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THE HOME OF THE FUTURE Manufacturers Weigh in on Smart-Home Developments The Many Benefits of Production-on-Demand Fabric


Working with Millennials and Gen Z

ALL IN THE FAMILY: Meet Mother-Daughter Design Team Sharon Falcher and Sherica Maynard


Transferring Your Skills from Residential to Commercial Design

THE SHOW ISSUE: Welcome to the International Window Coverings Expo

light, comfort and beauty

contents : volume 41, issue 2

in this issue INSIGHT 16

Is Voice the Search of the Future? What to Know About the Evolution of SEO

Get tips on how to adjust your marketing strategies as voice search becomes more common.


The Wallet-Opening Power of Storytelling Storytelling is a vital part of marketing today. How can it help you increase sales and build a stronger business?


Marketing to Millennials They’re smart—and they have money. Why millennials are your best next clients.

by Kathy Wall

by LuAnn Nigara

by Welton Hong


Are You Working on Your MBAs?

Focus on these three areas to grow your business.

by James Holloway


The Rise of the Millennial Manager How to set younger managers up for success.

by Madeleine MacRae



MOTION is a ground-breaking window covering automation solution that makes motorized blinds available to everyone. With wireless motors for the home that are super easy to install and operate, to advanced solutions for commercial buildings, MOTION offers the perfect motorization for any requirement.


Discover more






contents : volume 41, issue 2

in this issue IWCE PREVIEW 28

Banking on Your Success Get all the details you need to make this year’s International Window Coverings Expo a great experience.


Workroom Central

Check out the schedule of events for this favorite IWCE feature.


IWCE 2020

See all of the great educational seminars available at IWCE, as well as the free Your Business Center Stage presentations.


In Tech We Trust? A look into the home of the future.

by Susan Schultz


Have It Your Way: The Benefits of Digital Fabric Printing


Software for Soft Furnishing Professionals Industry professionals share the programs making their lives easier.

by Sophia Bennett

Learn how this ever-improving technology can help your design business—and even give you a new profit center.

by Roberta G. Wax



contents : volume 41, issue 2

in this issue

I N S P I R AT I O N 54

All in the Family

Meet Sharon Falcher and Sherica Maynard, the award-winning motherdaughter team behind the Decorating Den Interiors franchise in Conyers, GA.

by Sophia Bennett


At Home in Hospitality

The hospitality industry is increasingly turning to residential designers for decorating services. Professionals in this space provide tips for how to break in.

by Sophia Bennett


A Window into the Past

Rabbit Goody of Thistle Hill Weavers has built a niche weaving historic reproduction fabrics that are perfect for old-fashioned window treatments.

by Sophia Bennett



Grace Note

A word from our publisher.


Letter from the Editor

Our look at the home of the future.



Product showcase


What’s Next

We pull back the curtain on our next issue.


MARCH + APRIL 2020 | wf-vision.com

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

WINDOW FASHION VISION MAGAZINE President + CEO | Grace McNamara grace@wf-vision.com


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

Manufacturers Weig h in on Smart-Hom e Developments The Many Benefits of Production-on-Dem and Fabric Working with Mille nnials and Gen Z

Circulation + Marketing Director/WFCP Director | Anne Bild anneb@wf-vision.com Controller | Heather Bradley heather@wf-vision.com Competition Coordinator competition@wf-vision.com


Vice President, Sales + Marketing | Susanne Young susanne@wf-vision.com Digital Marketing Manager | Ania McNamara ania@mcnamaramarketing.com


Copy Editor | Maude Campbell maudedotycampbell@gmail.com


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



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



Meet Mother-Daug hter Design Team Sharon Falcher and Sherica Maynard

THE SHOW ISSUE: Welcome to the Intern Window Coverings ational Expo

“RESIMERCIAL” INT Transferring Your Skills from


Residential to Comm

ercial Design

MARCH + APRIL 2020 VOLUME 41, ISSUE 2 ON THE COVER: The white woven roman shades for this

kitchen nook are by Window Fashion Influencer Claudia Clobes Yudis with Urban Loft Window Treatments in Haverford, PA. Interior design by Larina Kase with Larina Kase Interior Design in Wayne, PA. Photo by Jon Friedrich.


