Derby’s Daring Duo Delve In To Risky Window Business

A pair of self-confessed risk takers have launched a brand new fabrication business operating out of Derby. Owners Nick Ashford and Nat Weaver ran a building company for more than 20 years but chose to try something new.

They also felt there was a market for high-end products and thus this is where they concentrate their efforts - rather than offering ‘commodity’ PVC-U, they focus on coloured and aluminium look windows and bi-fold and sliding patio doors along with conservatory roofing and high-end composite doors.


 “We are both risk takers and when we discussed the possibilities it seemed the right thing to do. Window fabrication is far enough removed from general building to be different, yet close enough that we understand the industry.”

– Nat Weaver 

Ashfen Windows and Doors



“Also, the time was right to take the jump. If we didn’t do it now, we never would and we would be forever kicking ourselves for not trying,” continues Ashfen Windows and Doors’ Weaver.


Never finding the right supplier

Weaver also says that when the pair ran the building company, she could never find the right window and door supplier – one that would provide quality products alongside a decent level of customer service.


Profile supplier

Ashfen use aluplast for its profiles. Weaver says: “We were looking for a firm that could help us make high-end products, in a wide range of colours, all in a reasonable timeframe. aluplast’s sales director Ian Cocken understood our position and has been a great source of help and information since we started.”

Nick Ashford runs the factory with two employees, manufacturing windows in the fully sculptured Ideal70 system, with a view to taking on the SquareLine Ideal4000 system in the near future. Ashford says: “The flush sash, which is compatible with both Ideal70 and Ideal4000, has generated a huge amount of interest and has started to sell well, as has colour, which is now running at almost 60% of everything we supply.”


Patio doors

Ashford adds: “aluplast’s Smart-Slide sliding patio door system is starting to gain traction as a real aluminium alternative thanks to its ability to span up to 4.5m at a height of 2.5m with just a sliding sash and a fixed panel.”


Bad move?

With the window industry coming under increased pressure from increased input costs and cooling demand, now may not seem the obvious time to set out your stall as a new fabricator, yet Weaver doesn’t hold that opinion. He says: “We tapped into a real trend as the country emerged from the pandemic. Interest in home improvements has certainly grown and people are looking for sophisticated, higher value products. And they are looking for suppliers they can trust – Ashfen fits that profile.”

Picture: Nat Weaver of new fabricator Ashfen Windows and Doors which uses aluplast profiles to produce in demand high-end windows and doors and other home improvement products.


Article written by Cathryn Ellis
17th August 2022


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