Page 1


BEST of the BEST



Including our cover designer: Carl Sly with Creative Windows



the timeless look of linen Introducing new STYLE 7800 / 7850 Blackout and light-filtering roller shade fabrics

contents : volume 41, issue 4

in this issue INSIGHT 16

Measure Constantly: The Importance of Metrics for Online Marketing It’s crucial to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts before, during and after each campaign.

by Welton Hong


Creating a Desirable Work-Life Balance

Focusing on family, friends, passions and self-care can help you feel better as you resume normal operations at work.


Focus on Outbound Sales to Help Your Clients and Your Business When the economy slows down, it’s important to direct your attention to outbound sales and follow-ups.

by Madeleine MacRae


How—and Why—to Be Visible Right Now It is necessary to keep yourself and your business visible right now. Here are three ways to do it.

by Amanda Berlin


The New Normal Industry trends that will take shape in the near future.

by Roger Magalhaes

by Amber De La Garza




40 ROLLER 2.0 absolute

Discover more


contents : volume 41, issue 4

in this issue INDUSTRY 26

Open a (Computer) Window and Join IWCE Virtual All you need is a computer and an internet connection to join the biggest window covering event in the world in 2020! See you at IWCE Virtual on July 29 and 30.


Hot Products at IWCE Virtual Check out some of the new products you’ll see at IWCE Virtual.


WCMA Awards Highlight Innovation, Quality

The winners of this year’s Window Covering Manufacturers Association Awards represent some of the most exciting new products on the market.


40 Years of Excellence Insolroll celebrates 40 years of providing outstanding window covering products.

by Sophia Bennett



contents : volume 41, issue 4

in this issue I N S P I R AT I O N 46

The Best of the Best (Part 1)

View the winners of this year’s VISION Design Competition Awards.

by Sophia Bennett


Leading in a Time of Crisis

Sandra VanSickle, winner of this year’s Industry Excellence Award, helped workrooms across the country find a way to give back during the COVID-19 outbreak.

by Sophia Bennett


Grace Note

A word from our publisher.


Letter from the Editor

Our rapidly evolving world.



Product showcase


What’s Next

We pull back the curtain on our next issue.


JULY + AUGUST 2020 | wf-vision.com

Unique fabricates roller shades, panel tracks and verticals in SheerWeave. Cut yardage and full roll shipping nationwide also available.

W IND OW FASHION V ISION MAG A ZINE President | Grace McNamara grace@wf-vision.com Editor-in-Chief | Sophia Bennett sophia@wf-vision.com Chief Marketing Officer & Circulation | Ania McNamara ania@mcnamaramarketing.com


National Sales Director | Elaiza Shepherd sales@iwce-vision.net


BEST of the BEST

Creative Director | Nichole Day nichole@wf-vision.com


Including our cover desig ner: Carl Sly with Creative Windows

Industry Liaison Editor | Gail Gutsche gail@wf-vision.com

Controller | Heather Bradley heather@wf-vision.com Social Media Lead | Corina-Elena Buzdugan corina-elena@mcnamaramarketing.com


Sophia Bennett, Amanda Berlin, Amber De La Garza, Madeleine MacRae, Roger Magalhaes, Welton Hong


Leigh Anderson, Linda H. Bassert, Robin Bond, Sara Lynn Brennan, Melinda Peters Elliott, Keely Hersh, CJ Knapp, Satoshi Mochizuki, Emily Moss, Atsuko Nakajima, Laura Nelson, Olga Polyanskaya, Otto and Kristi Rankin, Carl Sly, Diane Ten Broeck, Lori Yanez


Copy Editor | Maude Campbell maudedotycampbell@gmail.com





JULY + AUGUST 2020 VOLUME 41, ISSUE 4 ON THE COVER: Carl Sly with Creative Windows did this

shade installation at Detroit Metro Airport’s North Terminal to control the hot sunlight that was pouring in through the windows. He tied for first place in the Commercial category at this year’s VISION Design & Workroom Competition Awards. Photo by Tyler Holloway.


877.344.7406 • WFVision@pubservice.com

Window Fashion Vision magazine makes every attempt to credit each person involved in the process of creating a window covering and will not be responsible for crediting any person whose name, company or participation did not surface during the information-gathering process. Crediting disputes between parties other than Vision magazine are solved at the discretion of those involved. Window Fashion VISION (ISSN 08869669) (USPS 708930) published bi-monthly by AIM Communications LLC, 4756 Banning Ave, Suite #206, White Bear Lake, MN 55110-3206.; Tel 651/330-0574; Fax 651/756-8141. Visit our website at wf-vision.com. Periodicals postage paid at St Paul, MN and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to Window Fashion VISION, PO Box 15698, North Hollywood, CA 91615-5698. Allow 60 days for address change. Subscription rates: $22/yr. U.S. and possessions; $29/yr. Canada; $90/yr. Foreign (includes airmail postage). Single copies/back issues $6 each, except for special issues, which are individually priced. (Payment must accompany order.) Copyright © 2020 by AIM Communications, LLC. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission prohibited. Canadian Publications Agreement Number: #40036514. Canadian Return Address: Station A, PO Box 54, Windsor, ONT N9A 6J5. July + August 2020, Volume 41, Issue 4.

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welcome : grace note


he cover of this issue is quite meaningful for several reasons. Most importantly, it shows the excellent project completed by VISION Design Competition Awards winner Carl Sly of Creative Windows. It is a photo of the Detroit airport taken prior to the pandemic but is oh-so-appropriate for the moment. Congratulations Carl for this unintentionally relevant entry and photo.

GRACE NOTE Along with Carl, we are honoring and recognizing the first group of winners of this year’s VISION Design & Workroom Competition Awards. It was another year where we were presented with outstanding work from members of our industry. As has been our tradition for decades, the awards were scheduled to be presented at the International Window Coverings Expo (IWCE) in Charlotte in March. Although there is nothing like the human aspect of a live ceremony, we didn’t want to delay announcing the winners, so we held a virtual awards ceremony on June 24. If you missed the excitement of the presentation, be sure to check out a list of all our winners at wf-vision.com.

In the last issue of Window Fashion VISION, we pivoted to address the effects of the pandemic, which had just come upon us. We didn’t know when this situation would end and what it would do to our business and economy. We still don’t know the answers to these questions. The good news is that I’m hearing many great success stories from dealers and designers who have shifted their businesses— restructuring their business models, offering virtual consultations, changing suppliers and executing reopenings with extreme safety precautions in place. Very few of us dodged moving in a different direction, at least in some parts of our business. The pandemic had quite an effect on our business as well. Our business is supporting the window covering industry through this magazine and IWCE. Having to cancel IWCE on the eve of the show because of decisions by the governor of North Carolina was indescribable. It was a blow not only to us, but to the suppliers and attendees that so look forward to this important event. That spiraled into the economic downturn that hurt the manufacturing end of our industry, those great companies that support this magazine with advertising. Some of you may be getting this edition in a digital format. That’s because we have expanded our efforts to reach more industry members digitally than we are able to do when we print and mail. Most of you are getting Window Fashion VISION complimentary thanks to the advertising support, which has decreased due to the economic situation. We know this is temporary, but we have to make adjustments, just as many of you have had to do. To guarantee a print issue, we will have a paid option available to you soon on wf-vision.com. The great news is that we will continue to bring you great content, including business tips, new products, and design and trend updates digitally, which you can conveniently view on your phone, iPad and any device that works for you. We will

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supplement the magazine on our website where you can click on the ads and go directly to the company’s website. In addition, we will be developing new digital products, such as a “Help Wanted/ Business for Sale” function on our website and a comprehensive new online Buyer’s Guide. Please be sure to opt in on our website to receive our latest digital products.

We have connected the industry for 34 years and we will continue to do so. We are resilient and I have no doubt we will make it through this challenging time and come out stronger on the other side. We’re here for you and always appreciate your feedback. Please let both Sophia Bennett and myself know what you want to see more of. Send us the great projects you are working on and share your success stories.

Grace McNamara Publisher grace@wf-vision.com




A POWER F UL NEW WAY TO CONNECT! Featuring: • The latest products exhibitors are introducing this year! • The ability to schedule one-on-one appointments with exhibiting suppliers • Register for 2 days of powerful seminars with the industry’s best educators • Revisit IWCE for 30 days after the event



welcome : letter from the editor


he world looks a little different than it did the last time I wrote

this column. As of our publishing date, the restrictions on leaving our

homes have eased. While the virus is still ravaging our world, we have a little more information about what to do if we get sick. We’ve been able to turn some of our attention back to other issues, such as ending racial injustice and studying up before the November election.