Sophia Bennett, James Holloway, Welton Hong, Madeleine MacRae, LuAnn Nigara, Susan Schultz, Kathy Wall, Roberta G. Wax


Sharon Falcher, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Rabbit Goody, Heidi Kaczenski, Larisa Kase, Zachary Luke, Sherica Maynard, Cheryl Stauffer, Claudia Clobes Yudis


CORRECTION FROM THE JANUARY + FEBRUARY 2020 ISSUE: The photo captions on the article “Design Harmony: Design’s Influence on Health and Wellness” were reversed. Please see an updated version of the article at wf-vision.com for the correct captions. We apologize for the error.

877-344-7406 • WFVision@pubservice.com Go to Facebook.com/wfvisionmagazine for magazine updates

Window Fashion Vision magazine makes every attempt to credit each person involved in the process of creating a window covering and will not be responsible for crediting any person whose name, company or participation did not surface during the information-gathering process. Crediting disputes between parties other than Vision magazine are solved at the discretion of those involved. Window Fashion VISION (ISSN 08869669) (USPS 708930) published bi-monthly by AIM Communications LLC, 4756 Banning Ave, Suite #206, White Bear Lake, MN 55110-3206.; Tel 651/330-0574; Fax 651/756-8141. Visit our website at wf-vision.com. Periodicals postage paid at St Paul, MN and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to Window Fashion VISION, PO Box 15698, North Hollywood, CA 91615-5698. Allow 60 days for address change. Subscription rates: $22/yr. U.S. and possessions; $29/yr. Canada; $90/yr. Foreign (includes airmail postage). Single copies/back issues $6 each, except for special issues, which are individually priced. (Payment must accompany order.) Copyright © 2020 by AIM Communications, LLC. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission prohibited. Canadian Publications Agreement Number: #40036514. Canadian Return Address: Station A, PO Box 54, Windsor, ONT N9A 6J5. March + April 2020, Volume 41, Issue 2.

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Keep up with all the news @WFVMagazine

Follow us and re-pin Pinterest.com/wfvisionmagexpo

Follow us on Instagram at #wfvmagazine

Visit us at Booth 401

Extensive range of fabrics

Bringing fabrics to life Texstyle, a division of Rollease Acmeda is a leading supplier of window furnishing fabrics to customers throughout the world. Manufacturing in Europe, Asia and Australia, our fashionable range is designed for performance and longevity to suit a broad spectrum of decors and interior spaces. Explore | texstyle.com

Excellent customer service

Quality design and manufacture


welcome : grace note


y the time you get this issue, I’m hoping you have made plans to attend the International Window Coverings Expo in Charlotte, March 25 to 27. This annual gathering of window

covering and interior design professionals is your once-ayear opportunity to give your business a big breakthrough. All three action-packed days will give you a wide variety of knowledge and power.


Exhibitors will be displaying the latest products and technology. With today’s fast-paced change in innovation, you can’t afford to miss seeing the variety of

options for your business in person. Don’t wait for your supplier’s rep to visit, take charge of your destiny and explore what’s happening at each level of the industry. Our newly revamped Workroom Central (formerly the Construction Zone) gives workrooms and designers the latest ideas and trends and don’t forget to check out the Pillow Contest! Fabulous custom pillows will be raffled off for the charity, A Child’s Place, helping homeless

Installers Van, where Roger Magalhaes will show you how to trick out the ideal van for installers. The list goes on: seminars for profit, marketing, social media, color and design, exhibitor events and parties, product and design ceremonies, and the best place to network and meet your industry peers! What are you waiting for? I hope to see you in Charlotte!

children in Charlotte attend school. New for installers, we are offering a full day of WFCP Installer Certification, as well as individual seminars AND a fully equipped

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Grace McNamera Publisher grace@wf-vision.com

welcome : letter from the editor


y husband has embraced home technology full bore in the past year. He has an app on his phone to switch on our outside lights and turn on the fountain. He got a set of smart plugs for Christmas, so we now turn the living room lights on and off via our Amazon Alexa. I tend to be a bit of a luddite, so I’ve tolerated these changes with apprehension (is it really too much work to stand up and switch off the lamp? Really?). But I suspect I’m going to have a lot more to adjust to in the coming years. For our issue on “the home of the future,” writer Susan Schultz took an extensive look at the new gadgets—and, just as importantly, the new mindsets—that may be coming into our residences before too long. Read her article on page 34 to find out why window treatment professionals will need to start thinking about more than just motorization.

