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.
Alison and Mike
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.
Alison & Mike Reuben.
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
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!
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.
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!
What we do
We manufacture bespoke furniture, both fitted and freestanding, to enhance any area within our clients’ homes. The areas we particularly specialise in are bedrooms/dressing rooms, kitchens, home offices and media areas.
What makes us special
We are a small family business and offer a huge range of styles and materials, whether you’re looking for something modern, contemporary or more traditional. We have a team of talented designers who create fantastic CAD drawings showing you a virtual reality of what your room will look like before you place an order. We build furniture to fit your room exactly. They’re not template or ‘off-the-shelf’. Because we employ all of our fitters we are able to ensure first class quality from start to finish. I would strongly advise anyone looking to have fitted furniture in their homes to make sure they don’t subcontract their fitters!
How Bluebell came to be
Customers often ask us and the short answer is ‘dance & destiny’. In my early career I was a principal dancer with The
Bluebell Girls, a world-renowned Paris dance troupe famed for their spectacular performances. It was an incredibly exciting and inspiring time and one that instilled in me a love of elegance, beauty and precision in everything I do. Sadly there comes a time for every Bluebell to retire but the work ethic and confidence this gave me I carried forward as I transitioned into a career in sales and subsequently to setting up my own business, with my husband Mike.
Bluebell is a family business [Alison’s son Josh has now joined the team too] born out of an extraordinary life experience and a passion for bringing elegance and beauty into your home.
Business person I most admire
I imagine most people choose someone well known when asked this question, but in 2013 I was given a wonderful opportunity when I was accepted onto the ‘10,000 Small Businesses Programme’, sponsored by Goldman Sachs. Lily Newman, from Morgan James Consulting, was one of my fantastic mentors and undoubtedly inspired me in helping us grow our business, so much so that at the end of last year we expanded into a new factory just off Atlantic Street in Altrincham, which is more than double the size of our previous factory.
The secret of our success
We consistently strive to source the best raw materials to create unique furniture for our clients. We listen and we care because we know you’re making an important investment in your home. We were the first company in our industry outside of London to have been offered the ‘Which Trusted Trader’ accreditation and we are very proud of this.
All businesses are aware of the need to consider the environmental impact of what they do. When your business includes a manufacturing arm, there are many areas for consideration.
It’s often the case that although you may have a niggling voice in your head reminding you that you need to do something… often that voice stays as a voice in your head and never gets translated into actually doing anything. There is always something more pressing, more urgent and often, if we hold our hands up, something less scary and huge than the whole “green” thing!
We were lucky enough to meet the Business Growth Hub’s Green Growth service, which has been a great thing for us here at Bluebell.
They have not only explained the situation but spent real time with us analysing our business and how it could be not only more environmentally friendly, but also, incredibly cost efficient for us.
As a result of our meetings, we’ve implemented a plan of action and we’re really excited about it all, especially the cost savings to us!
Heating: We’re installing an air heating unit which is fuelled by waste wood from our manufacturing operations… why didn’t we think of that?!! Not only do we save money on reduced waste costs, but also are saving money by using our own fuel! This is going to save us a massive £6000 a year!
Solar Panels: By installing solar panels, we’ll be saving ourselves about £5000 a year
Lighting: We have upgraded our lighting to make it more energy efficient and this is reaping huge savings.
The Green Growth’s Environmental Business Advisors were great in not only helping us see more clearly how we could benefit from a few changes, but also finding us really substantial cost savings.
We’d definitely recommend them! If you’d like to get in touch with them, give them a shout on 0161 359 3050, email email@example.com or visit www.businessgrowthhub.com.
We’re so excited to be launching our first Bluebell blog alongside our new website. We hope you enjoy reading it. It’s going to be a regular thing and we’re really looking forward to sharing information about not only the Bluebell family and what we do, but also tips and news about the world of furniture, trends and new things that will help make your home the right and perfect home for you.
2014 was a great year for us and 2015 is an exciting one too! Our new website has been an amazing project and we’re so thrilled to be launching it now and sharing it with you. The new website is just part of amazing growth for us.
Alison completed the ‘10.000 Small Businesses’ programme sponsored by Goldman Sachs and following on from this wonderful experience Bluebell has relocated to a new factory double the size of their original one, just off Atlantic Street in Altrincham and taken on an additional 4 staff along the way!
If you’re not aware, Bluebell is very much a family business and has recently joined forces with Alison’s brother, Terry Cragg formally of A D Cragg & Son, who now looks after their customers flooring needs and together they enhance your living space all under one roof.
We pride ourselves on quality and eye for detail with a belief in good old fashioned customer service.
Family is all about building a unit that is solid and built on quality foundations, as is our furniture.
Family is about being realistic about affordable expectations – you can’t be living the high life with your family if you’ve not got the budget but you want the absolute best quality for the budget you have. Our quotes do just that. We pride ourselves on quality yet at an affordable price.
Family is about understanding that everyone is an individual and needs to be treated as such. It’s not one formula to suit everyone. We treat our clients in the same way. You are not, and will never be, the same as the customer who came in before you. We’re working with your home. There is nothing more personal than that and we work with you to find the individual solution most perfect for you.
And finally family is about giving each individual the courtesy, respect and attention they need to get the best results. And that’s what we work to with our customer service.
We hope that gives you a little insight into who we are and hope you enjoy reading the blogs that follow this one!