EDITOR'S LETTER I hope many of you have been able to move from fretting about how your business will survive to getting back on firmer financial footing. As you continue to work on your company, we’re

pleased to offer you plenty of sage advice that’s relevant right now. Welton Hong and guest columnist Amanda Berlin offer some great insights into marketing (pages 16 and 20). Madeleine MacRae has another great look at how you can increase sales (page 18), and Amber De La Garza has tips for how to strike a good work-life balance now that working and having a life are slightly more possible (page 22). There’s no better time than summer to take in the beauty that surrounds us. With that in mind, we’re thrilled to show off the first round of winners in our annual VISION Design & Workroom Competition Awards (page 46). A full list of winners, as well as interviews with our Designer of the Year and Workroom of the Year recipients, is available at wf-vision.com. The second round of winners will be featured in the September + October issue of Window

Fashion VISION.

I want to thank everyone who responded to our recent

reader survey. We’ve been using that information to inform VISION Seat and Business Forum, our Facebook Live shows, and our blog content. Given that things are moving and evolving so fast right now, we’ll likely do another survey soon. Watch for it in your inbox. This year we'll be holding the International Window Coverings Expo as an online event called IWCE Virtual. I hope you’ll check it out, even if you’ve never done a virtual trade show before. In our ever-changing world, we all have to adapt and keep an open mind. In every issue, I’m supposed to share a photo of something that’s inspired me recently. Rather than sharing a room, I’m honored to tell you about just a few of the workroom professionals who have found ways to give back during the crisis. Susan Toplitz owns a one-person workroom in Long Island. When the COVID-19 outbreak began, she started sewing masks for the local dialysis center and a nursing home. When friends asked her to make them masks, she provided them in exchange for a donation. She was able to give $350 to support her local hospital. In addition to working in her family’s drapery workroom all her life, Leah Reed in Waco, TX, is a certified interpreter for the local deaf community. She has been making masks with a clear panel so that hearing-impaired people can see

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others speaking, which is important to their ability to communicate. These folks and people like Sandra VanSickle, who won this year’s Industry Achievement Award for her work with the Mask America campaign (page 58), remind me that all of us can do something to have a positive impact on the world. It

may seem small, but if we all do even one thing, our collective impact is huge. How will you help make the world a better place over the next few months?

Sophia Bennett Editor-in-Chief sophia@wf-vision.com



insight : welton hong

Measure Constantly: The Importance of Metrics for Online Marketing It’s crucial to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts before, during and after each campaign BY WELTON HONG


veryone understands the adage of measuring twice and cutting once. Even when you’re not cutting anything, measurements can make or break the final look of your project. Blinds that leave gaps and curtains that fall short (or well past) intended targets don’t look professional and aren’t likely to leave homeowners satisfied with the results. That same principle applies to your marketing efforts. If you’re not taking the right measurements (e.g., setting the right goals and tracking success with applicable metrics), you’re probably leaving gaps. They aren’t visible gaps that let in light when they shouldn’t or ruin the streamlined look of a room, they’re gaps that cause you to miss opportunities to connect with potential clients. They also leave the window cracked on marketing spend, causing money to leak out of your company without you realizing it.

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When it comes to marketing, you can’t just measure twice. You need to measure constantly—before you set goals, while you’re running marketing campaigns and after campaigns are done.

Measuring Before You Launch

Strong online marketing campaigns start with an actionable and realistic but challenging goal. The best way to define such goals is by starting with numbers. First, decide what the immediate goals of your marketing campaign are. Ultimately, all your campaigns should work together to drive more revenue, but not every effort is directly tied to sales. For example, social media marketing is often about building trust, authority and loyalty with consumers, and you don’t necessarily measure the success of that effort in sales numbers.

Typically, your campaigns should be aimed at one or more of the following common marketing goals: •

Increased sales or revenue: selling more product or generating more revenue in a given period

Increased conversion rates: persuading more people to take the desired action, whether that’s making a purchase, clicking through to learn more, calling to make an appointment or signing up for a newsletter

Increased engagement: seeing more people interacting with your content

Increased click-through: getting more people to click through on your ads or organic search engine results page links

To set these goals, you have to find out where you currently stand. Blindly saying you want a 2 percent conversion rate makes no sense. What if you already have a 3 percent conversion rate and don’t even know it? Find out what your numbers are in the relevant areas, then do some research to understand benchmarks so you can set realistic goals. For example, the average conversion rate across all industries is 2.35 percent. But the top 25 percent of sites have average conversion rates of 5.31 percent or higher. If your conversion rate for Q1 was 1.5 percent, it’s not unreasonable to set a goal for 2.5 percent by the end of Q3. Premeasuring doesn’t stop with setting a goal. Once you know where you want to go, you need to gather some data that helps you understand how to get there. That includes: •

What keywords are currently performing (for SEO and ads)

Where your target audience is (for social media marketing)

What length and style of writing seems to resonate best with your audience (for content marketing)

How much time visitors are spending on existing pages, which lets you know what types of content are performing well and which ones might need some work

Measuring During Your Campaigns

Once you use the data to make marketing decisions and launch your campaigns, the measurement work isn’t done. Online marketing actually provides even more flexibility than traditional print marketing. You can make tweaks and changes to on-site content and pay-per-click (PPC) ads as you go. That makes it important to keep up with performance metrics such as clickthrough rates, conversion rates, time spent on site, bounce rates and cost per click.

an SEO campaign can take weeks or even months to gain proper traction. Before you make changes every week, make sure you understand the realistic timeline for your marketing strategy.

Measuring Up at the End of a Campaign

If you’re doing them correctly, content marketing, SEO and social media marketing efforts never end. They simply evolve over time, so don’t look for a hard stop where you scrap everything and start over. Instead, schedule time periodically to review where you are and make decisions about larger changes that might be required to align marketing strategies with your business goals. Changing from 400-word blog posts to 600-word blog posts because longer content seems to be performing better for you is an example of a tweak you can make on the fly. Moving from a concentration on higher-end homes to middle-class homes might be a bigger change that you decide on during one of these periodic business reviews. Some campaigns do have a hard start and stop date, such as ad campaigns. Depending on the type of ads, you may be able to tweak things in the middle of the campaign (this is a benefit of PPC ads, for example). Regardless of what type of ads you run, schedule time at the end to look at your measurements. Decide what worked well, what didn’t work and what could have worked better, and apply those changes to your next ad campaign. When you’re creating a new window fashion aesthetic for a client, the goal is to leave them with beauty and function that serves them for a long time. When you’re creating marketing strategies, the goal should be to constantly improve on what you did before in pursuit of more web traffic, calls and sales. V Welton Hong will present the workshop “The Four Cycles of a Successful Social Media Campaign and How to Implement Them” at IWCE Virtual, July 29 and 30. Register today at iwcevirtual.com. Welton Hong is the founder of Ring Ring Marketing and a leading expert in creating case generation from online to the phone line. He is the author of “Making Your Phone Ring with Internet Marketing for Window Covering Companies.” RingRingMarketing.com Facebook: RingRingMarketing

Measuring these things and reviewing the data regularly lets you make proactive changes that can increase the efficacy of your marketing campaigns immediately. One word of caution: Some marketing efforts take longer to return results than others. If you launch a PPC ad campaign and get no action out of it within the first few days or week, that can indicate something’s wrong and you need to make a change. But



insight : madeleine macrae

Focus on Outbound Sales to Help Your Clients and Your Business

When times are good, it’s easy to focus on in-bound sales. But when the economy slows down, redirect your attention to outbound sales and follow-ups BY MADELEINE MACRAE


OVID-19 has forced us both to modernize and go back to the fundamentals of sales and marketing. Essentially, it has challenged

us to find better ways to reach our clients and conduct business with them.

When in-bound lead flow dries up, it forces us to evaluate our outbound activities. During economic highs, it’s easy to lose sight of our follow-up processes. There are so many new opportunities cropping up that we don’t necessarily mine each and every opportunity to its full potential.

Early on in the coronavirus crisis, many of my window covering

clients reported a huge drop in their lead flow. Some reported a decrease in excess of 80 percent in in-bound lead flow. During times of lean in-bound leads, we have to be diligent in every aspect of follow-up. We have to follow up consistently with all prospects and clients: those who reach out to us for our expertise, those who have open quotes, those for whom we have recently installed and those who are part of our past client rosters.

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Each of those four categories is a rich source of increased revenue. Improving your standards in follow-up and holding yourself or your team more accountable for their outbound activities in each of those categories can drive significant business, especially in a time like this.

If you had 100 open quotes in front of you (or, if you are a much smaller business, maybe 10 or 25), would you know exactly how many times, on average, you would need to dial the phone in order to transform that stack of quotes into cash? If not, this is the perfect opportunity to find out. Of course, running these numbers through a CRM would be the most ideal way to track this, but good old-fashioned pen and paper can work just as well. On your paper or Excel sheet, create three columns: calls made, closed sales and dollar value. Set aside two full hours every single day. Make the calls. Put a tally mark in the first column every time you dial the phone. When you speak with a client and convert an open quote to a closed deal, put a tally mark in the second column and then jot down the sales amount.