As part of our look at how technology is affecting the design industry, we have a great piece on production-ondemand fabric printing (page 44) and one on software programs designers use to help them manage their businesses (page 50). But we didn’t just want to look at technology as we consider how the design industry will continue to change. Columnist Kathy Wall examines how to work with the consumers of the future: millennials (page 22). Window Fashion Influencers Sharon Falcher and Sherica Maynard, who are our featured designers for this issue, provide their take on how to work with younger homeowners. Don’t skip that article—you can find it on page 54. We also look at the way hospitality design is changing and bringing in more residential design elements. This trend bodes well for any of you who are looking to break into the lucrative field of commercial projects. Learn more on page 66.


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I had the good fortune to travel to the Alentejo region of Portugal recently. I had amazing food and wine, saw some beautiful places and made some new friends.

For our final article, we leave behind the home of the future and look at window treatments of the past. Rabbit Goody, owner of Thistle Hill Weavers, custom-weaves textiles for use in a wide variety of products, including window treatments for historic homes and museums. You’ll be fascinated by her work, research methods and perspective on what components of window coverings haven’t changed in the last 200 years (page 72). I’m looking forward to heading to the International Window Coverings Expo in Charlotte in short order. I hope to see you there. It’s always a joy to meet you—and to hear about your ideas for how the magazine can help you prepare for the future of your career and business. Sincerely,

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

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www.somfysystems.com/wfv © Copyright Somfy Systems, Inc. 02/2020 IMAGES: ©Somfy Activités SA / Lukkien



insight : welton hong

Is Voice the Search of the Future? What to Know About the Evolution of SEO As voice search becomes more common, your SEO strategies may need to change. Get tips on how to adjust your marketing strategies. BY WELTON HONG


ot that long ago, the world changed irrevocably when information became available at the click of fingers on keyboards or the tap of thumbs on screens.

But the homeowners of tomorrow are as likely to search for information with vocal commands as they are to type or tap. In fact, many SEO experts say voice search is likely to carry half of the global search market by sometime this year. Understanding how to evolve your online marketing strategy and perform amid these optimization innovations is as critical to business success as keeping up with smart products and seasonal window fashion trends.

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What Is Voice Search?

Voice search occurs when someone speaks to a device, expecting the command or question to result in an internet search and a returned answer. All this activity is powered by the artificial intelligence of a digital assistant such as Siri or Alexa. Less than a decade ago, this might have seemed like science fiction—or at least a tech toy only available for the rich and famous. Today, around 5 billion people globally carry the technology for voice search in their pockets in the form of smartphones, and many household electronics—from speakers to refrigerators—have the ability to listen for and respond to spoken commands. Users are increasingly asking digital assistants to find the best pizza in town or place the next order for paper towels or batteries. And

while voice search isn’t yet an optimal partner for the long sales cycle inherent in less mundane purchases, it’s a growing tool for content marketing across all industries.


The Importance of Voice Search for Future Marketing

Local SEO and voice search are increasingly common bedfellows, and around two-thirds of people with smart speakers use them once a week or more to find nearby businesses.

The statistics and trends below help illuminate the increasing marketing power this technology holds.

You can increase the likelihood that your pages show up in local voice searches by incorporating schema markup. Among other things, this coding ensures Google and other search engines know when content is a business name, phone number, address or directions to your location.

Voice search isn’t a passing tech fad. It’s convenient, prevalent and something that’s set to become even more common. It’s also an important hint for what the next generation of SEO will look like.

Voice search devices, including smart speakers and hubs such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home, have seen impressive sales growth the past few years. In the first quarter of 2018 alone, this market grew by 187 percent.

Smart speakers—and the voice control that comes with them—are positioned to play a big role in the homes of the future. In 2017, only about 13 percent of U.S. households included one of these devices. By the end of 2020, experts predict that about 55 percent of homes will include one or more smart speakers.

