Tell us a bit about Proline. I gather you started it in your 20s?!
Proline was set up by me and another partner back in 1999. We are based in Ilford, Essex. We supply hardware to contractors in and around London and the home counties as well as specifying and scheduling for our architect clients too. We are part of the Guild, with two of us being fully qualified GAI diploma holders.
You have some high end clients/projects. Tell us about that.
Indirectly through our clients, we have supplied Chelsea football club, the Micheal Kors store in London and Cartier in Old Bond Street, which led to some bespoke items for Cartier’s owner at their central London home (sorry we can’t say where). We also supplied window fittings for pop star Boy George, and front door locks for Frank Lampard. These have varied in both commercial and domestic type ironmongery in various finishes, both standard and bespoke.
What do you find most challenging about this industry and what do you love about it?
The most challenging aspects are: tight prices and margins, getting customers to buy into the quality of hardware and not the cheapest. A lot of time is wasted on poor quality tenders that require a lot of time and expertise to put right and put together.
I love the variation of the people we get to work with, the projects we work on and the varied type of fittings we supply for any given scheme, most of the time these projects are unique which makes for a full and interesting day.
Problem solving is very much at the heart of what we do here. For example, providing door hardware solutions and advice for tricky door sets, balancing compliance standards with fast delivery times.
How do you spend your spare time?
Spare time is spent with my family, the four grandchildren and watching West Ham. I’m also a keen DIYer having just finished a large extension at home and a completely remodelled garden.