Window Fashion VISION Magazine: July/August 2023 | Volume 45 Issue 4

Page 20

VOLUME 45, ISSUE 4 JULY + AUGUST 2023 Talking Trends With Influencers 2023 Workroom Competition Winners Fixtures of the Future Smart Shades

Request a sample



Twin Pull, Coulisse’s latest innovation in child-safe design, eliminates traditional chain operation. Raise and lower cellular shades effortlessly with Twin Pull’s dual operating wands without compromising on safety. Scan the QR code to request a complimentary sample of our Cellular Twin Pull clutch with wands and compare it to other market alternatives.

VISION 3 THE NEW NORMAL Automation has become an integral part of today’s home and lifestyle choices. Be competitive in the marketplace by meeting the demands of today’s consumers. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to increase your profit dollars with BLISS™ Automation by Alta. Learn more! Source:, SMART HOME STATISTICS 2023: HOW MANY SMART HOMES ARE THERE? Updated December 28, 2022 “Alexa, how many smart homes are there in 2023?” “There are 258.54 million smart homes across the world.”





President/Publisher | Grace McNamara

Associate Publisher & VP | Ania Munzer

Contributing Editor | Maude Campbell

Art Director | Eric Taylor

Event Manager | Shannon Flaherty

Marketing Coordinator | Tracy Herold

Social Media Coordinator | Corina Buzdugan

Accounting | Kim Rick


Elizabeth Gerdes, Roger Magalhaes, O’D McKewan, LuAnn Nigara, Oliver Schreiber, Chelsea Stamper, Douglas Weinstein

SUBSCRIPTION S 651-330-0574 •


Photography: Sara Tucker Photography

Project: Private Residence in St. Paul, MN

Installer: TEXTON

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, 4707 Hwy 61 N #255, St Paul, MN 55110, Tel 651-3300574. Visit our website at Periodicals postage paid at St Paul, MN.

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JULY + AUGUS T 2023 | 4
45, ISSUE 4.
VOLUME 45, ISSUE JULY AUGUST 2023 Talking Trends With Influencers 2023 Workroom Competition Winners Fixtures of the Future Smart Shades WFV_JA23_14_SPMC.indd 1 6/25/23 8:58 PM

Nurture and Nature Are Better Together

t’s officially summer and I’m a new mom!

I’ve experienced so many firsts this year, but nothing compares to the immense joy that comes with being a mother. I’ve spent the start of the season doing some of my favorite activities with my four-month-old daughter, including spending time outdoors in my backyard. My serene and comfortable space keeps me coming back every morning for coffee while the birds sing, tuning in to my favorite podcasts to get the day started and hosting family and friends for dinner while grilling up some of my favorite recipes. This includes my mom’s famous Hangover Chicken Salad, which you can find the recipe for on page 4 of our May/June 2023 issue.

Publisher’s Choice: Tune-In-Worthy Podcasts


“Akimbo” is a podcast about our culture and about how we can change it, about seeing what’s happening and choosing to do something.

Like myself, homeowners are continuing to find innovative ways to repurpose their outdoor living spaces as an extension of their homes for relaxing and entertaining. It’s easy to see why: Adding an outdoor living area to your home is one of the best investments you can make! It provides a new place for relaxation, entertainment and enjoyment that can be enjoyed by everyone in your family at any time of year—even when it’s raining!

The world looks very different these days for me; a comfortable home has never been more of a priority. Health, wellness, convenience and functionality are of importance now and we know nothing beats smart home functionality, especially for a growing family. In this issue, we dive deep into the state of motorization and smart homes, shining light on smart shades and technology.

Customized, automated scheduling and voice assistant integration are just some of the latest features homeowners crave and window treatments certainly deliver!

Plus, designers report boots on the ground, the hottest interior design trends from around the globe. Coming soon: We’ll be opening the doors for 20 Under 40 nominations—one of my favorite events of the year!

Young window treatment professionals are pioneering our industry, bringing fresh ideas, new concepts and technology to the table. Have a nominee in mind? Visit to sign up for our e-newsletter for the official nomination announcement this July!

Now, it’s time to whip up a delicious summer refreshment, lounge in your favorite chair and dig into this sizzling issue.


“Armchair Expert With Dax Shepard”

Dax explores people’s stories of getting vulnerable and honest about struggles and outcomings—finding resilience and strength to be incredibly sexy!

"Window Treatments for Profit With LuAnn Nigara"

LuAnn means business and gets real about the window treatments! From efficiency and productivity to sales and marketing, this is where the community of professionals meets.

JULY + AUGUS T 2023 | 6 PUBLISHER’S NOTE From the Associate Publisher
Ania, Chris and Ewalina

Advanced child safety solutions

With upcoming changes to legislation around child safety and window coverings, we are evolving our comprehensive range of products in manual and motorized solutions, so they comply with WCMA, Health Canada, and the pending CPCS Rulings.

Learn more about our commitment to child safety at

*Please note not all systems are available at this time

VISION 7 Lower to position Raise to position
Easy Spring Wand Automate Basics Chain Shields Easy Spring Air Easy Spring Ultra Advanced Clutch Wand


Motor Momentum

As the hottest trend in window treatments, automation is a major selling opportunity for professsionals. Get ready to capture your share of the market with these tips.


Bring the Lake Look Indoors

For a waterfront property in Georgia, this designer installed wall-to-wall motorized draperies to maximize the view—and provide comfort, convenience and energy efficiency.


Teamwork Makes Tech Dreams Work

How do designers keep up with the latest tech advances and how do homeowners learn about the need for planning at the earliest stages of remodels and new builds? Working with a technology design specialist!

High Point Trend Spotters and 2023’s Top Design Events

See what caught four influencers’ eyes at High Point Market and take a tour of the summer's hottest shows.

Workroom Competition Awards


In the window fashion industry, we are meticulous with detail when it comes to transforming windows, yet we often miss the mark when it comes to our own brands. In Part 2, we’ll explore how to strengthen your voice to earn more.

4 PUBLISHER’S NOTE Nurture and Nature Are Better Together

10 disCOVER About the Cover

12 POINT-OF-VIEW: New & Noteworthy All That’s Interesting

16 WELL-CRAFTED: Lessons In Leadership David Fezer, Founder and CEO of Alpha Tubular Motors

18 WORKROOM Put Your Pedal to the Metal With Motorization By Elizabeth

20 FULL FRAME: Retailer Lorraine’s Window Coverings leverages location for more than 30 years

22 FULL FRAME: Technology Increase Your Bandwidth on Bluetooth

24 FULL FRAME: Installation How to Become a Motorized Installation Sensation

By Roger Magalhaes


There’s an Automation Tool for That! By LuAnn Nigara

62 FLAIR Product Spotlight

64 Sold! Get Motorized Sales Soaring in 3 Easy Steps! By Oliver Schreiber

JULY + AUGUS T 2023 | 8
VISION 20/20 CORRECTION: In the May/June issue in our IWCE recap on page 51, we listed Kelli Vitari as the first-place Artisan winner. Sharon Gregory, The 13th Avenue Place, was the first-place winner and Vitari was second.
58 46
The annual Window Fashion VISION Workroom Competition awards honor the most talented members of the window covering industry.

SheerWeave Style 5000 features roller shade fabrics that combine textured yarns with traditional patterns. With a color palette of hushed naturals and rich earth tones, this collection offers a range of classic options designed to suit any style of decor or personal preference.

The SheerWeave app is available for free download to all mobile devices.

® SheerWeave is a registered trademark of PHIFER INCORPORATED.


A complete system from Rollease Acmeda includes Zipscreen Exterior Shades + Texstyle X-Weave Fabric + Automate motors and controls. The result: an outdoor “extension” of the home, enclosed for privacy. A comfortable space for relaxing, entertaining and working from home.

The durable Zipscreen exterior shading system protects against the sun’s UV rays, wind, rain and bugs. A perfect solution for all-season outdoor living.

This system is not only functional but also stylish. For ambience, the Texstyle X-Weave fabric filters sunlight to create a warm glow in the space. The heavy-duty solar screen fabric has a 10% openness, which preserves the view-through to the natural surrounding while protecting from the harsh elements. The Sand color fabric was paired with the Paperbark color side channels and headrail to perfectly coordinate with the home’s outdoor decor. The slim side channels are unobtrusive, yet strong and sturdy for a smooth operation.

For the ultimate convenience and control, the Zipscreen system was paired with Rollease Acmeda Automate motors, providing options to operate the shade. Shades can be controlled via remote control, through the Automate app or by using voice commands when connected to a smart home system. The shades can even be programmed to automatically open and close according to the weather and your lifestyle while at home or away. An unexpected storm is coming and you’re not at home? No problem. Simply pull up the app and raise the shades to avoid potential damage. V

Turn to page 44 to see the before and more.

JULY + AUGUS T 2023 | 10 dis COVER Cover Story


SHUTTLE MOTOR LINE-UP: Many control and integration options are available. All motors include a 10-year warranty. Plug and play installation or choose our battery powered option.

Learn More



Island Breeze, a new addition to its cleanable and durable InsideOut Performance Fabrics Collection, brings tropical vibes to your outdoor—or indoor—space. This grouping includes 70 solids and textures woven in the United States, which are ideal for your home’s high-traffic areas. Your fabric passport could be getting stamps in Aruba, Tahiti or Barbados!



German manufacturer Markilux launched a hot new range of awnings to keep you cool. Specifically created for cubic architecture, the Pergola Cubic line was designed to meet a demand for shading solutions that tie in with a home’s modern minimalist design. Just one awning can shade more than 32 yards!



Industry safety regulations are looming and Rollease Acmeda is ready to make the process painless with the Easy Spring Air system. Setting a shade in your desired position has never been as simple and secure. This product complies with Window Covering Manufacturers Association, Health Canada and Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations and features compatibility with the universal Skyline bracketing system.


JULY + AUGUS T 2023 | 12 POINT-OF-VIEW New & Noteworthy


Bond takes it up a notch with a new generation of wireless keypads that mounts flush on walls or electrical boxes. One press of a Gen2 SideKick for Shades button transits commands—for one or for all—to motorized shades, drapes, screens and awnings. Compatibility is at an all-time high, as this version works seamlessly with motors by Somfy RTS, Rollease ARC and Coulisses/MotionBlinds, among others.



While it might seem like technology’s overtaking every element in our lives, the convenience of smart home integration is hard to ignore. Somfy has an all-new line of motors to power and control shades, blinds and curtains with Zigbee 3.0, an ecosystem of products that work seamlessly together. As well as connecting with Zigbee 3.0, the motors will be able to communicate with Somfy RTS and future smart home innovations.



… you put them on your windows! Clarke & Clarke’s Pomarium collection of fabrics, available through Kravet, is as sweet (and sometimes sour) as the fruit it’s named after. These designs are perfect for summer homes or locations where it’s warm year-round, but don’t let temperature limit your design dreams.


JULY + AUGUS T 2023 | 14
POINT-OF-VIEW New & Noteworthy
Eco-Friendly Fabrics - Manufactured in Australia Low-Emitting & Improved Air-Quality Sustainable Practices Order your samples: Greenguard Accredited

David Fezer

Founder and CEO of Alpha Tubular Motors

After being in the business world for more than 25 years, it doesn’t come as a surprise that David Fezer has had his share of successes and failures. But with Alpha Tubular Motors, the company he founded in 2011 and he leads today, he hit pay dirt. The motorized window covering company is headquartered in Australia, although it caters to an international clientele, including consumers located in the United States, Canada, Korea, Latin America and the Dominican Republic.

Fezer’s story is unconventional per industry standards. He dropped out of school and described himself as an addict who “struggled with life.” Meeting his wife, Daniella, provided the catalyst for his ultimate transformation, along with building a relationship with God.