While not everyone buys into the prediction that voice search will account for 50 percent of web traffic in 2020, established number crunchers such as Gartner still see an immediate future where screenless searches take up about a third of the pie.

More than 70 percent of people who own voice-activated devices say they incorporate those technology tools into their daily routine. Just over 40 percent say talking to these devices feels like talking to a friend.

Some experts predict that regular voice shopping will increase to half of all voice device users by 2022.

More than half of smart speaker owners say they want to receive information about deals and promotions.

What Can Window Fashion Businesses Do Today?

Companies that want to start capturing this growing segment of searches and position themselves for the SEO of the future should act now. Here are three things you can start doing today that won’t diminish your traditional SEO performance. 1 – INCORPORATE THE RIGHT LANGUAGE IN YOUR CONTENT Start slipping voice search keywords into your content, understanding that the way people type a query isn’t the same as the way they speak it. Someone looking for window blinds might type “window blinds near me” into the search engine. But they might ask their Echo, “Alexa, who sells window blinds near here?” or “What’s the best place for window blinds?” Since people use such a wide range of words to ask questions when speaking, it’s also a good idea to include as many semantic keywords as possible. Semantic keywords are phrases that are related to your primary key phrase and topic, and they should naturally appear on your pages to clue search engines and users in on how relevant the content really is. SEMrush and other keyword research tools can generate a list of semantic phrases you may

3 – COMBINE SEO WITH PAID MARKETING AND OTHER TACTICS TO DRIVE SPECIFIC CAMPAIGNS Even in the future, no single online marketing strategy is going to stand alone. In fact, trends point toward tactics becoming increasingly linked, and companies must take a comprehensive approach to marketing and advertising if they want to see the best possible results. Optimizing for voice search is only one part of building a solid marketing strategy for your window fashion business. Consider adding some of these other tactics to the mix if you aren’t already using them: •

Paid advertising, including pay-per-click campaigns where you bid on longtail and low-competition keywords to capture large portions of specific target audience segments

Social media marketing, including building awareness via posts and engagement on Facebook or Instagram

My Business marketing, which involves claiming a free online profile and putting it to work to potentially land valuable SERP real estate

However you go about it, it’s time to start preparing for the SEO of tomorrow—whether you take a DIY approach to online marketing or find an SEO firm that can handle it for you. V Welton Hong is the founder of Ring Ring Marketing and a leading expert in creating case generation from online to the phone line. He is the author of “Making Your Phone Ring with Internet Marketing for Window Covering Companies.” Join Welton for the presentations "What Will and Will Not Work in 2020 for Getting More Leads" and "The Four Stages in a Successful Social Media Cycle and How to Implement Them" at Your Business Center Stage at the International Window Coverings Expo, March 25 to 27 in Charlotte. RingRingMarketing.com Facebook: RingRingMarketing



insight : luann nigara

The Wallet-Opening Power of Storytelling Storytelling is a vital part of marketing and one-on-one sales. How can it help you build a stronger business? BY LUANN NIGARA


y friend and productivity coach, Amber De La Garza, recently gave me a book with a title that piqued my interest: “Stories That Stick: How Storytelling Can Captivate Customers, Influence Audiences, and Transform Your Business” by Kindra Hall. As a speaker and writer, I’m always looking for ways to integrate storytelling into my presentations and my books. But my father (and, truth be told, my husband) is always saying to me, “For crying out loud, LuAnn, where are you going with this?” This book looked like a perfect resource to sharpen my skills in creating the perfect edge-of-yourseat story.

So much so that before turning in that night, I bought the book on Audible so I could continue it on my bike ride in the morning. I did not want to wait until the next evening to learn what else she had to say. Kindra had me at hello.

The first few chapters did not disappoint. The author of a book on the power of great stories, it turns out, is an excellent storyteller.

As I rode along, I thought about how much I agreed with Kindra. Three years ago, in my first book, “The Making of A Well-Designed

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The next day, I listened as she explained some of the reasons why storytelling is so vital for effective marketing. Great stories create an emotional connection with your audience. They create positive chemical changes in our brains. They teach potential clients about your company. Not only do great stories make your company, product or service more memorable, they actually create loyalty to your brand.

