Eighty new jobs at Decora Blinds

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell  is joined by Decora Blind Systems Managing Director Stuart Dickson as the Minister announces an investment which will create 80 new jobs over the next two years at the family-owned company�

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell is joined by Decora Blind Systems Managing Director Stuart Dickson as the Minister announces an investment which will create 80 new jobs over the next two years at the family-owned company”s Lisburn factory. Picture: Michael Cooper


Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell MLA has announced Decora Blind Systems plans to expand in Lisburn, creating 80 new jobs over the next two years.

The family-owned blind manufacturing business is benefiting from an Invest Northern Ireland employment grant of £240,000 towards the new jobs. Recruitment is underway and 43 of the roles are already in place.

Jonathan Bell said: “Over the last 35 years, Decora has grown into a dynamic, innovative business and this expansion, supported by Invest NI, underlines its drive and ambition to succeed in markets outside Northern Ireland.

“Decora is ranked as one of the largest window blind producers in the UK and its clients include some of the largest independent blind companies in the country.

“The company has focused on manufacturing and wholesaling speciality products, introducing contemporary ranges with high value design properties.

“Once in place, the 80 new jobs will generate £1.4 million annually in additional salaries and offer employment opportunities across a range of roles including customer service and manufacturing.”

Stuart Dickson, Managing Director of Decora Blinds Systems, said: “Decora’s business growth over the past five years has been consistent. Our continued goal is to ensure employee, customer and supplier relationships are harnessed to their full potential.

“This makes sure that we continue to have the passion, creativity and imagination to continue to produce blind solutions that deliver and communicate value to our customers.

“We use this dedicated work ethic along with state of the art processes and systems for endless product possibilities.

“We are striving to create new opportunities for continued growth across our workforce to support the corporate strategy.”

Report puts blind cord dangers in the spotlight

Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement

Report puts blind cord dangers in the spotlight

A report which aims to help save children’s lives by highlighting the dangers of looped blind cords and chains is to be released today (July 9).

The 30-page paper, by the four UK Chief Medical Officers and organisations including the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) Northern Ireland, Public Health WalesThe Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), the British Blind and Shutter Association (BBSA) and Children in Wales, highlights the dangers looped blind cords and chains pose to young children.

RoSPA is aware that 28 toddlers have been killed by blind cords and chains in the UK between 1999 and 2014, 15 of which occurred since 2010. The report aims to reach out to parents, grandparents and carers about the risk of fatal accidents and how to prevent them.

It calls for more appropriate data to be recorded into deaths and near misses to better identify the scale of the problem.

The report also revealed that there are still millions of potentially unsafe blinds that were fitted in the UK prior to the introduction of new legislation in 2014. The new legislation requires new blinds to be “safe by design” or be supplied with the appropriate child safety devices installed. The report warns that there needs to be continued public awareness raising to reach those families that may be at risk.

Ita McErlean, RoSPA’s home safety manager for Northern Ireland, said: “This report is an important step forward in raising awareness of the potential dangers of looped blind cords. Anything that can help reach homes that still have blinds with looped cords or without the appropriate safety devices is a move in the right direction.

“Sadly, there have been more blind cord deaths across the UK since the report was published, which goes to show how important it is for us to continue to raise awareness among parents, grandparents and carers to ensure that looped blind cords are kept out of the reach of children. Far too many young lives have already been lost.

“These deaths are devastating for parents and families involved and we must do all we can to prevent more deaths and further suffering.”

The report was commissioned after a group, including the CMOs, public health agencies and RoSPA, was set up in 2013 to look at ways to reduce blind cord injuries and deaths.  The report has already proved useful for pushing this issue up the agenda with additional initiatives taking place across the UK since the report was completed.

Dr Michael McBride, CMO for Northern Ireland, said: “The purpose of the report is to help highlight the dangers of looped blind cords and look at ways in which blind cord injuries and deaths can be reduced.

“It can take as little as seconds for a toddler to lose their life after becoming entangled in a window blind cord or chain, but simple steps – such as securing cords and chains with safety devices and keeping furniture away from windows so that children cannot climb on it – can help prevent deaths.

“While the report shows that there has been significant work to address the issue, the fact that there have been further deaths since it was completed means that we must continue to step up our efforts to reduce the risk of unintentional injuries and premature, preventable deaths. There is no room for complacency when it comes to our children’s safety and we can always do more.”

RoSPA worked with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) and the British Blind and Shutter Association (BBSA) to strengthen the current European standard relating to looped blind cords, which led to the new legislation being introduced last year.