Beyond providing a full life for Daniella and their four children, Alpha aims to give back to society in tangible ways—all on top of its high-quality products. The company recently purchased a bus to help the homeless in California, which will be outfitted with showers and space for simple medical treatment. Fezer said, “I feel like it’s my God-given duty to give back and help wherever I can. I’ve been blessed in life.”

We sat down with him to peel back the layers on his part in the business and how he leads a company that keeps on flourishing as competition continues to arise.

WINDOW FASHION VISION: What inspired you to launch Alpha? What need were you looking to fill?


We were manufacturing and, after getting charged enormous amounts of money from one of our suppliers, saw there was really good potential to disrupt that market and build our own brand on another level that provided better service, better quality, better reliability and a better warranty.

WFV: Resilience and humility go well together. What does it take to be a leader in today’s world?

DF: To be a successful leader in today’s business world, it’s important to have a wide range of skills and qualities. Some of the key qualities that are needed include resilience, adaptability, strong communication skills, emotional intelligence, strategic thinking and the ability to inspire and motivate others.

WFV: Why should consumers trust you?

DF: We believe that we deliver the best service in the industry. We have sameday dispatch, we ensure that every single one of our staff members can deliver quality support so no one waits for tech support. We integrate a lot of artificial intelligence into our business models with HubSpot, we’re starting to work with Matter Over Thread technology. We want to lead the industry in terms of the way future trends are going.

WFV: So you’re not afraid to evolve?

DF: I learned many years ago that if you don’t adapt to the times, you fall behind very quick. So as soon as something comes out, I’ll be the first one to learn it.

WFV: How would you describe your leadership style?

DF: The company philosophy has always been honesty, integrity and transparency, so we focus on that as the key point that we work around. I think that’s been a huge part of our success. It’s how we treat our staff and how we treat our customers.

WFV: How does failure play a role in leadership?

DF: Failure can play an important role by providing opportunities for growth and learning. Leaders who are willing to take risks and learn from their mistakes are more likely to achieve success in the long run.

WFV: How do you keep your team motivated?

DF: We have monthly targets to chase and we all get a bonus at the end of each month. It’s not just the sales staff, but the internal warehouse staff as well. And as long as the company grows a certain percentage, we give an increase at the

JULY + AUGUS T 2023 | 16
LESSONS IN LEADERSHIP Q&A With an Industry Innovator
The company philosophy has always been honesty, integrity and transparency, so we focus on that as the key point that we work around.

end of each year. It keeps them on board to want to make the company their own and grow it. At the same time, the company thrives.

WFV: Do you have a specific book that inspires you?

DF: There’s one book that changed my life and changed my whole thought pattern. It’s called “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. I was uneducated and it taught me that you don’t need to be to be successful.

WFV: What do you think it takes to be a good leader today?

DF: You need to be a good listener. I think that’s one of the key points that most people miss these days is to listen to other people and really hear them.

WFV: What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? Give me an example of these in practice.

DF: As a leader, it is important to demonstrate values such as integrity, honesty, respect and accountability. For example, a leader who values accountability might take responsibility for mistakes and work to address them proactively. By setting a positive

example, leaders can help to build a culture of trust and respect within their organizations.

WFV: What thoughts do you want to leave us with?

DF: People are talking about us in the States and we picked up some of the largest key accounts there. We’re just continuing to thrive and grow. We genuinely have a really good product and we want to deliver a quality that is sort of unmatched in the industry. V

I learned many years ago that if you don’t adapt to the times, you fall behind very quick. So as soon as something comes out, I’ll be the first one to learn it.

Put Your Pedal to the Metal With Motorization

A map for adding profitability to your workroom

“Motorization” can be a scary word and concept for workrooms. While this field might seem solely for techies who leverage sharing the latest advances with their clients, creatives shouldn’t count themselves out of this product category. The implied complications fade away with a little patience and understanding that this isn’t a phase—it’s the future of our industry.

If you’re worried about breaking out of the comfort zone that is the four walls of your workroom, focus on the growth— both professionally and personally—you will experience by introducing motorized materials. Grow your confidence and your business with these three simple steps.


Someone somewhere once said that if you used motorized window treatments daily, it would take the fear out of selling them. Put that to the test, for example by ordering a motor to be inserted into a tubal headrail system. Fabricate a roman shade and hang it in your workroom. Utilize its convenience with a remote and make it open and close every day. Nothing really changed about the fabrication process, except now a motor was added into the tube.

Look for opportunities in new projects to continue exploring the possibility. If a client asks for drapes for their new home that has an existing motorized track installed, think of this as an easy—and low-risk—way to become familiar with motorization. You might find that the motorized track is similar to everything you already know about tracks.



Once you feel comfortable with the idea of selling motorized treatments and possess a factual foundation, try giving quotes. You might be naïve in the beginning, like ordering too large of a motor and thinking it will work no matter the situation. If you pay closer attention to the

weight and dimension needs of the shade and/or drapery, you can save money on the overall cost of the project and know when to use that large motor.

Just like fabrication, you learn pretty quick from your mistakes. If you show up to an install and your drapes are too long for the window, you learn pretty quickly to recalculate the way you fabricate for the next time. The same goes for motorization.

The more you educate yourself, the more you will sell them with confidence and the more money you can add to your bottom line. If I can do, you can do it. Just go for it. The technology today is much better than even five years ago. You may be amazed at how easy it all is!

The more you sell, the more questions and requests your clients have and the more you become familiar with this field. Let’s just hope you charged enough not to lose money on the job, but if you didn’t, consider it education.


Take advantage of the community you’ve created with your vendors and installers. More than likely, they’ve been in your shoes and felt the same trepidation. Kick off your schooling by asking questions and absorbing all the information you can from people in person and online. Remember that it’s your journey and your business, only you can dictate the pace.

If you’re not sure this is a field for you, start slow. Make something for your workroom. Whether it’s a shade, shutter or drapery, use it every day. Get familiar with what it will and won’t do. Learn how to program motorized treatments yourself. V

Recognized as an industry leader, Elizabeth Gerdes is the owner of the awardwinning custom drapery workroom Stitch Above the Rest in Woodstock, GA. For the past 17 years, she has been designing and fabricating custom window treatments for residential and commercial spaces. She loves a good window treatment challenge and gravitates toward nontraditional projects.

JULY + AUGUS T 2023 | 18

Style is Sprouting

Natural Fabrics Continue to Grow in Popularity

Bring the Beauty of Nature Indoors

As the demand for natural and sustainable options continues to grow, finding materials that are made sustainably can be tricky. Fortunately, natural fabrics are made from renewable materials like bamboo, reeds, jute, and grasses. These materials are expertly handwoven into beautifully textured natural fabric which can be turned into custom Horizons window treatments.

Playful Pops of Color

With more and more time spent at home, it’s important to keep interiors looking fresh. Whether you’re creating a space to entertain guests, get some quality shut-eye or need to create a place to get some work done, color can play a role in creating the right ambiance for your needs. For spaces that need focus or concentration, consider choosing a tranquil green or blue. Reds, oranges, and yellows are ideal in spaces you use for entertainment or hosting such as a living or dining room. In bedrooms, try a neutral, earth-tone pallet or rich purple tones to help you get into the right mindset for sleep.

An Eye Outside

With Horizon’s Averté Natural Fold, a technique that turns natural fabrics into a window treatment that looks like drapery, you can cover wide windows and patio doors with ease. The possibilities are endless. Averté can stack left, stack right, split or even center stack with a gentle push on the guide rail. Coordinate with Natural Roman Shades for a finished look.

Welcome Dealers: New and Existing!

It was great to meet so many of you at IWCE. We can’t wait to see all of the new designs you bring to our workroom this year. Keep an eye out for our upcoming product launches which are sure to take your sales to the next level.

Please feel free to reach out to our customer service team with any questions you may have either by phone 800-858-2352 or email Let’s get ready to grow together!



Lorraine’s Window Coverings

Business owner leverages location for more than 30 years

Nestled in the tight-knit community of Bellingham, WA, Lorraine Vinish, owner and operator of Lorraine’s Window Coverings, has become a window covering destination for all in the surrounding area. With 12 large windows, her storefront, chosen specifically for its visual opportunities, is a living, breathing example of her work.

A combination of working in the corporate world and welcoming her first child in 1990 led Vinish to start her own business out of her home in 1993. She didn’t want to go back to the traditional nine-to-five, so she decided to bet on herself and take a chance on her creative side. “We actually needed window coverings for a home that we had just moved into, so I did a bunch of research and I took some classes—and I opened up my own business,” Vinish said. She continued to work out of her home until 2018, when she transitioned to a professional showroom.

Her staff consists of six employees, including family members, which she finds to be an asset. Her installer is her son-inlaw, Luc, one of her sales consultants is her daughter-in-law, Lariza, and her daughter helps out with social media. They choose to spend time together outside of the office, enjoying company happy hours on top of family get-togethers.

Vinish regularly spends time in the store, encountering new clients and those she helped some 20 years ago. Call their phone number and you might speak to Lorraine herself, ready to suggest window treatment solutions for whatever your project requires.

JULY + AUGUS T 2023 | 20
Owner Lorraine Vinish (from left) and design consultants Shanda Ramirez and Julie Disanza use their years of experience to beautify the community.

WINDOW FASHION VISION: What is the key to retaining customers and attracting new customers?

LORRAINE VINISH: We have previous customers coming back all the time saying that we did their blinds 20 years ago and now we want them redone by us. Even though we’ve updated our computer software, we have an old computer in the back that stores all those orders. Recently, I was able to pull up someone’s project that I did 20 years ago.

For new customers, I’ve been doing radio for about 15 years and I do it regularly. We live in a very small community, but we have a lot of people moving here from the big cities and out of state. Referrals and word of mouth are very important, as is Google and social media.

WFV: How do you sustain your team and sales talent?

LV: We have regular staff meetings where we share information with each other on all of our jobs. I have three sales consultants, who go out on their own appointments and make their own schedules. They don’t feel like they’re being micromanaged and that makes them happy. Our installer also joins our staff meetings.

WFV: What challenges have you experienced?

LV: We never want the customer feeling like we left them hanging. We go above and beyond so that they’re happy, sometimes we lose on projects. Draperies are more difficult than hard window coverings. The way we describe it, when there’s an adjustment that has to be made, it’s like a wedding dress. Sometimes we’ll have to lower the drapery hem, sometimes we have to raise it.

WFV: What benefits does your showroom bring to your business?

LV: In my space, there are 12 large windows, which was what I wanted. I have all these

window coverings mounted in the windows, mostly motorized. A person can be on the inside and see the window coverings from the inside to the outside because the showroom is level outside. I have every style of window coverings so everyone can see how they all work. We are currently updating our showroom with cord-free options as an alternative to those with cords.

WFV: Do you have a piece of advice for retailers ready to grow their sales team and their product line?

LV: Make sure everyone is well-trained. If there are any seminars that are coming up, even if you have to travel to them, take your staff. Just make sure to go even if you have to shut down your store for the day. It excites them to see the products and to be part of the behind-the-scenes, what goes on and what I’ve been doing all my life with this business.

WFV: What about someone who’s looking to introduce outdoor products to their existing interior line?

LV: Do your research so you can stand behind the product of the companies you’re buying from. We test things first on our own homes before we offer them to clients. We’ve been doing outdoor screen shades for a number of years, but we are looking into selling louvered roofs, a more permanent structure.

WFV: Why is being a window treatment professional a great career in 2023?

