In light of the evolving Coronavirus situation, we want to reassure our customers that we are taking appropriate measures to maintain our high levels of service during what is a challenging time for everyone.
Our manufacturing capabilities, at present, remain unaffected and as a vertically integrated company we are in complete control of our supply chain. This allows us to complete orders as planned and to maintain supplies.
We take great pride in the strong relationships we have with our customers and we will continue to work tirelessly to minimise disruption and help everyone through what is an unprecedented situation.
We will continue to keep you up-to-date with any changes to the current situation. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your sales executive or contact us directly on +44 (0)28 3833 4433
Ulster Carpets have a proud history as an industry pioneer and a closer look at our workforce reflects that we also lead the way when it comes to gender equality.
Supporting the campaign theme #EachforEqual for International Women’s Day on 8th March, we can point to a history of gender equality that goes right back to the roots of the company.
Formed in 1938, just before the outbreak of the Second World War, Ulster Carpets had to quickly diversify, not just in terms of stopping carpet manufacturing to focus on creating products to help the war effort but also with women taking over the then traditional role of men who were off fighting in the war. This started a process of ensuring employment opportunities for women that has continued over the last 80-plus years.
Today, Ulster Carpets continues to be a standard bearer for equal opportunities. Women make up 40% of the current management team while 76% of the design team – a critical aspect of our success – are women.
Meanwhile, 54% of staff across professional areas of the business – such as sales, technical services, design, finance, IT, customer services, HR and marketing – are female. When combined with the managers and directors of these various departments, the male/female ratio is almost a perfect 50-50 – 49% men and 51% women.
However, the perfect example of how barriers to progression have been removed at Ulster Carpets is demonstrated at the highest level where there is a 50-50 split of men and women on our Operational Board of Directors. That is a significant difference to 20 years ago when there was only one woman on the Board.
As our Personnel Director, Caroline Whiteside, explained, representation at every level of Ulster Carpets has been matched by a commitment to gender equality.
“We’re not required by law to publish a Gender Pay Gap report but we feel it is important to demonstrate our commitment to gender equality,” said Caroline. “We have a record of removing the barriers faced by women in the workplace and offering equal opportunities to all our staff.
“Women taking up managerial and director positions at Ulster Carpets is the norm and we can point to numerous examples of staff who have proved there is no glass ceiling to progression here because of their gender.
“Some started on our hugely successful Graduate Programme while others have worked their way up through various positions in the company. However, regardless of where they started, first and foremost our focus is on recognising an individual’s ability and performance, regardless of gender.”
We are pleased to announce the promotion of two members of staff.
Adrian Maney, who has been with the company for almost 33 years, is now Director – Logistics, Customers & Operational Support. With over 30 years’ experience, Joyce McIvor now becomes our Contract Sales Director for the UK and Ireland.
These appointments are part of our targeted growth strategy.
Ulster Carpets is pleased to announce the acquisition of Axfelt, manufacturers of high quality and fully sustainable underlay.
The purchase of this successful brand further demonstrates Ulster’s commitment to developing complementary products to enhance its customer offering.
Ulster’s ethos and future plans very much revolve around quality and service excellence, and these standards will be brought to bear at Axfelt ensuring the existing product is fully supported and developed at the existing Axminster Carpets base.
David Acheson, Ulster’s Head of Strategic Operations commented, “We are delighted to be playing a part in the immediate retention of one part of the facility at the Axminster Carpets site. Working with the current employees, Ulster is committed to growing and developing this highly successful product in Devon. Ulster Carpets are already developing a number of related businesses in the locality with a view to further increasing employment opportunities as it continues to expand its wider brand portfolio.”
Axfelt is made from 100% recycled materials, including wool rich carpet and rubber tyres. This fits perfectly with Ulster’s desire to develop environmentally responsible UK based manufacturing facilities. The recycled nature of the product was an important factor in the decision and it is planned that the Axfelt production facility will become a future Group hub for developments in recycling, as well as a home for repurposing the Group’s current yarn and carpet waste.
The acquisition is being funded from cash reserves and continues to reflect Ulster’s philosophy of acquiring high quality businesses in the floor covering and luxury interiors sector.
Jeffrey Vecchiarelli has been appointed as our new Vice President of Design and Marketing in North America.
Jeff will be based at our offices in Marietta, Georgia and will oversee Ulster’s design teams as they create bespoke carpets for the hospitality sector, including hotels, casinos and conference centers across the region.
Jeff has had repeated success leading high level development and design projects within the hospitality industry especially during his tenure at Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
Along with his vast experience of aligning a design vision with brand identity, Jeff will use his organizational and analytical skills to support our sales and marketing efforts across North America and collaborate with our diverse customer base that includes leading hotel brands, owners/developers and interior designer firms.
