Last year, when we introduced the SV+ cordless sliding Venetian integral blind to offer a variation on the most popular system in our Uni-Blinds® range, the SV, we knew from feedback that certain homeowners would love it. But what about everyone else? Would it be a niche product, or would most people prefer it to the original?

After 12 months in the market, it is clear that our Uni-Blinds® SV+ is proving to be a winner with installers and homeowners. Once again, this shows that giving homeowners windows and doors to closely fit their lifestyles and tastes really does open up new sales opportunities.
Being able to buy a full package – the windows and doors complete with a shading and privacy solution – has captured the imagination of homeowners who value the benefits of integral blinds, not least saving them the hassle and cost of having to source traditional blinds or curtains when installation is complete.

But as anyone involved in the home improvement market will know, you can never stand still. Listening to customer feedback, coming up with fresh ideas and innovative products is all essential to satisfy the strong appetite for that ‘something different’ and this applies to integral blinds as much as anything else.

Proactive and reactive product development

Our newly launched SV+ cordless sliding Venetian integral blind system was developed after feedback from several Uni-Blinds® installers. This suggested that some customers may not like the non-symmetrical look of the SV, indicating that this incredibly popular blind system wasn’t loved by everyone.

The SV has always been a hit with homeowners who seek clean sightlines as part of a clutter-free interior – illustrated by the fact that we made over 120,000 units in 2021. It works by means of a cleverly designed cordless magnetic slider on the face of the glass which controls the integral blind’s raising, lowering and tilting of the slats. There are no cords or any other elements on show – everything else is encapsulated within the double or triple glazed unit.

As with every type of Uni-Blinds® integral blind, the SV features a headrail at the top. It also features a sideguide down either the right or left hand side of the glass unit, which is needed for the slider device to work. With no bottom rail and a sideguide at one side only, it is a design that maximises the amount of light transmission.

However, some homeowners commented on the effect this arrangement has on the look of windows and doors, particular flag windows. It was clear that some people prefer a symmetrical view through their windows and doors, but what we didn’t know is how widespread that preference was.

Giving homeowners superb choice

As Uni-Blinds® are manufactured exclusively using ScreenLine® integral blind systems from the global market-leader in this technology, Pellini S.p.A, the strength of our partnership meant that we were able to co-develop a solution. What if we could offer a version of the SV that features an additional sideguide so the sealed unit looks equally balanced when fitted into a frame?

And so the SV+ was born. It offers all the benefits of the SV but with the addition of a ‘dummy’ sideguide. Launched in 2021, its first major public showcasing was at the 2022 FIT Show and the feedback from those seeing it for the first time was extremely positive.

But is there a majority preference between the SV and SV+? Interest in the SV+ has been really strong, but we are still manufacturing thousands of SV integral blinds every week. To try to get an insight, we recently asked the question “which one do you prefer?” on our social media accounts – the answer was a preference for the newcomer, the SV+.

Whether the SV or SV+ will become dominant in due course isn’t really what’s important here. What matters to installers is having a wide range of high quality integral blind systems available that will accommodate the varying tastes of homeowners. And by being able to provide Uni-Blinds® in as little as 10-12 working days with unrivalled technical and aftersales support, we think this gives installers everything they need to maximise the sales potential.