LV: You get to interact with the most wonderful people that live in your community. You get to go into their homes, meet them and find out who they are. They tell you their story. It’s a lot of fun … A woman came into the store and I was showing her all the new blinds that we have in store and how they work. She just couldn’t believe it. She hadn’t gotten blinds for 20 years. So, it’s so much fun showing people what can be done.

WFV: Do you still feel the same excitement that you did when you started your company?

LV: Absolutely! I think it’s even more exciting now. The products are so beautiful and what they can do, it’s pretty cool. Seeing the upgrades in motorization with rechargeable batteries, it’s mind-blowing. People would have to take out all these batteries and replace them, now you can recharge your blinds just like you do with your phone. V

Do your research so you can stand behind the product of the companies you’re buying from. We test things first on our own homes before we offer them to clients.
PHOTO: KEVIN MALLICK PHOTO: KEVIN MALLICK The business’ small staff, comprised of family and friends, continues to provide personalized service.

Increase Your Bandwidth on Bluetooth

How motorized window coverings utilize this tech, plus its benefits and challenges

After spending a few days at the International Window Coverings Expo in April, I got to walk the show floor and take a look at all the new innovations that are being introduced into the market. One such innovation is the integration of Bluetooth technology with motorized window coverings. If unfamiliar, Bluetooth is a wireless communication protocol that has transformed the way we interact with our environment and its application in motorized window coverings has revolutionized comfort, convenience and energy efficiency.

We all know that motorized window coverings provide an elegant and effortless solution for adjusting blinds, shades, and curtains and enhancing privacy, light control and energy management. Most manufacturers offer motorized window coverings that are controlled through proprietary remote controls or elaborate third-party communications that require an additional Wi-Fi hub. However, the integration of Bluetooth technology has taken the control of motorized shades to a new level by offering the elimination of remotes and hubs.

Bluetooth technology can now serve as a direct bridge between motorized window coverings and various control devices, such as smartphones, tablets or voice assistants. Just like how your phone can connect to a wireless headset or speaker via Bluetooth connectivity, now users can remotely control their window coverings via Bluetooth. This is done by downloading the manufacturer’s app and following their on-screen directions to link the motors to the phone/tablet. Once this is done, you can program and control the shades directly from the mobile device anywhere within Bluetooth range.

Bluetooth range is one of the major considerations of using its technology. Although Bluetooth is easy to connect and to use, it does have its downsides. Most Bluetooth signals are not very strong and have a limited range. This means that the distance from your mobile device to the motorized shade will need to be considered when trying to operate the shades. If it is too far away, it will not communicate. That is why most

JULY + AUGUS T 2023 | 22 FULL FRAME Technology

manufacturers offer an additional Wi-Fi hub that can be used for larger areas or to connect with other home automation devices. These additional hubs are not necessary, but they offer increased range, use of voice assistants and can be used in conjunction with other types of electronic devices.

Another thing to consider about Bluetooth connectivity for motorized shades is battery life. Although the manufacturers I have seen so far are using Bluetooth LE (Low Energy), there is still the issue of battery drain—both on the motor side and the mobile device side. While most of us are used to charging our mobile devices on a regular basis, that is not the case for our motorized shades. You need to consider the power supply you will be offering for your motorized shades. Bluetooth uses two-way communication and generally is always working to receive or send a signal. For this reason, battery life can be limiting. There are too many variables to determine a shade’s standard battery life, but just be aware of your clients’ situations and whether it would be better to offer a hardwired or plug-in option.

The major advantages of Bluetooth motorization is its ease of use for the end user and the economical option of not having to buy additional accessories such as remotes or hubs. With the apps I have seen so far from manufacturers, the end user has a large variety of options to program and control all of their Bluetooth window coverings, including adjusting limits, setting favorite positions, creating scenes and using timers—all within the app and without the need for remotes or special tools. This can also be a great advantage for installers as it can reduce installation times and on-site repair visits. I believe we will see more manufacturers offering Bluetooth options, but just be aware it is not always the best option for all clients. And remember to keep current in your knowledge of technology! V

O’D McKewan is the product coach for Window Covering World, an expert on motorization and an industry leader in the field of motorized window coverings. He has extensive hands-on experience with motorized window coverings, including fabrication, installation and selling.


Orion X Somfy

The perfect combination of beauty and automation for luxury drapery hardware


Orion’s traversing systems are compatible with all major home automation systems.


Rechargeable Battery, Plug & Play, Wired


All Somfy RTS drapery motors can be controlled with the touch of a button, simple voice commands and smartphone Apps.


Add Orion’s Iron Art, Wood Art or Design Art drapery hardware fascia options in 1-1/2”, 2”, 3” diameter for single or double rods; with or without rings and Ripplefold or pinch pleat headings.


Straight, bent or curved. We offer any rail shape in white, black, gold, or antique bronze heavy duty tracks and color coordinated carriers giving you the perfect match of style and ergonomics.

VISION 23 | | 877.476.6278 M O T O R I Z A T I O N. E L E V A T E D ORION ORNAMENTAL
Cindy’s Window Fashions

How to Become a Motorized Installation Sensation

Motorized window treatments have become increasingly popular, offering convenience, style and energy efficiency to homeowners. As an installer, the process of installing motorized window coverings requires a few extra steps compared to traditional manual treatments. Let’s delve into the additional considerations and steps that an installer must undertake to ensure a successful installation and customer satisfaction.

Pre-Installation Assessment

Before beginning the installation process, it is crucial for the installer to conduct a thorough assessment of the windows and the surrounding environment. This assessment involves inspecting product for damage, examining the wiring and power sources, and evaluating the structural integrity of the window frames and placement for the power source. Understanding the specifics of the installation site helps the installer anticipate challenges and potential issues even before installing the mounting brackets.

Power Source Requirements

Unlike manual window treatments, motorized options require a power source to operate. The installer must assess the availability and proximity of electrical outlets or wiring to power the motorized system. In some cases, the installer may connect multiple power cables until

Wiring and Integration

the desired length is achieved. In other situations, the installer may need to collaborate with an electrician to ensure proper electrical connections are made. Alternatively, battery-powered options can be considered if the installation site does not have accessible electrical outlets.

If the chosen motorized window treatment relies on a hardwired system, the installer must handle the wiring aspect of the installation. This involves concealing and routing the electrical wires discreetly within the window frames or adjacent walls. It is essential to ensure that the wiring is hidden from view while remaining easily accessible for future maintenance or repairs. Additionally, if the window treatment is part of a larger smart home system, one of two outcomes are expected: 1) the installer must integrate the motorized shades with the existing automation infrastructure, such as connecting to a central control panel or a smart home hub, and 2) the installer simply tests the shade’s functionality and hands off the integration part to an AV company.

JULY + AUGUS T 2023 | 24 FULL FRAME Installation

Programming and Testing

Once the motorized window treatments are installed and wired correctly, the installer must program and test the functionality of the system. This step involves setting up the desired operating parameters, such as adjusting the opening and closing positions, setting timers or schedules and synchronizing multiple treatments if applicable. Thorough testing ensures that the motorized window coverings function smoothly and respond accurately to commands, providing a seamless user experience.

User Education

Part of the installation process includes educating the end user on how to operate and maintain their newly installed motorized window treatments. The installer should demonstrate the various control options, whether through wall-mounted switches, remote controls, smartphone apps or voice commands if integrated with a smart home system. Clear instructions on care and maintenance should also be provided to ensure the longevity and optimal performance of the motorized window coverings, including remote controls, battery wands or motor chargers. Installing motorized window treatments requires additional considerations and steps compared to their manual counterparts. From assessing the installation site to handling electrical requirements, wiring, programming and user education, installers play a crucial role in ensuring a successful installation process. By going the extra mile, installers can deliver exceptional customer experiences and provide homeowners with the convenience, style and energy efficiency they seek from motorized window coverings.

Obviously, if the installer is involved early on in the sales process including planning for the best power source and measurements, the installation part would be a breeze and the entire experience would be noteworthy for all parts involved including the dealer, installer and homeowner. V

Roger Magalhaes is the founder of Trading Up Consulting, which provides installation training for window fashion professionals. Magalhaes has more than 15 years of experience as a professional window treatment installer in the Boston area. He is also the installation instructor for the Window Fashion Certified Professional FastTrack program and is the president of Window Coverings Association of America.


It is essential to ensure that the wiring is hidden from view while remaining easily accessible for future maintenance or repairs.

Take a Vesta Interest in this Company

Vesta was founded in the 1980s and is based in Pendleton, South Carolina. Second-generation Bret Jackson has run the family-owned business for more than 28 years and recently son Nick came on board as operations manager. Together with their team, they provide the U.S. market with some of the world’s finest and highest quality window coverings, some of which are sourced from leading European manufacturers.

Vesta’s product line includes a wide variety of designs, including multiple design award-winning products and various materials and finishes. In addition, custom-made rods and tracks, innovative new products and individual product advice complete the Vesta package.

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WINDOW FASHION VISION: What benefits does Vesta offer?

BRET: As a team, we always look for exciting and new products to surprise our customers. With our many years of experience, we know what it takes to offer a first-class product range and the best quality. But, of course, we also follow trends and are inspired by innovative products. At Vesta, it is our particular concern to shine with excellent service, reliability and speed in implementation in addition to a selected product range.

WFV: Which markets do you serve and which area do you specialize in?

BRET: Besides inns and small boutique hotels, equipping private homes is a large part of our business. The requirements and tastes are sometimes very different, but that’s where the challenge lies. I enjoy adapting to each project and finding the perfect solution for my clients.

WFV: Who are your partners and which brands do you offer?

BRET: We have worked with many partners worldwide over the years. BÜSCHE from Germany has become an exceptional partner, who reliably inspires us with first-class designs. Our relationship has prospered due to mutual respect, trust and communication. These critical ingredients develop lifelong friendships and an eagerness to collaborate.

WFV: Which is your product highlight right now?

BRET: With 26 collections, it isn’t easy to single out one particular curtain set, as they cater to different styles and sizes/diameters for different room scenarios, from cozy living rooms to prestigious conference rooms. A popular all-rounder, however, is the APOLLO collection, as it is highly customizable with five finishes and various endcaps or French returns. In addition, there is also the high-end collection EUROPEAN ELEGANCE made of brass from our partner BÜSCHE, which makes sophisticated design possible. Both collections can be wonderfully adapted to a wide variety of room situations.

NICK: We travel worldwide to select products, always looking for unseen designs and sustainable innovations. So, often, partners approach us with new collections created in collaboration with renowned designers and, like some BÜSCHE products, that have won various design awards. So, inspiration is multifaceted for us and finds its way to us through the most diverse channels.

WFV: What is your secret to running a successful family business for so many years?

BRET AND NICK: Our secret to success lies within our mission statement. At Vesta, we start with “Why.” We are in business to create a compelling customer experience and help our customers achieve their design ambitions. This has driven the success of Vesta for many years; however, this is only possible with reliable manufacturing partners like BÜSCHE. Therefore, teamwork is paramount to success. »

Content Sponsored by Vesta
Finials from the APOLLO Collection in Black, Brushed Nickel, Polished Chrome, Antique Brass and Oil-Rubbed Bronze finishes


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Are You Capturing Your Share?

Everywhere we look, in every corner of our lives, automation is delivering the ease and convenience we demand. And that’s proving a major selling opportunity for window treatment professionals.

Much like outdoor living is dominating the home renovation market, motorization is now the hottest trend in window treatments. For dealers, installers and designers who are ready to capture their share of this rapidly expanding market, the sky is the limit.

The Stage Is Set

It wasn’t too long ago that the idea of controlling your window shades or outdoor awnings with your phone or voice sounded like the stuff of science fiction. But the smart home concept has been brewing in our minds for some time now. As early as the 1930s, authors and moviemakers were creating futuristic worlds where people used technology to control their lighting, security systems and other home features. Their premonitions have been proven to be spot-on!

