November 2018

November is a busy time for the team at Bluebell with lots of projects to complete before Christmas. We really love this time of year and it’s not just our talented design team and fitters who’ve been busy!

Introducing our New-Look Website

After months of planning, research and design, we’re delighted to announce our new and improved website is now live! We’ve worked really hard with a dedicated tech team to deliver a new website which embodies everything about Bluebell – from the look, to the functionality – everything has had a facelift and we’re absolutely thrilled with the results. There are plenty of new features on the website, from the dedicated CAD drawing page to the updated Gallery showcasing lots of the beautiful projects we’ve had the pleasure of working on. One feature from the old website has stayed however is that you can still make an appointment with our dedicated team with just one click!

As always, the opinion of our customers is the most important thing so please do let us know what you think – we’d love to hear your thoughts!

Bluebell Designer Goes Global

As a family business, we like to look after our team – after all, without them, we wouldn’t be the thriving business we are. We also understand that for some, the lure of adventure beyond our showroom is stronger than others! So when designer James asked for a six-month sabbatical to travel around Asia and Australasia, we fully supported his decision – as long as he sends us plenty of pictures along the way!

Awards And Accolades

Our Founder and Director, Alison, has not long returned from the Institute of Directors’ National Awards at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London. After winning the North West Award for Director of the Year – Family Business back in May, Alison was once again nominated for this prestigious, UK-wide award, and while she didn’t win this time, she was proud to be shortlisted and rubbing shoulders with a truly inspirational group of people.

Alison for Prime Minister!

Well, we would say that wouldn’t we! On a more serious note, Alison is proud to be attending an VIP event at the House of Commons this month on the invitation of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Alumni.  This is a huge honour for Alison and shows how her knowledge, experience and enthusiasm is helping her reach out across the business industry to champion not only Bluebell Fitted Furniture as a family business, but also the wider issue of women in manufacturing.

Bluebell Bid for Which Trusted Trader of The Year

We’re very proud of our Which Trusted Traders web reviews as this is a completely independent hub where customers can leave an impartial review and rate our products and service. We’re extremely proud to have a ‘99% Recommended Rating’ and so this year we are going all out to follow our winning ‘Trader of the Month’ Award for May with ‘Trusted Trader of The Year’. If you are a customer and are yet to leave a review on the site, please do pop one on if you can spare a few minutes. Thanks for your support as always!

Ride London 2019

As you may already know, we’re a proud sponsor of the Altrincham-based charity, Act4 Africa. For any cyclists out there, they are now looking for volunteers for Ride London 2019 – a fabulous cycle event which take place in London every summer. If you’d like to find out more, do take a look at their web page for more details:

Alison Reuben and The Bluebell Journey

Alison Reuben and The Bluebell Journey

Next month, our founder, Alison Reuben will head to London for the National Finals of the prestigious Institute of Directors, Director of the Year Awards 2018.

After winning the Award for ‘Director of The Year – Family Business’ at the regional final back in May, this additional nomination is an exceptional achievement for an inspirational lady and the team at Bluebell are beyond excited and have everything crossed for her.

As we celebrate our 25th year, this award really would be the icing on the cake to what has turned out to be a wonderful year for our family business.

Many of you may have already met Alison but for those of you who haven’t, or don’t know much about her, we thought now would be a great time to tell you a little bit more about her – what drives her, what inspires her, where does she get all that energy from!

Below, Alison tells you in her own words..

  1. Tell us what a typical day looks like for you?

A typical day starts around 7am, liaising with the factory manager to confirm our installation diary for the day is running smoothly. I am mostly based at our showroom and to be honest, there isn’t a ‘typical day’ as every day is completely different.

I work very closely with all my team, dedicating a great deal of time helping and supporting each and every one of them in their particular role. As my factory is just two miles away from the showroom, I spend quite a bit of time between the two sites.

I’m also very active in the marketing side of the business which I believe is vitally important in maintaining a strong presence at all times. Dennis, was voted ‘Best Mascot’ by Facebook and Twitter followers of the independent review website Which Trusted Traders

Although the showroom closes at 5pm, my day continues working into the early evening most nights. I find ‘switching off’ quite difficult at times!

