Shuttercraft – which installs premium, made-to-order shutters – was founded in the 2002 by Rob James and his sister and brother-in-law Fiona and Richard Vlasto. They spotted an opportunity to take advantage of the market for quality shutters, which was in its infancy at the time. After finding a partner in China to help manufacture the product to the right standard, its first franchisee came on board. And within five years the franchise network has steadily mushroomed to include 19 franchisees.
While pleased with the growth, Shuttercraft knew it was lacking in some key areas. Not only were consumers exhibiting a relatively low level of awareness of its brand but its executive team also wanted to emphasise its key points of difference: its people and services. “We needed to fine-tune it, make our branding a little bit better and provide a more inclusive programme,” explains Mark Stradling, the franchise’s business development manager.
For the past six months, Shuttercraft has frozen franchisee recruitment, instead focusing on upping the number of area managers in the network and making strategic new hires like Sean Goldsmith as franchise manager. With a leadership team that was keen to grow the business and willing to invest in it, Goldsmith was effectively given a blank slate to help the company evolve from being a man with a van business into a service-driven company with a more people-centric brand identity. “I relished the opportunity,” he recalls.