Rinse and repeat that process, or have the members of your team do so. Expand it to two other categories with sheets for “past clients—appointments—sold projects” and “recent installs— upsells/add-ons—dollar value.” Track the data each day as you go along or as your team members dive into the stacks of old clients and unsold projects, and you will harness data that lets you know exactly what steps to take and how many steps you need to take to create more cash flow in your business.

It is critical to remember that sales is a noble profession.

Sales is an art supported by a process, but it is also a basic numbers game. When you are sharpening up your outbound activities, knowing the exact numbers you need to hit to reach your intended financial outcomes is a powerful thing.

When other things are out of our control, solving an issue that is well within our control brings solace and helps the ground under our feet feel a little bit more solid and stable.

If you tracked your data for two full weeks and made dozens and dozens of calls and then knew that you had to make 15 calls in your “open quote” list to close, on average, one sale, and that sale was worth $2,500, how much more motivated would you be to hold yourself accountable for making at least 30 calls a week? If you knew you had to call 30 past clients to book two appointments and close one sale, again worth $2,500, how motivated would you be to make those calls?

Being able to make money when the phone is not ringing is well within our control. The more willing we are to put

ourselves out there—to call our clients, text them, email them, tag them in social media posts—the more sales we will eventually close.

Throughout the COVID-19 response, many have struggled to survive on multiple levels: physical, emotional, financial. At a time of such widespread suffering, it can feel strange or disrespectful to carry on “business as usual” or to aggressively market and sell your products.

Sales is the only doorway through which our clients can access the solutions to the problems that they face. If you have a prospective client who is looking for your products and services, or if you have a prospective client who needs what you are selling, know that their issue was compelling enough to drive them to seek help in solving it. By leaving them without a pathway to solve their problem, we are adding to their burden, not subtracting from it.

In finding a way to give your client the opportunity to reach you, you’re helping them make decisions, and gain control over this corner of their homes and this aspect of their life. What could be better than that in a time of such prolonged uncertainty?

So stay focused on being in front of your ideal client. Be bold and brave enough to embrace outbound sales activities and keep your messaging focused on what you can do for your clients. As we come out of the fog of COVID-19, show your clients that you are here, your business survived and you stand ready to help them, as much as you can and in as many ways as you are able. V Madeleine MacRae will present the workshops “The Art of the Virtual Consult” and “The Secret Weapon of the Most Successful: How to Master Your Mind and Get What You Really Want” at IWCE Virtual, July 29 and 30. Register today at iwcevirtual.com. Madeleine MacRae is a business coach and sales trainer who focuses on bringing to her client cutting-edge information mixed with just the right amount of inspiration to help them accelerate their implementation and long-term results. She helped hundreds of companies thrive through the COVID-19 crisis. She can help you too! Book your complementary consultation using the website below. meetme.so/MadeleineMacrae mmmacrae.com Facebook: mmmacraecoaching LinkedIn: macraemadeleine



insight : amanda berlin

How—and Why—to Be Visible Right Now It is necessary to keep yourself and your business visible right now. Here are three ways to do it BY AMANDA BERLIN


o say we’re in unprecedented times would be an understatement. But as business owners, we have a few options: retreat, put business on hold or rise. Rise as leaders who can provide a muchneeded respite for our clients. Rise as leaders who still have something important, of value, to say. Rise as leaders who will be part of the new world order when we’re in the “after” of all this.

Overstatement? I don’t think so. There is no doubt the world will be a different place when we emerge from the veil of this physical distancing. And the way to weather the unfathomable impact of this economic shutdown is to keep showing up. Your people need you. They need the solutions you can provide. And they still want to believe in the vision they had for their own

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businesses and spaces. It is not only appropriate but necessary that you stay in the game during these times. With that in mind, here are three ways to build your visibility and influence, even now. These ideas are based on the three-part Visibility Framework I teach my clients and walk through with them in our program, Pitch to Prominence.



Reach out to your fellow business owners—even those you’ve deemed “out of reach” or a few steps further down the road than you—and suggest a collaboration. The best way to start this conversation is to simply reach out with a word of admiration or respect for the work they are doing out there in the world. Here is a sample script:

Hi [Name], Hope you’re doing well given the state of the world! I just wanted to say I love your work. Keep going! Your recent [work] really resonated with me because of [ABC]. I really appreciate what you’re putting out there. Thanks! And stay well! [Your Name] Keep it short. Make it genuine. Release your expectations. Hit send. From there, you can continue the conversation with a request for a conversation (yes, an actual conversation) where you can chat about how you can support each other. As a result of this somewhat risk-free bold act, you’ll make a new connection. And as a result of your eventual collaboration, you’ll get new eyes on your business. When you find the right collaborators, your message reaches other people who are interested in your area of expertise but who didn’t know of you before. Your influence widens. And the audience feels they’ve learned of you by the all-powerful medium of word of mouth.


Host an Event

Yes, I know, we’re not allowed to get together in person right now. Consider hosting an online event. This dovetails nicely with the quest to connect with collaborators. Putting yourself in the middle of an online roundtable or your version of a virtual summit can position you as a leader, connect you to new allies and introduce your work to new eyes. The first thing to do is determine what kind of event you want to host. Here are some ideas: • • • • •

Look for media that is relevant to your audience. Ask your people what they are paying attention to right now. Make a connection with the decision-maker. Next, think of your story angle. Ask yourself how your work is relevant to the media outlet, their audience and what’s happening in the world right now (this is true for whenever you’re pitching). Pick which of these visibility tactics you’re going to start with and jump in. The only downside to these tactics is not doing them. You can stay small and remain where you are in your work. Or you can be bold and brave right now. You can enjoy a deeper connection with your audience. You can recruit new fans because you’ve put yourself and your expertise out there in new ways. This is what these times demand of us. V Amanda Berlin is a visibility and business consultant for entrepreneurs. She works with clients on holistic visibility to help them grow their businesses and impact based on tactics employed during her 12 years in the corporate PR world, guiding strategy for major brands. She’s the host of “The Empowered Publicity Podcast” and loves arming soulpowered business owners with the ideas and skill sets they need to go from hidden industry gem to recognizable trusted expert. amandaberlin.com Facebook: AmandaBerlin

Getting Publicity For Your Business Just Got Easier

Host a panel discussion Design your own version of a virtual summit Launch an interview series (you can record ahead of time) Do a Facebook Live series Launch a promo posse with like-minded friends

When you venture to create an event, you’re putting yourself at the center of a happening. You become a connector. You become known as someone who curates good information. A great experience, for both the consumers of your event and the people with whom you collaborate, brings the event to life.


Pitch the Media

The media is consumed with the news of the day, yes. But there is space for you to contribute if you’re willing to pivot your message, just a little, for these times.

When you become a contributor now, when journalists’ jobs are harder than ever, you can become a friend for life. The fact is journalists, decision-makers, podcasters and producers are always looking for great ideas and reliable contributors. When you create this bond by fulfilling that role, you forge a relationship you can capitalize on over time.

Grab templates, story ideas that work, examples of real life pitches and more... for EVERY type of MEDIA! https://amandaberlin.com/shop/



insight : amber de la garza

Creating a Desirable Work-Life Balance Focusing on family, friends, passions and self-care can help you feel better as you resume normal operations at work BY AMBER DE LA GARZA


fter months of navigating uncharted waters in your business and strategizing how you can pivot during these uncertain times, the U.S. is slowly opening up and small businesses are anxiously getting back into gear. Before resuming operations as normal when it’s safe to do so, consider what you are rushing back to and if that structure provides the lifestyle you want moving forward. Are you constantly working late and on weekends? Sleeping enough? Giving your spouse what they need? Spending quality time with your kids? Many small business owners find themselves so neck-deep in their business that they have little time for the activities and people that make life enjoyable and fulfilling. That doesn’t have to be your reality. As the economy rebounds and you start with a semi-fresh slate schedule-wise, focus on creating the work-life balance you desire. Here are some areas where you can make adjustments.


Work can sneakily expand so much that it bleeds into every area of your life. While passionately growing your business, you may have

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fallen way out of balance as your business demanded most of your focus, time and energy. Staying way out of balance over the long haul, though, will leave you feeling unfulfilled and empty, no matter how high your profits. Of the 25 biggest regrets in life, not a single one is “I wish I had worked more.” Number one? Working so much at the expense of family and friendships.


For your relationships with your partner, kids and family to flourish, you must give them the time and attention they deserve. Discuss which activities they want you to be present for the most. Then, figure out where and when you can be fully present with the people you love to meet their needs as well as your own. For example, if your family values having dinner together every night, do your best to make that happen—even if it means finishing your work after they go to bed.


It’s important to have a great support network, so schedule time to step away from your work and socialize. Whether you have lots of friends who need to go out every weekend or a few select friends

who enjoy going out once a month, invest in those relationships to keep them strong. And because social invitations frequently just pop up, like when your friend invites you for drinks after work, it’s even more important that you are efficient with your time during the day.