Nelson Watt, chairman of BBSA’s Child Safety Working Group, said: “The British Blind and Shutter Association (BBSA) has been pleased to be involved with this report and recognises that the collective work of many stakeholders is vital in raising awareness of blind cord and chain safety. The BBSA will continue to develop its Make it Safe campaign to ensure appropriate messages are communicated regarding child safety and existing window blinds.”

Anyone wanting more information about blind cord safety should visit www.rospa.com/blindcords.

Deva blinds launch blackout roller blinds in a cassette.


Deva blinds are pleased to launch our new product a blackout roller blind within a cassette.

Paul Pollard-Fraser, owner of Deva Blinds said, “Before we offered blackout roller blinds in the recess and light crept round the gaps.  It was all we had then and not very satisfactory.  We are now able to offer our customers a cassetted version that lets very little light through.”

“We launched our low cost motorised blinds early in 2015 and they have proved a huge success.  The video above shows you a sample of a cassetted blackout roller blind being operated by a rechargeable battery operated motor.  There are no wires or trailing cords and they are completely child and pet safe.  A single 8 hour plug in charge lasts between 6 and 8 months or we also do a mains powered option.”

“With British Summer time starting tomorrow, the phones will be ringing next week with mother’s of small children wanting to darken their child’s bedroom.  Our blackout roller blinds will certainly fit the bill.”


Motorise your blind from only £75.

Deva blinds are now offering motorised blinds that are affordable to all.

Paul Pollard-Fraser said ‘For a long time motorised blinds were only for the super rich where money was no option and only the best would do.  But now with the introduction of mass produced and sensibly priced motors, motorisation is available for all.”

“I have motorised roller blinds in my apartment, in fact the video above is one of mine.  Neat and tidy with no trailing wires, they are great.  I have tested these motors and am happy to offer them to my customers.”

Your rechargeable battery will last between 6 and 8 months between charge and when a charge is needed all you need to do is plug the charger into the wall socket and directly into the motor.  The battery pack is integrated within the motor.

We will soon be offering solar chargers and light sensors to control the opening and closing of your blinds.

100% child safe with no trailing cords, motorised blinds are the way forward.

To find out more please contact us.


Hillarys awards £18m media account to MediaCom – Is that why Hillarys are so expensive ?

By Maisie McCabecampaignlive.co.uk, Monday, 18 August 2014 12:14PM Be the first to comment

Hillarys, the blinds and shutter specialist, has awarded its £18 million media planning and buying account to MediaCom.

Hillarys: hires MediaCom for its media businessHillarys: hires MediaCom for its media business

MediaCom’s Manchester office is understood to have beat PHD North to pick up the business after a competitive pitch. The incumbent, Carat Manchester, resigned the business in April and was not involved.

The appointment marks a return to MediaCom for the Hillarys brand, as it worked with the WPP agency from 2006 before hiring Carat Manchester in 2011.

The business includes digital media including pay per click, search engine optimisation, affiliates and programmatic display as well as all offline planning and buying responsibilities.

Susan White, the head of online at Hillarys, said: “Throughout the pitch process, MediaCom was able to demonstrate an unparalleled understanding of the modern media landscape, combined with an ability to deliver true value and impact, all key requirements for our continuing growth ambitions.”

The account will be led by MediaCom UK’s recently expanded digital performance division i-Lab, which will handle the digital activity.

Paul Cooper, the joint managing director at MediaCom i-Lab UK, said: “This is a fantastic appointment for us to have secured here at MediaCom, giving us the opportunity to put into play the full power and potential of i-Lab’s ability to provide a digital specialist brand within the wrapper of connected comms planning.

“Hillarys is a true British manufacturing success story and we’re looking forward to working with them closely to spearhead the next period of growth for the business.”

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

Bloc Blinds custom designs make for good times

  By Scott Campbell  9:00PM BST 02 Aug 2014


While Bing Crosby may be dreaming of a white Christmas, Cormac Diamond’s list for Santa contains a somewhat different desire – to print mince pies on blinds.

“You never know what a customer might want,” he says, laughing. Despite having no background in the lucrative window industry, Diamond, 36, a former mechanical engineer, set up Bloc Blinds five years ago, and business appears to be booming.

After spotting a gap in the market during the credit crisis, he developed an interchangeable roller blind system – installable with just four screws – that lets customer easily change the fabric without having to remove the whole frame. It has proved so popular that when the Northern Irish company, based in Draperstown, County Londonderry, launched a Christmas-themed blind in December last year, customers were keen to buy.