Alison and the team celebrating their award as Which Trusted Trader of the Month for May 2018

  1. Did you always know that you wanted to have this career?

Definitely not! From a very early age I wanted to be a dancer with the Royal Ballet but realised I was too tall to ever be considered. Becoming a Bluebell Girl then became my lifelong ambition, which I achieved at the age of 16 years old. Miss Bluebell was without doubt the most inspirational lady I have ever met who showed me hard work and commitment was the only way forward. Her belief in me at the tender age of 19 years old to Captain a troupe of girls to fly out for a year’s contract to dance and deal with the theatres management in Buenos Aires, Argentina, helped me develop leadership qualities which I went on to use when I established Bluebell Fitted Furniture.

Alison with The Bluebell Girls & Tom Jones

  1. What factors do you think have contributed to your success within the industry?

I realised I had a passion for interior design, but also understood I had to stand out from the crowd. I had to offer something completely different compared to all the many competitors around me. It was then I made the big decision to manufacture for myself, which enabled me to be completely bespoke and to push the boundaries, trying new ideas and offering customers exactly what they wanted to create their individual requirements within their homes.

Remaining one step ahead with new, innovative designs and products has been paramount & especially working alongside respected and established brands in the industry such as Hafele UK has enabled me to ‘think outside the box’ and wow my customers with products they never knew existed.

  1. Who and what inspires you?

I grew up surrounded by a hardworking family of entrepreneurs, so my inspiration came from my parents who motivated and mentally prepared me for anything I set my mind to. Nowadays, I take inspiration from my wonderful team of designers most of whom joined me straight from graduating from university. I find they have such fabulous vision with creative minds and so eager to learn. For example, we teach them how to ‘present’ rather than ‘sell’.

As we manufacture, we listen to their innovative ideas and this enables us to push boundaries within our factory. Creating amazing bespoke furniture allows us to stand out from the crowd and we continue to remain one step ahead of the competition. We are without doubt leaders, not followers.

Our latest MMU design graduate, John.

  1. Is there enough support and opportunities for women in your industry?

I personally think there are not enough women in manufacturing in the UK and I would love to become involved with mentoring women to show them what can be achieved and make an impact in this male dominated industry. I truly believe women in manufacturing is good for business but leadership opportunities are with the manufacturers themselves and there is still room for growth for women in this field.

  1. What advice would you give to females starting their career?

Believe in yourself and enjoy the opportunities of being involved in an industry, which will give you immense job satisfaction. If you are committed to do the best design, offer the best service and be passionate about what you do, then success will surely follow.

I think it’s important to remember that there is no better role model for young women than women who break down gender barriers!






Introducing our VIP Partner – Häfele UK July 2018

Over the years, we’ve been lucky enough to work with some fantastic partners and some of these relationships have truly stood the test of time.

One such relationship is with Häfele UK – a fantastic company based in Rugby who supplies us with some of the most innovative products, fitting and accessories for our fitted kitchens, bedrooms, studies and media areas.

In fact, our relationship with Häfele UK has grown significantly and we’re proud to say that we are not only a Studio Partner, but also a Centre of Excellence for this established brand, recognised worldwide for it’s quality, craftsmanship and customer service.

So what is The Studio Partner Network? The network was established to work in partnership with a host of premium independent Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Studios across the UK to ensure customers have knowledgeable access to the Häfele product range. As a result, our dedicated in-house team are familiar with all the products available and pride themselves on matching your design and storage needs with the latest innovations for your home. From clever recycling options, wireless charging systems to multi-functional storage spaces – the team knows everything there is to know about the products and accessories available to transform your room into a thing of beauty AND functionality.


Whether you’re building a completely new kitchen or updating existing cupboards with new handles, Häfele have a broad range of different colours, finishes, materials and styles to ensure you find what you are looking for.

Kitchen & Living Solutions

Offering solutions to suit the latest modern interior or a more traditional classic style Häfele’s fixtures will optimise the space you are working with and improve it tenfold.

Bedroom Fittings

Häfele’s bedroom fittings collection contains everything you need to bring your design to life. They even offer innovative foldaway bed fittings to maximise bedroom space and create a fresh modern feel. We stock a broad range of their wardrobe interior fittings and elite soft close storage systems, such as tie racks, pull-out shoe racks and laundry baskets, all of which are used in many high-end hotels and homes.

To view any of Häfele’s products and to see them in action, why not pop into our Washway Road showroom? – you’d be amazed how many design options you’ll find under one roof and rest assured you’ll receive a very warm welcome from all the Bluebell Team!

Top tips for creating your own home cinema or media area.

Netflix, Spotify, Sonos, Amazon Prime, Sky TV – many of us will be familiar with all or some of these products and we’re finding more and more of our customers wanting to equip their homes with the latest technology to enjoy new films, binge-watch the latest box set or listen to their favourite music.