Once the internet took off, so did the technology needed to turn these visions into reality. And as wireless technology took hold, the constraints that once made home automation unwieldy to install quickly became nonissues. Today, there’s nothing holding back the concept of fully automating every window treatment in and around the home.

In fact, these innovative solutions might be just the angle you need to drive new sales in an overall window treatment market that IBISWorld forecasts to be relatively flat for the next several years.

The Demand Is There

Just like they crave automation in other areas of their lives, consumers are taking to motorized window treatments in a big way. Yet, this market is still in its infancy, with only limited adoption so far. For window treatment professionals looking to grow their business, there couldn’t be a better combination of forces at work.

A survey by Olibra, makers of the Bond Bridge home automation platform, underscores how ripe the opportunity is for window treatment dealers, installers and designers. Olibra tapped its 100,000 platform users to understand how consumers plan to add automated window treatments and what’s motivating them to buy. While only 42% of people surveyed have motorized shades in their homes, three out of four are planning or considering such a purchase. Perhaps more telling, nearly two-thirds said they’d like to see all their window shades motorized eventually! What’s driving the push for motorized window coverings? The survey results shed light on this question and the results shouldn’t come as a surprise:

■ Convenience is far and away the top reason that consumers invest in an automated window treatment, mentioned by nine out of 10 respondents.

■ About half cited the ability to control their window treatments using voice commands or a phone app—another indication that convenience is top of mind when making these purchases.

■ The ability to control their window treatments while away from home proved important for about half of the consumers surveyed, revealing a desire for better security and privacy.

Though the survey focused on indoor window treatments, similar factors are driving consumers to adopt motorized options for their outdoor living spaces. Whether it’s a retractable screen that keeps out the sun and the bugs or an automated awning or pergola that offers shade and protection from the rain, homeowners are latching on to the idea that they can easily control these outdoor shading solutions from anywhere at any time.

There’s No Shortage of Options

Thanks to continued advancements in technology, materials and production, consumers have a growing array of motorized window treatments to choose from. When it comes to equipping them with the right solution, it’s really a matter of homing in on the features they most desire.

Here again, the Olibra survey offers useful insights into the hot buttons for most consumers in search of automated window treatments:

■ Seamless integration and connectivity top the list of the most sought-after features, followed closely by the window treatment’s build quality and aesthetics.


■ Less than half cited quiet operation and price as something to be considered when buying motorized window shades or blinds.

■ About half the survey respondents want to be able to schedule when shades or blinds open and close, set the shade to any position and control shades in groups for ease.

No matter which motorized window treatment features they crave or the benefits they seek, homeowners are more likely than ever to find just what they’re

looking for. Manufacturers like Rollease Acmeda, Insolroll and others in this space continue to innovate, adding and enhancing their product lines to deliver better performance, style and selection. Indoors, homeowners can now combine design and functionality even for hardto-reach windows, whether it’s above a bathtub, over a soaring stairway or in a room with a cathedral ceiling. They can select just the right option to gain better climate control, improve their sleep quality, protect furnishings from

fading, reduce visibility into the home or deter burglars while they’re traveling. They can schedule shades to open as the sun comes up or close at bedtime. They can choose from an ever-expanding range of motorized window treatment textiles, colors and styles. And they can integrate these solutions into the same home automation systems they already use, including app-controlled or voiceactivated systems from Google and Amazon.

Best of all, thanks to wireless technology, these solutions have never been easier to install. No more objections about the mess of cutting into drywall to hard-wire a solution!

Similar advancements are driving the evolution of motorized screens, shades, awnings and pergolas that make outdoor living more comfortable. For example, various manufacturers integrate Somfy’s high-tech sensors into their products, powering automatic opening or closing in response to weather conditions. Other innovations are resulting in better options for protection against UV rays, moisture and wind, in increasingly larger sizes and a wider array of materials, colors and styles. Now, it’s easy for consumers to add an awning that automatically closes when it rains to protect the product from stains and mildew, a retractable screen that closes in response to the sun’s rays or a pergola that closes when the wind picks up, protecting against damage.

Don’t Fall Behind the Curve!

With demand rising and innovative options emerging, all the ingredients are coming together to make motorized window treatments a key part of your product portfolio and a big revenue and profitability driver. And with rising mortgage rates and low housing inventory prompting more consumers to stay put and invest in their current homes, it’s the perfect time to get them to upgrade to the latest motorized window treatments.

So, how do you gain an advantage in a market that’s surely garnering your competitors’ attention?


Recognize that automated window treatments offer a tremendous opportunity for repeat business, since most consumers are adding these features incrementally. As the Olibra survey revealed, about 45% of consumers have been adding automated window treatments since their initial purchase. By keeping in touch with first-time buyers, you can ensure you’re top of mind when they’re ready to buy again.

2 Stay current on the latest developments in automated window shades, blinds and awnings. The more you know about the options available, the better equipped you’ll be to meet each consumer’s unique needs and preferences.


Lean into consumers’ strong desire for convenience by providing hands-on demonstrations that bring this benefit to life. There’s nothing

more powerful than showing the simplicity of operating an automated window treatment that’s integrated with the voice- and app-controlled systems homeowners already use. Showing customers what happens when you say, “Alexa, open my bedroom shades!” might be just want it takes to make your next motorized window treatment sale! V

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Very Important Somewhat Important Unimportan t Price Aesthetics
100% 75% 50% 25% 0% Price Aesthetics Quiet operation Connectivity/ integration Name-brand shade motor Build quality Trusted pro-installer 42% 55% 77% 85% 41% 9% 75% 28% 21% 49% 41% 15% 24% 22% 3% 2% 49% 1% 0% 50% 10% Unimportant
Quietration tivity/
ndshade Buildquality tedproller

BLISS™ Automation by Alta systems and power options offer a new level of purposeful ease with a wide range of options. From the wire-free convenience of our DC or Li-ion motors to the power of voice control operation, BLISS is a solid solution for advanced yet simple light control and well-connected design.

“My favorite product is using the R-TEC Hub in conjunction with the R-TEC Automation App by Rowley. I am not a techy person, as my strength is in designing and fabricating custom soft furnishings. I’ve never had a client tell me they wished they had opted to spend less for nonmotorized treatments, but rather how much they like the convenience of motorization.”

—Donna Cash, Designs by Donna

WCMA Cord Safety Standards as of May 16, 2023

Our trade’s landscape is ever-evolving, due in large part of the new requirements for window covering cords. Now, a rift has formed between two of the most important industry organizations: the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Window Coverings Manufacturers Association (WCMA).

After years of cooperation between the two entities, the CPSC has decided to circumvent the process outlined under the Consumer Product Safety Act, which requires that the commission and the industry work together to develop effective voluntary standards. This will eliminate the availability of product before businesses have the chance to develop new ones, as it’s proposed that the industry will need at least two years to realize this.

In November 2022, the CPSC issued a final rule, addressing the risk of strangulation to children 8 years old and younger, with an effective date of May 30, 2023. The WCMA sued to stay this date pending a decision from the court on the group’s challenge of the rule. The stay was granted in January and oral arguments were presented on April 24 to the district court by attorneys for the CPSC and the WCMA.

“For interior products, my favorite is charcoal solar shades powered by Somfy motors. They provide crystal-clear views and optimal glare protection. For exterior, my favorite is the phantom executive motorized wall screen powered by Somfy Motors with insect mesh. It provides optimal airflow and view with no bugs!”

—Jonathan Yehuda, Glamour Decorating

As of press time, no ruling has been made. The potential rulings include: the court ruling with the CPSC and the final rule would need to be enforced as early as 52 days after the decision, the court remanding the final rule to the CPSC for reconsideration of the effective date and the court could vacate the final rule and the CPSC would have to restart their process.


Bring the Lake Look Indoors

With the increased use of smart home technology, motorization is moving from wire-free tubular motors with wand controls on roman shades to tubular motors powered with remote controls. Wand controls have an entry-level price point; however, they have limitations due to the length of the wands. Motorized shades and draperies are becoming commonplace in homes today due to convenience and ease of use.

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Not every day can be spent on the water, but it can be spent enjoying the view
Europatex Celine-Foam PHOTO: DONNA CASH

What is in demand and what is selling for interior residential? Automation takes motorized shades and draperies to the next level. Automated shades and draperies are in high demand. These employ a hub and app that allow the user to wield the touch of a button or voice command to easily open and close their shades and draperies. The demand for these is driven by the desire for increased comfort, convenience and energy efficiency in the home.

The clients in this home in Flowery Branch, GA, on Lake Lanier wanted the view of the lake during the day and to keep the outdoor

lights out for sleeping at night. Wall-to-wall motorized draperies were the answer for both the master suite and their daughter’s room. Keeping the draperies as far off the windows as possible during the day was necessary to showcase the beautiful lake view from each room.

The Ripplefold draperies (100% fullness) in each room were hung from R-TEC Automation 13/8" H-Rail from Rowley Company. The master suite draperies were fabricated in 110"-wide Europatex CelineFoam for seamless beauty. Although this fabric is room-darkening by itself, a wide cotton lining was used to add additional beauty to the treatments. The daughter’s room draperies were fabricated in 118"-wide sheer Europatex Allure/Buff and lined in 100"-wide Trinity Room Darkening Lining. Using the wide fabrics allowed no seams for these wide treatments.

Careful planning and measuring were considered for the wall-to-wall treatments in both rooms. The motorized tracks were

spliced due to the finished size of 209". Unpackaging and installing these wide rods took a team of installers the better part of one day.

After programming the shades with handheld remotes, the client also opted for an R-TEC Hub and the R-TEC Automation App so that the window treatments may be operated by a smartphone or an integrated device while at home or away. The R-TEC app is intuitive, quick to learn and easy to set up, allowing anyone to open and close their shades and draperies from anywhere they are—either with their voice or through the app.

Motorization and home automation are here to stay. Do not let the price point prevent you from offering this to your clients! Find a system that is compatible with different types of motors, draperies, and shades and then become proficient with that system. Providing these solutions is rewarding as it helps to improve clients’ quality of life and satisfaction with their living spaces. V

Designer: Donna Cash

Workroom: Donna Cash, Designs by Donna Atlanta,

Installer: Chris Ray and team, Hangman Installations


Hardware: Rowley Company


Donna Cash
“Motorization and home automation are here to stay. Do not let the price point prevent you from offering this to your clients! Find a system that is compatible with different types of motors, draperies, and shades and then become proficient with that system.”
—Donna Cash, Designs by Donna

Teamwork Makes Tech Dreams Work

Residential technology is an ever-changing, ever-expanding topic that is close to impossible to keep up with unless you’re a residential technology specialist. The basics alone—networking, energy management, climate control, clean air and water strategies, distributed audio/video, automation, acoustics, intelligent lighting, smart window treatments—are somewhat daunting. The list is long and growing exponentially, but here’s the upside: When done properly, technology enhances your design goals and delivers a heathier, warmer, more inviting living space for your clients. And, as a bonus, no one needs to see, or even think, about the technology behind the walls. With simple keypads and a few scenes, the homeowner enjoys all the convenience and none of the hassle.

Now, the question becomes: How do designers keep up with the latest technology advances and how do homeowners even learn about, much less begin to understand, the need for infrastructure planning and design at the earliest stages of major remodels and new builds? There are numerous opportunities including lunchand-learns from a qualified technology design firm and CEU courses from CEDIA, the trade organization that represents residential technology specialists.


