Artistic Blinds was founded in 1979 as a father and son partnership, between John and Chris Reason. John came from a shopfitting background initially, and started work for Deans Blinds of Putney in London in 1954 as a sales representative. After progressing to Sales Director of Deans (Putney), he moved to Managing Director of Deans (Wessex) of Wellington in 1967, followed by Deans (Greens) of Bristol in 1975 and then Deans (W. Wales) of Swansea in 1977.
After leaving school in Wellington Somerset, Chris having grown up with the blinds and awnings industry, started an apprenticeship with Deans Blinds of Putney in 1976 and then worked as an installer for all of the Deans offices, based mainly in Wellington but covering most of the south of England including Wales, London and the Channel Islands.
During 1979, therefore, John was based in Swansea and Chris was based in Wellington, and they decided to amalgamate their skills and form a new company central to both, and hence Bristol was chosen, and with the help of a Business Development Loan from the bank, the lease was purchased on a shop in Fishponds.
Sales, manufacturing and installations of awnings and shutters progressed extremely well with the winning of significant national contracts and the growth of the new company’s reputation, and in 1982, The Artistic Blind Company expanded into the manufacture of Roller Blinds and Vertical Blinds for the contract interiors and domestic markets. High profile marketing made this so successful that the increase in staff, stock, machinery and turnover meant the company had outgrown the shop in Fishponds, and in 1988 they secured additional factory premises in Kingswood, Bristol.
The shop in Fishponds was retained as a showroom, whilst additional factory space in Kingswood allowed a further expansion and the company purchased more machinery and moved into the production of Venetian Blinds, specialising in nationwide installations for office interiors and double-glazed partitioning companies, and then Pleated Blinds, specialising in the installation of conservatory blinds to all market sectors. There was also a sufficient capacity at that time for the manufacture of other related products such as insect screens, softshades and curtains.
Steady growth, and expansion, continued throughout the 1990’s within the Kingswood complex, until reaching the end of the leases upon all rented premises, at the end of 2001. Whereupon the company was lucky enough to be offered the freehold purchase of an ideal retail workshop right next door to where they started in 1979. Artistic Blinds had to streamline somewhat in order to relocate into 7500 sq. ft., however the location and timing were perfect, and the transition was made without significantly affecting the company’s performance or productivity. So at the beginning of 2002, The Artistic Blind Company now had new premises in Fishponds, with a new telephone number, new web site, new logo, and all of their staff, factory, offices and showroom all housed under one roof.
Further changes would inevitably follow within the organisation. By now Chris’ father John had gone significantly past his retirement age, and was looking for an exit strategy, whereas Chris’ daughter Michelle, having finished education in Bristol and begun her career within the legal and financial industry, felt the desire to meet the challenges of joining in with the management of this now well established family firm. Other factors also had an influence over the restructure of Artistic Blinds. Changes within the industry, increase in European legislation and the tightening of financial policies, to name but a few. But if something is good and honest and right, then it is meant to be, and these changes can only be viewed as positive challenges. The transition was tough, but successful.
At the beginning of 2004, the partnership between John and Chris was dissolved and a new partnership was formed between Chris and Michelle. Little else has changed, the work ethic, the product range, the marketing direction and reputation and ability to deliver, wherever and whenever required. Artistic Blinds moves into the future with the same goals and targets that it started with nearly thirty years ago, but now with much improved financial security, increased turnover and productivity, and with renewed determination to provide their customers with the most comprehensive range of products and services available within todays competitive marketplace.
Artistic Blinds and Awnings
A Shade Better