“It gave us the courage to invest in a printing machine so we can really go to town with new designs this year,” says Diamond. The company, which has 42 employees, is now planning to launch a service that lets customers design their own fabric.

“If, for instance, you had green cushions, and wanted to match a blind to them, we can now easily replicate the exact colour rather than travelling the country to find a suitable fabric,” Diamond explains.

“It’s a quirky thing, but in the past people would have ruled it out as being complete nonsense, purely from the cost of the fixture.

“But now, with the advent of an interchangeable blind, you can cheaply print whatever you like, even ‘happy birthday’ blinds, and hang it up for a few hours then take it down again.”

After being spotted at a trade show in Germany four years ago, Bloc Blinds has been selected by John Lewis as a category brand, meaning it will have dedicated areas in stores.

But prospects have not always been so rosy. Bloc Blinds launched at the height of the credit crunch, when consumers were watching their spending. Amid the frequent redundancies of the financial crisis there was no shortage of workers available, but none of them had the right skills.

“One major challenge we had was finding staff – there were lots of workers, but none of them were blind makers,” says Diamond. “A lot of people thought I was mad for starting a business at that point.”

With training, the workers soon started production, but finding clients was an entirely different matter – Diamond hadn’t hired a sales team.

Despite his relatively limited business experience, he visited prospective buyers alone with a suitcase full of samples. He says he regularly used gut instinct to make business decisions, and it paid off; once retailers saw the product and its potential and its uniqueness, they started to buy into it. “It was a steep learning curve,” he admits.

Indeed, squeezed by the credit crunch, the company’s customers had been trying to improve their margins by buying cheaper products, but quickly realised that quality was more important to avoid complaints and returns.

Fortunately, Bloc Blinds wasn’t overly affected by the financial doom and gloom hurting many British industries. Rather than getting capital from banks, most of the company’s funding instead came from family members.

“It stood us in good stead. Every pound and every penny is still looked after,” explains Diamond. “When it’s from people you know and not a loan from a bank, you really have got a greater feel for the value of the money.”

The constraint on funding meant that the company’s expansion was cautious, and largely funded from profits, which is still the case.

“The ethos of the business is that it must be sustainable. We must take our growth seriously, and the expenditure involved in that must be well thought out,” he explains. “Those early years really taught us to know the value of money and investing our own money.”

Within a year, Bloc Blinds moved from producing five blinds per week to 100.

Now the company is planning to expand into the American market, where Diamond thinks that seasonal blinds – such as for Halloween, as well as Christmas – will be particularly popular.

“It’s going to fit their market well. Our ethos will chime with the Americans, as we have a strong success story behind our products,” he says.

Although the firm has meetings set up with two large US retailers, the stateside launch will primarily be on the internet so that it can target consumers directly – a strategy that is already working wonders in Europe.

“The medium of the internet is perfect for us to get the product out to new markets.”

In the UK, Bloc Blinds currently works with 500 independent retailers, a number that it plans to increase.

However, Diamond plans to expand the number of trade partners during the next year, so that Bloc Blinds becomes a household name “available in every town and city across the UK”.

He adds: “We would like to become the new Dyson.

“They’ve got something unique – people associate the bagless vacuum cleaner with Dyson and that is what we want to do with interchangeable blinds.”

Far from the days when finding skilled workers was the biggest challenge, now Diamond says that it’s managing the growth of the company.

Bloc Blinds is in the process of amalgamating multiple production facilities into a single site, which he hopes will further spur growth as it moves into new markets.

But Diamond has not lost touch with the company’s roots.

“If you start off with a hands-on approach, it’s very difficult to get away from it,” he explains.

Indeed, while the entrepreneur has had to reduce the time he spends on the factory – or house – floor, he says that sometimes “you just have to get your hands dirty”.

“There’s nothing like going out and fitting blinds yourself to get a true feeling of what customers think,” he concludes.



Duette window blinds brand launches new campaign

Duette TV Ad from The Market Creative on Vimeo.


Hunter Douglas’ Duette, the energy-saving window blinds brand, has launched a campaign to leverage its position as the inventor of honeycomb cell technology, which traps air inside the blinds to boost energy efficiency.

Fabienne Tyler, Business Development Manager at Hunter Douglas said: “We are looking to communicate our energy-saving proposition in conjunction with a stylish, quality product offering, as well as the fact that we’re the originators of honeycomb cell technology. The campaign directly addresses both of those ideas, in a way that we are sure will resonate with our audience.”

Devised by The Market Creative, a honeycomb shape runs throughout the brand campaign, while the text ‘The Original Energy Saving Blind’ is incorporated into the design along with a heritage stamp.

