Consumers are regularly faced with the choice between local independent companies and well-known chains that advertise extensively on TV and in magazines. Here are three examples of the difference between the way we work and the manner in which the multi-nationals operate.

Example 1: A company with “45 years of experience” that advertises extensively on television promising that they “bring everything to you to choose from the comfort of your own home”.

The customer wanted some form of stripe in her fabric. They took just two pattern books to her, neither of which included stripes, and proclaimed that “stripes were out of fashion”. Their quote ended up at £2,300.

The customer came to us, with our mere 34 years experience, got her stripes and paid £1,489 including poles, fitting and VAT.

Example 2: A company that promises that it is never knowingly undersold.

To make a pair of lined curtains they offered a seven-day express service at £387.50, admitting that up to six different people would be involved in their production. A “bespoke” service would have cost much more, but with only three different people involved in their production.

The only service we offer is bespoke, because one experienced seamstress will make your curtains to your exact requirements here on our premises. The cost? £379.50. But that includes hanging and dressing them in your home.

We don’t offer a specific “express” service, because every commission is produced strictly in the order it is received and never farmed out to a factory.

Example 3: A well know company that is famed for floral prints, that is always proclaiming a SALE and proudly announces everything is  made in the UK.

A customer ordered three pairs of lined and interlined curtains on-line and was promised delivery at the end of January. When the customer needed to amend the drop measurement, she was charged 25% extra for the change, despite the work not having been started.

The curtains were delivered folded flat with a number of hooks missing. There were instructions that the curtains should be tied when first hung, but no ties were supplied. When hung the curtains weren’t level, the pinch-pleats looked skimpy, they were very crumpled and they simply weren’t fit for purpose.

The customer complained and the supplier promised to send return labels so they could examine them. None were sent. When the customer called again, they said they would send someone out to look at them. The next the customer heard was a call from the supplier asking if everything was now resolved. When they were told she was waiting for someone to come and look at them, they said that wasn’t possible as they didn’t have anyone to do that. They refused a refund as the curtains had been “custom-made”.

The customer came to us to see if we could resolve the problems. Our skilled seamstresses took the curtains apart and re-made them and she now has three pairs of curtains she is very happy with.

Had we made the curtains from the outset they would have cost 15% less, with no surcharges for measurement changes as we would have taken those measurements in the first place.

All of our curtains and blinds are hand crafted in our workroom here in Stroud. On the very rare occasion one of our customers isn’t completely happy with any aesthetic or technical aspect of a product we have supplied, we will immediately arrange to go and discuss the problem and either correct it on the spot or bring it back to our workroom, put it right and return it as a matter of urgency.