Barlow Blinds has been named Which? Trusted Trader of the Month for July 2024. The judging panel was impressed by the company’s commitment to helping customers, donating to charity and advocating for sustainable benefits.

Leicester-based Barlow Blinds, which specialises in bespoke domestic blinds, awnings and shutters has been endorsed by Which? Trusted Traders since 2017. 

We spoke to Phil Coleman, Managing Director at Barlow Blinds, to find out more about their business and the benefits of being a Which? Trusted Trader.

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Cards for customers and funds for charity 

‘Barlow Blinds is my family business,’ said Phil. ‘In 2027 the business will have been run by a member of my family for 100 years. I'm really proud to have a job that can really make a difference in people's lives.’

Barlow Blind’s long-standing excellence is reflected by the company’s near perfect score on its Which? Trusted Traders review page, with a 4.9 star overall rating, 4.9 stars for customer service and quality, and 4.8 stars for value. 

A recent review from a satisfied customer said: ‘I used this company for the first time to service and fit a new fabric to my very old and tired looking wind-out garden awning. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Very prompt, helpful and friendly service. Came out to show me samples and offer friendly and helpful advice. They then removed and refitted the awning to a very high standard - it looked good as new! A five star service. Thank you.’

As a thank you to customers who recommend them, Barlow Blinds sends out a card and then makes a donation to Wishes4kids, a local charity, on behalf of the customer. The charity helps grant wishes to children who are life limited, terminally ill, have experienced life-changing physical or emotional traumas.

‘It’s always a pleasure to speak with Phil and he really values the endorsement,’ said Andrew Herbert, Barlow Blind’s Which? Trusted Trader account manager. ‘A fully deserved winner of Which? Trusted Trader of the month. His company is doing some fantastic work for customers and the charity link up with Wishes4Kids speaks volumes for the company values.’

Innovative mobile shutter showroom helps customers

Family ethos runs throughout Barlow Blinds, and previous generations continue to have a positive impact: ‘My grandad had a saying, "It is not our job to find customers for our blinds, it is our job to find the right blinds for our customers", and that has never changed,’ said Phil.

To help facilitate this, Barlow Blinds goes beyond presenting potential customers with a few small samples and colour swatches. 

They have invested in what they believe to be the UK’s first and online mobile shutter showroom, which they can drive to customers' homes to demonstrate products before purchasing.

The van has two different styles of bay window shutters, a track system shutter for bifold doors, and a shutter with a built-in blackout blind for bedrooms. Built into these shutters are different examples of slat sizes, operating systems, tilt options and other possible designs.

The judging panel were impressed by the variety of initiatives taken by Barlow Blinds. One judge said: ‘Great charity work with the donations on the back of recommendation. The mobile shutter van is a great idea which could really help consumers have a clear understanding of what they are purchasing. Energy saving cards are a great idea and very current with the current cost of energy.’

Efforts to promote energy consciousness 

‘The products we install can provide privacy and security. They can make rooms darker for a better night's sleep, they can even help reduce your energy bills,’ said Phil. ‘Window coverings are rarely bought as an energy saving product so people never see them that way but I’m convinced that giving people the right advice about this added bonus would have saved a lot of money over the winter.’

The British Blind and Shutter Association (BBSA), with the University of Salford, carried out extensive tests at their Energy House that proves having the right blinds at your windows can reduce the heat loss through your windows by up to 32%.

Every blind installed over the last two years by Barlow Blinds came with an information card explaining how their blinds should be used and the results they can expect from the BBSA tests with the different window coverings.

This was picked up by their local radio station BBC Radio Leicester and Phil was asked to join an energy saving panel.

Which? Trusted Traders bring recognition and value

‘We joined Which? Trusted Traders in 2017 because we wanted to find a way to show potential customers that we were a trustworthy and respectable company to work with,’ said Phil. ‘The Which? brand instantly says that.’

He also offered three key reasons why Which? Trusted Traders is the best endorsement scheme to be part of:

‘Firstly to be associated with a brand that is widely recognised to be 100% consumer focused is huge. I know for a fact that having that logo on our shirts has helped us convert prospects into customers.

‘The customers who recognise the Which? logo know it is never about price, it is always about value.

‘Becoming a Which? Truster Trader is not easy which means the vast majority of your competitors will give up (if they even start) and that puts your business in a class of its own.’

Congratulations to Barlow Blinds for winning July 2024’s Which? Trusted Trader of the Month award.

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