Published On: Wed, Jan 31st, 2024

40 years of innovation and excellence from Made for Trade

Pioneering North East manufacturer Made for Trade is celebrating a staggering four decades at the forefront of fenestration

In a world where a lot can happen overnight, rolling the clock back 40 years brings visions of an entirely different era; one where the UK was even yet to see the arrival of a Compact Disc let alone online sales and domestic 3D printing. The fenestration industry was however heading into its PVC-U boom time and one business was set to shake up the industry in more ways than one; known in the years to follow as Made for Trade.

Originally established as Aanco by Richard Gaunt in 1979, the company was officially incorporated on December 13th 1983, and since then has evolved into a powerhouse in the industry. A business that began as a supplier and installer of windows and conservatories to the retail market throughout the 1980s and 1990s, it moved from an original location in Sheffield to the North East, and soon became known for raising the bar and doing things differently in that busy PVC-U sales era.

It wasn’t long before an enviable reputation was firmly established in the Tees Valley area; becoming known for unparalleled quality in both products and service. As well as delighting customers by offering unbeatable prices, the company invested in the region with its inaugural purpose-built Teesside factory, soon followed by a show village to engage with consumers and showcase the products for which they had already become known.

That same quality-led ethos has remained at the core of the business for the last four decades, and during its transition from retail to trade with fenestration products that moved with the times and market demand. The company steadfastly remains a family enterprise and still provides the best quality products at the best prices, whilst that famous North Eastern friendliness is reflected in the industry’s best customer service and support from what is now a workforce in excess of 250.

The strive to constantly improve production and manufacturing took a huge leap forwards in the early 2000s when Richard’s son Bradley joined the team, bringing with him qualified experience in lean manufacturing – a step change that was set to revolutionise not just their home-grown company through newfound efficiencies but to pioneer new precision engineering standards across the industry. The Made for Trade name was suitably established in 2005 and the company continued to grow in size under new leadership.

The next significant step came in 2016, with the launch of the Korniche brand; a disruptive product line that would go on to change the perception of the fenestration industry and stand behind a range of items with a unique engineering-led focus. So much so in fact that in the years that followed, Made for Trade is often regarded not as a fenestration business, but as a precision engineering company that just happens to be designing and manufacturing fenestration products.

The first Korniche product to market was the Aluminium Roof Lantern, which alongside its design set the bar to new heights when it came to ease of installation, graphic instructions, and its ability to reduce the time spent on site for installers. The brand established its presence as a household name for both consumer and trade buyers at the 2016 FIT Show and the Homebuilding and Renovating Show two years later; where live demonstrations wowed onlookers via installations measured in minutes.

Designed by the ever-growing engineering team now headed up by Bradley’s brother, Ashley Gaunt – recruited back to the family firm from his role designing motorsport suspension systems in Italy – the second clean-sheet product to be announced under the auspices of the Korniche brand was the Bi-Folding Door. It appeared for the first time at the 2019 FIT Show to a rapturous reception thanks to a number of highly innovative features, plus a price that saw it compete with industry bestsellers. Product number two swiftly became one of the most sought-after aluminium glazed product in the UK as a result.

Production commenced the following year just as the company settled into their new home; a huge 120,000 ft² three-factory site in Wynyard that brought most of the core functions of Made for Trade under one roof. From initial quotation to final delivery – something which would soon include glass on the same drop – Made for Trade now served the entire UK market. 

The next three years saw extensive growth as the family team geared up to meet exceptional demand; whilst a new site in Hartlepool underwent redevelopment ready for the next stage of expansion. Of key importance during this time was gaining enviable ISO 9001 accreditation for quality standards; another landmark in manufacturing for a company in the fenestration industry. 

The Korniche Flat Glass was suitably unveiled in MFT’s 40th Anniversary year as the third product under the game-changing brand name; again at the ideal time to capitalise on market demand, and the systems are now available to order with deliveries starting in January.

Made for Trade is poised to continue its upward trajectory of growth and success in its 40th anniversary year as alongside new products it prepares trade days, press events, and in-house celebrations to honour its dedicated staff, many of whom have been with the company throughout its remarkable journey. Here’s to the next 40 years of remaining at the forefront of the fenestration industry.