The Bigger Picture – Interview with Clearview Magazine
PREMIER ROOF SYSTEMS was founded in 2011 by childhood friends and experienced industry professionals, Jamie Blackwood and Chris Mullen. In the five short years since it began, the business has grown from just the two directors to employing seventeen people and now fabricates between twenty to twenty-five roofs per week, including the Guardian Warm Roof system. The company’s success and reputation has not come without hard work but, as Jamie tells Clearview, they have always kept their eye on the bigger picture…
“I went into PVCu window fabrication straight from school and worked at a couple of companies over a 10-year period. During this time, I was given the opportunity to fabricate roofs and spent the next 8 years developing my experience in this area.” Meanwhile, Chris Mullen, a friend to Jamie since childhood and who Jamie had helped to get his first job in window fabrication, had enjoyed a successful career as a professional boxer. The pair had often discussed setting up a business together but as Chris’s boxing career came to a natural end, the time was right for them both to seriously consider a joint venture. As something they had in common, window fabrication was a logical choice but, on closer inspection of the market opportunities, they decided that there was more potential for them in roofs.
It was after a meeting with Tony Morrison at Eurocell, who offered his support, that Jamie and Chris took the huge step to get funding for their first 2,000 sqft factory to begin fabricating conservatory roofs. Eurocell helped with the setting up of their production software and soon Premier Roof Systems has its’ first big customer, TWR Trade Frames. “In the early days it was just Chris and myself, working all hours to fulfil every role the business required. We had no money for advertising, as we ploughed every penny back into the business, so the growth of our customer base was completely reliant on repeat business and recommendations. We knew we had to build a good reputation and it was very hard work at times but we always had our eye on the bigger picture,” Jamie explains.
After an intense first 6 months, Premier Roof Systems was in a position to start employing new members of staff to help build the business. And with its winning formula, the company grew at pace, moving to a 3,000 sqft factory at the end of year one and, more recently, to a 10,000 sqft factory earlier this year. The latest appointments for the company are Marketing Manager, Pouya Bostani, who has already set a marketing strategy for the business and revamped the website to great effect, generating leads including walk-in enquiries. And also Operations Manager, Jon Orrock, who has a background in engineering and a wealth of experience in large scale manufacturing. “Jon has applied his big business mentality of lean manufacturing techniques and SOPs (standard operating procedures) to help us become more efficient and systematic.” says Jamie.
The foundation of traditional conservatory roofs on which the company was built still stands as a key area for Premier Roof Systems. But, after identifying the potential for solid roofs, Chris and Jamie met with Ross Darcy and Joe Kearney from Guardian and decided to take the big step of remodelling their factory to accommodate fabrication of the Guardian Warm Roof as their solid roof solution. The potential for the product proved an easy sell to Premier Roof Systems’ trade installer customers due to its impressive thermal qualities and LABC approval. From there, demand for the product quickly grew and although competition has grown steadily, as other suppliers launch their own versions, Premier Roof Systems has found that its choice of quality products, reputation and experience has allowed it to continue to grow its market share. The latest Premier Roof Systems’ product is the Skypod from Eurocell. This slim line rooflight is a versatile and innovative system of pitched skylights for flat roofs, combining contemporary looks with exceptional build quality. Skypod was launched by Eurocell almost a year ago in response to customer feedback. It has proven a popular product within Premier Roof Systems’ range and even attracted interest from outside the industry including builders and architects. Jamie concludes, “I can honestly say that the last five years have been a real adventure for myself and Chris, thanks to our loyal customers and the great team we have built. I look forward to a bright future for Premier Roof Systems.”.
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