Account director, Caroline Finch-Denham, who led the project at The Market Creative, said: “Hunter Douglas is the patent-owner of the energy saving honeycomb cell structure. By leveraging this heritage we have created a point of difference in the market and the idea is brought to life through the honeycomb shape that works across all channels.”

The campaign will be trialled over the next three months with a 30-second TV advert, running nationally on satellite channels, and a consumer press campaign with ads across a range of home interest titles. The look and feel developed by The Market Creative also been applied to the brand websitewww.duette.co.uk

No Dust Here! How to Effortlessly Clean Blinds


No Dust Here! How to Effortlessly Clean Blinds

by Sarah Lipoff 0 Reactions 426 Shares Print
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Along with keeping out the sun and offering privacy, blinds are a big collector of dust. It’s smart to add wiping your blinds to your monthly to-do, which keeps them free of debris. Not sure how to tackle this task? It’s actually so easy. Here’s what to do.

Quick Dusting

Open the blinds so you can easily reach between the slats. Dust the area with your favorite duster or a microfiber cloth. You can also use the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner to suck up any cobwebs or dirt that has made the space its home since your last cleaning.

Get Clean

Mix together a solution of equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle to use as an eco-friendly blinds cleaner. For really dirty blinds, you can also add one-fourth teaspoon of dish soap to help bust through buildup. Give the container a shake to distribute. Turn an old athletic sock inside out, and place it on your hand. Spritz the sock with the cleaner, and then gently wipe the top and bottom of each slat of the blinds. If you don’t have an old sock, a microfiber cloth works just fine too.

Final Step

Pull up the blinds, and give the window a quick cleaning using the same solution you used for the blinds. Wipe around the frame of the window, removing any last bits of dust or dirt. Then return the blinds to their original position, and enjoy the clean.

10 Ways To Keep Your Home Cool.. Without Touching The Air Conditioner

1. Keep your blinds closed. As simple as it may seem, the Family Handyman notes that up to 30 percent of unwanted heat comes from your windows, and utilizing shades, curtains and the like can save you up to 7 percent on your bills and lower indoor temperatures by up to 20 degrees. In other words, it essentially prevents your home from becoming a miniature greenhouse, which is especially the case for south- and west-facing windows.


Read the complete article here:


Sunderland blind firm joins safety campaign after death of Sophie Allen

homefair blinds

A COMPANY is joining calls to raise awareness of potentially deadly blind cords after a toddler was tragically killed.

Steve Ellithorn, whose Sunderland-based blinds company did not supply those which strangled little Sophie Allen, wants to raise awareness of how blinds can be made safe.

The firm’s showroom in Fawcett Street hands out information leaflets to potential customers and also provide safety devices for making older blinds more child-friendly.

But there are still millions of potentially deadly blinds in family homes across the country.

Sophie’s devastated parents, Peter Allen and Danielle Hudson, have joined the Echo with our campaign For Sophie’s Sake, to raise awareness of the dangers of blind cords.

They watched in agony as medics at Sunderland Royal Hospital and the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, battled to save Sophie in April.

Tragically, all efforts failed and Sophie’s life support was switched off in the early hours of April 26 after scans showed there was no activity in the toddler’s brain.

Homefair Blinds refuses to fit blinds unless they comply with new safety regulations, which came into force in February, and is offering free advice to anyone with concerns.

Steve, a 44-year-old father of two, said: “When I read about Sophie, I felt sick. It’s just the normal human reaction. I have children aged seven and nine.”

He added that new measures had been welcomed by the industry, but some customers still object to their blinds being fitted with safety devices.

He said: “People say, ‘I haven’t got any kids’, but if you buy a car, you can’t say you don’t want seatbelts because I’m not going to hit anything.

“What happens when you sell the car to someone else? If you move, your blinds are still in the house.

“People think it isn’t going to happen to them. We thought people would be more resistent when the legislation came in, but thankfully they were in the minority.”

At the two-year-old’s inquest earlier this month, the city’s senior coroner Derek Winter heard that 28 children in the UK have been strangled by looped cords since 1999 – 15 in the last four years.

Sophie’s parents said: “Too many children die because of blind cords. They have been banned in America and other countries.

“The reason being, children still have accidents with blind cords when safety devices are fitted.

“Devices have failed in the past – cord breakers have not snapped and clips on the walls have been able to be pulled off.

“Basically, these safety devices still don’t prevent blind cord accidents.’’

They added: “Our campaign is to make people aware and make them safe for the millions of people that already have blinds fitted in their homes.’’