December 1st, 2017 - Beth

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By including its ranges of Lumi doors in the broader company offer, Apeer now manufactures what it says is the most comprehensive range of domestic door products on the UK market.

It was a Eureka! moment, explains the eternally ebullient Apeer MD Asa McGillian, when he realised that rather than sell the company’s established composite residential doors and the award winning Lumi doors separately, combining the products would give the firm and its customers an enormous choice of types and styles. And that just maybe, when a homeowner was looking for a new traditional front door, when they spotted the Lumi sliders it might just encourage the customer to think beyond the front of their home; or of course, the reverse.

We don’t know of any other company that manufactures, from scratch, bi folds, sliders, glass and composite residential doors, let alone in the same factory. But that is what Apeer does in its 110,000 feet2 plant in Ballymena. Granted, following a further investment completed early in 2017 the Lumi production shop was separated from the firm’s composite door facilities but everything remains on the same site and ostensibly under the same roof. And therefore under the watchful eye of Asa, a man motivated by attention to detail almost as much as invention: “We are constantly evolving ways of developing new variations for our composite doors including improved ways of manufacturing the skins, assembling the door slabs, new colours and finishes, everything. It is a very competitive market and therefore such details offer our customers the edge.

“Conversely Lumi is very contemporary with its edge-to-edge glazing and hidden framing, and we extend this through the hardware to offer a very modern approach to residential doors. It is quite different in appearance and construction from our Apeer range but by showing both ranges together in the new Apeer brochure we have increasing numbers of homeowners that are switching to a Lumi door and even choosing Lumi sliders and bi folds for other areas of their homes. We have stopped pre-empting homeowners’ tastes.”

Apeer is built upon residential doors. First the moulded PVC-U skinned style for which there remains a surprisingly strong market, adding the now dominant composite doors in 2003. Sales of composite doors are now more than 3000 per month, sold throughout the UK. Lumi windows and then doors were launched in 2015: “I wanted Apeer to get into windows but the market was and is very crowded for standard windows,” explained Asa. “We either needed to create something that was fundamentally different in some way or designed to appeal to a niche sector – in Lumi we have done both.

“We first showed Lumi at the 2015 Grand Designs Live! exhibition and we received just the sort of response we had hoped for, even taking orders. A significant number of enquirers were architects acting on behalf of private clients as well as upscale commercial projects. It was very encouraging to receive the positive comments from designers, although as we discovered, such enquiries are usually slow-burners,” continued Asa.

During the past two years Apeer has refined its marketing for Lumi and, whilst continuing to attend as many as 13 home interest shows a year to take advantage of Lumi’s extraordinary aesthetics, the company works through dealers that have proved their commitment, or completes projects directly.

The success of Lumi belies the burgeoning sales of the company’s composite resi doors. Sales are on track to achieve what some thought were ambitious growth targets of 25% set for 2017 onwards. “The increased demand for our doors comes through greater recognition of our brand but also the quality of our doors, which are not prone to the warping and water ingress issues suffered with other brands in recent years.”

The company’s new door brochure now combines all products within the same covers: “We believed that Lumi and our composite doors would appeal to different sectors and so previously we kept them apart. We misjudged homeowners’ willingness to invest in their homes. The simple step of combining all of our products in the one brochure is really working well, and with some pleasantly surprising results,” adds Asa.



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