Launched at the beginning of the year, it is proving hugely popular and grabbing the attention of the more aspirational followers on our social media.  The finish can only be achieved on Monza II, a product unique to DOORCO, so it is totally exclusive.

 

Back to Basics

DOORCO loves to innovate and come up with these exceptional products but we also pay attention to the finer details that make commercial sense to our customers.  That’s why we’re amongst the few that offer Anthracite and Chartwell Green as part of our standard colour range to make the sales of these popular choices better for our customers.  Our standard colours negate additional paint charges and are available from next day delivery. During the lockdown period, we took the opportunity to do some further research on our colour range too. In a recent poll, DOORCO invited its customers to vote on the next standard colour for us to consider adding as a standard colour offer. Out of the four top colours offered, Slate was voted in unanimously; it is the most requested colour and now outsells standard red and green. We will look to add this colour later this year.

We have also been working with a new paint supplier to upgrade our current paint product.  HYDRAPUR from Teknos is a water-based, highly durable, low-VOC paint which is not only better for our staff from a health and safety perspective, but will also transform the quality and choice of colour available from DOORCO.

Colour Match Revolution

Many suppliers boast a colour matching service, and most of them work fine. The reality is that lead times are extended and the cost can rocket as the product is shipped out to specialists to paint.  DOORCO has pioneered with an in-house offering for a long time – ‘any colour, your choice’ has been a company byword for ages.  But what a homeowner could point to, for example, a leading paint supplier’s brochure and say, “I want my door to be that colour” and without paying the earth and waiting a long time for the exact match, get it? DOORCO’s new paint product can do exactly that.

Pick a colour, any colour

Initially, we will be introducing the new paint in line with our current colour range, and the majority are an identical match or as close as possible. Where this is the case, we believe the colour has more vibrancy/density – exact matches are pretty hard to achieve but we are matching as closely as we can and are updating our brochure and colour swatches for the future. Disclaimer: some shades may not match the printed catalogue entirely!

Pretty soon we will be extending the offering with more shades from the current ‘Top 100 list’ – which includes colours inspired by designer coating specialists. Thanks to work by Teknos on the science of colour, we are not limited to RAL/BSI codes and will be able to match any colour. And vice-versa: we can tell the customer the exact colour and identification so they can buy paint to co-ordinate their windows, facias, fences, garage doors etc, without any issue.

It’s an exciting shift in our colour offering and opens up many opportunities for us to move away from the constraints of premium, bespoke, luxury or heritage colour ranges.

A Question Of Balance

Jayne & Dan Sullivan discuss with Windows Active how finding the balance – not just for them but the industry as a whole – is the key to surviving COVID-19

A question of balance

A successful business partnership could be compared to a good marriage.  When things get tough, the individuals pull together and find solutions based on mutual trust, understanding and appreciation for each other skills and traits to get through. Jayne & Dan Sullivan, are well versed at dealing with business issues over the years of working together, and it’s this and DOORCO’s extended family team ethos that has helped over recent months.

Jayne We have always viewed the team as extended family. They share our ethos and passion for the business, so selecting the team to work through the lockdown was easy and hard; easy as we are lucky to have experienced leaders to choose from, hard as we couldn’t keep everyone from Furlough . Those that remained, brought the skills we felt were necessary to support the business and add value through the unprecedented (overused, but still true) situation we faced.

Dan: The team have been amazing throughout.  Each facing their own set of circumstances, they’ve bought perspective to many Zoom discussions that have been on a ‘warzone’ footing. As it has been for every manufacturer, these discussions centred on how our business would survive in the short-term and how we’d restructure and remodel to achieve this.

It was vital for us to stay open remotely for numerous reasons: communication to our customers and suppliers, making payments to the supply chain, planning and preparing for a return, supporting colleagues and peers, and overall making sure people knew we were there.  Our ethos has always centred on being open and straight, confronting issues head on, and “picking up the phone” even if in this scenario, we didn’t always have answers. The main office phone was diverted to my mobile so we could communicate first-hand. These conversations took place in our hastily re-configured dining room (or more often than not in the garden, thanks to a new daily annoyance of poor mobile phone reception). We got on with steering our way through a whole new set of challenges and tried to remain positive (mostly), be supportive, work together and think creatively.

Jayne: This adage of family can also be widened out to the entire supply chain.  The biggest strength of the industry is its community spirit, and although still present through lockdown, some interesting variations emerged as the situation intensified. The true ethos of any business – good or bad – is totally exposed in difficult times, and there was no place to hide with this one.

Dan: Some businesses never left work: fielding calls, taking online orders and working out a way to get back to normal as soon as physically possible. These companies were amongst the first wave back and their spirit was clear to see.

In contrast, some procrastinated. Waiting for someone to tell them what to do and following the majority but shooting down from the side-lines by questioning those who were trying to make decisions and pave a way forward.

Then there were those that have simply disappeared. Having furloughed most of their staff, there was no one to talk strategy with, and even worse, no one there to deal with customers.  There was little compassion: if money was owed, they wanted it now.  If orders were on the books, they were just cancelled. No conversation.

Jayne: Our view was that it was only down to us to make the right decisions for DOORCO. All the talking and planning can only result in action.  The balance of protecting the workforce from health risks, whilst ensuring financial security and ultimately their jobs, was a tough call for every business owner.

Dan: A very fine line to navigate for certain, but to me, those that demonstrated strong leadership and kept the lines of communication on and at volume 10 will be the ones that survive. Or at least, will not go down without a good fight.  These companies have shared direction and strategies, but most importantly have listened carefully to the needs of customers and suppliers. Never has a true entrepreneurial spirit been more important.

What happens next?

Jayne: The impact of COVID-19 has interestingly led to a much more complex set of dynamics, situations, decisions, relationships. None of which can be approached in any one way and has really put the spotlight how the ‘whole sum is greater than its individual parts’. As of May 4th, we were back up and running.  There are strict Safe Working Practices in place, and many of the team continue to work from home. We are monitoring the business every day, ensuring we have the correct level of staff against the orders being received.  Some staff remain furloughed, and some are unable to return until lockdown is over – the situation is fluid.

Dan: Business is far from back to normal, but the green shoots are there, and orders, although creeping up, will not return to normal for some time. The decision to come back when we did was not one made from greed, it was to practice and stress test all our planning we had done during lockdown, a safe time to instil best practice for the new way of working with a small trusted team with minimal risk.

There are lots of question marks over how consumers will behave and how we will recover financially. We are all still watching the daily bulletin and hoping that the plans the government have outlined can be adhered to; Our son returned to school this week with mixed emotions, shops can open, people will start spending. Broadly though, we are still here, and we will do all we can to remain so: take every opportunity that presents itself, keep the lines of communication open, and have conversations, especially the difficult ones. Our key take-away from this situation is to find the balance that keeps your business moving forward through the short-mid-long term…whatever that will look like.