Aluplast fabricator Ashfen Windows and Doors Ltd launched earlier this year after its owners saw a demand for high-end products with matching customer service.
Based in Derby, owners Nick Ashford and Nat Weaver ran a building company for more than 20 years, but chose to launch a window business after deciding to try something new.
“We are both risk takers, and when we discussed the possibilities it seemed the right thing to do,” Nat said. “Window fabrication is far enough removed from general building to be different, but close enough that we understand the industry.
“Also, the time was right to take the jump. If we didn’t do it now, we never would, and we would be forever kicking ourselves for not trying!”
Nick said that when he ran the building company, he could never find the right window and door supplier – one that would provide quality products alongside a decent level of customer service.
Choosing aluplast as profile partner was a more straightforward decision.
“We were looking for a quality supplier who could help us make high-end products, in a wide range of colours, all in a reasonable timeframe,” Nat said.
“Aluplast’s sales director Ian Cocken understood our position, and has been a great source of help and information since we started.”
Nick runs the factory with two employees, manufacturing windows in the fully sculptured Ideal70 system, with a view to taking on the SquareLine Ideal4000 system in the near future.
“The flush sash, which is compatible with both Ideal70 and Ideal4000, has generated a huge amount of interest and has started to sell well, as has colour, which is now running at almost 60% of everything we supply,” Nick said.
Aluplast’s colour range now extends to 40 foil finishes, including its next generation woodec and aludec foils.
Ashfen also supplies bi-folds, conservatory roofing, sliding patio doors, as well as high-end composite doors.
“Aluplast’s Smart-Slide sliding patio door system is starting to gain traction as a real aluminium alternative,” Nick said, “thanks to its ability to span up to 4.5m at a height of 2.5m with just a sliding sash and a fixed panel.”
With the window industry coming under increased pressure from increased input costs and cooling demand, now may not seem the obvious time to set out your stall as a new fabricator, but Nat disagreed.
“I admit we had low expectations,” she said, “but we tapped into a real trend as the country emerged from the pandemic. Interest in home improvements certainly grew, and people are looking for sophisticated, higher value products, and suppliers they can trust.”