Big 5: Origin to open Middle East factory

UK maker of folding, sliding doors seeks Dubai base and trade partners

NEWS, Business, Materials, Doors and windows, Dubai, Manufacturing, The big 5 2013

A UK-based manufacturer of folding, sliding doors is planning to open a new plant to make doors at Dubai Investment Park after scoring some major project wins.

Origin, an 11 year-old company started by cousins Neil Ginger and Victoria Brocklesby, opened its first overseas base in the UAE just over two years ago, shortly after Guy Dawson joined specifically to head up the local operation.

"Things went well in the UK - and are going really well for us," Dawson explains to CW.

"We're growing typically by between 20-40% a year for the last five or six years, and we thought we could develop a global brand.

"The owning family had good links with Dubai, my brother is out here so I agreed to come out. I've been here for just over two years. We came out originally to test the water and see what the market is like because it's a very different market to the UK."

Its folding, sliding doors have proved to be popular, though, and have been commissioned on projects such as the new Anantara The Palm residences as well as at the Al Barari development in Dubai.

Dawson said: "Some of the things we didn't even know when we came here is the thermal quality of our doors are excellent. It really stops the heat coming in. Also, we had no idea that dust would be such a problem for people in Dubai and our doors are completely weather-tight. You don't get tiny particles coming in."

In fact, the local operation is currently selling around £1m ($1.6m) of doors a year, which has sparked the decision to find a UAE factory.

Dawson said that he has been looking at a number of locations for a potential factory site, which needs to be around 10,000ft2, with potential for expansion.

The company currently sells doors through trade partners, but says knowledge about its product in the market is lacking, so it launched a competition at the Big 5 for homeowners to win a set of doors worth around $9,000 (AED33,000) for people visiting its stand. Dawson said it is also looking to extend its network of trade partners through whom it is currently selling more of its products.

"We've got a few great partners in Dubai that we're happy with. We're looking for Abu Dhabi now, Saudi, Bahrain and Doha. We've sent doors to Ethiopia, Kenya and Kuwait so we're doing our bit for the UK export drive, but the idea is we'll set up out here as well. I quite like Dubai Investment Park," he adds. "I have enquiries out for a factory there. We don't need anything too big."

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