Ascalon started in 1992 as an importer supplying the giftware and floral sundries trade, taking our name from the street in Battersea where we started up. We re-located and developed through the 1990’s into a niche supplier of wrought iron garden products and traditional festive decorations (made of ‘natural’ materials). Then from 2000 onwards, Ascalon Design Ltd has been at the very forefront of design and development of wrought iron garden furniture and garden giftware in the UK garden market.
Over the years we have remained primarily focused on the giftware market, with products aimed at the ‘impulse buy’ consumer (rather than top end considered purchase), with target retail prices around £100-150 for furniture or garden structures, and £20-50- for smaller lines. Our aim is to decorate a garden for the summer or a house for Christmas.
Family owned, we operate from our own 45,000 sq.ft warehouses in rural Herefordshire, allowing us to maintain comparatively high stock levels so that we supply only the largest customers with direct containers. This also allows for much more effective QC procedures, combined with our in house re-finishing facility to maintain standards. We operate full loads, palletised and Direct Dispatch distribution from our warehouse. Sadly our location on an industrial estate just outside the city of Hereford is not ideally located for a showroom visit (but it does help keep our overheads down).
Our (recently upgraded) web site remains directly linked to our database and automated stock control system offering full details on products and availability to the trade – as a trade only site details are password protected (existing customers must log in using their unique customer number and postcode).
However we do also have a team of sales agents across the UK to support new and existing customers and we attend most of the major UK trade shows.
We have successfully launched over 25 ranges of garden furniture, with a supporting range of arches, gazebos. To this we have also added a wide range of metalwork ‘giftware items, including countless smaller decorative planters etc., outdoor mirrors, lanterns, windspinners ‘wall art’ and plant stakes.
We have worked with more than 50 factories in the far east, building up close working relations and matching products with skills (and capacity) as factories have developed and declined in the fast moving market.
Ascalon have been pioneers in the use of folding and flat packing mechanisms for wrought iron furniture, tailoring many varied designs for easy distribution, particularly for Direct Dispatch, and spawning endless copies around the world. We also have high experience in metal protection with EPD and high quality powder coating on all outdoor lines.
For the UK and Eire market, our ranges have always traditional romantic/antique look to which our hand made products lend themselves, and which we have supplied to almost all Garden centre groups, and most independents in the sector.
We hold about 500 active SKU’s in each sector, encompassing 3-4 core ranges of dining sets, and a selection of 30-40 benches, 20-30 arches etc. on the garden products side.
Ascalon have been selling a wonderful selection of Christmas decorations for over 20 years. We offer about 5-6 core themed ranges every season, predominantly in more traditional styles (rather than novelty). We are known in particular for our wide selection of door wreaths and garlands, -made with natural forest products - and also our hanging tree trims made from natural materials, fabric, painted metal and glass….plus a wide range of candle ring and t-light holders. The new ranges for 2016 will be launched in January.
Looking to preserve the environment for our children and grandchildren, Ascalon Design Ltd aim to minimise the footprint they leave on the world beyond our shores. We use factories that have the smallest energy usage, predominantly from alternative energy sources such as hydro-electric or solar power.
We have chosen avoid use of highly polluting chemicals in the production of our products. Our factories do not use acid bath cleaning or hot dip galvanising (but still offer good product protection using EDP).
We fully support the move to slower sailings and larger vessels for goods imported by sea, given that shipping is the largest contributor to global CO2 emissions.
On principal we avoid all Asian sourced wooden products and certainly those whose provenance cannot be 100% ascertained, because of the huge illegal trade in timber. In our experience certificates are easily ‘purchased’ and frequently do not reveal the true origins of the timber. Where we offer wood products we aim to use almost exclusively reclaimed or pulp timber.
As a highly ethical company we ensure that any factories we use on a regular basis will all be independently SMETA audited to comply with the social and ethical standards set down by SEDEX -in order to ensure safe and responsible work practices, fair pay etc.- by one of the larger international accreditation bureaus, We would expect our factories to treat their workers in the same way, with the same high standards as they would if they were employed directly by Ascalon.