Crack open a bottle! The Exterior Solutions Ltd team is delighted to announce that we are Finalists in the Buckinghamshire Business First Family Business Awards.

Recognising Business Success in Buckinghamshire

The Buckinghamshire Business First Awards champion great achievements and efficient company management in our county. At the start of 2021, Exterior Solutions Ltd decided to enter the Family Business Award category. We had survived the challenges of 2020 and felt that this could be a way to recognise the dedication and resilience of our team.

Buckinghamshire is full of small, innovative businesses, so we knew we would be up against stiff competition. This was the first awards that we had decided to enter, so were unfamiliar with the process. However, with our experience as an established local business, the timing felt right.

Charred timber cladding

What Makes Exterior Solutions Ltd a Unique Family Business?

Gender balance is rare in the construction industry, so it is unusual for the Director and Office Manager of a building supplies company to be sisters. We couldn’t do it alone. Exterior Solutions Ltd provides a living for three generations of our family, along with our extended family of employees.

We place a high value on family and have a strong work ethic that has passed through the generations. This business provides a livelihood for us and we all have a vested interest in making it work.

Our workshop team are an extension of the family and we value every individual’s contribution to the team. Every one of us has a unique set of skills and experience to draw on. As we know each other so well, we allocate work to the right person for the job. We also know when it is better to outsource to specialists.

We can be honest with each other and that is an important attribute when discussing business plans or resolving issues. We believe that everyone’s opinion counts and it is a great feeling when everyone is in it together, supporting each other.

Market Leaders in Charred Timber Cladding

Our primary product is Shou Sugi Ban®, a market-leading range of charred timbers. Influenced by the traditional Japanese art of wood preservation, our skilled workshop team craft premium timbers for contemporary builds and heritage renovations.

Shou Sugi Ban® has a reputation for quality within the construction industry. Our timbers have been used on a wide variety of private and public builds, which demanded a top-quality product. Public buildings that feature Shou Sugi Ban® include the Willowbrook Pavilion at Eton College, Bishops Stortford College, Nottingham Castle and the Holocaust Museum.

Premium Quality Charred Timber Cladding

Our priority has always been to provide a quality product; we operate on a scale that enables us to personally manage quality control. This attention to detail has put us at the top of our field, but it has been emulated. Our name ‘Shou Sugi Ban’ is now widely used by other suppliers who char wood.

In January 2018, we gained official recognition as the registered trademark holder for Shou Sugi Ban®. We see it as critical that others do not use our name. We have a premium product, which comes with quality assurances. We do not want our reputation damaged by an inferior product coming from another supplier, but using our name.

Commitment to Customer Service Excellence

In addition to our product range, we also see that our commitment to customers is critical. As a family-run business, our reputation and future depend on providing consistently positive experiences.

We care about our customers and provide continuation; they can always speak with the same person. We want every architect, builder and property owner to feel the same pride in their completed projects as we feel about our products.

What Future Opportunities are in the Pipeline for this Family Business?

With Covid-19 and Brexit, the past year has been challenging, but we’ve dug deep, adapted and have seen some stunning projects coming to fruition. Being open to opportunities, customer-focused and keen to build on success, helps us to view future growth with positivity.

Over the next 3 years, we will expand our product range. We have supplied Shou Sugi Ban® for boutique, restaurant and hotel interiors and we are keen to further expand into the interior design market. We are considering charred timber skirting boards, internal doors, staircases and shelving as options.

Our family business looks forward to building relationships with new clients and celebrating the completion of many more timber-clad projects.

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