Why learning about Ergonomics in your home office might just save you a pain in the neck!

In this months blog we share some simple ergonomic tricks to help you feel comfortable in your home office…

Part of what we do at Bluebell Fitted Furniture is to create & build perfectly bespoke home offices. So when our clients visit our showroom in Sale, Cheshire, what key things are they looking for?

Most clients want a designated workspace to stop their paperwork spreading around the house, and to increase their productivity by having a stylish, organised space that is separate from the busiest areas of the home.

Clients usually have a pretty good idea how they would like their office to look, and our skilled designers guide them through the creation process making sure the final product suits their practical needs too.

But how many of our clients really know about Ergonomics? We’ll give you a clue…. not many!

Ergonomics, according to the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary, are concerned with ‘designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely’.

In 2016, with more flexible working, many of us spend a huge amount of time working in a home office. An unfriendly and unplanned workspace can wreak havoc on our bodies.

Here’s how to set up a healthy, ergonomic workspace to keep you comfortable and injury-free….

Where should my computer screen be on my desk?

If your screen is too far away, you’ll start craning your neck and you’ll find yourself extending your arms to reach it. To get it just right, sit back in your office chair, extend your arms and the tips of your middle finger should touch the screen.

What about my mouse?

The perfect position for your keyboard to mouse should be shoulder-distance apart and as level as possible, many people purchase a keyboard without numbers to the right to lessen this distance.

Is there an ideal keyboard height?

Your keyboard position should be 1 to 2 inches above your thighs, this can be taken into account when designing & building a desk. The keyboard should also have a negative tilt away from you so that your arms slop downwards.

Your office chair should be your new best friend!

You should look to choose a chair that supports not just your back & bottom but also encourages great posture. When you sit in your chair your feet should be flat on the floor, if you are short then get yourself a footrest!

There should be a little space between the edge of your chair and the back of your knees, with the right chair you should be able to adjust the depth according to your body shape.

Look for a chair with a great lumbar support, this is important, your spine isn’t straight, there is a slight curve where your tailbone stretches out so buy a chair accordingly!

If you’d like to know more about the importance of ergonomics in design, why not pop into see one of our skilled designers today?

Latest News at Bluebell

Wish Us Luck!

We have been fortunate enough to have been shortlisted for some amazing awards.  We are finalists in the Altrincham Chamber of Commerce annual awards in 2 categories; Customer Service of the Year and Business of the Year. We have also entered the very prestigious Northern Design Awards in the categories ‘Independent Retailer’ and  ‘Kitchen Retailer’. Fingers crossed!

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Welcome to James Ordsmith

Everyone at Bluebell would like to welcome our latest recruit, James Ordsmith who joins the team as a graduate trainee.  James studied at Trent Nottingham University and has a Degree in Product Design.  He is training to join the sales team specialising in Bedrooms, Studies and Media Areas and already has already proved to be an asset with his creative ideas, enthusiasm & attention to detail.

Celebrating Customer Service

We are thrilled to announce that Bluebell Fitted Furniture have received Lloyds Banking Groups nomination for the National Business Awards UK category of The Customer Focus Award.

The National Business awards, now in its 15th year are open to organisations of all sizes from all sectors across the UK, the National Business Awards is the UK’s most prestigious independent business recognition platform with its particular emphasis on excellence, innovation and ethical business.

Ben Clarke from Lloyds Bank said: “I have known Mike and Alison for a while now in my role as Manufacturing Relationship Manager for the business, and what is very clear is they pride themselves on great customer service and exceptional delivery. The moment I saw the award categories this year and saw the “Customer Focus Award” I thought of Bluebell Fitted Furniture, to me they embody everything this award stands for so it was an easy decision to nominate them. I wish them every success!”

We are so excited about this nomination and really wanted to share it with you, our loyal customers and to thank you for your support. The finalists will be announced at the end of July, and we will be sure to let you know how we get on!

Speaking of the nomination, Alison Reuben of Bluebell Fitted Furniture said: “Good old fashioned family values coupled with excellent customer service are at the very heart of our business and we are committed to achieving excellence.”

“Not only have we been nominated by Lloyds Bank who are sponsoring the ‘National Business Awards’ 2016 to apply for the ‘Customer Focus Award’, we are the only ‘North West Company’ to be invited to apply and only seven companies nationally who have been honoured in this way. They believe in our Customer Focus so much so, they have covered the cost for our entry!”

Thanks again and in the meantime why not pop into our showroom for a cup of coffee and take a look at our fabulous displays.

