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houseof x Shutterly Fabulous

In a brand new blog series brands we love, houseof are introducing you to some of our favourite independent homeware brands and designers. In this blog, we've spoken to Murray Clark, Co-owner and Director of Shutterly Fabulous. Warning! You will want to buy these beautifully designed shuttered for your home. 

Brands We Love
by Florence
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Instagram @shutterlyfabulous

 

We are so excited to have you feature on our blog! Tell us a little bit about yourselves, your brand and how it started.

We started back in 2002  - which seems like yesterday but a lifetime ago at the same time!

Myself and Mark Carter (Co Owner & Director) wanted shutters for our own home in Brighton. At the time, there were only a couple of companies in the UK selling shutters and they were slammed with inquiries and selling the exact same shutter. 

We’re both from heavily customer focussed backgrounds and felt there was a gap in the market for a new shutter company, with an emphasis on high quality, a competitive price, wrapped up in excellent customer service. 

We’re still here 18 years on so hopefully customers still like what we do!

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For someone thinking about converting from curtains to shutters, what advice would you give them?

The key thing is to really think about how you’ll use the shutters when they’re installed. Think about what window covering you have there today. Eg – if you’ve voile curtains or blinds in place for privacy – do you really open them up to expose the glazed area on a daily basis? Probably not.

Therefore don’t be over consumed with a design that lends itself to folding back panels on a daily basis. This type of design typically means smaller, narrower width panels that ‘bifold’ onto each other. That’s great if you do fold the panels back. However, if you end up having the shutter panels closed most of the time and tilt the slats for privacy and light control, it can end up making the window look very busy. (Smaller panels have more solid sections of wood. If the panels remain closed over in the daytime, this looks busy and reduced the amount of light into the room)

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Shutterly Fabulous Custom Colour Shutters

 

We love your use of colour. What inspired you to use more colour?

Shutters don’t need to be white! Yes, a colour can be a bolder choice but think about your blinds or curtains…are they white? Probably not. 

We like to think of shutters as a piece of furniture in your room. Your sofa you’re reading this from right now are probably a colour other than plain white and looks great. So why not the same for your shutters?

You can tie in your furniture and décor in a sympathetic way and really make the shutters a stand out feature of your room!

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Shutterly Fabulous Solid Panel Wood Shutters in Pink

What has been your biggest hurdle so far in creating Shutterly Fabulous?

We’ve grown Shutterly at a steady rate over the years and now cover all of the UK. 

At the same time, we’ve seen the UK shutter market boom with lots of independents. This is a good thing as it’s created additional awareness which helps the market overall. Shutters are very much mainstream now as you can see them used in lots of TV ads and featuring in ‘regular’ homes, like Eastenders and Coronation Street!

The challenge of us being national has been finding the right folks to be part of a network who share the passion for shutters and interior design as we do. We’re pretty particular in that area and I’m pleased to say we’ve a great team who deliver that same level of service, advice and professionalism which we set out to achieve back in 2002.

If you could go back in time to the beginning of Shutterly Fabulous, what advice would you give yourselves?

Hmm – that’s a hard one. Be prepared to adapt and change. Don’t be too fixed to set idea or plan as so many things in business can change.

What has been your biggest achievement since creating Shutterly Fabulous?

Still being here and going strong 18 years later!

Joking aside – I’d have to say retaining a stand alone manufacturing relationship. Most other shutter companies in the UK buy via an importer and sell an identical product. That’s great and works for them but we’ve always wanted to offer our customers a high quality alternative and have direct control over manufacturing.

I am still at the factory approximately six times per year to ensure we’re the very best at what we do. I love that hands on part of the role and feel that attentiveness has been a vital ingredient to or success.

 

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We love your business ethos towards your customers and the quality of your products. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

Responsiveness. Honesty. Caring.

I’d say that sum’s up our approach to all that we do.

We’re all busy people these days and if someone has taken the trouble to contact us for a quote or appointment – we want to get back to them very quickly and service their inquiry in a professional and insightful way. 

Good design is key and I like to think that’s what helps us stand out from the crowd.

Being such a hands on business, how has your experience been since Corona Virus and how have you dealt with the challenges?

I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t anything other than a huge challenge! We’ve been through the downturn of the Financial Crisis in 2009 but this has been another level. Sales went to £0 overnight and we had 2 full months with no shutters being sold or installed. 

Cash is king and without that income we had to be very careful how we navigated those ‘choppy waters’!

Of course, we also had the added issue of container loads of shutters coming to us from our factory with staff on lockdown and a finite amount of warehousing space.

Now that we’ve been able to reopen, we’re nearly through the backlog of installations and getting the operation stable once more. Our Team really have done a fantastic job of supporting us through this roughest of seas.

Do you have a favourite style of shutters?

Ha! All of them! Can I say that?

OK – if I was pushed, I’d have to say the shutters I’ve just put into my new place. Traffic grey, full height with 114mm slats. They look fantastic and I do love the larger slats. I’m always trying to encourage customers to be a little braver with their slat size choices as the bigger slats look sensational.

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Shutterly Fabulous Full Height Shutters

 

Lastly, if you had to pick a light from houseof which one would be on your wishlist?

Well – you’ve got a stunning range and lighting is an obsession of mine. Dimmers, candles and multiple light options in a room are a must for me!

If I had to pick one, I’d go for the curved opal ball ceiling light. It’s unique, like the whole collection but it also has a classic style, just like shutters!

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houseof charcoal grey curved opal ball ceiling light
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