As an entrepreneur, you can get so focused on creating and growing your business that you forget all about—or simply don’t make time for—the passions that sustained you prior to becoming your own boss. What do you daydream about? What would you be doing today if working wasn’t an option? Figure out what lights you up that has nothing to do with your business and engage in those activities regularly, even if only for 15-minute stretches.


If you feel called to be out in your community working, raising money or volunteering, you absolutely should do so. Whether it’s being a board member of your HOA, a greeter at your church, prepping meals at the food pantry or doing walk-a-thons, find time to get involved and give back. Helping others is an enriching experience that feels good.


Self-care and sleep are typically the first things you let go of as your business grows and you become more taxed with commitments, but they’re necessary to your mental and physical well-being. Are you sleeping the recommended seven to nine hours a night? Eating healthy? Exercising regularly? Or are you sacrificing those activities for more Netflix and Instagram?

Take care of yourself so you can be around to take care of your business. Creating a better work-life balance is all about exercising selfdiscipline. It’s about leaving the office at 6 p.m. so you can be home for dinner with your family. It’s about shutting off your phone at 10 p.m. so you can get a restful night’s sleep and hit the gym in the morning. It’s about not letting clients, vendors and employees interrupt you throughout the day so you can actually get your work done. Schedule your time purposefully and stick to your plan. No negotiating allowed. A 100 percent work-life balance may be impossible to attain, but by reclaiming time from overly burdensome activities and reinvesting that time in hobbies, passion projects, family, friends and self-care, you’ll be creating a more desirable work-life balance that will leave you feeling more fulfilled. V

Amber De La Garza, aka The Productivity Specialist, is a sought-after coach, trainer, speaker, writer, host of the “Productivity Straight Talk” podcast and creator of the S.T.O.P. Leverage Formula. She helps small business owners improve their time management and elevate their productivity to maximize profits, reduce stress and make time for what matters most.

TheProductivitySpecialist.com Facebook: TheProductivitySpecialist Instagram: Amber_DeLaGarza

V ISION S E AT is a biweekly Facebook Live broadcast that gives you a look behind the scenes of the window coverings industry. Host Sophia Bennett, editorin-chief of Window Fashion VISION, and special guests highlight trends, movers and shakers, educational opportunities, suppliers, and other information you need to make your interior design practice stronger.

Join us every other Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern time at facebook.com/wfvisionmagazine. V ISION |


insight : roger magalhaes

The New Normal

Looking ahead to industry trends that will take shape in the near future BY ROGER MAGALHAES


ur country is severely affected by two crises currently: a health one and a financial one. Depending on where you are located, you will favor one over the other. I am based in Boston, and my state has a significant number of COVID-19 cases. The health crisis is hitting home. But due to the severity of the pandemic here, most nonessential businesses were forced to stay closed for a very long period, causing the financial crisis to be very severe too. From what I hear and read, consumers will be very cautious about spending money again because of fear of financial uncertainty and the fear of being infected by the coronavirus. Because a vaccine will likely take at least 12 to 18 months to be approved, those fears will stay very much alive in the consumer’s mind for a while. Consumer habits and lifestyles may change for some people. At this point, everything is pure speculation, as we have never seen

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anything like this before. However, some measures are being implemented by governments and businesses to ensure safety and to restore consumers’ confidence to return to shopping. Restaurants, gyms and movie theaters will have to run at reduced capacity to ensure social distancing. Airlines, cruise lines and hotels are projecting lower revenues, as people are afraid to travel long distances. Major retailer chains are going cashless so employees and consumers can avoid touching the same bills. Specialists in new technologies are even predicting electric car sales will increase. Since electric cars don’t require consumers to buy gas, it will be one more way to avoid unnecessary contact with unknown surfaces such as gas pumps. As a business owner, what can you do to adapt, stay afloat and win business in this new reality? Here are a few trends I expect to materialize in the near future.

Roger Magalhaes will present “The Installer’s

Buying from a Trusted Provider

Toolbox” at IWCE Virtual, July 29 and 30.

In the past, consumers would have several dealers over to their homes for multiple quotes. In many cases, the visits were even scheduled at the same time to create a bidding war. I believe that consumers will be afraid of bringing strangers into their homes and will prefer to use people they have done business with previously. More than ever, strengthening those relationships is crucial for the survival of your company.

Dealing with Smaller Companies

Register today at iwcevirtual.com. Roger Magalhaes is the owner of Shades In Place, Inc., in the Boston area. He has received formal training and certifications

I believe that consumers will favor doing business with a smaller company as opposed to a larger operation. The reason for this change is simple: A smaller operation feels more familiar. Consumers will have the peace of mind of knowing who is coming into their homes. Typically, when dealing with a larger company, there will be several “layers,” including a salesperson, the installer and even a helper. In my experience, some consumers don’t like the feeling of not knowing who is coming into their homes.

from many of the country’s most respected vendors

Touchless Shades


Perhaps it will be a stronger point for commercial applications, but it can also be used for residential clients. Start your sales presentation with a remote-control lift system. Explain the advantage of not having cords or handles to be touched by several people. Reinforce the safety environment for infants and pets. Add voice command and automatic schedules to move the shades and you will have their business for a very long time.

such as Somfy, Hunter Douglas, Norman Shutters and Lutron. He also attended the Custom Home Furnishings Academy for formal installation training focusing on drapery and other soft treatments. Roger is the founder of the Facebook group Free Speech Window Covering Pros and the Installation Instructor for the Window Fashion Certified Professional FastTrack program.

Facebook: ShadesInPlace Twitter: Shades_In_Place Houzz: Shades-In-Place

Virtual Consultations

This might be the biggest shift in our industry. As we deal with colors, textures and different lights, a computer (or tablet) screen won’t do justice or be a true representation of our offerings. However, offering virtual consultations via Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, FaceTime or WhatsApp may be convenient for consumers to avoid direct contact while they are still shopping for a final provider. It is also beneficial for the dealer, as it may filter out prospects who are not really their clients. Imagine if you have to lug four or five sample books to your car and drive an hour to meet this potential client, just to find out they don’t have the personality or budget for the project. When you discuss prices and styles online, you can secure a deposit for the project via credit card before you even leave your office. This trend will pay off in spades for the ones that are willing to offer this service. This is uncharted territory for everyone and we must adapt in order to survive. Eventually, there will be a cure for this disease, but, until then, we have to stand out and create ways to entice consumers to choose us. Be proactive and creative and you will come out of this crisis stronger. Stay safe and positive. V



industry : iwce virtual

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JULY 29 & 30

The COVID-19 pandemic may have prevented an in-person expo this year, but it can’t destroy our ability to come together as a community. At IWCE Virtual, you can still enjoy many of the things you love about the International Window Coverings Expo. •

Meet with your favorite companies to learn about new and top-selling products.

Participate in seminars and workshops with some of the industry’s best speakers.

Attend industry meetups and network with your peers.

Get access to the full event for 30 days!

SIGN UP TODAY at iwcevirtual.com V ISION |


industry : iwce virtual




10–10:45 AM MELISSA GALT Marketing Luxury Design: Attracting Affluent Clients

10:10–10:55 AM OPENING KEYNOTE – LUANN NIGARA Excellence Is Your Decision: What You Have to Do NOW to Be Successful 11–11:45 AM NICOLE HEYMER & DARLA POWELL How to Create a Well-Branded Social Media Presence & Attract Real Clients 12–12:45 PM O’D MCKEWAN Introduction to Motorization

12–12:45 PM BREAK 1–1:45 PM WELTON HONG The Four Cycles of a Successful Social Media Campaign & How to Implement Them

1–1:45 PM BREAK

2–2:45 PM LUANN NIGARA Closing the Sale: It Begins at Hello

2–2:45 PM MADELEINE MACRAE The Art of the Virtual Consult

3–3:45 PM ROGER MAGALHAES The Installer’s Toolbox

3–3:45 PM MICHELE WILLIAMS Profitability: Monthly Metrics for the Profitable Design Business

4–4:45 PM JOANNE LENART-WEARY Trends & Colors That Will Put Cash in Your Pocket

4–4:45 PM SARA LYNN BRENNAN Create Informational Lead Magnets to Earn Revenue in Your Sleep 5–5:45 PM SANDRA VANSICKLE ANN K. JOHNSON CATHY TUCKER Panel: Top Secrets for a Successful Workroom

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11–11:45 AM MICHELE WILLIAMS Best Pricing Strategies for a Successful Business

JULY + AUGUST 2020 | wf-vision.com

5–5:45 PM MADELEINE MACRAE The Secret Weapon of the Most Successful: How to Master Your Mind and Get What You Really Want

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Because it means we’re doing something right.

industry : iwce virtual

IWCE VIRTUAL SPEAKERS Sara Lynn Brennan is the CEO and principal interior designer at Sara Lynn Brennan Interiors, the first and only full-service interior design firm in Waxhaw, NC, to specialize in transitional design. Sara’s workshop is Create Informational Lead Magnets to Earn Revenue in Your Sleep. Find out more about Sara’s coaching services at saralynnbrennan.com/coaching.