But how do you do it in style and ensure your home still looks great? The answer is to consider installing a dedicated media area or home cinema – something that’s becoming increasingly popular amongst our clients.

As we always like to be prepared at Bluebell, we asked our experienced designers and in-house installation team what the most important considerations are when planning a media area or cinema room – here are their top tips:

  1. If you’re looking to build a media area, consider the acoustics. Hard floors and glass windows can cause sound problems so have a think about introducing carpeted areas too. You can also install acoustic plaster board and floorboards to help with sound quality in a cinema room.
  2. Look carefully at the technology you need for your media area and plan, plan, plan! Will there be a SKY Q box and a Sonos or Bose speaker system? what about a BT box? Where will you store accessories if it’s going to include a games console too? Hidden storage options are great at disguising all those nasty wires and controller so think about shelving and cupboard space.
  3. Think about the position from which you’ll watch your TV or screen – you don’t want it too high or too low so work out what chairs or sofa you’ll be using before finalising the position.
  4. Will you be using a TV or Projector? Why not consider having both so the projector can be lowered for film nights or big games and retracted for more casual TV watching.
  5. Think about the sound effects for you media area. 5:1 is the rule of thumb for speakers to subwoofer – no-one want a base that’s too heavy or too weak and don’t forget to incorporate them into the design so they are well placed or discreetly hidden!

The most important thing to remember throughout the process is to plan it carefully. Our team has been tasked with creating some fantastic designs and you’d be surprised to know that a media area really doesn’t need to cost the earth. With some clever planning and a little help from the experts, you really can take home entertainment to the next level.




Introducing our Charity of The Year – Act4Africa

This year, we are proud to share with you the story of our Charity of The Year – Act4Africa. As a local business, we are lucky enough to meet lots of interesting people from the area and were introduced to Altrincham-based Act4Africa by friend and business mentor Lily Newman of Morgan James Consulting. Their story really struck a chord with everyone at Bluebell as their philosophy is to help change the future of young girls across Uganda and ultimately their wider families.

So, what is Act4Africa all about and how did it begin, let us tell you more…

The Act4Africa Story

In 2000, co-founder Kathy Smedley returned to Uganda, having worked in East Africa as a young teacher many years before. She was shocked and saddened by what she found. The effects of HIV/AIDS were everywhere and whole communities were being devastated without any hope. Having lost a young, close friend to the virus in the early 80’s, Kathy and husband Martin’s personal experience of this dreadful disease meant they couldn’t just stand by. They decided to try to do something, something which used the talents and capabilities of the local African communities themselves. Back in the UK, they gathered a small group of friends and started raising funds through cake making, car boot sales and sponsored events. They raised enough to start to train a small team as health education community youth leaders in Jinja, Uganda – and Act4Africa was born.

Martin, himself a trained actor, recognized the perfect fit of Theatre for Development (TfD) as a means of communicating Act4Africa’s messages to the rural communities it served. A series of TfD programmes were developed, and the charity’s youth leaders began taking them into communities and schools, educating and informing about HIV/AIDS and stigma.

In 2006 Act4Africa started providing mobile HIV testing and counselling services, and in 2010 they began to address a cornerstone of the HIV/AIDS epidemic: gender inequality.

Their work is increasingly focused on this issue. They believe that by educating girls and women about their rights, their health, the value of their continued education, we can change not only their lives, but those of their wider peer group, family, and community.

In August 2014, co-founder Kathy Smedley sadly passed away at the age of just 65. Her legacy and inspiration continue at the heart of what they do, and they are proud to be raising funds in her name to create a lasting legacy in the form of a multi-functional community health and education centre in Mayuge District, Uganda.

Kathy’s Centre, Uganda

As they look forward, focus has turned to a number of projects. Their ‘Grow a Girl’ programme connects you, our supporters, with Ugandan teenage girls who need sponsorship to be able complete their secondary education, whilst our HEAL project is helping the women of Mayuge District to establish savings groups and work together to create small businesses. They have been recognised for our efforts in sexual and reproductive health with a USAID award for our STRIDES project, and their teams in Uganda, Malawi and Tanzania go from strength to strength building on this success.

Gladys The Goat

We have a number of fundraising events in the pipeline at Bluebell, from swear boxes in our factory, cake sales to our goat Gladys which we sponsor over in Uganda, and we hope you’ll  join us in supporting them by spreading the word and perhaps even donating yourselves.  We’ll be sharing out fundraising and more information on Gladys the Goat in the coming months.