To begin, let’s take a step back and look at the big picture when it comes to residential technology. When we talk about infrastructure, we start with the discovery process. What does the homeowner want in their home and how do they anticipate living in the space? Do they want simple keypads with a few scenes that get rid of wall acne (there is no need for banks of light switches anymore) and provide the simplest user experience? Do they want to combine their lighting and automated window treatments together and set up specific scenes so when the lights dim at night, the shades come down to afford more privacy? These are basics that need to be addressed so the homeowner begins to learn what is possible and how elegantly they can experience living in a modern smart home.

JULY + AUGUS T 2023 | 34

What about smart thermostats, smart doorbells and advances in wireless technology that augment indoor/outdoor living designs? Whether or not the homeowner chooses to move forward with every design option, at least they are made aware of what those options are and how technology can enhance the user experience. And, believe me, when homeowners become aware of what’s possible, they tend to opt in on the entire smart home concept.

We start with discovery and a few specific suggestions that meet budget and homeowner lifestyle expectations. We then move to wires and cables— what we term structured wiring. This is the most misunderstood aspect of technology design. Here’s just one example: Investing hundreds of dollars up front to pre-wire the master bed/ bath suite even if the client isn’t 100% sure they want to automate those window treatments or put in intelligent lighting is analogous to an insurance policy. Because if they automate their window treatments in the great room and combine lighting and shading into three or four intuitive scenes, you know

they are going to love it and show it off to their friends and neighbors. And within six months, they’ll be back asking you to automate the master suite.

Now, if they hadn’t invested hundreds of dollars in pre-wiring that suite, you would have to rip up the ceilings and walls. Not to mention the mess: drywall and repainting or re-papering. I think you realize that these obstacles probably mean you aren’t going to get that future business. Infrastructure— discovery, design, pre-wire—not only saves money for the homeowner in the long run, but it also gives you more opportunities to reconnect with your client for future upgrades.

Collaborating With a Technology Partner

Just like when you are interviewed by prospective clients to see if your visions are in sync, you need to identify a few technology design and system integration firms in your market area. And you need to interview them and, conversely, let them size you up. The best companies in my industry will certainly sit in on early discovery meetings to answer questions about technology as they arise—at no charge. CEDIA lists member companies who can be searched by zip code. This is a good first step in identifying potential partners.

Not every client needs advanced technology, but most clients want some technology. As a designer, if you are somewhat knowledgeable about basic technology design scenarios, you become a great asset for the client as they navigate a world they probably don’t know much about. But think about how advances in LED lighting have afforded us the ability to create really cool spaces and how colors pop and furnishings and textiles come alive. Also, lunch-and-learns and CEU educational opportunities from the right design technology partners are an invaluable tool to keep up with residential technologies at a high level. You don’t need to be an expert, but it doesn’t hurt to have a working knowledge of the subject matter so you can anticipate what your clients’ needs might be in order to bring in that perfect technology partner early in the discovery process. Technology, when done right, will enhance your design and, conversely, enhance your reputation in the marketplace. V


Douglas Weinstein, a 30-year veteran in the consumer technology industry, is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Technology Insider Group and Technology Designer magazine. He is the past executive director of the Elf Foundation, a nonprofit organization creating Room of Magic entertainment theaters in children’s hospitals across North America.
“Getting your client to embrace newer technologies opens the door to ever more design options.”
“Bringing in advanced technologies opens the door to more design options across the entire estate.”

From Milan to North Carolina, the world of interior design is buzzing with new trends. What’s all the hype about? Our insiders pack their bags and head out to report on industry-leading events around the globe. Here’s the scoop on what’s trends are a-changin’!

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TRENDS High Point Trend Spotters


And the best place to see the latest trends in home decor is at High Point Market!

What is High Point Market? It’s a large furniture trade show that introduces the latest trends in furniture, lighting and accessories. The market takes place twice a year in April and October, bringing together 75,000 interior designers, architects and buyers with 2,000 exhibitors spread throughout downtown High Point, NC.

With an optimistic arrival, we invited four people to share their favorite trend alerts that left them inspired. Hashtag HPMKT was trending all week on social media, adding to the excitement and anticipation of what’s to come. Here are some highlights from our visit this spring.


« When you’re looking for a fresh look that will make your home feel like a part of the latest trends, Thibaut’s pattern-matched drapery and wallpaper is the answer. In particular, we love the brand’s large-scale pattern called Dahlia in the colorway Sky on White from their Anna French Collection. Dahlia’s bold colors and graphic lines are sure to make any room pop.

“The workroom is always looking for new ways to improve the way we work with fabrics. That’s why we attend High Point, where we can see new trends in furniture and fabrics.”

“Not only do we get to see what’s trending, we also have the opportunity to touch and sit in the new furniture, which helps us understand exactly what fabrics are being used.”

« For the last two High Points, “bouclé” was all over the place—which gave us a heads-up on requests for “nubby” or organic-looking fabric. We took this information back to our fabric houses and made sure they had similar resources available so we could be prepared for similar requests in the future.

JULY + AUGUS T 2023 | 38 TRENDS High Point Trend Spotters

» I know this isn’t the trendiest piece you’ve ever seen. And I know it’s not new. But I have to say, it’s one of my favorite pieces from Harp & Finial. The distressed leather mixed with the tufted details is just WOW for me.

“If you’re looking for a chandelier that’s both eye-catching and gorgeous, look no further. This chandelier blends art deco and contemporary together in an elegant way, and each glass tube is packaged separately on-site, so you know it’s going to be fabulous.”

» This new rug is a great addition to any space, from a modern loft to an art gallery. It has geometric patterns, dimensions and neutral tones that can blend with any decor.

Zachary Luke @zacharylukedesigns

Whitney Jones @whitneyjdecor

» I have a love affair with this ottoman from Arteriors. The Winnetka is literally a work of art that you can sit on. It’s a great size for an ottoman, so I can sit it at a dining table (makes for flexible seating), but the mix of materials in the checkered pattern is genius! I love how the matte leather and suede shines against the antique brass base.

You’ve seen them on Pinterest and Instagram, but do you know where to get them? At High Point Market! These wall-mounted sculptures are made out of metal coins and are a superunique accent for any wall needing art. I love a 3D wall piece and these are absolutely beautiful. They come in three different colorways: gold, brown and silver.

» I’m a big fan of the Bradley Kai Console. It’s a beautiful, customizable casegood with an elegant mix of materials and finishes. I love the combination of wood and cane on this piece, but what I love most is how customizable it is. You can choose your own wood finish and cane finish, and even adjust the size to suit your space. Plus, it’s available in just 8 to 10 weeks!

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TRENDS High Point Trend Spotters
“It’s no secret that this lamp is a favorite among designers. It’s both elegant and feminine, with the white feathers contrasting against the brass. It’s easy to see why it’s such an iconic design!”

Jaclyn Isaac @donidouglas_design

» This bed is so luxurious, it’s hard to believe it’s real. There’s something about the way that the light plays off of its soft curves that makes you feel like you’ve been transported to a faraway land where everything is just a little bit … softer. It’s the perfect addition to any bedroom that wants to take things up a notch.

“This lamp, by Bruno Felippe – Studio ACCORD, is a work of art. The walnut veneer that covers the shade, base and all of the hardware is immaculate. You can tell that the designers who put this together knew exactly what they were doing. It’s a perfect example of how luxury design should be done.”

JP Kilkenny has always been a favorite of mine, but when I stumbled upon this collection at Chelsea on Green, I was blown away. The colors are rich and luxurious, the fabrics are exquisite and richly textured, and the designs are timeless and classic. I’m so excited to see what new creations JP comes up with next!



the Road:

Hottest Trends From This Year’s Top Design Events

Couldn’t make it to High Point or Milan? We take you to the latest design events in spirit with a roundup of the trends evident at the industry’s biggest design gatherings. The spring design events really set the tone for the year, revealing the directions that will dominate the furnishing and accessories space for months to come. Let’s take a virtual tour of the most recent design events and review the innovations that took center stage.

Interwoven 2023: A Look at What’s Next

High Point Market: Colors and Shapes Abound

This year’s High Point Market in North Carolina was awash in color, shapes and personality. Gone was the neutral color palette and crisp straight lines so prevalent over the past several years. In their place: deeper, darker colors, often in bold patterns and stripes, combined with lots of soft curves, evident in everything from chairbacks and headboards to coffee tables and lighting fixtures. Showroom after showroom accentuated how curved shapes can add flow and motion to a room while creating a natural feel that’s a stark contrast to the minimalism that once ruled.

The shift to all things natural was evident in the predominance of organic and eco-conscious materials, along with natural wood furnishings, finishes and textures. Many manufacturers showcased outdoor performance fabrics made from ecologically friendly components, more responsibly sourced and produced, including options free of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances).

Performance fabrics also featured prominently in the indoor furnishing lineup, thanks to technological advancements that make them comfy enough for indoor use too. And to extend the use of our beloved outdoor spaces—no matter the time or temperature— manufacturers used the High Point stage to promote a wide range of outdoor lighting and heating options, including rechargeable lanterns and tabletop fire pits.

Milan Week: Making a Bold Statement

At Salone del Mobile Milano—the Milan Furniture Fair, an annual Milan Week staple—designers were treated to dramatic installations from the likes of Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and other world-renowned brands.

Not surprisingly, a common theme that permeated a number of these displays was our penchant for outdoor living. Luxurious fabrics and furnishings that were once relegated to indoor use took center stage in beautiful outdoor spaces, demonstrating that the best designs can provide a seamless experience.

Ease: combining eco-friendly design, recycled or natural materials and earth-inspired colors of blues and greens

Hosted by the International Textile Alliance, Interwoven 2023 at High Point proved a fabric lover’s paradise. Designers especially flocked to the event’s newest feature: the Interwoven Trend Galleries, created to reflect consumer preferences in the form of new textile options. Curated by Fashion Snoops, the galleries featured four themes intended to represent where textiles are headed next:

Design: characterized by organic shapes and materials, along with a mix of warm colors and neutrals, for a look that blends minimalism and comfort

Vitality: bringing together organic materials with bright, vibrant color schemes and the polish of metallics, glass and silicone

Honored Legacy: mixing heirloom and modern styles with rich textures like brass and leather and colors that run deep

Texture was also on full display at Interwoven, with plenty of applications for the outdoor spaces our lives now revolve around. The new Sunbrella showroom featured a wide array of performance fabrics at different levels and price points, including the Richard Frinier collection. And Culp showcased its LiveSmart Solutions line of indoor/ outdoor fabrics, which combine the best of both worlds: the easy cleanup and durability needed to stand up to the elements with the same softness and suppleness that consumers expect of their indoor fabrics.

For example, Armani opened up its local headquarters at the Palazzo Orsini for the launch of its first outdoor furniture collection, with sofas, tables, lounges and accessories gracing the gardens and adjacent spaces. Meanwhile, Tuuci displayed its Ocean Master MEGA MAX parasol available in sizes up to 24 feet, designed to withstand sustained winds up to 45 mph and gusts to 75 mph. Combining robust construction with elegant style, it’s the kind of shading solution that will surely feel right at home in the most

expansive of outdoor spaces. And for those who like to ponder the what-ifs, Tuuci provided a Virtual Shade Studio that uses gaming technology to allow the user to see various outdoor shading designs come to life in vivid 3D.

No matter what the client’s style, preferences or personality, this season’s top design events offered something for everyone. How it all plays out is up to the designer’s vision!

JULY + AUGUS T 2023 | 42 TRENDS 2023’s Top Design Events

International Window Coverings Expo 2023: We’re Motoring!

Whether they went in search of stylish and functional window coverings for indoor rooms or innovative shading solutions that make outdoor spaces more livable, designers discovered no shortage of options at this year’s International Window Coverings Expo (IWCE) in Charlotte, NC. And if there was a dominant theme to their offerings, motorization was it!

