I saw a debate on Twitter the other day threatening to break out into a wider discussion. It was about the word ‘bespoke’ and if we’re potentially misleading the customer by using it. So here’s my two penneth…

First of all, this is how Oxford English Dictionary describes ‘bespoke’: of goods, especially clothing, made to order.

Obviously in this scenario, lose the clothing part of that definition. But basically something that is bespoke is made to measure. So, given the fact that every window has to be measured and in reality most windows and doors differ in size even by the smallest margins, surely this can be called bespoke?

There are only very few “off the peg” windows and doors out there, and most of those reside in the B&Q’s and Homebase’s. But these wouldn’t be classed as typical window and door companies. So lets keep them out of the equation for now.

I suppose there are varying levels of ‘bespoke’. It just depends on how you want to market your product. For example, the Evolution Storm 2 window is actually made from hand, whereas most other major manufacturers send their profiles through machine after machine. We could say that the Evolution product is bespoke because their product is hand made to size. But again, the machine made products are still being churned out at specific sizes. So whether it’s cut by hand or machine made, windows and doors are still being made to specific sizes, therefore, bespoke.

Think about all the other options involved other than size. Unlimited colour options, a plethora of hardware, extra glazing options etc. Whether hand made or machine made, all these extra variations are available. Therefore, bespoke.

For some reason we have come to think that a truly bespoke product MUST be made from scratch, creating something truly unique that doesn’t exist. But looking at this way would be an extreme and very limited way to view it. Just because we have modern processes which have taken human hands mostly out of the equation doesn’t mean a bespoke product cannot be made. A machine, or set of machines and computers with human input is still very capable of producing a high quality, made to measure window or door. Something I think can fall easily within the boundaries of ‘bespoke. As far as I’m concerned the only time something isn’t bespoke is when it is mass produced all at the same size and specification, like kids toys for example! Yes there are varying levels of bespoke-ness, but I don’t believe for a second that we are misleading the general public when we say that the windows and doors we are selling are bespoke.

Agree? Disagree? All comments welcome in the section below.