MOST people watch a Bond film for the car chases and glamorous locations – but staff at one Bingley company have tuned in hoping to spot a heater.
One of many stylish products sold by Feature Radiators – T&A’s Trader of the Week – featured prominently in James Bond’s posh London apartment in the film Spectre. The vintage radiator figures prominently when Daniel Craig and his co-star Naomie Harris – as Miss Moneypenny – meet at his flat in Notting Hill.
The company’s products have not only been used on film sets, but have been sought after by many A-list stars including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Blur frontman Damon Albarn. They have supplied radiators to celebrities such as Rory Bremner, Gok Wan and Shakin’ Stevens, as well as famous institutions like Eton College and many National Trust properties. Recently, their radiators were installed in a cabin in the Alps.
Feature Radiators was established in 2002 by husband and wife team Phil Jackson and Katie Findlay. “The idea came to them at an antique fair when they saw old cast iron radiators for sale,” says general manager Joel Newiss. “After new requests, the products were readily available as new models, but no one was bridging the gap between manufacturers and customers.
“At the time manufacturers/importers had designer radiators in the UK, but only a small number of informed people were buying them – nothing like the numbers we see now. Feature Radiators saw an opportunity to bring the different designs to people.Since then we have developed our own products, had exclusive designs that only we have sold and seek to expand our electric range as we pursue environmentally friendly products.
He adds, “It took many years of marketing and good sales literature to make it clear that heaters could be so much more than just functional equipment. We are now in a new dawn of interior consciousness where people are looking to radiators to complement interior styling and/or be a feature to focus the interior around.
The business started at Bingley Station on Wellington Street, where it was based for 12 years before moving in 2015 to larger premises on Main Street.
“We’ve grown into the biggest radiator showroom in the UK – nobody has the range and quantity of radiators we’ve exhibited, with over 250 models,” says Joel, who works in the business for 15 years.
“We are passionate about radiators, and if we don’t drive customers crazy with our enthusiasm, they will still be excited. People are so much more interested and involved in their interiors now – Instagram helps – and are amazed at the range and variety available.
Radiators are usually designed by engineers and designers with specific skills, says Joel. “A lot of them are Italian designers, Italy being a big manufacturer of radiators. Some newly manufactured cast iron radiators use original castings of models that could be extremely old – this helps with authenticity.
If the radiators are not manufactured on site, the company – which exports all over the world – knows the manufacturing processes of all the models it sells, in order to be able to advise its customers as well as possible. The manufacturing process varies from model to model and differs by material. We sell steel, aluminum and cast iron, each made differently.
“We carefully select the range we have in stock,” says Joel. “Each model has a useful place and we believe it meets customer needs.”
Customers can choose radiators that are tailor-made for them. “Bespoke is more important than ever – customers want absolute control over what they buy and the ability to have radiators specific to their needs. We can do it all and don’t believe in the word ‘compromise’.
The size of a radiator is important when designing a room. “We’re selling more tall models these days because they free up wall space,” says Joel.
They can match any color. “I don’t think we’ve had to compromise on color yet. Bespoke products have become more common as customers seek more unique paint finishes. »
With electric heaters becoming more popular, the company looked for products that could control WiFi through an app-based system. “We’re offering this on many models now as we move towards full control,” says Joel. “In (gas) central heating radiators, being able to be fully bespoke and having extensive size and color options is extremely important to meet customer needs.”