Melissa Galt with Melissa Galt Interiors is a sought-after speaker, business coach and author. She bills herself as a referral-building relationship-maker who doesn’t just show design teams what to do, but leads them through a remarkable experience that forever changes how they do business. Melissa will discuss Marketing Luxury Design: Attracting Affluent Clients. Learn about Melissa’s book by the same name at marketingluxurydesign.com, and get free design business training and weekly support at facebook.com/groups/interiordesignbusinessmastery.

Nicole Heymer is the founder of Curio Electro, a boutique creative agency specializing in branding, websites, marketing automation and actionable strategy. Along with Darla Powell, she will present a workshop called How to Create a Well-Branded Social Media Presence & Attract Real Clients. Learn more about Nicole at curioelectro.com and take her Brand Archetype Quiz at interiordesignbrand.com.

Welton Hong is the founder of Ring Ring Marketing, a leading expert in creating case generation from online to the phone line and a columnist for Window Fashion VISION. His workshop topic is The Four Cycles of a Successful Social Media Campaign & How to Implement Them. Visit ringringmarketing.com to find out how to obtain a copy of Welton’s book, “Making Your Phone Ring with Internet Marketing.”

Ann K. Johnson is the owner of Sew Easy Windows LLC. She also offers private workroom training and consultation and is the author of “The Professional Workroom Handbook of Swags I & II.” She will join Sandra VanSickle and Cathy Tucker for Top Secrets for a Successful Workroom.

JoAnne Lenart-Weary is a professional interior decorator, color authority and home staging expert. You love her contributions to Window Fashion VISION and the Window Fashion Certified Professional FastTrack program… don’t miss her workshop Trends & Colors That Will Put Cash in Your Pocket. Get details about JoAnne’s many other seminars and training opportunities at howtodecorateandstage.com.

Madeleine MacRae is a business coach and sales trainer who focuses on bringing to her clients cutting-edge information mixed with just the right amount of inspiration to help them accelerate their implementation and long-term results. Her workshops are The Secret Weapon of the Most Successful: How to Master Your Mind and Get What You Really Want and The Art of the Virtual Consult. Visit mmmacrae.com for information about Madeleine’s in-depth program with the same name.

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Roger Magalhaes is the owner of Shades In Place, Inc., founder of the Facebook group Free Speech Window Covering Pros, a regular columnist for Window Fashion VISION and the installation instructor for the Window Fashion Certified Professional FastTrack program. Learn many tricks of his trade at The Installer’s Toolbox.

O’D McKewan is a master of motorization and a leader in the motorized window covering field. He has over a decade of hands-on experience with motorized window coverings, including fabrication, installation and selling. Learn the basics of motorized window treatments in his session, Introduction to Motorization.

LuAnn Nigara is the show’s keynote speaker and will also lead a workshop called Closing the Sale: It Begins at Hello. LuAnn is the co-owner of Window Works NJ, a specialty custom window treatment and awning retailer in Livingston, NJ. She is also a best-selling author, business coach and the engaging host of the design industry’s No. 1 podcast, “A Well-Designed Business.” Access episodes of the podcast at luannnigara.com/all-episodes and information about her books at luannnigara.com/book and luannnigara.com/book2.

Darla Powell is the owner of Darla Powell Interiors and co-founder of the Wingnut Social Marketing Agency. Her podcast, “Wingnut Social,” provides her followers with marketing business tips. She will co-present How to Create a Well-Branded Social Media Presence & Attract Real Clients with Nicole Heymer.

Cathy Tucker is the owner and manager of Tucks ’N Pleats Draperies and also owns The Traveling Workroom Temp Service, a service that provides hourly expert labor to help workrooms manage large jobs and clear backlogs. She will participate in the panel Top Secrets for a Successful Workroom.

Sandra VanSickle is an ardent entrepreneur, continuing education instructor and lifelong learner with nearly 42 years of experience in the window fashion industry. She is the third co-presenter for Top Secrets for a Successful Workroom. Learn more about Sandra’s online classes on roman shades, cornice boards and other window treatments at sandravansickle.com. Or check out her Facebook Live show at facebook.com/LiveWithSandraV.

Michele Williams is the owner of Scarlet Thread Consulting, an advisory and coaching company focused on the interior design industry, and host of the popular podcast “Profit is a Choice.” Learn how to get and stay “in the money” with her workshops Profitability: Monthly Metrics for the Profitable Design Business and Best Pricing Strategies for a Successful Business. Learn about Michelle and the “Profit is a Choice” podcast at scarletthreadconsulting.com.



industry : iwce hot products




Check out some of the new products you’ll see at IWCE Virtual on July 29 and 30. Register for the event today at iwcevirtual.com.

Insolroll UltraQuiet 24 Volt DC Motorized Shades

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BlindMatrix has developed software to manage every process at a window furnishings retailer and wholesaler. It manages scheduling, on-site quoting, taking payments, ordering from suppliers, manufacturing, inventory control and integration with your accounting software. The program is very user-friendly and easy to customize.


The Ultra Clear-R Slimline Hidden Tilt System for plantation shutters, which will be introduced this fall, is a new mechanism designed to fit into A-Ventures’ specially designed PVC and primed basswood profiles. It eliminates the need for tilt rods or rear louver control rods.


Alta has three new products coming out this fall. The new AMP Motorization system will cover virtually all Alta product categories. From wire-free rechargeable motors to voicecontrol operation, AMP Motorization is a solid solution for modern light control. The new Alta Honeycomb Shades program includes modern additions such as a new 1¼-inch cell size and a refreshed fabric collection featuring over 80 original selections. The new Alta Roller Shades program has a refreshed collection with ontrend patterns and colors. The company is also offering a new square cassette and different shade widths and heights.

American Down & Feather

Have clients interested in CBD? American Down & Feather has a CBD-infused fabric that it uses to produce supersoft, cozy sleep pillows. Learn how this comfortable pillow helps create a great night’s sleep.

BON Windows Treatment

BON Windows Treatment has four new products it is excited to discuss at IWCE Virtual. In July, the company will introduce a decorative motorized curtain that is not only stylish but also integrates with its lighting system and other components. The redesigned Silence BB Carrier reduces the product’s noise level by 50 percent, and the refreshed Wheels Carrier is now made with noise-reducing materials and an easy-to-install strip. The company’s new cordless roman and roller shade systems allow anyone to easily transform their manual shades into cordless shades.

Crest Leather

Crest Leather is a leading supplier of top-quality upholstery leather for residential, commercial, hospitality and product design applications. It offers a full line of both protected and natural collections. This season, the company is featuring Seville, a distressed, nubuck leather that has a matte finish and a slightly aged appearance. The distinctive qualities of this leather are its smooth, silky touch and its velvety finish, achieved with proprietary hand-feel agents introduced in the milling drum. Request a swatch box prior to IWCE Virtual by visiting linktr.ee/crestleatherusa.



industry : iwce hot products

J Geiger

J Geiger’s R Series shading system features ultrasleek, milled aluminum hardware that conceals unsightly wires and screws. The system fits within most window jambs for a low-profile look and can be used outside of a window casing to cover walls of glass. Coupler and corner brackets enable virtually endless configurations, and the less-is-more aesthetic blends seamlessly with the architecture—no valance, fascia or ceiling pocket required. The R Series integrates with all leading home-automation systems. Wired and wire-free/ rechargeable options are available.

Forest Drapery Hardware

More designers are including acrylic poles and finials in homes, and Forest is providing them with additional options through a collection called Glasgow. The 1⅜-inch rod is hollow, which prevents it from bowing like other acrylic rods. Rings have a plastic insert, so they won’t scratch the rod as they are pulled across. Forest has also added a new Brushed Gold Finish to its Forest Dresden Motorized Collection. The rod has the appearance of a beautiful piece of jewelry and the quiet power of the Forest Shuttle Motor.



Insolroll has two new products to show off at IWCE Virtual. The Oasis Blackout Exterior Window Shades combine the Oasis 2900 Retractable Exterior Window Shade with new Dusk exterior blackout fabric for the ultimate in motorized sun protection. The company’s new UltraQuiet 24 Volt DC motors offer simpler DC low-voltage wiring for new construction or retrofit applications. Insolroll will also be promoting its popular Oasis 2800 Patio Sun Shade, which blocks glare, heat and UV rays in residential and commercial applications.

Insolroll Oasis Patio Sun Shade

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In 2020, SheerWeave Styles 7800 and 7850 are offering new options for designers. Style 7800 combines the timeless look of linen with total light blockage. Fabrics are made with an acrylic foamed backing and decorative polyester face. Style 7850 provides the same texture in complementing colors while allowing interiors to be illuminated with natural light. In addition, the SheerWeave 7000 style, which is uniquely designed to provide total light blockage when complete room darkening is needed, has added two new color options: Merino, a warm shade, and Porpoise, a cool color.


