Comfortable Living

Verosol Australia

Customers around the world have been reaping the benefits of installing Verosol blinds and shutters for 50 years now. “You can have beautiful blinds that obviously co-ordinate with the aesthetics of the house. You can have a house that’s more comfortable to live in, is more affordable to run and increases the capital value for you in the long term.”

Thinking Laterally

Verosol is an international organisation born from one man’s curiosity and ingenuity. His remarkable story has left a lasting legacy on Verosol, enabling people to live and work in more comfortable and sustainable environments. In 1963, a famous Dutch ship builder, Cornelis Verolme sailed into New York Harbour. (The name Verosol is a derivative of the first four letters of his surname, Verolme, and the Latin word for sun.) While looking at the glass-clad skyscrapers, Cornelis thought about how difficult it must be to keep these towering buildings cool in summer and warm in winter. While it had nothing to do with his business of shipbuilding, Cornelis set about developing a process whereby a microscopic layer of aluminium could be applied to the back of a fabric. When the fabric was then made into curtains, the curtains gained reflective properties, reducing heat flow in the building, providing insulation and a reduction in glare and UV fading.

Cornelis later sold the company to Blydenstein-Willink, a large fabric and textiles company based in the Netherlands. “There’s this factory in the Netherlands which is the hub creating this metal backed fabric,” explains Mr Mouret. “That’s all it does. It value adds the fabric through this unique process of metallisation and it sells from there to a number of blind making companies. Now some of those companies are wholly owned subsidiaries like in Australia, but we also have a subsidiary blind making business in the Netherlands, Spain, Mexico and elsewhere. We sell to independent blind makers so we give them a licence to manufacture and market the Verosol product in particular countries.” It has been a fascinating journey for Verosol since Cornelis sailed into New York Harbour. “He was before his time in terms of sustainability and energy efficiency.”

Today, Verosol maintains a strong commitment toward sustainability, specialising in the design, manufacture and distribution of the highest quality window coverings on the market. The Australian division of Verosol was established in 1987 and has developed a solid reputation based on results, with a factory in Kingsgrove NSW manufacturing an extensive range of quality products. Many of these products are unique, like the highly popular pleated blind and high-end roller blind systems.

Pleated blinds have been a runaway success for Verosol, which maintains a dominant share of the market in the category. Consumers widely regard Verosol as having the best pleated blind on the market. The Verosol pleated blind is unique from a number of perspectives, one being the versatility it offers: the pleated blind can be made into all sorts of operable shapes and sizes that could not possibly be achieved with a roller blind. All Verosol products are manufactured in accordance with strict quality and environmental standards, a solid testament to 50 years in business. “So whether it’s our metal backed blinds or whether it’s our timber program shutters, the list goes on; we’ve got very high-end, premium quality products.”

Sustainable Chic

Customers can rest assured that when they choose Verosol blinds and shutters, they are making an environmentally friendly choice. “Our facilities are all ISO 14001 accredited which is of course the international standard for environmental manufacturing,” explains Mr Mouret. Three years ago, Verosol Australia gained eco-labelling accreditation with GECA (Good Environmental Choice Australia). “We were and are still the only blind company to have achieved that environmental accreditation.” Verosol has adopted many processes that are more environmentally responsible across the board, an example being the way colour is applied to the fabrics. Traditionally, fabrics were coloured using dyes by either yarn dyeing or piece dyeing. Instead, “We transfer print the colour onto a bulk of our fabrics and that is a significantly more sustainable process because you don’t get all of this waste product in terms of dyes.”

What customers choose often ends up being “more of a window treatment than a window furnishing,” says Mr Mouret. Unobtrusive, subtle designs are popular with customers that have beautiful views and really do not want to make a feature of what they are putting on the window. “Having said that, what we are now seeing more and more of in terms of fabric choice is texture.”

Textured fabrics like light jacquards and dobby fabrics and earth tones are in fashion. Incorporating texture within blockout fabrics in particular is something that has become a trend over recent years and is developing further. “If you look at blinds over the last decade there is a strong trend toward contemporary, modern design, which favours the roller blind in particular.” This year Verosol is proud to be celebrating 50 years in business, and new transparent and blockout fabrics with broader colour palettes to choose from will be launched specifically into the residential apartment market to mark the occasion.

People often make the mistake of prioritising colour and texture over the required transparency level of the application. Interior decorators will generally choose neutral tones like white or cream to co-ordinate it with the colour on the walls and architraves. The problem is that white is highly reflective and when you put a transparent white blind on a window there can be significant levels of glare. “It also cuts down your ability to look through that blind,” adds Mr Mouret. “If you choose a dark screen in a transparent fabric, a charcoal colour, for example, or even black, the view through characteristics of that and the glare reducing properties of that blind will be significantly higher.”

While black screen blinds may sound daunting, Mr Mouret assures that during the day the blinds will not appear to be black and emphasises that it is a great option for reducing glare. Harry Seidler, one of Australia’s most iconic architects, always specified dark screened blinds in all the houses he designed. “The downside to a dark screened blind is if it’s what I would call a non metallised blind, it might be providing you with great view through but it’s black. It’s now sucking the heat in from outside and re-radiating it in the room. That’s the advantage of metallisation because you can have dark screen rollers with fantastic view through properties but the metallised backing is reflecting the heat out so you’re getting the best of both worlds.”

Innovating Tomorrow

Verosol is continually focusing on the development of metallised fabrics and looking at more sustainable base fabrics. Another priority is further expanding its recycling program in the Netherlands. “There’s a big move around the world – often called cradle to cradle – where someone’s garbage can be someone else’s food.” Verosol actually takes back pre-loved blinds to recycle the fabric and outsource it to other companies for further processing. This fabric is then used in the manufacture of materials like pillow stuffing. This closed loop program reduces landfill waste and is a positive move toward a sustainable future.

Of course, continuing to provide customers with superior quality products during shaky economic times has been challenging. “The digital world and social media are playing an increasing role in the way people seek information about window furnishings and, to some extent, even buy them. Traditionally we saw very fragmented, small husband and wife businesses selling soft furnishings, curtains, blinds, and we’re seeing that change.” The nature of retail may have evolved but Verosol will continue to support independent retailers throughout the country. “We have a relationship with our retailers that is very much built around trust and loyalty.”

Mr Mouret has some great advice for people thinking about buying blinds: “Consider the application and the transparency of the fabric first before you move on to other things like colour.” Think about what level of privacy you need, whether you want to maintain views and whether you want natural daylight coming in. Before putting a blind into a bedroom facing east, for example, think about how you may want the blinds to allow privacy and minimise the early morning sunlight that is coming through so the sleeper can rest. This is where a pleated blind in a blockout fabric would be advantageous because a pleated blind provides a significantly smaller light gap than a roller blind.

Truly, the right window coverings can make any premises stylishly sustainable and more comfortable to be in. When it comes to blending sustainability with quality, style and innovation, Verosol is anything but blind.

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

December 19, 2018, 9:25 AM AEDT