About us & FAQs
Charbel Blinds is a small, independent family business owned and managed by John Pritchard and Alexandra Gregory. We first opened our doors in June 2018 and since then we have covered thousands of windows, doors and roofs within Ross-on-Wye, Monmouth and the surrounding areas.
Who we are
John is a former professional jockey who had rides at all the local racecourses including Hereford, Worcester, Cheltenham and Chepstow. He retired from race riding in 2007 and has been working in the window blind industry ever since.
John also works part time for educational charity Racing to School and, in November 2018, John was featured on ITV Racing as the runner up in the prestigious J.E.T.S Richard Davis Awards for former jockeys who have gone on to have a successful second career. You can see him here (far left of shot) receiving his award from Champion Jockey Richard Johnson at Cheltenham Racecourse's November Meeting.
John has two children, Charlie & Isabel, after whom the business is named.
Alex is originally from Chester and previously held senior positions with online giants moneysupermarket.com and gocompare.com, before launching a successful User Experience consultancy business. Now co-owner/manager here at Charbel, Alex is mum to two boys and has lived in Ross since 2012.
Our business model
Our business model has never been about selling blinds at the cheapest price possible, instead we focus on providing customers with value for money, and that means quality products at affordable prices coupled with a personal end-to-end service including guaranteed aftercare. We do not compromise on the quality of blind components even though buying cheaper components would increase our margins, instead we buy durable components that stand the test of time.
We all have social responsibilities and our business is no exception.
The materials we use to manufacture blinds, along with the products we're not able to manufacture ourselves, are all sourced within the UK from companies who all have their own environmental policies and charters.
We recycle all our aluminium tube and head rail off cuts. We donate our fabric off cuts and redundant fabric books to local charities and community groups who use them for craft-based activities.
We recycle all our cardboard packaging and use local charity EnviroAbility as our preferred recycling partner.
We are investigating ways to reduce our consumption of single use plastics, mainly polythene tubing, but in the meantime we re-use and recycle as much plastic packaging as we can.
Unlike other retailers we are able to recover existing (fully functioning) roller blind components with new fabric rather than simply selling a new blind. This is win win - the customer pays less and waste is reduced. We can also replace vertical slats if the head rail is in full working order, and we are able to repair vertical head rails if they are based on the same system as the head rails we sell.
We like to do our bit for good causes. We have recently given valuable financial support to The Royal Welsh Regiment, donated vouchers to local primary school fundraisers, paid for a special needs child and their carer to attend a circus performance with the Circus Stars charity, and we donated a prize to a fundraising event for local charity Rocky Lee's Little Feet.
Why aren't your prices the same as Blinds2go and other online retailers?
As a small local business it isn't possible to directly compete on price with online-only retailers. There are many reasons for this, but in a nutshell online retailers have a business model based on volume. This means they have to sell at the lowest competitive price, which drives the volume, and in turn the volume results in big discounts from trade manufacturers which lowers the the cost price of the products they sell and this is then reflected in the retail price.
Why do you charge for fitting? Other retailers fit for free.
Although we charge for fitting we rarely if ever make profit from it. The revenue generated by our fitting service is used to pay for, maintain, insure, tax and fuel our company van which in turn allows us to offer a free no-obligation measure and quote service.
Are your products made in Ross-on-Wye?
We make the following products in Ross-on-Wye:
What are your opening hours?
Our showroom in Ross-on-Wye is open Monday to Friday 9.30am - 5pm and from 10am - 2pm on Saturdays.
Are you a dog friendly shop?
Yes we are! We absolutely love dogs.
Why do my blinds need to conform to Child Safety legislation when there are no children living here?
This is one of the most common conversations we have for customers, and we appreciate it can be frustrating for some customers such as those who live in retirement complexes. We are not allowed to supply unsafe products even if a customer insists. We, as manufacturers and installers, are held accountable by the law for the products we make, sell and fit. We cannot and will not issue a disclaimer except in commercial premises where children are unlikely to have access. In terms of residential premises, there is always the likelihood that the premises may be accessed by children at some point (eg. grandchildren) and of course the window coverings may remain in place once a property is sold.