You can sign up for a newsletter of inspiring stories about what they are up to, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter – or of course, donate to help us continue our work changing attitudes, transforming communities, and saving lives. Click here for more details:

Alison Reuben with Act4Africa Founder Martin Smedley and Marketing Executive Sarah Istephan.




Media Areas – Stylish, Contemporary and Affordable

Media Areas – Stylish, Contemporary and Affordable

If you’ve passed our showroom on Washway Road in Sale recently you may have noticed a rather beautiful media area in our window.

This stunning media area was designed and installed by our talented in-house team and we always enjoy watching people admire it as they call in or pass by.

As a company who makes everything by hand, it’s sometimes difficult to put a simple price tag on our furniture as cost can depend on so many different things (the material chosen, additional lighting and features, the time it takes to fit it into the space). But to give you an idea, a media area like the one in our showroom window can start from just £1800 (that’s less than some TVs!).

If you’d like to discover more about our Media Areas, click here:

Our Silver Anniversary – The Birth of Bluebell

A lot of people ask us why we’re called Bluebell – and as we celebrate our 25th year, we’re on a mission to share more of the story of our family business with our wonderful customers.

Many years before fitted furniture and family, our founder, Alison was a member of the Bluebell Girls, the legendary dance troupe led by the inimitable Miss Bluebell – Margaret Kelly Leibovici. Alison was lucky enough to travel extensively with them. She visited Paris and Seoul in South Korea as a Principal Dancer and Buenos Aires, Argentina as Captain of the Troupe. This was an amazing honour and she met a wonderful group of women who, along with Miss Bluebell, inspired her to truly follow her dream to be a dancer.

It was these experiences, which shaped her as a person, and as Captain of the Troupe, helped her develop her keen eye for detail and fostered an entrepreneurial spirit, which she then used to set up Bluebell Fitted Furniture.

Model Behaviour by Dennis The Dog

Our family dog Dennis has been hard at work again modeling for Aldi UK. This time, Dennis has been showing off their new pet beds and has recently been featured in store and online for the famous supermarket brand.

As you can imagine we’re delighted with Dennis’ new career and we’re even considering him modeling some of our own Bluebell designs – what do you think?



What does being a Which? Trusted Trader mean to us?

Being a ‘Which? Trusted Trader is something that we at Bluebell Fitted Furniture like to shout from the rooftops…. you might have noticed!! Put simply, the reason we like to do this is because we are proud. We are proud of what we have achieved as a business and we are proud to be able to call ourselves Which? Trusted Traders. We were also featured in one of their latest articles, giving expert tips on kitchen installation!!

In their own words, ‘Which? Trusted Traders is an endorsement scheme which recognises reputable traders. The scheme aims to support trustworthy local businesses and to help customers find the right trader’.

So, what did we have to do to become part of this exclusive scheme?

One of the first steps in the process is a rigorous assessment carried out by Which? Trusted Traders own assessor. This took place on our working premises and included a thorough look at our business processes, insurance, qualifications as well as paying close attention to our dedication to the Which? Trusted Traders code of conduct. The assessor chats to our staff and checks our customer references, going through all the details with a fine-toothed comb!

It doesn’t end there though, to keep our status we must ensure that our work continues to follow our own high standards as well as those of the Which? Trusted Traders brand. We don’t rest on our laurels!! The assessors can pop in at any time and may carry out their own checks whenever they see fit. We were the first business in our industry outside of London to receive this fabulous endorsement and we are proud that we can call ourselves Which? Trusted Traders. You’ll see their logos in our window displays, you’ll see them in our showroom, we shout about it on social media and we print it all over our fleet!!

Now you know what being a Which? Trusted Trader means to us, but what should it mean to you?

When choosing Bluebell Fitted Furniture you are choosing an endorsed trader. This means we are a trusted brand whose business has been vetted for you and who receive consistently high satisfaction ratings from clients. Which? Trusted Traders have done all the hard work for you, meaning you can step into our showroom with confidence that we are right people for the job!

If you haven’t caught our little feature in this recent article from Which Trusted Traders, then you can check it out here…

10 steps to creating the perfect wardrobe.

Here at Bluebell we’ve spent a lot of time listening to the needs of our clients and the one thing that repeatedly comes up is the need for more organised storage. As we specialise in beautifully bespoke, handmade fitted furniture we find ourselves perfectly placed to give you some pointers on organising your space.

