Bluebell Fitted Furniture Ltd provides an interior design and fitting service for customers wanting kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms and home studies within a 30-mile radius of its base in Altrincham, Cheshire. Alison Reuben established the business 25 years ago, when she was looking for a part-time job that would fit around family life.
She was so successful that within three months, her husband gave up his job to join her, and the business has snowballed since then. Bluebell Fitted Furniture Ltd now provides a one-stop shop for people wanting to update their homes, with 24 employees across its design, showroom, manufacturing and fitting departments.
If you’d like to find out more about how your business could be the next Which? Trusted trader of the month, our article about the judging criteria tells you all you need to know. Read on for more about Bluebell Fitted Furniture Ltd and how the business got its name.
Moving towards success
Bluebell Fitted Furniture Ltd is still a family business, with Alison, her husband Mike and their three children all involved in different capacities. Alison attributes much of her understanding of customer service to watching her parents run a successful flooring business when she was growing up. In fact, her first showroom was in one of her father’s carpet shops.
The second inspiration for Alison’s success – as well as for the name of the business – came from a very different world. Alison worked as a dancer from the age of 16, with the Bluebell Girls in Paris. She's standing to the left of Sir Tom Jones in the picture below.
She attributes the beginnings of her business acumen to being mentored by Miss Bluebell herself. ‘She saw leadership qualities in me that I didn’t know I had,’ Alison recalls. ‘She made me captain of the troupe, and I took a group of dancers over to Buenos Aires for 12 months. I managed the team, dealt with the directors and the theatre, too. It taught me a lot.’
Alison’s show-business career continued back in the UK, where she worked at Granada TV and made appearances in films such as Moonraker with Sir Roger Moore. She moved into sales for more regular work, and honed her business and design skills in a large organisation in the North West, before starting her own business.
A commitment to customer service
The importance of customer service is a lesson that Alison learned early on. ‘When I started out, my father made me promise to look after my customers,’ she told us, and she and the Bluebell team pride themselves on doing just that.
‘We believe employing our own designers and fitters gives us an edge,’ Alison explained. ‘We’re very customer focused, and it allows us to take responsibility for every aspect of the job.’
Alison told us she enjoys turning customers who have problems into loyal advocates of the Bluebell Fitted Furniture brand. ‘If there’s a problem, there’s no blaming external fitters or suppliers – it’s up to us, and we’ll be round straight away to sort it out. That way, our customers will talk about how well we’ve put things right.’ And this commitment to providing great customer service means the company’s customers keep coming back.
Impressing the judges
The business has embraced its association with Which? Trusted Traders, making the most of the association to reassure potential customers that it will deliver on its promises.
As Alison explains: ‘Our customers see Which? as a very credible organisation – there are lots of endorsement schemes out there, but Which? is the best place for us to host our reviews. We were one of the first businesses in the North-West to be endorsed and it’s a great association for our business.’
The judging panel was impressed with the large number of positive reviews on Bluebell Fitted Furniture Ltd’s profile page, along with the way it responds to each one. The judges also appreciated how Bluebell Fitted Furniture Ltd is a regular contributor on the Which? Trusted Trader social media accounts, with its mascot, the puppy Dennis the Menace, proving particularly popular.
Congratulations to Alison and all at Bluebell Fitted Furniture Ltd for a well-deserved Which? Trusted trader of the month.