Jean desAutels is CEO of Barrette Outdoor Living— a leading provider of outdoor living products in North America. Prior to his appointment as CEO, he served as the company’s president from 2010-2017, and as vice president of finance and operations from 2007-2010.
Q: Late in 2021, your company announced a rebrand and consolidation of several of its brands under one roof. What drove the change and how did the update affect Barrette Outdoor Living dealers?
A: We wanted to strengthen the Barrette Outdoor Living brand to increase our overall presence and awareness in the marketplace. By consolidating multiple brands under one umbrella, our primary goal was to improve the homeowner experience by providing more of a “one-stop” solution for all of their outdoor living needs. Previously—with our fencing, railing and decking products all falling under different brand names—the Barrette Outdoor Living name was rather diluted. Now, our interactions with the end consumer are much more transparent with Barrette Outdoor Living at the forefront. This not only improves our interactions with homeowners, it also is an opportunity to increase sales leads for our expansive national network of dealers and contractors.
Q: As more homeowners continue to focus on home improvement brought about by the COVID-19 shutdowns, what products from Barrette Outdoor Living should dealers look to promote?
A: Many of our new 2022 products coincide with our new brand campaign that emphasizes getting outside—encouraging people to express their “outside side” by bringing inside activities to outdoor spaces. We’ve always provided traditional ways for homeowners to improve their outdoor areas with our fencing, decking and railing products, but now we’ve started to introduce unique ways to create more welcoming and intimate spaces. For example, our wide assortment of Decorative Screen Panels can be used in a variety of applications including with our new aluminum Pergola to provide privacy and shade, as infills with select railing products to offer a unique semi-privacy design, or within our framing system create a privacy barrier or hide unsightly areas in the yard.
Q: In the past year, Barrette Outdoor Living has expanded in the decking and fencing categories. What changes can customers expect in 2022?
A: With all of our products, the biggest change customers can expect to see is in ease of installation—it’s been a top priority and we’ve been hard at work making sure installation of our products is as easy as possible. We’ve added several new and exciting vinyl fencing products—including two styles of horizontal vinyl fencing that feature a structural post channel that allows infill boards to easily slide and lock into place. We’ve also updated our mixed material fencing line to make installation of vinyl infill boards in either a horizontal or vertical direction possible—and easy. We also developed a special railing adapter kit that enables our decorative screen panels to be easily inserted and used as infills in select railing products. And our new InstaDeck Outdoor Flooring System—a snap together tile system—makes it easy for homeowners to add a freestanding, ground-level deck.
Q: With supply chain concerns at the forefront throughout the industry, what is Barrette Outdoor Living doing to help alleviate the issue?
A: We are proud to be an American manufacturer and try to do as much as possible right here in our 14 locations. We are also fortunate to have established, long-term relationships with vendors who provide consistent and reliable support. Since we are vertically integrated for a large portion of our product offering, we did not experience many supply chain issues. For example, we mold our own railing brackets and post caps, we manufacture the plastic connectors we use to assemble our aluminum fence and railing panels and we have our own trucking fleet which helped us not experience the transportation issues many other companies faced.
Q: Another frequent concern from stocking dealers is how they can help improve the building process for their customers. How can Barrette Outdoor Living products make life easier for builders and installers as well as their retail providers?
A: We understand and respect the fact that the time it takes a contractor or homeowner to install our products is incredibly valuable and can make or break the success of our products and ultimately our company. That is why we devote considerable energy during the product development phase to ensure our product installations are well thought out and carefully tested to make installation as safe and as easy as possible. For example, our Step-Clip hidden fastening system makes for easy deck board installation— helping to save time and money. For select aluminum railing products, panels are pre-assembled enabling quicker installations. And most importantly, we stand behind our products by providing dedicated support, superior customer service and product warranties that feature some of the most comprehensive coverage in the industry—these are things that not only help with product building, they also give our customers peace of mind.