Premier Prints

Premier Prints offers over 2,000 in-stock fabrics in 30- and 60-yard rolls. It also provides a cut yardage service, enabling workrooms to order the exact increment of fabric for each project and eliminating waste and stockpiling of useless fabric. In addition, Premier Prints offers custom printing with the lowest minimums in the rotary print industry. Visit representatives at IWCE Virtual to discuss options for recoloring the company’s patterns, printing your artwork or helping you source something to fit your project.


IWCE Virtual attendees can learn about the ShutterSMART Woodland Program, which was created to make it possible to fabricate affordable, quality shutters in the U.S. It features the most advanced engineering, combining a solid HDF composite wood core with a durable poly resin surface coating. The Woodland poly shutter is built with prefinished, ready-to-assemble components that are made in America and allow you to save money on shipping, finishing, materials and fabrication costs.

Smartpad Pro


RM COCO’s Tommy Bahama collection is the perfect solution for most any active situation. All of the patterns in the collection offer beautifully designed residential styling and superior durability and cleanability, as all patterns in the collection are woven from Sunbrella yarns. The company’s Design Studio has created a coordinating trimming collection to add that perfect finishing touch.


Sakura-Stitch will be discussing its S-CT150 automatic curtain pleating sewing machine. This curtain pleater is able to increase production efficiency significantly. It is simple to use; any operator with basic sewing skills can run the machine.

Smartpad Pro’s Smart Quote program completely revolutionizes the quoting process by giving clients more options and information and making the order and payment process automatic. Instead of using a PDF, the system sends customers a live link where they can toggle between product options, see attached information and brochures, and live message their sales representative. They can choose the products they want, accept the order, sign and make their deposit payment all from their quote page.


The award-winning new Set & Go Connect simplifies the programming and installation process for manufacturers and installers of motorized window coverings. Set & Go allows direct setup from a smartphone app and provides step-by-step programming instructions. Also featured at IWCE Virtual will be the Sonesse 30 WireFree Zigbee motor, featuring bidirectional Zigbee 3.0 technology, a solution for the automation of interior window coverings. End users can control their shades from anywhere and achieve real-time knowledge of shade positioning and battery level status. V



industry : wcma awards

WCMA Awards Highlight Innovation, Quality

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In June, the Window Covering Manufacturers Association announced the winners of its 29th Annual Product Awards, which recognized the best new window covering products launched in 2019. Here are this year’s top award recipients, as well as winners in the Best New Style Concept and Best New Technical Innovation categories.

WCMA 2019 Product of the Year

PRODUCT AWARD: Cellular and Pleated Shades, Best New Technical Innovation Day & Night SmartFit Norman Window Fashions Experience enhanced safety, less light leakage and innovative day-night split control with Day & Night SmartFit, Norman’s latest innovation to the award-winning SmartFit TDBU. Two SmartFit shades are seamlessly integrated for effortless adjustment as a single shade or two shades. When closed, Day & Night SmartFit stacks tightly together for an ultra-slim footprint. When open, split control offers a multitude of lightcontrol and style options.

Judges’ Award

PRODUCT AWARD: Shading and Sheers, Best New Technical Innovation and Best New Style Concept SmartDrape Norman Window Fashions Offering unimpeded walkthrough while closed, the undulating sheer and fabric vane shade is the perfect enhancement to indoor-outdoor living. With beauty, ambience, light control and practicality, its vanes adjust from sheer to light-filtering for privacy and can be individually removed or replaced to make maintenance a breeze. The new headrail is streamlined and specially designed to reduce the light between the headrail and fabric.

Cellular and Pleated Shades, Best New Style Concept Duette Architella Alexa Metallic Fabric Collection Hunter Douglas A striking balance of metallic luster and organic fibers, Hunter Douglas’s Duette Architella Alexa Metallic collection features a sophisticated texture paired with luxe sheen to elevate the décor of any room. Gold and Copper are great inspirations for this collection and can be used in combination with grays or alone in subtle ways.



industry : wcma awards

Drapery Hardware, Best New Technical Innovation Modern Barn Rail Track Orion Ornamental Iron, Inc. This unique decorative drapery track, inspired by sliding barn door hardware, marries function and fashion that complements any décor. The traversing mechanism is on a rail pulley, allowing the rings to traverse easily with minimum effort. The solid flat iron 1½-inch track accommodates hand-drawn one-way or split-draw pinch-pleat draperies up to 18 feet wide. Rectangular forged C rings seamlessly slide over concealed wall-mounted brackets.

Drapery Hardware, Best New Style Concept New Italian Contemporary Finishes Orion Ornamental Iron, Inc. Orion’s Italian Collection added seven new colors in 2020: Polished Nickel, Polished Black Chrome, Polished Brass, Antique Brass, Satin Brass, Polished Rose Gold and Satin Rose Gold. These new finishes increase the offerings in its Italian Contemporary Collection, which includes traversing sets, rod with returns and other drapery hardware.

Green Products – Energy Efficiency, Best New Technical Innovation PerfectTilt G4 – Green Solution Norman Window Fashions PerfectTilt features an integrated solar panel, iPhone/iPad connectivity and improved battery life. The solar panel is integrated into each module, allowing motorized tilt without the need for recharging, and there will never be batteries to throw away. In “Sunrise” mode, PerfectTilt syncs with the rise and fall of the sun, helping to save energy for lighting and heating.

Green Products – Health and Environment, Best New Style Concept PRODUCT AWARD: Horizontal Blinds (All Finishes) Normandy Wood Blinds Norman Window Fashions Normandy Wood Blinds are made from eco-conscious wood that grows back in seven years. They are built with SmartPrivacy for slat-to-slat coverage and concealed route holes. The blinds feature cordless operation and slats that are more level when raised. A one-piece Poly Deco headrail with integrated light block seals out light at the top and means there are no valance pieces to lose or break.

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Motorization and Automation, Best New Technical Innovation Somfy’s Set & Go App Somfy The new Set & Go app simplifies the programming and installation process for manufacturers and installers. Set & Go allows installation directly from a smartphone app and provides stepby-step programming instructions. This simplified programming procedure also provides copy and paste settings for programming multiple shades.

Motorization and Automation, Best New Style Concept Automate Push 5 Tactile Remote Rollease Acmeda The Automate Push series fuses luxury and functionality in a wellcrafted, minimal design. The five-channel remote features soft, tactile rubber buttons that can control five individual or groups of shades. An “All” button conveniently activates all programmed channels. The Push 5 is available in two premium finishes: Gloss White and Matte Black.

Roman and Roller Shades, Best New Technical Innvation Texton COLOR COLOR is a collection of 16 roller shade fabrics that make up over 345 stylish colors and patterns. Printing ensures the collection will never be discontinued. Print-on-demand allows Texton to avoid back orders and gives designers and workrooms the opportunity to request color and pattern changes.

Roman and Roller Shades, Best New Style Concept SheerWeave 5000 Fabrics Phifer Incorporated Six new fabrics boast light and airy, neutral design choices in the SheerWeave 5000 series. “Feathers” offers a bold, fresh take on neutrals with a feathered vane jacquard pattern in Alabaster, Clear, Grey and Beige. Two new releases in “Jute” provide a subtle texture in Smoke and Fog. With features like solar heat reduction and UV protection, these fabrics are protected with Microban and are GREENGUARD Gold certified, making them perfect for health care and hospitality settings. V ISION |


industry : wcma awards

Shutters, Best New Technical Innovation PerfectTilt G4 Norman Window Fashions PerfectTilt now has an integrated solar panel, smart controls through an iPhone/iPad app and improved battery life. A solar panel is integrated into each module, allowing motorized tilt, sometimes for years, without the need for a recharge. An auto-stop sensor that stops louvers when they detect an obstruction, such as a child’s hand, is a new safety feature. Louvers auto-disengage when hand adjusted, so there’s no risk of louver breakage.

Specialty and Miscellaneous Products, Best New Technical Innovation Oasis Blackout Exterior Window Shades Insolroll Window Shading Systems Oasis Blackout Exterior Window Shades combine the Oasis 2900 Retractable Exterior Window Shade with a new exterior blackout fabric called Dusk. This combination provides the ultimate in motorized sun protection, blocking sun before it strikes window glass to mitigate heat gain. Dusk fabric features stain-resistant, solution-dyed, high tensile-strength fibers with waterproof PVC backing to provide privacy and room darkening.

Specialty and Miscellaneous Products, Best New Style Concept Zipscreen Ultra-Lock Rollease Acmeda The patented Ultra-Lock boasts adaptive locking technology to lock and tension shades for the ultimate in performance and security. Paired with Rollease Acmeda’s updated FT motor, the Ultra-Lock achieves automatic, one-action lock and tensioning. A durable latching pin combined with an integrated design ensures a reliable solution, which can be preassembled off-site for an efficient installation.

