A game of two halves for the FIT Show

When Bradley Scott Windows met Truedor...

The FIT Show has been an unqualified success in the two outings enjoyed since its launch in 2013.  However, any successful exhibition depends upon both the exhibitors and visitors to make it work.  We therefore examine the sort of relationship that the FIT Show has helped to forge when both sides come together.

The Exhibitor – Last year’s FIT Show was the first for IG Doors and was specifically chosen as the launch pad for their brand new composite door range – Truedor.  While Truedor is IG Doors’ first dedicated product for the trade sector, manufacturing composite doors has been the mainstay of the company’s business for more than 30 years.  Now manufacturing over 2,000 door sets per week at its Cwmbran base, IG Doors has a well-earned place amongst the biggest producers in the UK.

Specifically for the trade sector

Truedor was designed specifically for the trade sector – a different product from the company’s social housing and new-build offerings – and it is backed by significant trade and consumer sector marketing campaigns.

Backed by TV architect George Clarke, Truedor has brought a touch of glamour to composite doors, something that cannot hurt the sector overall.

The Visitor – Bradley Scott Windows is based in Tamworth, Staffordshire from where the company has been supplying homes in the area with windows, doors and conservatories since 1999.  Run by football fanatic Andy Farrington, a great supporter of local team, Tamworth and England, there is considerable evidence of Andy’s footie-fanaticism throughout the company’s showroom and premises, which the company moved into last year.

The new showroom, offices and yard for Bradley Scott had been an ambition of Andy’s for a number of years.  Occupied by another home improvement company, when that business failed, Andy rushed to get the site.  However, unresolved issues relating to ownership of the site and other complications delayed Andy’s aspirations for around two years whilst progressively each obstacle was overcome and the site became theirs.  Many others would have given up.

Andy depends upon his reputation for attracting local homeowners and his website which allows a walk-through of the company’s premises.  Bradley Scott became a Truedor stockist immediately following Andy’s visit to The FIT Show in 2014 and his visit to the Truedor stand played a crucial part in forming the style and content of the new showroom.

The Partnership – Andy and IG Doors’ Sales & Marketing Manager Richard Kirman had in fact known each other for some time, with Richard living in Tamworth and regularly driving past the new HQ.

He was therefore well aware of Andy’s travails and also his ambitions for the new site.  So whilst IG Doors was a likely supplier of composite doors to Bradley Scott following Richard’s overtures, Andy had difficulty in fully appreciating the Truedor concept and especially what Richard and has colleagues had planned for the launch  of the brand at The Fit Show: “Richard had told me about the art gallery idea that they had to launch Truedor, designed to show as many of the colours and designs as possible, in a setting that really displayed the products’ quality to the full”, said Andy.  “But it was difficult to imagine,” he explained.  “So I had to see it for myself.”

Pre-planning process

Andy described the preparations that he normally makes when attending key exhibitions such as The Fit Show: “I went to The Fit Show with three or four companies that I had researched and wanted to see, but I also picked up more as I walked around.  It was especially important to me last year as I was finalising plans for the new showroom and to make the most of the new site.

“I used to go to Glassex but I didn’t enjoy it as it seemed to be more for extruders and fabricators. I feel that The FIT Show is more about me as a retailer and installer so I take a number of my people along to see and try everything there and then I have a day on my own.  It’s great for our fitters to come along. They are our reps and are very important to us.

“I dress casually when I visit exhibitions at Glassex I felt that I was often ignored when I went on to a stand; I just walked away.  That really doesn’t happen when I visit The FIT Show!  I want to see new products when I visit an exhibition, to be ahead of the game and my competitors,” said Andy.  “But I also want to see evidence of how a supplier will work with me, become my partner and what commitment they will make to me for the longer term.”

For Richard, The FIT Show was a key part of IG Doors’ plans to launch the new Truedor brand and marketing concept, which features ‘starchitect’ George Clarke: “We wanted to show the industry what we were launching and FIT Show gave us the opportunity; IG has never sold into the installer market previously and what we are doing is very visual, with George Clarke, the marketing support and of course the colours and style of the products.  Committing to The FIT Show early on also gave us a real focus to launch and it worked very well.”

Working partnership

“We did not go to The FIT Show to show composite doors.  We wanted to show retail installers how we could work with them to sell doors.  We had such a range of people visiting our stand,” said Richard.

“We had MDs and fitters and we could explain to all of them about the products and how we were going to market them.  Our factory people came along too and met customers they wouldn’t usually meet.  This makes us better manufacturers and better as a customers-focused business.”

But if the appointment of Bradley Scott Windows as a Truedor stockist was all but confirmed what part could The FIT Show play in getting the ink on the contract?  “I now have the display that was on the Truedor FIT Show stand in my showroom,” explained Andy.  “I wanted something special for my new site, something that offered the ‘wow’ factor, and their Truedor gallery display was superb.  I got the whole Truedor concept the minute I saw it and had to have the display too. I signed immediately.”

The relationship has burgeoned since, explained Richard: “Andy has become a centre of excellence for Truedor.  We pass sales leads out to our trusted retailers and Andy is excellent at following these up. We even pass leads out to him when we don’t have an appointed installer, in the knowledge that he will deal with them professionally.

“We follow up everything and have travelled way out of our area to help Truedor out,” confirmed Andy.  “I love George Clarke and I have even got two Georges in my showroom. Women make the decisions and having George here works for us!”

September 30 2015