Founded in 2005, Vision Linens united a number of heritage-rich textiles companies whom all offered a unique and intuitive product. By amalgamating these leading product brands into Vision Linens, they’ve harnessed their knowledge and expertise to create a global textile company. Today at Vision Linens, they have a truly worldwide presence; with ten global offices across five continents sourcing, supplying and distributing millions of bed, bath and table linen products. Not only this, but Vision Linens define the textile brand standards for the world’s largest hotel brands and supplying the leading retailers, whilst leading new technologies and developments in textile design and manufacturing. I was fortunate enough to get the chance to speak to Laurie Thomas, the Managing Director at Vision Linens to find out more about their brand as a whole, successes and what to expect from them in the upcoming year.
It was already clear to me that Vision Linens is an extremely successful and diverse business, but I wanted to know what Laurie felt was their target market currently and if there was a market they wanted to tap into further. As Laurie said, Vision Linens is one of Europe’s leading suppliers of textiles to the hospitality sector and in the last fifteen years, trading as Vision Linens, they have grown their revenue by over ten times. Laurie went on to say that over the last few years, they have tackled their overseas expansion and won incredible international recognition with the likes of Marriott, Hilton, Accor, Jumeirah, IHG and a vast number of other hospitality brands. Both the Asian and Middle Eastern hospitality markets are growing rapidly the the most concentrated areas of hotel opening and with offices in China and Dubai, Vision Linens is perfectly positioned with local representatives on the ground who speak the language and understand the culture. With all of these details of great success, it wasn’t surprising that when I asked Laurie about Vision’s long-term goals, he instantly said that their mission is to be the preferred supplier and distributor of specialist, luxury and performance textiles to leaders in the global hospitality and retail markets.
I’d heard a number of amazing things from Laurie about Vision Linens successes, but I was intrigued to know what led them to this and made them stand out from their competitors in the market. He went on to say that Vision Linens are innovative in servicing their customer’s requirements and have an unparalleled ability to deliver consistent product quality every time with their best in class global supply chain. They also recognise the importance of looking after their customers at every stage of the process. This is made easier by the fact that each and every one of their employees is passionate and committed to delivering exceptional service. Not only this, but Vision Linens are in a very privileged position, due to their relationships with the textile manufacturers being so strong, they have built up a healthy stock position. They have purposely scaled this up for the Easter period to support the market’s seasonal reopening, meaning they are able to offer very competitive lead times.
In our world today there is such a huge emphasis on businesses being eco-friendly and practising sustainability wherever possible so I asked Laurie How Vision Linens were making a focus of this. Laurie said that they undoubtedly understand the importance of the social, ethical and environmentally obligations they have to their suppliers, customers, staff and most importantly our planet. That’s why we pride ourselves on their ethically sourced linen products; ensuring each and every item is sourced in a responsible and sustainable way. In September 2020, Vision Linens launched Ecopure; which is a new brand of sustainable textiles, which offers the most innovative and ecological products, helping textile services and the laundry industry achieve their own ecological goals. The Ecopure range offers everything required to produce a complete and eco-friendly guest room from duvets to pillows, to flat bed linen, towels, bathrobes and slippers.
With all of the achievements that Vision Linens have achieved, I wanted to know what Laurie felt was her proudest moment and it was no surprise that it was a big one! In 2018 Vision Linens won Exporter of the Year at the prestigious Lloyds Bank National Business Awards. The award recognises successful British businesses that have achieved the highest and most sustainable levels of International growth through exporting over the previous eighteen months. It focuses on all aspects of exporting and rewards sustainable exporting models and innovative practises. Vision Linens are continuously working hard to transform a local UK-centric textile supplier into a multi-national supplier of textile services to the worlds leading hotel groups and retailers. The award has helped cement their reputation across the world for being a world-class textile supplier and distributor and they’re very much looking forward to what the future holds!
Vision Linens incredible success hasn’t come without having a vast range of industry leading products, so I wanted to know from Laurie what their best selling product was. Without hesitation he said that one of their best sellers is their V Microfibre Pillow. It features on many of the big hotel brands approved product list. This luxurious pillow is a synthetic microfibre combination filled pillow with a 100% cotton cambric cover. It provides a luxuriously comfortable near-to-natural feel, whilst catering to allergy sufferers. When it comes to Vision Linens products, it goes without saying that they have all of the bases covered with their current product range, but it’s of no surprise that they have a number of new products in the pipeline that they have been working on. Laurie explained that they are launching the E550 and E650 towels as part of the Ecopure energy efficient product category, featuring Rapid Hydro Release technology. It uses a ground weave construction to introduce a new way of polyester content to deliver exceptional results, without impacting the luxurious cotton loops that absorb and retain moisture. Vision are dedicated to creating innovative and market leading products, which is why they asked TLC worldwide to test and compare the Ecopure energy efficient towels and set them against their bestselling 100% cotton equivalent towels in 550gsm and 650gsm weights. Laurie said that LTC returned to them with the following verdict “The Ecopure towels offer a genuine energy reduction, significantly greater productivity and therefore the potential for operational cost savings. It will help the laundry meet its energy reduction target in accordance with the climate change agreement between the laundry sector and the UK Department of Energy”.
Whilst Laurie and I were talking about some of his favourite hotels and spas that Vision Linens have supplied for, I was completely surprised to hear that their heritage brand; Liddell rose to prominence after supplying the RMS Titanic on it’s ill-fated voyage back in 1912. It then went on to supply some well known names such as The Dorchester Hotel in London, Raffles of Singapore and in 1999 provided the finest linen for the penthouse suite of the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. Simply incredible but it doesn’t stop there! In 2018 Laurie told me how IHG launched a brand new upscale lifestyle brand, Voco Hotels, and has since opened hotels in a number of locations worldwide including the uk, Australia, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Vision Linens, through its nominated supplier status with IHG, developed and supplied pillows and duvets made from recycled plastic bottles in order to tackle the worldwide plastic pollution problem. All in all, over three million bottles have currently been recycled and reused and are now being used in Voco hotel bedding around the world. As a supplier, Vision is always looking for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle, and is pleased to be able to present this brand new range, which aims to address the issue of using more sustainable and eco-friendly products in an effort to preserve the planet.
Finally, I wanted to hear from Laurie how Vision Linens had adapted throughout the global pandemic and what some of their positives and negatives were during the last two years. Laurie began telling me that despite COVID-19, Vision Linens has continued to flourish and have remained open and trading hard throughout, which is a testament to the foundations that their teams, processes and supply chains are built on. Throughout the pandemic, Vision have proudly supported the NHS through the commercial laundries, and the MOJ and the MOD with their textile needs. Not only this but they also launched their it’s More Than Clean linen programme, which consists of an effective and log-lasting innovative antimicrobial technology that is added to pillows and duvets at the point of manufacture. It is proven to help protect against the spread of Coronavirus, killing 80% more than untreated textiles. In addition to this, the technology has a 99.9% efficacy against harmful pathogens including E-coli and MRSA, thereby providing the much needed reassurance to hotel guests.
It’s astonishing how much Vision Linens have accomplished, particularly despite the pandemic and how they continue to strive to have unrivalled quality products with industry leading technology. There really is no stopping them and I don’t doubt that we are going to be seeing an unwavering amount of success coming their way in the next few years.