Vertical/Panel Tracks (All Finishes), Best New Style Concept Adjustable Panel Track (Shangri-la) Calendar Enterprises Co., Ltd. With this system, simply trim the panel height to what you need and install the bottom rails for a custom-look finish. This sliding panel is durable and ideal for a wide range of window coverings and a room divider. The system is effortless in its installation and use as a person can easily slide window coverings with a solid metal wand all the way to the right or left. V

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Movelite 35


Somfy’s new Movelite 35 solution offers quality at an affordable price...

Orion is excited to announce the newest member of our Motorization family- the Somfy Movelite 35. Comfort and elegance are now available for all with the new entry-level Movelite. The Movelite 35 solution offers quality at an affordable price: • Movelite 35 RTS is compatible with all Somfy’s RTS controls. • Available as straight track only or with Orion’s Iron Art, Wood Art and Design Art by Orion decorative fascia options. • Pinch Pleat or Ripplefold. • For draperies weighing up to 77 lbs. (35kg) • Available as single or double system. • Touch motion triggered by gently pulling the fabric. • Somfy’s 5 Year Warranty. • Operates with simple voice commands using Somfy myLink™, Alexa or Goggle Assistant



sales@ironartbyorion.com | www.ironartbyorion.com | 877.476.6278

industry : insolroll

For a recent project, Insolroll and a design firm worked with a client who wanted shades for sun control and privacy at their urban waterfront residence but didn’t want a closedin feeling. The designer came up with a concept to capture the feel of the city and waterfront by including a series of silhouettes of sailboats, seagulls, trees, cityscapes and bicyclists on gray translucent roller shades (below). Insolroll provided the technical support and printed the shades for the project.

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40 Y E A R S of EXCELLENCE On its 40th anniversary, Insolroll Co-Founder Rick Pease looks back on the company’s founding and reflects on what’s ahead BY SOPHIA BENNETT In 1980, longtime friends Rick Pease and Dave Friedlander saw an opportunity to pioneer a new market in the U.S. Due to the ongoing energy crises in the 1970s, fuel prices had been high for much of the decade. Government agencies were pushing conservation and offering tax credits for solar and energy-efficiency programs. Both men had experience with building product distribution and installation, and they wanted to use that knowledge to serve the group of builders excited about using the sun to heat homes. “With $500 in the checking account and a lot of youthful enthusiasm, we started offering high-performance shading solutions and shade automation for the passive solar construction industry,” Pease says.

Pease attributes much of the company’s success to its 96 employees, several of whom have been with the company for more than 20 years. “Dave and I have built our business with great people and have had very low turnover over the years. Even in tough times like 2008-09 and this year, when we stopped production for a month, we have never had a layoff. Many of our decisions over the years were based on creating opportunities for our employees and having key employees instill the knowledge, experience and passion that made Insolroll successful.” He also believes that Insolroll’s ability to stay nimble enough to adapt to new opportunities in the industry has helped it thrive. “We like technical products, high-performance solutions and automation,” he says—all things that have done well in recent years.

That decision marked the birth of Insolroll. Pease and Friedlander started by selling insulated shades and During his 40 years in the window solar screens designed to hold in the sun’s covering industry, Pease has seen many heat overnight and keep homes from changes. “We have observed many overheating in the daytime. By 1982, they products, like miniblinds and verticals, were making exterior rolling shutters at come and go through their natural their facility near Denver. “When the solar product life cycles,” he says. “Distribution tax credits expired in 1985, we found solar channels have changed significantly, with screen shades were the perfect fit for us as globalized supply chains, online retailers, a technical glare control solution that was big-box stores and specialized health missing in many passive solar designs,” care and hospitality distribution channels says Pease. “In 1986, we manufactured our gaining significant slices of the window first patio shade and began distributing treatment industry.” Insolroll rolling shutters and patio shades through dealers in the Rocky Mountain Rick Pease (left) and Dave Friedlander (right) Like many people, he is looking forward to region.” The pair also used their technical expertise in solar shades to consult with builders and designers on putting the COVID-19 era in the rearview mirror. “It will be nice to get back to interacting in person with our customers and seeing residential and commercial projects. business get back to normal,” he says. He is also excited to begin Insolroll’s next big milestone came in 1996, when it moved into a promoting two new products the company hopes to roll out this fall. larger facility and added interior solar screen and blackout shades to The Insolroll Dual Shade Pocket System is a shade with a smallerits manufacturing program. “This finally put us in full control of our format housing that makes it ideal for inside-mounts on small product quality and service level, and allowed us to grow in the high- windows in hospitality projects. end residential and commercial glare-control markets,” says Pease. “We saw early growth and picked solar screen shades to become our For residential applications, the Oasis 2700 Sun Shade Driven by flagship product 25 years ago while it was still a specialty product.” Lutron will provide a smaller-format motorized shade option. Pease Today, the company is focused exclusively on interior solar screen is confident these products will continue the company’s tradition shades and patio shades, including Insolroll Solar Shades, Insolroll of providing quality products that serve the needs of modern Elements Roller Shades, and Oasis Patio Shades and Retractable professionals. V Insect Screens. V ISION | 45

Find out who received our annual Designer of the Year and Workroom of the Year awards at wf-vision.com.

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inspiration : design competition winners

2020 VISION DESIGN Competition Awards

Once a year, Window Fashion VISION has the distinct pleasure of honoring some of the window covering industry’s most talented workrooms, interior designers, fabricators and installers. The VISION Design & Workroom Competition Awards represent just a fraction of those creating beautiful, functional, top-quality products for customers all over the country. We hope you enjoy reading about this year’s Design winners. Don’t miss the September + October issue where we'll feature the Workroom winners.



inspiration : design competition winners

Lori Yanez and Diane Ten Broeck

Sheffield Furniture & Interiors Workroom 1st Place, Combination Treatments

The owner of this waterfront vacation home wanted privacy and light control. The challenge was to enhance the large windows but not impede the view of the water. The fabrics and trim were chosen to accent the picturesque view. The motorized shades blend seamlessly into the woodwork while the valances and panels soften the edges of the windows.

Robin Bond

Robin Bond Interiors DBA Draped

2nd Place, Combination Treatments

This master bedroom’s arched windows were certainly the focal point of the space. Not wanting to lose the architectural element, Bond commissioned a custom cornice board with nailhead and medallion accents to follow the curves of the windows and cover the new Hunter Douglas roller shades. She kept the shutters on the smaller side windows and added stationary tieback panels with accent banding to soften the overall look.

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Carl Sly

Creative Windows

1st Place, Commercial (tie) The two-story glass facades of Detroit Metro Airport’s North Terminal were being blasted by sunlight until an OpenLight shade system was installed, providing subtle yet effective sun control in the main ticketing lobby. Final selections incorporated Phifer’s high-performance shade cloth and Somfy’s animeo automated control system for maximum flexibility of use. Custom brackets were fabricated to accommodate existing architectural conditions. Installation was accomplished through the use of three styles of lifts, which allowed access to tricky locations around escalators and in the middle of a bustling airport.

Atsuko Nakajima and Satoshi Mochizuki Avenue Interior Design

1st Place, Commercial (tie) This client wanted elegant window treatments in a British traditional style to renew a wedding banquet hall with Georgian-style architecture. This specific window treatment was designed to hang above smoke exhaust windows, which couldn’t be blocked because of code regulations. Swags hanging from medallion holdbacks accent the drapes mounted on semicircular rods. Overall, the project provided exactly the manor house feel the owner wanted.



inspiration : design competition winners

Otto and Kristi Rankin

Pacific Shades Custom Design and Automation

2nd Place, Commercial

This historical resort was built in 1929 with Frank Lloyd Wright as a consulting architect. The existing awnings were partially broken, faded and outdated. Removing the awnings and installing new ones was challenging because they were mounted on top of an atrium-style wall and a ceiling of glass. The Rankins arranged for wooden platforms to be built on-site for the installation. The inaccessible top portions of the awnings are motorized, while the spear-style lower portions are handcranked with removable iron wands and handles.

CJ Knapp

Yours by Design

1st Place, Curtains and Draperies

When Knapp’s clients moved to a new home, they brought a custom-made comforter that did not fit well with the look of the new house. Knapp wanted to design a window treatment that would play down the rusty orange in the spread and highlight the blue the clients wanted in the room. Solid colors weren’t doing the room justice, so the team began looking at patterned fabrics instead. Once they agreed on several possibilities, Knapp played with them until she found the perfect balance of patterns and colors.

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Keely Hersh

Right at Home Interiors

2nd Place, Curtains and Draperies The tall walls and vaulted ceilings in the client’s living and dining areas inspired the designer to take advantage of the room’s height when creating curtains. The drapery panels were designed with three fabrics, including a dandelion print on the top and luxurious gold silk on the bottom. The client’s rooms face the street, so sheers were added for privacy. The decorative rod and simple, refined endcaps finish the look with clean, modern lines.