Business: Turn Inspiration into Action,” I talked about how people buy people, not products. I explained that if you cannot make a connection with your client beyond the brand of cellular shade you sell, you cannot stand apart from another retailer selling the same product. Kindra echoed this opinion… nice. She also got me to thinking how much I have learned about branding and storytelling from Nicole Heymer of Curio Electro. Nicole has been on my podcast three times and also wrote a chapter in my second book, “A Well-Designed Business: The Power Talk Friday Experts.” In her chapter, “Defining Your Brand,” Nicole discusses why we need to convey our brand—our story—to potential clients, then walks us through step by step on how to discover our unique brand and company story. I was happy to learn how her philosophies lined up pretty nicely with Kindra’s.

Stories and Sales

There I was, pedaling and smiling in agreement with Kindra Hall, my new best friend. And then it hit me. I haven’t just utilized storytelling in my speaking and writing. I’m always weaving stories about our company and the people who make up our company into my Window Works consultations. I’ll explain how my cousin Bill’s incessant attention to detail drives me bonkers when we are setting up any new system in our office, but how much I appreciate it when install projects go so smoothly because he leaves no detail unaccounted for. I’ll explain how funny it is that my husband walks around with scraps of notepaper to remind him to do the littlest of things, but how much I love it when one of those notes is, “Remind Lu to get her oil changed.” Through stories like these, I have been letting our clients know we value accuracy, relationships and loyalty. They can imagine how we will be loyal to them and how we will take care of them the way we do each other. Unconsciously, on every consultation, I have been attracting and enticing people to us through the stories that make Window Works uniquely Window Works. My 30-minute ride became a 60-minute ride. I was having a moment! Realizing how I had used storytelling throughout my selling career, I had an even bigger epiphany. I never consciously thought about storytelling as a critical skill for success in one-on-one sales. Head smack! I have studied sales since I was 10 years old. I’ve learned about mirroring, the soft close, how to create scarcity and so much more. I know now that you must call out your story in places like the About You page of your website and your newsletter. It never occurred to me how my intrinsic desire to tell stories helped me achieve personal excellence in sales.

Creating Stories That Attract and Sell

Now, at Window Works, we talk with our sales team and brainstorm stories that convey our values and mission to our



insight : luann nigara

clients. We help each other identify the little details that make us Window Works. How do you create stories that attract and sell? I definitely urge you to read Nicole’s chapter in my book, and to read Kindra’s book too. These ladies will give you all the whys, the hows, the tactics and strategies you need to craft your message into engaging stories. In the meantime, here are some prompts to get you started. •

Think about your message. Determine what each story will convey to your potential clients. Reliability? Integrity? Timely delivery? Start with the message you want to convey and then find which of your own real-life stories expresses this ideal.

Make sure your stories are relatable. The story must be believable and emotional. A good story makes you feel like you are in it with the storyteller. You are drawn in by the characters, dilemma, conflict and reward.

Create curiosity. Why should your potential client care about your story? Will they realize a benefit or avoid a problem? Will they have more status? Tap into what is in it for them.

Here are some of the stories we use. Maybe one or two will get you thinking about your own stories. •

We tell stories about why we have named Kim our fabric and wallpaper savant. We talk about the numerous times she has been able to locate, within minutes and with the simplest of descriptions, the exact pattern and style a client wants from within our nearly 2,000 books. Through these stories, potential clients feel that Kim is the designer to create exactly the look they want.

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We tell stories about how Carlos always flashes a funny sideways smile, complete with an eye roll, anytime he learns someone else will use his truck for the day. Then we add in all the colorful details about how meticulous and conscientious he is about his tools and his Window Works truck. Through these stories, potential clients can immediately visualize Carlos being just as particular in their home and taking care of their belongings with the same level of care and attention.

We talk about the time I stood mouth open at the door of a new client who turned out not to be new at all. Twenty-five years ago, I had decorated the nursery of this now grownup, married woman. As surprising as this was for me that first time, now we are so grateful because it has happened many times since with other clients and their grown children. And we always add to the story how we’ve even worked with multiple generations that include a mother, daughter and granddaughter. Through these stories, potential clients learn that we value building relationships. They learn that hundreds of our current clients continue to both return to us and refer us over and over for decades.