Horizons was among the many suppliers that demonstrated the ease and convenience of motorized shading systems, offering the same coordinating fabrics in both roller and pleated roman shade styles for a cohesive look across every room in the home. Likewise, automation was on full display at Somfy’s booth, where visitors got to test out the company’s motorized shades using a remote or phone app. Somfy’s innovative solution makes it easy to organize shades into groups, then raise or lower an entire room’s window coverings with one touch.

With outdoor living now one of the hottest home trends, what would IWCE be without the industry’s top outdoor window covering suppliers! Insolroll was one of many manufacturers exhibiting motorized retractable screens perfect for keeping out the sun and the bugs while providing unimpeded views of the great outdoors.

From interior rooms to exterior living spaces, designers and their clients are using color more generously, as the spring 2023 design events underscored. Bold hues were in abundance everywhere—from indoor furniture and accessories to cabana fabrics, sun-shading umbrellas and upholstered lounges for the most luxurious outdoor areas—whether in solids, stripes or patterns.

While technology tends to dominate the outdoor window covering scene right now, the importance of aesthetics didn’t go unnoticed. Forest Drapery Hardware showed off its design offerings, including drapery rods in metallics, hollow acrylic and a showstopping rose gold. And for those who like the natural look of wood but prefer a softer feel, Alta Window Fashions displayed a new woven wood shade with a zero-gravity lift system for easy operation.

Hues & Views

What’s Trending on the Color Palette

When color authority Pantone revealed its 2023 spring/summer color forecast, the 15 selected shades included just five subtle neutral colors and 10 bolder, more playful ones. The five Core Classics embrace quiet, calming hues with the versatility to span interior and exterior spaces, like the serene effect of aquabased Skylight, the softness of Vanilla Cream or the freshness of Leek Green. The shades are all about impact, from the deepness of Beetroot Purple and the dramatic orange of Tangelo to the bright pink of Crystal Rose and the fun-loving Peach Pink. And in a nod to a summer barbeque staple, Empire Yellow pays homage to the classic yellow mustard.

So what colors are likely to dominate in the latter half of 2023?

Taking a page from Pantone’s 2023 Color of the Year—the vivid, eye-popping Viva Magenta—many of the colors forecast to serve as focal points this year are big on impact. In fact, Pantone’s color trend report for this fall predicts that vibrant colors will rule the day—a trend the company believes is influenced by the vividness of the colors that consumers experience on their digital devices. Think: the reddish fuchsia of Rose Violet, the earthy brown of Burnt Sienna, the richness of Red Dahlia or the deep blue of Eclipse.

Neutrals may have had their moment, but color is making a comeback in a big, bold way.

TEXTON Partners With Rollease Acmeda for Exterior Zipscreen


Zipscreen shading system elevates outdoor spaces

Living in the northern United States, winter can linger for as long as six months. So, when the warm weather finally returns (for some, “warm” is anything above 40 degrees), northerners are ready to spend as much time as possible soaking up the fresh air and sunshine and enjoying the natural landscape and views in their outdoor space. Which got these Minnesota homeowners thinking …

What if there was a way to create an enclosed outdoor space that protects from the wind, rain, bugs and the strong summer sun so you can take advantage of outdoor living beyond the summer months?

Their patio seemed like the perfect space to create this three-season outdoor sanctuary. Utilizing the roof from the sunroom above, they could create a screened in enclosure without requiring a full build-out. The space would be transformed into a cozy outdoor living area for entertaining and a work-from-home space during the warmer months.

Their requirements for the enclosure: a solid and durable system to withstand the elements (Minnesota seasons can be extreme). The materials should be high quality and complement the home’s style. They also wanted the convenience of a motorized system that could easily be operated via remote control or by using an app.

They found the perfect solution at the International Window Coverings Expo: TEXTON’s Exterior Shading Solution using Rollease Acmeda products. Rollease Acmeda’s robust Zipscreen exterior shading system utilizing their Automate motors and controls was paired with their Texstyle X-Weave fabric. The Sand color fabric perfectly complemented the siding and was color-coordinated with the headrail and slim side channels to create a seamless look for this “extension” to the home.

JULY + AUGUS T 2023 | 44

The fabric’s 10% openness allowed a clear view to the beautiful pond and wooded area in their backyard. Rollease Acmeda is committed to developing quality products and solutions, which are continuously evolving to meet the needs of their customers and consumers. The company is dedicated to helping trade customers (fabricators, installers and retailers) maintain and grow their businesses through innovative product design, training and support.

Once an exterior shade is installed on someone’s house, everyone on the street will see it and will be calling the retailer to order theirs. It’s like a giant billboard for your business. Many retailers find they do multiple houses on the same street, within a couple of months, because of its uniqueness and popularity.

A Trusted Partnership Makes All the Difference

The critical aspect of the finished look resides in a solid partnership with the fabricator. This is an aspect that Rollease Acmeda does not take lightly, which is evident by their long-standing partnership with TEXTON, a leading fabricator and installer of Rollease Acmeda interior and exterior shades.

“At Rollease Acmeda, we work closely with our fabricators and installers, providing thorough technical support and product training to ensure the utmost quality of our systems, and that has been the case in our partnership with TEXTON over the years,” says Kevin Leon, Rollease Acmeda’s training specialist, key accounts. “This dynamic has allowed us to boost our presence in the growing outdoor living industry with our Zipscreen system and outdoor shading solutions.”

There’s a reason why the Rollease Acmeda Zipscreen system is a favorite among installers. It’s easy to install, looks great and is built to last. That’s why the partnership between TEXTON and Rollease Acmeda has been successful in crafting a superior exterior shading product that is manufactured and installed in a precise, professional and timely manner.

Why Exterior Shades?

From a homeowner’s perspective, exterior shades are great way to maximize living space and increase your home’s value.

From a business owner’s perspective, selling one exterior shade is equivalent to selling four or five interior roller shades. Exterior shades are a premium product, and once retailers sell one, they quickly realize how much more income they generate for their business.

“As the manufacturer, we’re continually asked by our retailers how they can differentiate their business and increase revenue,” says Ryan Crist, TEXTON’s director of sales. “Too often, we find that retailers are not taking advantage of all product lines. The interior window treatment market has become very crowded in recent years. But those that offer exterior solutions really stand out in the field. Once a retailer has sold an exterior shade to a residence or business, it gives them a ‘leg up’ on any potential interior shade business.”

TEXTON takes a hands-on approach to growing a retailer’s business by helping them learn everything they need to know about selling exterior shades and providing the training they need to be successful at it. That way, when a customer is considering getting into the exterior shade market or changing manufacturers, their sales and product management teams lead an onboarding process to familiarize the retailer with the product and expectations. TEXTON also invites retailers to their Dallas, TX, facility to train with their team for measuring and installation. Since TEXTON provides turn-key service (measure, manufacture and install) within the Dallas-Fort Worth area, it allows their team to refine the product based on real-world scenarios and provide realistic hands-on training to customers.



Content Sponsored by Rollease Acmeda


Window Fashion VISION’s annual Design & Workroom Competition Awards fête the most talented members in our industry. To showcase their creativity, skills and expertise in residential and commercial designs, those who work behind the scenes took the time to let themselves be the statement piece.

Workrooms are the fabricators of homeowners’ dreams and can create magic if given the chance. The following projects are a fraction of what our industry is capable of and we invite you to find inspiration in these images.



Addie Conte

Addie Designs

Lothian, MD

To bring the designer’s blue-hued vision to life, Addie Conte set to fabricating three flanged pillow shams, an accent bolster pillow and a duvet cover using Quadrille and Carole fabrics, along with complementary Carole Fabrics and Samuel & Sons trim on the bolster. It was imperative she pay close attention to pattern placement as the fabric featured a very large repeat. In order to have the motif pattern on the Euro shams visible behind the bolster, Conte shifted the pattern to the top of the pillows rather than the center, which was continued in the duvet cover so the motif would be showcased when it’s folded into thirds.


Susan Cumming Fortucci

The Pincushion Denton, MD

This sleigh bed was the centerpiece of a clients’ master bedroom, but it wasn’t fitting that description any longer. Susan Cumming Fortucci rose to the challenge of recentering the room’s focus by dressing the mattress with a duvet featuring an elegant Cowtan & Tout embroidered fabric with plain sides, along with a micro-cord in the seams as a finishing flourish. Perched atop the duvet are three Euro shames in the same Cowtan & Tout fabric, two king-size shams of Clarke & Clarke fabric and a Zoffany-fabric bolster pillow in the same color palette.



Brave Maggie Designs

Nashville, TN

Featuring an intricate existing Galbraith & Paul wallpaper, Jennifer Holaday was asked to make a functional roman shade in the same print in a teenager’s bedroom. This project required meticulous construction to align seamlessly with the wall, including repeated measurements of each motif and its distance from the molding. As well as matching the pattern, the window treatment needed to function properly and reliably, so a Forest Drapery Hardware RBS lift system was chosen for regular use.


Coastal Concepts

Westbrook, CT

This project presented Olivia Ursini with the unique opportunity to begin working with a client as soon as the framing was constructed on a new-build custom home. Even more interesting was that this was the first time the client lived a home as they were upgrading from Manhattan apartments. The Connecticut location called for a coastal chic aesthetic—and function—and Norman Window Fashions louvered shutters and Color Lux by Comfortex screen shades on the doors fit the bill. The screen shades maintain a minimalism as to not distract from the shutters.



Gillian Wendel

The Wendel Works

Houston, TX

Texas heat, including the sun, is not something to mess around with, requiring Gillian Wendel’s client to seek her help for the three large windows in their master bedroom. The task was to create something beautiful and luxurious, yet functional for day and night blackout purposes. Mitchell Fabrics roman shades were sewn using the double layer method to ensure no light pinholes and RM Coco stationery two-finger-pleat panels with Angel’s Distributing blackout lining were hung from a custom curved rod by Helser Brothers. Day or night, this client will sleep tight without any extra light.


Lisa Jones

Lisa Jones Interiors, Inc. Resaca, GA

A guest deserves as much privacy as possible when staying in someone’s home and Lisa Jones was tasked with achieving just that in a client’s home. Blackout-lined Carole Fabrics ripplefold draperies needed to be fabricated with the geometric pattern lined up at each column, which was tedious but well worth the extra effort. Thibaut sheers underneath the draperies reduced the unavoidable glare of the sun and became even easier to adjust with the addition of Somfy motorized rods.



Jennifer Holaday

Brave Maggie Designs

Nashville, TN

Moving into a new house is the perfect time to out a new style, but sometimes a client might need a little convincing. With help from Jennifer Holaday, this homeowner went bold with Magnolia fabric of one of the brightest birds: the peacock. Holaday chose gold B & B Metal Designs French return hardware side panels because of the small size of the area and Pinnacle shades for privacy and light control. The neutrality of the shades took away any element of competition with the daring fabric.


Cathy Stich

Cathy’s Curtains

Louisville, KY

While water creates a beautiful view, the afternoon sun can be a double-edged sword. For a client’s hearth room/kitchen, Cathy Stich fabricated function roman shades and decided to frame them with board-mounted panels to maintain a clean look. Because the 58"-wide-by-72"-long Unique Fine Fabrics roman shades required seams, Angel’s Distributing blackout lining was added to prevent them from showing. Simple embroidery was added to the Fabricut panels for an extra dash of pizazz.



Sharon Gizzi

Styles by Sharon Richmond, VA

While this homeowner resides in an 1840-era home near Charlottesville, VA, Sharon Gizzi’s client longed for the look of England’s Badminton Castle and Chatsworth House. To accurately achieve her client’s requests, Gizzi chose London shades for the windows in his front parlor featuring custom-dyed fabric, cordings and trim. Functionality required that the shades be 11 feet long when fully lowered, so a lift system was engineered to accommodate the weight of the lined and interlined installations. The first pulleys used under the mounted custom boards snapped under the weight, which led to Gizzi switching to heavy-duty metal pulleys.