Keely Hersh

Right at Home Interiors

1st Place, Decorative Hardware and Trim These one-of-a-kind drapery rods are perfect for the client’s bright sewing and craft room. The teal rods match the linen floral fabric the client loved, and were mounted high up on the short wall in the room to create balance throughout the space. A roman shade was added to keep the room cool. Rose cording from the drapery edge was added to the top and bottom of the shade to tie the look together, along with a pebble-like bead trim.



inspiration : design competition winners

Olga Polyanskaya

Drapery Expressions and Blinds, LLC

2nd Place, Decorative Hardware and Trim Polyanskaya’s clients wanted stylish, functional floor-to-ceiling drapes that would provide light and heat control. In order to give the treatments a more sophisticated look, a statement decorating drapery rod was selected. To maintain the contemporary look, small endcaps were added instead of bigger decorative finials. Ceilingmounted brackets let in more light. Magnets on the leading edge allow for better drapery overlap in the middle. A sliding window rod allows for better functionality by limiting the draw to one direction.

Emily Moss

Emily Moss Concepts & Designs

1st Place, Motorized Window Fashions After designing a clean, modern and open living space, these clients quickly realized that while they loved the natural light and the views provided by their windows, they also needed a sense of privacy. Instead of creating individual window treatments, a seamless trough was designed to house the 13 sunshades needed to complete the room. The trough was built like an extended cornice, then finished with a textured plaster and painted to match the drywall. This design helps hide the motorization equipment as well as the shades.

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Olga Polyanskaya

Drapery Expressions and Blinds, LLC

2nd Place, Motorized Window Fashions The 12-foot triple windows in this newly renovated master bedroom were covered with motorized sheers and overlay blackout and interlined drapes. To help the motors run more smoothly, a header with two-prong pleats was selected. This also minimized the drapery stock, helping to deliver a clean and tailored look and show off more of the toile design the client loved. The vertical band on the panels make the installation look taller visually.

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inspiration : design competition winners

Leigh Anderson

Willow Drapery & Upholstery

1st Place, Soft Shades (New Category) Anderson partnered with two workrooms to create this one-of-a-kind roman shade for a narrow, 1¾-inch deep window. Horizons Window Fashions made a basic shade with a 1½-inch cordless headrail available only through their workroom. After that, a second workroom, Custom Window Accents, made the luxurious silk shade using their pioneering fabrication method that requires no sewing on the front fabric. The lining was only attached to the silk at the vertical side seams, which resulted in an elegant, smooth piece.

Laura Nelson

Sew Nice Creations

2nd Place, Soft Shades (New Category) Precisely matching roman shades and wallpaper with the same pattern is always a tricky proposition, but Nelson was able to accomplish this feat perfectly, giving the room a seamless look. Blackout lining and interlining on the shades help insulate against heat from the intense afternoon sun and allowed this client to enjoy the window seat at all times of the day. Wandcontrolled motorization eliminated cords.

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Linda H. Bassert

Masterworks Window Fashions & Design, LLC 1st Place, Specialty Window Fashions

The colors of a large painting inspired the choice of the Duralee floral used in these window treatments. The curve of the central arched window was recreated in the top edge of a tailored balloon shade, covering the Solera shade and the long drop to the short point of the window. Flanking the fireplace, the dramatic height is emphasized by drapery panels over each pair of windows, with a contrasting wide gimp trim on the leading edges and cascades. Automated shades create convenient light control.

Lori Yanez and Diane Ten Broeck

Sheffield Furniture & Interiors Workroom 2nd Place, Specialty Window Fashions

Double-width panels were designed for each side of the grand specialty window in this living room. Invisible hardware was used to ensure the view of the outdoors was unobstructed. To create a balanced look, a wrapped swag valance was designed for the window and door found on each side of the fireplace. The fabric colors of flax, taupe and gray provided a soft yet defining look and allowed the shape and style of the windows to take center stage.



inspiration : design competition winners

Otto and Kristi Rankin

Pacific Shades Custom Design and Automation

1st Place, Top Treatments

This chef’s kitchen had optimal natural lighting from its windows and skylights and was designed entirely in white. To warm up the room, the Rankins chose a bold print for the window treatments. Soft-fold mock roman valances were custom-made to adorn the top of the bifold-style kitchen windows. The longest is 18½ feet. While the size was a challenge in itself, the valance had to maintain the pattern, which meant that nearly double the amount of fabric was needed. Weight bars were inserted along each fold to maintain the valance’s integrity.

Keely Hersh

Right at Home Interiors

2nd Place, Top Treatments The décor in this remodeled farmhouse country kitchen was inspired by the French general floral fabric that Hersh selected with the client. To show off the floral print, a valance with a flat backdrop and curved shape at the bottom was designed. Rose napkin rings hold the jabots and are attached through the front board. The hanging pendant lights over the island have the same fabric woven through the metal framework.

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Melinda Peters Elliott

Fine Designs & Interiors LTD

1st Place, Whole Room Integration This royal children’s suite was constructed completely from scratch in a totally empty space at the Columbus Museum of Art in the Columbus Designer Showcase. Elliott wanted to make a memorable room that used all her skills as an interior designer and drapery workroom. The groovy black-and-white curtains, double-decker bus and red phone box are just some of the highlights of the room, along with a working Big Ben clock in the silhouettes along the walls.

Sara Lynn Brennan

Sara Lynn Brennan Interiors

2nd Place, Whole Room Integration It was no small task to transform this once over-the-top Tuscan space into a tranquil retreat. From the detailed custom window treatment plan to the relaxing color palette, all aspects of the design were considered to create a spa-inspired space. Brennan’s team of professionals reupholstered the headboard and constructed functional and beautiful window treatments with blackout lining.



inspiration : sandra vansickle

Leading in a Time of Crisis BY SOPHIA BENNETT


indow Fashion VISION is thrilled

supplies and even our emotions. If we ran out of elastic,

to honor Sandra VanSickle

we cut strips from T-shirts. If the pattern didn’t fit right,

with the VISION Industry

Achievement Award for her

leadership with Mask America, a

we altered it. We called ourselves the modern-day Rosies. We were unstoppable and knew that we could do this together.”

grassroots project to sew masks

for health care workers across the United States.

One of the most rewarding things about the project has been helping people return to sewing or learn

In the early days of the COVID-19

to sew for the first time. “We enlisted the

pandemic, it quickly became apparent that

help of our children, grandchildren, our senior

there was not a sufficient supply of masks,

parents, men, women and children,” VanSickle

gowns and other personal protective

said. “Many shared that they had never sewn

equipment for doctors, nurses, first

before, but they found their mom’s machine

responders and others on the front lines

in the closet and learned how to make a

of the crisis. VanSickle created a Facebook

mask. The stories of teenage brothers sitting

page called Mask America and put out

at a sewing machine determined to make a

a call to fellow workroom professionals,

difference brought me joy.”

asking them to make masks that could be donated to hospitals and other facilities.

A silver lining has been difficult to find in the midst of this crisis. But VanSickle said the

The response was immediate and

project has been just that for her and many

overwhelming. Within nine weeks of

others. “At times, I wanted to be angry. At

launching Mask America, sewers had made

others, I thought I was growing too weary

more than 130,000 fabric masks. The number continues to

to continue. But the private conversations with members

grow, as does the mission. People are now making masks

pouring their hearts out, saying making masks gave them

for members of the general public and sending them all

a purpose, touched my heart. We gave, and are still giving

over the country. And while VanSickle started with her

of our time, talents, resources and prayers. We made a

workroom colleagues, quilters, crafters and others have

difference, a historic difference.”

also joined the project. All of these people might not have had the same “It is a humbling journey, even though many would agree

opportunity to make a difference without VanSickle’s

it was like a roller-coaster ride that almost 1,700 members

commitment to Mask America. For that, we offer her our

from over 40 states across the U.S. were on,” shared

eternal thanks and gratitude.

VanSickle. “But we were on it together, and we were resourceful and resilient. We shared our patterns, ideas,

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Focus Ona Drapery Hardware Company is your source for custom made drapery hardware. From contemporary to traditional, we offer an extensive selection of styles and finishes. We manufacture every rod set to order using only premium heavy gauge steel, wrought iron, crystal and more. Custom curving is available for all rod profiles. Be sure to look at our new Acrylic Rods, Art Glass finials and Polished Chrome finishes in addition to our popular French Rods and ONAVERSE™ Iron Cord Traverse Rods. We pride ourselves on quality workmanship, timely delivery and customer satisfaction. Select Ona Drapery Hardware and order with confidence. For a free catalog please call 800/231-4025 or visit our website at www.onadrapery.com

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In Our Next Issue…

Fibers is the theme of the September + October issue of Window Fashion VISION. We’ll take a look at what’s new and exciting with both textiles and wood window covering products. October is National Window Covering Safety Month, so we’ll have our annual update from the Window Covering Manufacturers Association. The winners of the Workroom Competition Awards will be featured in this issue (this photo comes courtesy of award recipient Tracie Bresnahan with Custom Creations). What did you miss at IWCE Virtual? We’ll have a quick recap, along with top takeaways from our speakers and exhibitors.

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Profile for Window Fashion Vision Magazine

Window Fashion VISION July + August 2020  

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