This month we speak to Ed Warner, CEO and Founder of Fine & Able, a Twickenham business creating modern accessible bathrooms; a company who are “experts in blending form and function, helping people to make their bathrooms easier to use in a style they love.”
When, and why, did you start your business?
We’ve been creating design-led accessible bathrooms for people in their own homes since 2012. Our motivation was to provide something better than the clinical-looking equipment that filled my co-founder James’s home when he returned to it following a spinal cord injury.
What challenges did you face when
Back in 2012, UK manufacturers told us we were mad for thinking people would pay for accessible solutions that were also stylish. So, educating, changing attitudes and sourcing products that blend form and function were key challenges at the outset.
What do you love most about running your own business?
The biggest thrill is creating spaces that our clients love, and which enrich their lives. Whether it’s a young person with a disability or an older person looking to the future, it’s all about creating bathrooms that enable independence while looking great.
What valuable lessons have you learned?
I’d say that the two key things are focusing on employing the best people and actively involving our customers in the development of attractive accessible bathroom products that work best for them and their unique needs.
Is there anything you would do differently if starting out again?
I’d have offered a full installation service earlier because, since we started doing so, we can see how much easier it makes the whole process for our older and disabled customers; plus, we can guarantee the quality of the whole project.
What’s your most popular service or product?
Our full installation service within a 30-mile radius of our Twickenham showroom is hugely popular, as it offers customers complete peace of mind. Products-wise, our matt black grab rails and wall-mounted basin with subtle integrated handgrips are best-sellers.
What advice would you share with other small businesses or those thinking of starting out?
Invest in getting to know and understand your customers and collaborate with those groups to help you develop products or services that they will want, both now and as those people age. Do this regularly and evolve your offering accordingly.
Name some other local independent businesses that you love to support.
The Press Room, just down the road from us in Twickenham. They power us throughout the day with excellent coffee and tasty treats!
What do you love about our local area?
It has to be the people! Our team love meeting customers face-to-face, both in our Twickenham showroom and – for those who prefer them – on free home visits, where we take measurements and chat through all the practical and aesthetic requirements.
And finally, tell us a little-known fact about yourself!
My first job was as a hop-picker in Kent, where I grew up; and I also used to be a qualified tennis coach.
Fine & Able
1 Ilex House, 94 Holly Road,
Twickenham TW1 4HF
0808 134 2727
Compiled by The Word Sanctum,
Copywriters for small businesses.