Latest Bluebell News

A winning team

We were delighted to be presented with the runner up award in this year’s Sale and Altrincham Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Awards last month. Although we were a little disappointed in coming second to Slater Heelis solicitors, the prestigious award recognises our high standard in business excellence and it’s given our entire team a real boost and a renewed sense of determination to enter next year to carry off the coveted title of Business of the Year. Thanks to our amazing and dedicated team who made it possible to gain such positive recognition this year and of course to our wonderful customers without whom we wouldn’t be where we are today. A big thank you to all for your part in helping us to build the successful business we have today.

Christmas around the corner  

As we head into winter with the Remembrance Day commemorations past but not forgotten and the traditional Halloween and Bonfire night celebrations behind us, our thoughts turn to Christmas and cosy nights in. The festive season, in spite of all the frenetic and sometimes stressful gift shopping we all do, usually helps to make the winter weather slightly more bearable. When the stores turn on their Christmas lights they bring a little bit of seasonal magic to the high street. Sale has its annual Christmas lights switch on in the Square on Saturday 28th of November, while Altrincham is a week earlier on Saturday 21st, featuring the traditional lantern parade through the town. We’ll be doing our bit of course at Bluebell to add that extra sprinkling of Christmas sparkle to our showroom in Sale to ensure that we always provide a friendly, warm, seasonal and stress-free welcome. Watch out for our little ‘switch on’ coming soon, helping to bring a little more seasonal cheer to Washway Road.

Best wishes

Alison and Mike    

Bluebell’s Award Nomination

We are so delighted to announce to you that we have been confirmed as finalists for the Altrincham & Sale Chamber of Commerce Business Awards for the prestigious Business of the Year award!

We set our business up twenty three years ago designing and creating perfectly fitted furniture and we have gone from strength to strength, working on hundreds of successful projects in the Northwest of England and beyond.

Our family values have always been at the heart of our philosophy and it’s this, we believe, that has helped us listen carefully to the needs of our customers. Taking the time to understand their requirements has enabled us to come up with the perfect solution which is then implemented to our high standards by our very own in house craftsmen from our dedicated manufacturing unit based in Altrincham.

At Bluebell Fitted Furniture we believe in supplying quality products at affordable prices with an outstanding level of personal service.  The result is the amount of repeat and recommended business that we have always received.  We are able to keep our standards consistently high due to the employment of our own team of fitters who understand that the implementation of our own work is just as crucial as the planning and design stages.

We will find out if we have won this prestigious award on the 15th of October at a lavish ceremony at the Cresta Court Hotel in Altrincham hosted by BBC presenter Gordon Burns, where we will be joined by a contingent of equally successful businesses.

We are delighted to have been shortlisted for such a wonderful award and would like to thank all our customers for their continued support.

Kind Regards,

Alison & Mike Reuben.

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Exciting Library Project

Tony & Shaun share a mutual love of reading and in early 2014 they talked about the possibility of having a library at home to display and enjoy their vast collection of books.  The couple own a beautiful Georgian home in Sale with striking features, one of which is the building’s incredibly high ceilings.

It was clear that Tony & Shaun’s library would need to be entirely bespoke so they thought of us. Tony used to live behind the Bluebell showroom and was aware of the sort of work that we do, so it seemed natural to set up a meeting to go through their brief.

Our designers came up with some striking and functional ideas for concealing the radiators whilst allowing the heat to still flow around the room comfortably, as well how high the shelves would be and how Tony and Shaun would access the books on the higher shelves.  They decided on a ladder, which looks beautiful and makes a stunning touch to any library.

The couple were delighted with how professional the Bluebell team were whilst in their home and how careful they were with the books and the furniture.

Tony & Shaun were delighted with the completed work and things returned to normal.

Here is where our story becomes exciting…

Life was busy and the couple were planning their wedding at Manchester Town Hall to take place on the 29th July this year. The book collection continued to grow and the couple realised they would need more space but were busy with their marriage plans.  As the books were Shaun’s main passion Tony set about organising the extension of the library to be done as a surprise wedding present.

Tony held secret meetings with bluebell’s chief designer who project managed the library from start to finish.  The day before the wedding the keys were secretly dropped off at the showroom so that the work could take place while the couple said their vows!

Shaun was absolutely delighted with the construction of the rest of the couple’s library and returned to find everything completed, neat and tidy with a new home for the additional books.  All their books are now beautifully displayed in alphabetical order and organised into fiction and non-fiction categories.

The couple honeymooned at Walt Disney World and on their return they opened their gifts and cards from family and friends in their brand new completed library. They even found a book token from us as a wedding gift….at this rate it won’t be long before they need even more space for their books!

