Back in 1995 I moved home with my family to a lovely sleepy village by the Sussex coast where most homes did not have house numbers – just house names. Our house was called simply ‘The Warren’. I used my sign making skills to make us a brand new hardwood house name sign for our new home.
I routed out the house name in 3.5 inch ‘V’ grooved letters and gave them a gold leaf finish – very elegant I thought. The sign was lit up by an automatic security light that turns on when someone walks up the drive.
One dark December evening we had to call out the local Doctor from our health center urgently for our youngest son who was having chest pains and breathing difficulties – The doctor said he would be with us in about 5 minutes – about 20 minutes later the Doctor arrived and whilst examining our son he complained bitterly that he wasted a lot of valuable time trying to locate our Home.
According to the doctor he could not see our house name in the dark and had to drive up and down our road shining his flashlight looking for the correct house name for 15 minutes! The good doctor also complained that this is a common problem for him during hours of darkness.
He mentioned that even homes with house numbers can be difficult to locate from a car at night, let alone properties like ours with just a house name. He also stressed that any of the 999 Emergency Response Services also have the same problem finding homes in the dark and that the consequences of them not finding my address quickly at night could be a lot worse.
On leaving, the Doctor suggested I make my house name more visible in case I need a doctor again. – So much for the elegant gold leaf wooden plaque I just made – it could not be seen from the road at night and as the security light only comes on when you are walking up the path it could also not be seen from a car.
That’s when my Wife, Julie came up with the clever idea of making a reflective house sign for our home – just in case a Doctor had to be called out again or in case of any other emergencies.
I got straight to it and made us a wooden house name sign with white reflective lettering from the same material we used to make traffic signs at work. – It wasn’t long before my neighbours noticed the house name shining up at night and asked me to make reflective signs for their homes.
I soon realized the potential in making decorative & reflective house number and house name signs as a business and set up trading as ‘Ornamental Signs’. Initially I test-marketed the house signs by cold calling in my locality Door to Door with display boards to get a good idea of what kind of house sign designs, shapes and sizes would be most popular with home owners.
We then started to sell our reflective house signs through craft fairs, local garden centers and DIY stores. In 1999 we started to offer our reflective house signs direct to customers via this website – online orders grew so much that we discontinued selling through retail outlets and craft fairs in 2001. Now we only offer our reflective house signs direct to customers via our website
Originally we made house signs from hardwood, but I soon found that the wooden house signs needed to be re-varnished every two to three years to keep them from deteriorating – so I looked for a more durable alternative that would need no maintenance.
After testing ceramics, cast iron, cast aluminium, plastics & reconstituted slate I decided on reconstituted slate because of its superb hand casting qualities, outdoor durability and inert characteristics that allows us to decorate the house plaques with modern long lasting paints.
With reconstituted slate we can produce high quality house signs that look like cast iron but will never rust, they can be hand painted with fine detail like ceramics, yet are completely frost proof. We can spray paint them with a variety of coloured backgrounds giving customers a choice and they readily accept the heat laminating process used to permanently adhere the reflective text and numbers without deterioration or distortion.
We prefer to keep the actual details of our seven stage manufacturing process and the materials we use to ourselves, so that competitors wont be able to copy our quality process that enables us to offer our unique 7 year worldwide guarantee.
I suppose I should be grateful for being ticked off by the doctor back in 1995 – we have now grown to be the number one UK manufacturer of custom made reflective house signs, employing specialist sign makers & house sign artists to enable us to offer a wide range of quality, decorative house signs that are more easily visible at night.