For a closer look at some of our North American projects, CLICK HERE
Project Manager Cara Coburn reached new heights when she took part in a half-marathon and then a trek to Everest Base Camp.
Swapping Ulster’s London office for the most famous mountain in the world, the trip was an adventure every step of the way, including landing at the Lukla Airport – rated as the most dangerous airport in the world due to its short landing strip and mountainous surroundings.
The half marathon took Cara on a ‘Savage Summit’ through the stunning scenery of the Himalayas for one of the most unique races in the world.
Running through the beautiful Shivapuri National Park at altitudes of up to 2,300m, the race saw Cara take on over 1,000m of climbing, some technical descents and a thrilling waterfall crossing as part of a gruelling trial challenge.
But the race was just one aspect of the trip. Cara also took part in vital charity work in Kakani, working alongside villagers on a number of projects connected to the Nepal Impact charity. This work allowed her to see first-hand where the money she raised was being spent and how it was making a difference in the local community.
If all that wasn’t enough, Cara rounded off the trip with an epic 14-day trek to Everest Base Camp.
Ulster Carpets has renewed its commitment to support Youth Rugby in the Province, with a new deal that will run until 2021.
The deal will see Ulster Carpets continue as the named sponsor of Youth Rugby competitions in Ulster, with club games at U14, U16 and U18 level taking place throughout the Province all season and culminate in the Youth Cup Finals day at Kingspan Stadium in May.
As part of their sponsorship activation, Ulster Carpets will continue to run the popular ‘Club of the Month’ award, which rewards local clubs in areas such as good governance and structures, as well as on-field success.
City of Armagh RFC have collected the first award of the new season, in recognition for having the highest player representation on the Ulster U18 Clubs squad (4).
The club have received a bag of Ulster Carpets branded rugby balls for their youth teams and they will also have the opportunity to bring 30 youth players to an Ulster Rugby game at Kingspan Stadium.
Commenting on the renewal of the partnership, Chris Webster, Head of Rugby Development at Ulster Rugby, said: “A flourishing youth rugby environment is absolutely central to our core objectives of growing the game right across the Province, so we are delighted that Ulster Carpets has committed their support for another two years. With their support, we can continue to apply considerable resource into this area to ensure we are providing opportunities for all.
“City of Armagh RFC are a great example of a club who are reaping the rewards of an investment in their youth structures over recent years, which has resulted in success at all levels within the club.
“We are also seeing a growing number of players progressing into the Ulster Academy and senior squad via the youth game, such as Adam McBurney, Joe Dunleavy and Aaron Hall, which is just recognition of the high standard of players in the youth game and is also important in inspiring the next generation of Ulster’s youth players.”
Nick Coburn, Ulster Carpets Group Managing Director and Deputy Chairman, said: “We are delighted to once again renew our successful partnership with Ulster Youth Rugby.
“Both Ulster Carpets and Ulster Rugby believe in having a long-term plan that values the importance of investing and developing talented individuals to be part of a successful team. This partnership reflects Ulster Carpets’ well established tradition of striving to help the local community and it will encourage more young people to participate in active sport.”
Ulster Carpets has formed a joint venture with Mourne Textiles, a hand loom weaving workshop in Rostrevor, to create a new company known as Mourne Weavers.
This collaborative partnership will create a number of new jobs and will also allow both companies to share knowledge and expertise to explore global opportunities. Both Ulster Carpets and Mourne Textiles will continue to trade as normal, with Mourne Weavers operating separately from new premises in Warrenpoint.
Both Ulster Carpets and Mourne Textiles are third-generation, family-owned companies that have helped retain the rich heritage of Northern Ireland’s textile industry on the global stage.
Mourne Textiles creates a range of artisan goods that are sold in regions as diverse as Japan, Australia, North America and Europe. The new joint venture, Mourne Weavers, will combine the key strengths of both companies to produce luxury woven furnishing fabrics, curtain fabrics, cushions and blankets for the commercial interior design sector.
“In terms of quality craftsmanship, bespoke designs and local heritage, both Mourne Textiles and Ulster Carpets have a shared philosophy and a strong passion for our industry. That is why the creation of Mourne Weavers is the perfect partnership,” explained Mario Sierra, Creative Director, Mourne Textiles. “We are delighted to have secured this substantial investment from Ulster Carpets that will allow us to retain the core strengths of Mourne Textiles while growing into new sectors with Mourne Weavers.”
