Initially focused on the UK and Europe, SHADEmakers has widened its horizons and is increasingly supplying its products to prestigious projects in North and South America, Asia, Africa and Australasia.
From sun-drenched Dubai and Barbados, to the more temperate climes of London and Dublin, its stylish yet highly-functional parasols can be found adorning hotels, museums, golf courses, restaurants, gastro pubs, super yachts, Formula One events, schools, trade events, and the homes of private consumers.
This expansion has been a result not just of the high quality of its products, but of the company’s customer-focused ethos. At SHADEmakers, a company that is big enough to cope yet small enough to care, the customer’s needs and wants truly are paramount.
The man with his hand on the tiller is Mike Kirkby-Jones, who owns the company with his wife Anne Crosbie. Mike is a qualified builder with an MBA (Sydney, New South Wales), while Anne, a qualified accountant, holds an MBA from the same universities.
Now based at his factory in Welwyn Garden City, UK, and with an office in Sydney, Mike established SHADEmakers as the exclusive UK/European importer and distributor of the then New Zealand-designed and made Shademaker range of side- and centre-post parasols and umbrellas.
But with his commercial design and construction background, he was never going to be satisfied acting as a mere middleman, and within a few years he was designing and constructing his own range of quality “shade solutions.”
The company now has a full-time engineer and designer and a modern, fully equipped factory dedicated to the manufacture of a range of parasols, umbrellas and sunshades. And a commitment to ongoing innovation means new and innovative shade products are always in the pipeline.
Their current range of Side Post (Cantilever) and Centre Post umbrellas are made from a combination of corrosion-free materials: marine grade stainless steel, aluminium, composite, and various exposure-grade timbers.
SHADEmakers have already earned a reputation as experts in side post (asymmetric) shade, with their range of Storm parasols capable of withstanding wind speeds of up to 70 mph (112 kph).
Mike made a deliberate choice to manufacture his high-quality parasols in the UK, and to use local suppliers as much as possible. He currently sources more than 90 per cent of his components here (with fabrics coming from Europeand a few parts from Australia).
The Emaar Group of Dubai, a leading global property developer, the Crown Estate, the National Trust and English Heritage UK. Among their many other clients are the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the Kensington Roof Gardens, London UK; the Ronnie Corbett Theatre, Loughton, UK; the Restaurant Group, UK; the Royal National Theatre, London; the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; American Express, Wimbledon, UK; Down House (Charles Darwin's Home), Orpington, UK; Grand Central Sound Studios, London; the British Museum, London; the Peach Pub Group, England; Jamie's Italian Restaurants, UK; Red Bull PGA Masters Scotland and ROI; Mercedes UK; Arnold Palmer Golf, England; Movida Nightclub, Soho, London; BHP Billiton, Algeria; Brocket Hall Golf Club, Hertfordshire, UK; B.A.T., London; Manchester College, Manchester; Deganwy Quay Hotel, Wales; Royal Quays Shopping Village, Newcastle, UK; Kingston Hospital, Kingston, UK; Armagh City Hotel, Northern Ireland; Kilkenny Shopping Centre, ROI; Marks and Spencer's, Dublin, ROI; Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth, UK; The Grove Hotel & Spa, Hertfordshire, UK; The Athenaeum Hotel, London; the Runnymede Hotel, Surrey, UK; Audi for Goodwood Festival of Speed, Goodwood; many schools around the UK; and private homes in Dubai, Bermuda, Barbados, Mauritius, St Tropez and many other places around the world.