Working with Tony and Shaun has been an absolute pleasure and we have been delighted with all their positive feedback.   They spend a lot of time in their new library and have told all their admiring guests how pleased they were to have chosen Bluebell to carryout the work

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The Bluebell Way! – Working with Tradespeople

One of the reasons our customers chose Bluebell is the fact that we can take care of it all!  When you buy your fitted furniture from us our commitment to you does not end there!  We employ our own skilled fitters and we will bring in our own ‘in house’ tradespeople whom we have worked alongside for many years. We have builders, plumbers, plasterers, electricians, tilers, and a fantastic flooring expert working with us who we are happy to put our name alongside.  We aim to take away the stress and so we provide a service that we would want ourselves.  We will project manage the changes for you from start to finish and we always provide you with a schedule of events so that they you kept up to date at all times ‘who’s doing what, when etc’. In fact many of our customers go away on holiday and leave us their keys! They feel reassured that our fitters work for us so completely trustworthy and they come home to a fabulous new kitchen, a stunning bedroom or even an amazing study.

Based on our years of experience we know that choosing good local tradesman can be a bit of a nightmare.  It is vital to find a good tradesman, experienced in the work you require and offering clear competitive rates so you can select the best. If they make a mistake or are simply unreliable then the consequences can be disastrous.

But where do you start?  To help you find the right one we have put together a few tips.  Good luck!

  • Check a builder is in a Trade Body or part of a Trusted Trader Scheme. We are extremely proud to be part of Which Trusted Traders (trustedtraders.which.co.uk) however there are other trade bodies out there.  Depending on which trade you are searching for you could look at the Federation of Master Builders (fmb.org.uk) or Corgi (www.corgiapproved.com).
  • Ask for references and check them out and if possible go and look at a piece of work they have done.
  • Find out about their experience and qualifications. If they use sub-contractors what experience do they have and how do they work with them.
  • Do they have insurance if something goes badly wrong? Something you may not want to think about but worth asking the question – just in case!
  • Always ask for a detailed quote, checking how long the price is guaranteed for and what it includes. Go through it with them so you are clear.
  • If it is a large piece of work, agree phases of work and stage-payments and keep a final payment until the work is complete and snags rectified.

Alternatively come and buy your fitted furniture at Bluebell and let us take care of it all!

What makes good customer service?

As a retailer selling quality, handmade, bespoke furniture we need to have a very good insight into what makes excellent customer service.  Our customers have high expectations of both our products and the service they receive.  This starts from the moment they make an enquiry to when the furniture is fitted.

For us, it’s not just about the quality and attention to detail in our furniture.  It is also, an unswerving belief in good old fashioned customer service, mixed with a healthy dose of traditional family values.  We listen and we care.

With this in mind here are our top 3 tips to wow your customers:

  • Be generous. Think of all the examples of great service you’ve encountered: free refills of coffee; a salesperson that spends a whole hour with you to answer all your questions.  Compare those with all the bad experiences you’ve had.  At Bluebell we believe in giving our customers our time. Time to help them choose the perfect kitchen or help them to find a solution to an awkward space. We do all of this in a no pressure environment.  So give your time and be generous.
  • Don’t trade on fancy gimmicks! Our belief is quality products at affordable prices with outstanding service, which we offer to all our customers old and new. It’s really important to let our customers know that our fitters are employed by Bluebell so everything is managed in house and everyone works to our own high standards.  Stick to your values and treat people as you would expect to be treated.

Empathy. Being able to look at a situation through the eyes of a customer is an extremely valuable skill that can enable you to provide the highest degree of service.  As a family business, family and home are integral to our being and so we understand that we are working with one of your prize possessions, your home.  You are not just another customer.  You are opening up your home to us, and there is nothing more personal than that, which is why the service and product you receive, is one of a personal and individual nature, bespoke to you and your family. You are making an important investment in your home; we will treat it with the respect it deserves.

Ideal Home Show

It is an exciting time in the North West for home design…

If you’ve got plans to redecorate, update, or modernise your home, now is the perfect time to start.  If you know you want to change but don’t know where to start, or you have too many ideas going around inside your head to make sense of them, then you probably visited the Ideal Home Show which took place last week in Manchester.

We visit many design shows each year and this one is always a favourite.  Whether you have a substantial home project or want to add those finishing touches there is always plenty to be see.   However what we find is that with so much to take in it is often difficult to visualise how the items that you see which you love will fit into your chosen room!

So if you are now back at home sitting surrounded by brochure after brochure and not knowing where to start we may be help to help provide some clarity!  When a customer comes into see us to update and revamp a room we can offer them a complimentary design service.  Our design service uses modern CAD technology to produce a 3-D picture of how your new room will look.  You can then use this to help you visualise how everything else would come together.  Whether it’s as simple as samples of bedding, cushions, wallpaper or carpet, when used with the dimensions of your room, we will be able to imagine how the finished product would look.

If you would like to have a chat with one of our designers and help start to plan your new room then please get in touch.  We love to inspire!