Sheffield Furniture & Interiors Malvern, PA

How do you update a 1929 Colonial home full of antique furniture and highlight its original architectural details? Katie Armour and Jessica Deal Fadgen were asked to do just that: blend traditional with modern. To match the time period the house was built in, blackout-lined Fabricut Dupioni silk window treatments with Samuel & Sons trim were created. Minimal space above the window openings and existing crown molding limited the mounting space, but short valances allowed for maximum natural light and complemented the home’s details.

Katie Armour and Jessica Deal Fadgen PHOTOS: KATIE ARMOR PHOTOS: CRAIG HUTSON


Sigita Nusbaum

Delaney Window Fashions LLC

Fishers, IN

Graduation isn’t just for students, it’s for the parents who are looking for a chance to upgrade their home. To create a focal point in this client’s dining room bay window, Sigita Nusbaum proposed a lightweight Sunshine Foam Rubber Co. pelmet with Unique Fine Fabrics fabric and banding and Angel’s Distributing blackout lining adorned with Fabricut beads. Because of the precise nature of the treatment, Nusbaum created a template for the client before starting fabrication.


The Pincushion Denton, MD

To match the patriotic color scheme of this room while elevating the room’s sophistication to parallel the rest of the house, Susan Cumming Fortucci fabricated three separate valances using Angel’s Distributing blackout-lined GP & J Baker fabric and Samuel & Sons pom-pom fringe. The all-white room featuring existing wooden blinds was lacking in architectural interest, so the valances were fabricated separately over each window to accomplish this task.

Susan Cumming Fortucci


Addie Conte

Addie Designs

Lothian, MD

A traveling boutique needs the perfect “home” and Addie Conte’s client found it in a vintage school bus. For the driver’s seat, they requested something unique but sturdy, so JF Fabrics vegan leather “cow hide” was chosen and amped up with red vegan leather welt. Talk about strong branding!


DBH Designs LLC

Willow Street, PA

This client’s husband crafted an 18th-century replica wingback chair and looked to Diana Hershey to reupholster it for her. Before starting on the project, Hershey had to plan her execution to make sure she was able to re-create the handsewing required by the chair’s intricate curves. The base cushioning was done with horsehair, which the client requested remain, but the existing cotton was replaced with new synthetic cotton and the seat cushion was replaced with a foam down wrap insert. The fabric was complemented by touching up the wood with stain and furniture polish. V



motorized drapery track & rod

Control by app, remote, or third-party integration

Power options include alkaline, lithium-ion, low voltage wall plug, and hardwired


There’s an Automation Tool for That!

When we started Window Works, CRM systems, CAD and augmented reality weren’t in the picture. We weren’t even faxing yet! But we’ve always been on the automation train, creating systems for efficiency and using technology to streamline our work.

Automation saves money and time, increases efficiency and productivity, eliminates costly errors and informs business decisions. Yet, I’ve noticed I’m often looking for that magic automation tool that can do everything. (Wouldn’t that be nice?)

On a recent episode of “A Well-Designed Business,” I had an a-ha moment. Hilaire Pickett Martin of Design Lines shared how she uses Asana to streamline communication with her trade partners— but only three of them. She said Asana worked wonderfully for three of her trade partners, but it wasn’t a fit for the rest. And that’s when I realized: Whenever I came across a tech tool, if it didn’t work for every aspect of the criteria it was supposedly for, I dismissed it. By not automating a process that needed improvement, I wasted time and lost profitability opportunities. It’s like refusing to buy the perfect pair of sandals because you can’t wear them in the snow too!

With ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence advancements, a single tool for every application might be on the way. But until then, if you’re waiting for that perfect automation tool, you’re missing out. Let’s take a page from Hilaire’s book and consider automation options that are right for specific applications.

Workflow Management Software

Whether you’re a solopreneur or you head up a larger business with many moving parts, workflow software is a must. It helps you track projects, houses important project details and ensures everything is following the right flow.

Popular options include:

■ Mydoma Studio

■ Trello

■ ClickUp

■ Asana


■ Wrike

The best fit depends on how many employees, clients and vendors you have, whether you like to see things visually or in a list and the information you want to access. Just be sure to stay flexible. We switched from Asana to Monday. com—and though I wasn’t a fan of learning a new platform, switching systems proved the right decision.

Accounting and Invoicing Software

The “red pen system” Vin and I use to check off paid invoices has served us well for years. But if invoicing and accounting is eating up your time, consider investing in software that makes it easy to track and send invoices, track expenses and view unpaid bills.

The most commonly used options include:

■ QuickBooks

■ FreshBooks

■ Wave

■ Zoho

Social Media Scheduling

It’s a visual world. People want to see successful projects. They want to see your brand’s story. But that doesn’t mean you should be tied to your computer all day, posting on social media. With social media schedulers, you can set it and forget it!

Popular platforms include:

■ Hootsuite

■ Later

■ Buffer

■ Flick

JULY + AUGUS T 2023 | 56 SHOW ME THE MONEY Best Business Practices

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software

As you scale your business from a few clients to dozens, or hundreds, you need to track leads and manage client information. But manual processes and spreadsheets will slow you down. That’s where a CRM system comes in handy. CRM systems let you zoom out and look at data about your clients, informing you on how to move the business forward.

Popular CRM systems include:

■ MarketSharp

■ Salesforce

■ HubSpot

■ Pipedrive

■ (doubles as workflow software!)

Email Automation

Email software eliminates lots of tedious tasks while letting you create welcome sequences, email flows for clients who fill out a form, follow-ups, testimonial requests and more.

Email automation options include:

■ Mailchimp

■ ActiveCampaign

■ HubSpot (combo CRM + email automation is a strategic choice)

■ ConvertKit

Design Visualization Software

There’s lots of value in showing clients what their project will look like. Good design software improves the experience, facilitates decisions and cuts down on “oops” moments when something doesn’t look the way you planned.

Automation tools in this area include:

■ Duke Renders

■ AutoCAD

■ SketchUp

■ Cedreo

Measuring and Quoting Tools

Thirty years ago, if you said we’d have augmented reality measurement apps I would have thought you’d gone off the rails. These cutting-edge tools have changed the game by dramatically speeding measurements and generating instant quotes—a big productivity win!

Options for measuring tools include:

■ EasyMeasure

■ Photo Measures


■ MagicPlan

Options for window treatment-specific quoting tools include:

■ Solatech

■ MyBlindCo

■ Quoterite

Where Should You Invest Your Time and Money?

Adding a new automation tool requires spending time and money upfront, but it will save both in the long run. These tips will help you decide where to invest for the best return:

■ Think about the tasks you dread doing. If you could take one off your plate, what would it be?

■ Think about tasks that don’t require your visionary brain. Prioritize high-level, valuable tasks and let automation handle tedious work.

■ Think about where you run into problems. Are you making measurement errors or invoicing mistakes?

Selecting the right technology isn’t about finding something that works for everything. It’s about getting clear on the tasks or processes you need to improve and finding technology that tackles one of them, increasing your productivity, efficiency and profitability. When you choose tools that free up time, streamline workflow and uplevel the client experience, you’re creating a well-designed business. V

With four decades of industry experience, LuAnn Nigara is an awardwinning author, keynote speaker and the host of two podcasts: “A Well-Designed Business” and “Window Treatment for Profit.” She is also part of the ownership team of the Livingston, New Jerseybased Exciting Windows! and Window Works. Through Exciting Windows!, LuAnn University and her one-on-one coaching services, Nigara teaches window treatment pros and interior designers how to operate profitable businesses.

» »



How Can Strong Branding Affect Your Bottom Line?

Part 2: Strengthening Your Voice to Earn More

A strong brand is essential for appealing to high-end consumers, especially in the window fashions industry. We are meticulous with detail when it comes to transforming windows, yet often miss the mark when it comes to our own brands. In the final part of this series, we’ll explore the importance of a brand voice and how establishing a strong brand can bring in more money.

The Importance of Brand Voice

Establishing a high-end brand voice requires a combination of strategy and execution. Here are some steps to help you establish a high-end brand voice.

1. DEFINE YOUR BRAND VALUES: The first step in establishing a high-end brand voice is to define your brand values. What does your brand stand for? What sets you apart from your competitors? What are your goals and aspirations? Your brand values will form the foundation of your brand voice.

2. DEFINE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE: Who are your target customers? What are their needs and desires? Understanding your target audience is essential to creating a brand voice that resonates with them.

Custom Design

Motorized Windows

3. DEVELOP A BRAND PERSONALITY: Your brand personality is the set of human characteristics that you want your brand to embody. Are you sophisticated and refined or playful and irreverent? Your brand personality should be aligned with your brand values and target audience.

4. USE THE RIGHT LANGUAGE: The language you use is an important part of establishing

a high-end brand voice. Use sophisticated, elevated language that reflects your brand values and personality. Avoid slang, jargon or overly casual language.

5. USE THE RIGHT TONE: The tone you use should be consistent with your brand personality and values. A high-end brand voice may use a more formal, restrained tone, while a more playful brand voice may use a more conversational tone.

6. BE CONSISTENT: Consistency is key to establishing a strong brand voice. Use the same language, tone and style across all of your marketing materials, website, social media and other communication channels.

7. USE VISUALS TO REINFORCE YOUR BRAND VOICE: Your visual identity is an important part of your brand voice. Use high-quality images, typography and design elements that reflect your brand values and personality.

MARKETING marketing Branding JULY + AUGUS T 2023 | 58
VISION 59 AMP2colorlogo:PMSCoolGray2&PMS306Blue MOTORIZATION PROGRAMS THAT MOVE YOU Easy Step-By-Step Programming for Motorized Window Coverings Patented TDBU Honeycomb Motorization Innovators in Wireless Technology For more information on where to buy or to become a fabricator: Since 2008 , ATEJA factories are powered by natural gas and thereby reducing CO 2 emission by 32% to diesel-fueled factories. We use modern machinery which saves 18% consumption monthly. By using special dyeing technique, ATEJA is able to save 200,000 gallons of water everyday. We have also planted 100,000 trees around the factory area. Discover more : www ateja @atejatextiles solarcool@ateja ATEJA is committed to make our planet a better place. We have integrated a green production facility in a world where the majority cares mainly about cost.

Strong Branding Justifies a Higher Price Tag

Luxury brands can charge more money for their products because they have successfully created a perception of exclusivity, prestige and high quality in the minds of consumers. In the window fashion industry, brands like The Shade Store are paving the way when it comes to strong branding.

A luxurious brand is one that communicates elegance, sophistication and exclusivity. Here are some elements that can make a logo and brand look luxurious.

■ TYPOGRAPHY: The choice of typography can have a big impact on the overall look and feel of a brand. Serif fonts, such as Times New Roman or Bodoni, are often associated with luxury and sophistication. Sans-serif fonts, such as Helvetica or Futura, can also be used to create a more modern and minimalist look.

■ COLOR: Rich, deep colors like black, gold or silver are often associated with luxury. These colors can create a sense of exclusivity and importance. Other colors, like navy blue or burgundy, can also be used to convey luxury and elegance.

■ MINIMALISM: A minimalist design can create a sense of sophistication and exclusivity. A simple logo with clean lines and minimal detail can communicate a sense of luxury and refinement.

■ QUALITY: The quality of the logo itself can also contribute to its luxurious feel. A logo that is well-designed—with clean lines and precise details—will look more luxurious than one that is poorly executed.

