Deuren Doors: European Elegance, Made In Yorkshire
Katie Mallinson, Features Writer
Just over two years ago, Mirfield-based manufacturer Deuren overhauled its business model, ending European imports and bringing the production of its high-end bespoke doors in-house.
In this exclusive interview with founder Ian Chubb, we look back over this exciting 'Made in Yorkshire' chapter, and towards the manufacturer's plans for continuing the success story.
Turn the clock back three years, and Deuren was doing perfectly well. Having established itself over 20 years as a luxury door retailer, the company was supplying its premium Italian products to happy domestic and commercial customers, even being featured on Channel 4's Grand Designs.
So, what prompted Deuren's founder to turn such a successful business venture on its head?
To an outsider, ceasing imports and bringing the manufacturing process in-house might have seemed like a drastic decision, but Ian didn't see it this way.
Commenting on the overhaul, he explains:
"It was the natural next step for the company, albeit a big one! Yes, we were doing well with our imported doors, but we were restricted by the limited input we had into the design and manufacturing process. I knew if we wanted to keep Deuren moving forwards, something needed to change."
And change it did. In 2014, Ian transformed the business from a small import operation to an 18-strong UK craftsmanship brand. And despite the risks of such a dramatic shift, the benefits were immediately apparent, with the increased demand and turnover eventually enabling a much-needed relocation at the end of last year. Now operating out of a much larger workshop and office space, there is plenty of space for further growth.
Turning over a new leaf has undoubtedly been beneficial, with an 81% increase in turnover and 3,000 bespoke doors crafted since Deuren shut the door on the import market. But what difference has the 'made in Yorkshire' approach had on the doors themselves?
"Before, we were finding that customers' requirements were becoming increasingly bespoke, but we couldn't offer the design and sizing flexibility that the UK new-build and renovation market sought," Ian answers. "But now, through combining European style with British quality, we've taken the continental concept of the door set, and improved it with premium quality raw materials, durable hardware and superior craftsmanship."
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"There's been a huge upturn in demand for custom-made, one-of-a-kind pieces in the interiors market recently, and a lot of focus on buying local," Ian continues. "We're lucky that we hail from a county with such a rich manufacturing history. We're proud that we can now say our luxury doors are made in Yorkshire."
But Deuren's home-grown success story doesn't end in the county, or even the country. Bringing the evolution of the business full circle, the manufacturer is now exporting its doors across the continent and growing its team of in-house experts.
Looking towards the future, Ian is also 'opening doors' for younger generations wanting to get started in the industry. The company recently set a student design competition in partnership with the University of Central Lancashire, and runs apprenticeship schemes for school-leavers.
Since joining Deuren as an apprentice three years ago, 19-year-old Chantelle Holland now works full-time in the workshop as a bench joiner. With a keen eye for detail and the expertise to operate heavy machinery, Chantelle takes a central role in the crucial veneering process. And, by forging a career for herself within the male-dominated manufacturing sector, Chantelle and an increasing number of female apprentices are helping to crush industry stereotypes.
Commenting on Chantelle's progress, Ian enthuses:
"Encouraging a new generation to seize opportunities in the industry is essential, so seeing how much Chantelle has developed her skills and mastered such a precise process will hopefully inspire others to do the same."
They say that as one door closes, another opens - and we're not expecting to see this one shut anytime soon.
Deuren Doors: European Elegance, Made In Yorkshire, 6th May 2017, 10:25 AM