An £100,000 investment in its two showrooms and the latest 3D design studio has seen a High Wycombe-based home improvement specialist secure a record year.
Hazlemere, which offers a wide variety of conservatories, orangeries, tiled roof extensions, double glazed windows and doors, has enjoyed a 37% increase in orders with sales on the retail side of the business now reaching £7.5m.
Part of the Conservatory Outlet network, the company has tapped into the change in purchasing habits brought on by the pandemic by introducing the latest flush casement windows to its range, as well as an extensive selection of new doors.
The firm is now setting its sights on further growth and is currently recruiting for eleven new jobs, including a production manager, sales administrator, living space sales consultant, conservatory surveyor and several window and door fitters.
“Nobody really knew what was going to happen during Covid-19, but we quickly realised that people, who were spending an increasing amount of time at home, were keen to tackle those delayed jobs or make improvements with their disposable income,” explained Rachel Braham-Hill, Managing Director of Hazlemere.
“The decision was quickly made to try to maximise this opportunity and we spent a lot of time and money upgrading our showrooms in Wellington Road in High Wycombe and at Welwyn Garden City.”
She went on to add: “There was also investment in new presentation software so we could showcase new designs and our involvement in the Conservatory Outlet network meant we had huge support with our digital marketing activity.
“All of this saw us accelerate retail sales from £5.5m in 2020 to £7.5m this financial year, with our commercial division also performing very well working with its local authority and education contacts.”
Hazlemere has come a long way since it was formed in 1985 by father and son team George and Stuart Braham.
The duo started from a small unit in Wooburn Green where they originally manufactured aluminium windows, adding UPVC to its range in 1992 and moving to its current HQ and showroom in High Wycombe.
They took the decision to join the Conservatory Outlet Network in 2011 and this accelerated the company’s growth, with current MD Rachel joining at the same time after completing her degree in event management.
Daughter of Stuart, she became Managing Director at just 28-years-old in 2018 and has navigated the business through the pandemic and to its current record year.
“There’s definitely a female touch at Hazlemere, with Jenna Ledward joining me on the senior management team as Head of Production, Purchasing and Goods In,” added Rachel.
“Our sector traditionally has been very male dominated, but this is slowly changing, and we feel we are helping to show females that you can have a fantastic career in our industry.
“I think it also helps to make Hazlemere a little bit different to our rivals. There’s an additional warmth and attention to detail that instantly puts the customer at ease and many of our clients come back to us time and time again.”
Developing the next generation of talent is extremely important for the company, with the latest round of apprentices now fully installed in production and installation.
This complements ‘Launch Pad’, an internal training programme that has been designed to help develop the careers of existing team members, so they meet their own individual aspirations.”
Rachel went on to add: “We’ve got some exceptional people in the business and, sadly, we’ve just had to say goodbye to one of the best, with Mark Austin stepping back from his day-to-day involvement as Director to enjoy retirement.
“He quite literally did everything at Hazlemere, working across all aspects of the business, including in the marketing team, retail sales and then into our commercial arm, generating significant revenue for us in the process. He will be deeply missed, but we hope he enjoys more days on his allotment, the golf course and spending time with his four grandchildren.”
Greg Kane, Chief Executive of Conservatory Outlet, concluded: “The team at Hazlemere has really utilised the collective strength of the network and our digital marketing expertise and this, alongside its own strengths, has helped it achieve significant growth.
“I’m delighted to see that Rachel is continuing the tradition of her father and grandfather and creating one of the best home improvement specialists in Buckinghamshire.”