A luxurious brand is one that communicates sophistication, exclusivity and quality. By using the right typography, colors, symbols and design elements, a brand can create a sense of luxury that will appeal to high-end customers.

Establishing a high-end brand voice requires a deep understanding of your brand values, target audience and personality. By using the right language, tone and visuals, you can create a brand voice that is sophisticated, refined and appealing to high-end customers. For a free branding consultation, visit or call 859-309-5987 today. V

Brand Guidelines



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Chelsea Stamper is the CEO of Creekmore Marketing, a digital marketing agency that specializes in helping window covering companies grow. She was raised in the industry and learned the ins and outs of the business from her father, who owns two Hunter Douglas galleries in Kentucky and Ohio. She worked in his Kentucky showroom for five years before launching Creekmore Marketing in 2013. To date, Creekmore has helped over 300 window covering professionals grow their businesses and increase sales.


JULY + AUGUS T 2023 | 60 MARKETING Branding
These brand guidelines have been designed to protect the integrity and consistency of the Forma brand identity.
V.1 SEPTEMBER 2022 FORMA ARCHITECTS BRAND GUIDELINES V.1 SEPTEMBER 2022 18 3.1 COLOR PALETTE C12 M9 Y10 K0 Hex: #e5e5e5 Pantone: 179-2U C72 M63 Y58 K73 R40 G40 B40 Hex: #282828 Pantone: 179-15U C0 M0 Y0 K0 R255 G255 B255 Pantone: white C31 M37 Y51 K18 Hex: #da68e74 Pantone: 13-8U C34 M28 Y30 K8 Hex: #aca8a5 Pantone: 169-6U C65 M51 Y74 K56 R66 G69 B48 Hex: #424530 C20 M19 Y25 K2 R210 G201 B189 Hex: #d3c9be C51 M65 Y66 K78 Hex: #36241c Pantone: 44-16U C7 M6 Y9 K0 Hex: #f0ede8 Pantone: 13-1U Our additional color palette is not used often, but it is still useful in adding diversity and can be used for exceptional cases such as campaigns or seasonals. ADDITIONAL COLORS Our secondary colors can be used with our core colors, but this should be limited. SECONDARY COLORS Our primary color palette is distinctly recognizable as the Forma and should be used in brand-led communications. PRIMARY COLORS FORMA ARCHITECTS BRAND GUIDELINES – V.1 SEPTEMBER 2022 19 3.2 PRIMARY TYPEFACE
Newsreader Typeface BRAND GUIDELINES V.1 SEPTEMBER 2022 13 2.3 PRIMARY LOGO COLORS Our core palette consists of three colors – Beige, Brown, and Monochrome version. These colors are integral to our primary logo recognition and building our brand equity. BRAND GUIDELINES V.1 SEPTEMBER 2022 12 2.2 CLEAR SPACE AND MINIMUM SIZE To maximize visibility and impact, ensure our logo has clear space for it to breathe. Clear space around the logo is equal to the height of the symbol on all sides for the best legibility. This area should be clear of typography, photography, patterns, folds and surface edges. The logo must perform well at all sizes. In print, logo should never appear smaller than 30 mm. On-screen, it must appear at least 95 pixels wide. The minimum size for our symbol is 5 mm print and 15 px digital. Print: 30 mm Web: 95px Print: mm Web: 15px FORMA BRANDGUIDELINES–V.1SEPTEMBER2022 31 5.6 HOMEPAGE Theuserexperienceanduserinterface Formawebsite’sopennessandaccessibility, memberstoexploreitemsandcollections. website,thebrandelements(logo,brand typography,imagestyleandlayoutstructure) describedinthebasicschapter. ABOUT NEWS CONTACT PROJECTS READMORE Contemporary Windows READMORE Contemporary Windows

interfaceshouldreflectthe accessibility,encouraging collections.Whendesigning brandclaim,colors, structure)areusedas

CREATIVE MACHINERY LLC Cutting - Measuring - Inspection - Tabling Equipment FOR DRAPERY WORKROOMS 502-298-9292 | info@creativemachinery com THE BEST HELPER IN THE WORKROOM THE BEST HELPER IN THE WORKROOM THE JR CUTTING MACHINE THE JR CUTTING MACHINE No workroom should be without it! Now available up to 135” wide find your tribe Join the WCAA today to level up YOUR business with valuable education, industry resources, and a supportive network of like-minded professionals. TAKE THE NEXT STEPS IN GROWING YOUR BUSINESS WWW.WCAA.ORG become a member today! find your tribe Join the WCAA today to level up YOUR business with valuable education, industry resources, and a supportive network of like-minded professionals. TAKE THE NEXT STEPS IN GROWING YOUR BUSINESS WWW.WCAA.ORG become a member today!



Surewin has quality components at competitive prices from its Florida warehouse, with custom sourcing available. Plastic bead chain-in-rolls or continuous loops; numerous colors in all lengths, nickel-plated and stainless chainin-rolls and continuous loops in all lengths, stop balls, connectors, safety devices, c-clips, alligator clips, tassels, lift cord, vertical components, cord locks and the easy-to-fabricate, low-profile Sure-Lift® Roman Headrail System for shades up to 50 pounds. Learn more at or call 239-362-3342.

Ona Drapery Hardware Company

For a free catalog, please call 800-231-4025 or visit

The source for custommade 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 also 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.



The DecoFlex WireFree™ Surface keypad provides homeowners with a simple and elegant way to control their Somfy-powered RTS shading. With a slim profile, surface-mount capability and IP54 rating, it is ideal for interior and exterior applications. Learn more at


Eve Motionblinds Smart Motors for Roller and Honeycomb

Award-winning Eve MotionBlinds smart window covering motors support Bluetooth, Thread and, soon, Matter. Easy to use for all the family, just control Eve MotionBlinds via your smartphone or voice assistant using Apple Home, Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Samsung SmartThings—all without a bridge account or registration for maximum simplicity and 100% privacy. Choose from the CM-08-E honeycomb motor for systems with pleated or cellular fabrics in various cell sizes, the CM-03-E tubular motor for roller shades with 38-50mm tubes and the CM-06-E-R tubular motor for large-size roller blinds with heavy fabrics such as screens. Learn more at V

Orion Is Your One-Stop Source for French Poles!

Available in hollow square or round iron in ¾", 1", 1¼", 1½" and 2" diameters; 35 iron art finishes, 13 Italian finishes and our Custom Palette Program, Orion’s latest offerings include a double French pole, the Clear Vue acrylic pole with metal returns or our custom-painted poles with accent French returns.

Learn more at

Forest Drapery


Forest Drapery Hardware’s new roman blind system features a redesigned lithium battery-powered motor. The battery only needs to be recharged every four to six months with typical usage. Use the same Diamond remote and wall switch that operates the company’s Shuttle drapery motors or integrate with any app or automation system.

Learn more at

PRODUCT Shutters Course 3 payments of
Shutters Crash Course Learn about Shutters: - Components - Frames - Configurations - Necessary tools - Benefits of them for your client’s home

Get Motorized Sales Soaring in 3 Easy Steps!

Motorized window coverings used to sound like a futuristic idea you could only dream of, but today they’re one of the hottest home decor trends!

The potential ban on new corded window coverings in the United States (already in effect in Canada) is sure to spur demand, especially for applications where cordless operation isn’t feasible.

The good news: Every major window covering manufacturer offers high-quality motorized and automated shade options, giving homeowners lots of choices. And with dealers carefully selecting brands based on their motorization features, functionality and ease of use, those choices are sure to sell.

The demand has arrived. The product choices are available. Now, how do you close those deals? These three steps will make it easier for your clients to say “Yes” to this hot new trend.


You can’t scroll through Facebook without seeing video ads for motorized shades from the major manufacturers, retailers and franchises. You know the ones I’m talking about: A consumer is sitting comfortably on the sofa, relaxing with a beverage, controlling their shades with the touch of a button. These advertisers get that convenience is exciting and sexy! And like that red Ferrari you spot in the parking lot, lots of people don’t want to just stop

and gaze at it. They want to buy it. Advertise motorized window covering options and your clients will start asking about this feature before you even mention it.


Every point of contact is an opportunity to express your enthusiasm for motorization—especially your discovery calls. Tell stories about other clients who are thrilled with the convenience, ease of use and energy savings. Talk about how accessible and affordable the technology is. Ask them how often they open or close all the shades in their living areas every day and hold long it takes. Remind them what a pain it is to get out of their cozy chair, walk over to the windows and manually adjust each one—and how much easier it is to pick up a remote control, hit a button and watch them all go up or down at once! Create a picture and you’ll sell the dream.


One of our manufacturing partners did just that while training us on their motorized options and, boy, was it impactful. They brought an Amazon Echo so we could all operate their motorized shades using simple voice commands. “Alexa, open my shades!” This hands-on experience gave our design team a tremendous boost of confidence in the latest motorized

options—and that translated to a big boost in our motorized window covering sales. The effect was so dramatic, we equipped each designer with a motorization kit and an Echo Dot (which we gave away free to clients who purchased motorized shades). There’s nothing quite like giving your clients the power to open window shades verbally! And for those who prefer touch commands, be sure to have remote controls handy too.

If you haven’t made motorization and automation a priority in your product offerings yet, you’re missing out on a major lucrative opportunity. Advertise it, talk it up and make the experience hands on, then watch your sales and profits soar! V

Oliver Schreiber began his sales career more than 30 years ago and is CEO of Beltway Blinds in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. He leads a team that generated more than $11 million in sales last year. He has been a speaker at the International Window Coverings Expo, has received awards for being the largest-volume dealer with Alta Window Fashions for four years running and sits on the National Advisory Committee for a window covering group, Exciting Windows!. He can be reached at

JULY + AUGUS T 2023 | 64

Interior Roller Shades.

Exterior Oasis® Patio Shades.

Roller shade technology for today’s lifestyles.

Interior Roller Shades

• Versatile, powerful embedded Li-ion battery motors by Somfy for interior shades.

• Solar & magnetic charging options

Exterior Oasis Patio Shades

• Exclusive partnership with Lutron to provide Driven by Lutron™ Patio Shades

• Somfy® motorization with time proven, reliable RTS controls

Large in-stock Solar Shade & Decorative Shade fabric inventory

Award-winning customer service | Fabricated in Louisville, Colorado USA

INSOLROLL HAS YOU COVERED... Standard 5-day production lead-time. Low-cost freight program nationwide. Inside & Out 637 S Pierce Ave., Louisville, CO 80027 | TEL 303.665.1207 |

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Get Motorized Sales Soaring in 3 Easy Steps!

pages 66-67


pages 64-65

Brand Guidelines

pages 62-63

Strong Branding Justifies a Higher Price Tag

page 62

The Importance of Brand Voice

pages 60-61

There’s an Automation Tool for That!

pages 58-59


pages 56-57


pages 53-55


pages 49-52

TEXTON Partners With Rollease Acmeda for Exterior Zipscreen

pages 46-48

Hottest Trends From This Year’s Top Design Events

pages 44-45


pages 39-43

Teamwork Makes Tech Dreams Work

pages 36-38

Bring the Lake Look Indoors

pages 34-35

Are You Capturing Your Share?

pages 31-33

Take a Vesta Interest in this Company

pages 28-29

How to Become a Motorized Installation Sensation

pages 26-27

Increase Your Bandwidth on Bluetooth

pages 24-25

RETAILER PROFILE Lorraine’s Window Coverings

pages 22-23

Style is Sprouting Natural Fabrics Continue to Grow in Popularity

page 21

Put Your Pedal to the Metal With Motorization

page 20

David Fezer

pages 18-19


pages 14, 16-17


page 12


pages 10-11

Nurture and Nature Are Better Together

page 8


pages 6-7
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