Ulster Carpets is aiming to build on the company’s success within the artisan sector, following the 2016 acquisition of Herefordshire-based Roger Oates Design, which designs and hand produces unique stripe runners and rugs.
David Acheson, Head of Strategic Operations at Ulster Carpets, explained, “The creation of Mourne Weavers and the product range that it will offer perfectly complements Roger Oates Design. We have no doubt that we will be able to combine this expertise with our knowledge of the global market to firmly establish Mourne Weavers within the commercial sector.”
Nick Coburn, Group Managing Director at Ulster Carpets, continued, “This investment in Mourne Weavers is indicative of the forward-thinking ethos of both companies and is in line with the core values of quality and design at Ulster Carpets.
“Despite the many challenges within the global market, we continue to show confidence in the marketplace and we are excited about the new opportunities that this new joint venture will bring.
“It also underpins our ongoing growth and diversification strategy to invest in the development of similar businesses and allows us to widen our portfolio into this exciting niche sector in Ireland.”
Ulster Carpets has contributed to the forthcoming ‘Woven Forms: Breaking the Boundaries’ exhibition by weaving artist, Jan Bowman, which is being held at the Museum of Carpet in Kidderminster.
This summer exhibition of contemporary and traditional woven forms – which runs from 29 June to 18 September, 2019 – sees Jan break the boundaries of weaving by creating woven spatial divides, panels and sculptural pieces.
Her work – which also appeared at the Saatchi Gallery in spring – embraces a high level of craftsmanship and aims to challenge the conventional limits of the discipline by transforming traditional woven forms into contemporary installations.
These themes will be incorporated into a display during the exhibition by Ulster that showcases a past collaboration with artist, Seyed Alavi, to design and weave a bespoke carpet for Sacramento Airport.
This extraordinary carpet design will be on display, giving visitors a chance to see the stunning design for this ambitious project, without having to travel to California.
Seyed used aerial photographs of Sacramento as the basis for his design, recalling the experience of flying to create a luxurious welcome for visitors. By depicting the larger geographical area, the carpet reinforces a sense of belonging and creates a connection with the local landscape for the traveller.
Seyed provided aerial images and design concepts to Ulster’s design team, who translated them into a format suitable for woven Axminster carpet.
Weaving this large, complex design also demonstrates how Ulster continues to break boundaries. The Sacramento Airport carpet is completely unique and it would have been impossible to create this design without using Ulster’s patented PSYLO™ weaving technology.
PSYLO™ has revolutionised the carpet industry by offering total design freedom, without the need for a repeating pattern, and an unsurpassed range of colours.
This combination of Ulster’s design expertise and patented technology provided Seyed with the opportunity to turn his vision into a reality by creating a design that breaks the boundaries of traditional woven carpet.
The Woven Forms: Breaking the Boundaries exhibition will incorporate Jan’s vast expertise in the textile industry with Kidderminster’s heritage as a weaving town. Cloth has been woven in the town from the 13th Century and Kidderminster eventually became known as the ‘woven carpet capital of the world’.
Jan’s background as a commercial woven textile design consultant spans interior, fashion and automotive design and her research explores the heightening of people’s sense of ‘well-being’ through the integration of textile artwork within public spaces. During the exhibition, Jan will give two lectures and will also lead weaving workshops which will give participants the opportunity to learn how to weave using table-top looms.
The Museum of Carpet is based in Kidderminster, the ‘Woven Carpet Capital of the World’. A centre of heritage, art and industry, it celebrates the history of carpet weaving and Kidderminster’s global contribution. The residential design team of Ulster Carpets is based within the Museum of Carpets building and the company is proud to support this exhibition.
If you’d like to find out more about the Museum of Carpets or the Woven Forms: Breaking the Boundaries exhibition, visit museumofcarpet.org . You can also read more about the Sacramento Airport project here.
Ulster Carpets has jumped 24 places in this year’s prestigious Belfast Telegraph Top 100 Companies.
Listing Northern Ireland’s leading profit-makers, employers and business people, the Top 100 is compiled by top economist John Simpson and is based on pre-tax profit levels.
This year Ulster Carpets moved from 70th in the 2018 table and back into the top half of the list, being placed in 46th position thanks to pre-tax profits of £10.7m. The company is also one of the top five highest movers on the list.
Nick Coburn, Group Managing Director & Deputy Chairman of Ulster Carpets, commented, “We are delighted to once again feature on this list and to be named as one of Northern Ireland’s top 50 companies.
“We enjoyed a highly successful 2018 and we have already commenced our biggest ever investment capital and regeneration programme, so this is continuing good news for our staff and, of course, our customers.”