The big clear-out…. otherwise known as ‘the hardest bit’!

  1. Get the whole contents of your wardrobe, including accessories & spread them out on the bed. You’ll need 3 strong bin bags, one to go to the charity shop, one for clothes you’d like to sell and one for the tip!
  1. Take the time to try your clothes on, we can’t stress this enough! You may remember that it looks great, but how long since you wore it?


  1. Many of us feel strongly attached to items of clothing due to sentimentality rather than loving and wearing item in question. If you’ve loved an item why not take a picture of it and let someone else have the chance to enjoy it?
  1. When did you last wear it? A general rule is if you haven’t worn it for a year, you are unlikely to do so again, so all these can go in one of your chosen bin bags.
  1. Don’t keep ‘fat’ & ‘thin’ clothes! If you lost weight wouldn’t you rather treat yourself to something new? Keeping clothes in case you gain weight feels rather negative, so bin those too!!
  1. Do you have clothes that have waited years to be fixed? If they were that important you’d have already fixed them. While you’re there, bin all those nasty wire and plastic hangars, your clothes deserve better!
  1. Allow one or two exceptions! If it is a genuine vintage item that will increase in value, you may want to keep it. Likewise, if you have your granny’s beautiful fur stole, for example, it will probably be irreplaceable in terms of value and sentimentality.

Creating the perfect wardrobe…otherwise known as ‘the fun bit’!

To create your perfect streamlined wardrobe or dressing area you’re going to need some nice hangers, we recommend the black velvet ones as they are less bulky than wood. Also, some cedar or lavender to keep any moths at bay, trust us, it works.

A general rule here is the more you hang the more you’ll wear, if you don’t see it, you won’t remember it.


  1. Don’t hide clothes away. This applies to handbags tucked away in dust bags, and those of you who have gone all ‘Carrie Bradshaw’ and hidden their shoes inside mountains of shoeboxes. Get them out and enjoy them!
  1. Group items together in an orderly fashion. We feel that keeping items together in groups, such as dresses, denims, blouses etc. work well. When ordering, go from light to dark, for example, start with your dark jeans than work your way to white, this is both easy to manage and looks great. Apply this principle to everything. Jumpers are an exception here, hanging usually causes them to stretch so we recommend folding them neatly in a drawer, ordering by fabric and then popping in some cedar.
  1. Think about how you see your shoes. If you’re lucky enough to have an area where you can store shoes consider pointing one shoe forward and the other back, this allows you to see both the front and the heel height. Wipe all shoes down with a baby wipe so they are beautiful and dust free. If you’ve got flip flops and trainers then store those further back, they can make the overall look rather scruffy!

Whilst streamlining your closet may feel like an overwhelming job the long-term joy, not to mention time saving, to be had is huge. Imagine opening your wardrobe not only to know where everything is but also to only see the things you truly love.

for blog

If you’re always dreamt of a wardrobe or dressing room to die for why not pop in and have a chat to one of our design team, obligation free? We even offer a range of payment plans to suit you, including interest free credit, subject to terms and conditions.

We hope you’ve found our advice useful & we look forward to seeing you soon,

The Bluebell Team.


So you’re about to embark on some renovations – upgrading your bedroom, extending your kitchen or redesigning your home office perhaps? For some, this is an exciting challenge whilst for others it’s more of a headache. One thing’s for sure is that we’re all short on time, so making the process as simple as possible is essential and that’s where we can really help! From our initial consultation through to design, build, completion and furnishing, we’ll work our magic and bring your whole project together.

Not only do we have our own craftsmen and women at our Altrincham workshop, lovingly creating bespoke pieces for you, we also have a trusted address book of suppliers such as plumbers, electricians, and interior designers ready to make your dreams a reality.

One such supplier, we’re working closely with at the moment is Lana Filippova, a highly talented and award winning interior designer currently taking up residence at our Bluebell showroom. You may have come across her work in Cheshire Life magazine as a contributor for their home and design section. Her work has taken her throughout Europe and America and she is regarded as one of the finest designers in the UK.

lana image

If you’d like to meet Lana and tap into her creativity for a design project of your own, pop into our Sale showroom where we can help bring everything to life for you whilst keeping the process as simple as possible by looking after every detail!

Find out more about Lana and view some of her latest work on Houzz or visit her website.

To make an appointment with her at our Sale showroom, call 0161 976 6606.