The result of all of these stories is that clients learn about us in a meaningful way. They learn about so much more than the products and services we offer. They learn how we do business and about our core values and ideals. Let your potential clients know who you are so they have a real reason to choose you over someone else. One caution: As “storytelling” is the current buzzword in marketing, I implore you to resist thinking of it as something for big brands only. This is for you. Schedule some time to write the story of you. Write genuine tales that attract your ideal clients to you, stories that create clients for a lifetime. Then share them and grow your business. V LuAnn Nigara is an award-winning window treatment specialist and co-owner of Window Works in Livingston, NJ. Her highly successful podcast “A Well-Designed Business” debuted in February 2016. She has since recorded more than 400 episodes. Join LuAnn for the workshops “Closing the Sale: It Begins at Hello,” “Best Business Practices for Succeeding with Window Coverings in 2020 and Beyond,” “Profitability – Know Your Numbers” and “Develop Partnerships with Designers to Create a Systemized Dream Team” at the International Window Coverings Expo, March 25 to 27 in Charlotte. WindowWorks-NJ.com/podcasts Facebook: WindowWorksNJ Twitter: WindowWorks_NJ Instagram: WindowWorks

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insight : kathy wall

Marketing to Millennials

They’re smart—and they have money. Why millennials are your best next clients BY KATHY WALL


he world loves to make fun of millennials. They’re mercilessly lampooned as avocado toast-eating selfie-takers who fritter away their paychecks on fancy coffee.

But, in truth, the much-maligned millennial is poised to become the biggest spender in history. It’s a matter of numbers: There are 83 billion millennials—people born between 1982 and 1996—in the United States. They’re the largest generation ever, and they have the most buying power with at least $600 billion at their disposal. Despite their economic clout, millennials earn 20 percent less than their parents did at this point in their lives and often have substantial debt from student loans. Thus, despite all the jokes about $7 lattes, millennials have learned to be careful with their money. Thankfully, their desire to spend smart dovetails perfectly with the selling points of custom window fashions.

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I know one young man who graduated with honors (and no debt) from a tough engineering school and was promptly offered a six-figure job. He saw the value in investing his money instead of renting and bought a new home one year later. He had the cash to invest in furnishings and yet lived with an Ikea entertainment system, a 60-inch flat screen TV, two odd chairs and sheets on the windows in his living room. Why? He couldn’t find anyone to help him. His inquiries were not taken seriously and he didn’t want “grandma curtains,” so he spent money on even more electronics. You know why it’s smart to invest in quality window coverings. It’s best to buy right once rather than spend time and time again on inferior products that don’t last. And you can make the process of getting window treatments easy. Now, you just need to take that message to millennials. First, remember that these buyers are digital natives. Because they grew up in a digital landscape, it’s no surprise that they place a lot of weight in social network recommendations. In fact, a recent

study found that 70 percent of millennials are influenced in their buying by social media. That’s why the benefit of enlisting a social influencer on your brand’s behalf can’t be overemphasized. At the same time, don’t overlook the power of your own website. Millennials love to look online for information before buying. Give them the scoop on you, your company, your products and services, and what sets you apart from your competitors. Be creative with your landing page. Banish the boring and anything that reeks of “old.” Include lots of up-to-date images and clickable, engaging content. Put an email address at the end of your articles so call-shy young consumers can reach out electronically first. Finally, call on your satisfied customers. Include online testimonials that use “younger” terminology that speak to your brand’s excellence. With any content, be honest. Millennials can spot a spin job a mile away. And that’s good news for a company focused on quality. Use your website and social media accounts to tell the story of your services and what makes them worth investing in. Millennials LOVE authenticity. Is your product handcrafted? Tell them. Show them images or, better yet, videos of how it’s made. Upload a video of you installing the product by hand. Share blog posts that reveal some information about who you are and why you do what you do. Show them you care and they’ll care about you. Speaking of caring, millennials put a lot of value on social responsibility and environmental friendliness. Tell them what makes your product planet-friendly and how it contributes to a healthy home. Show them how quality, durable window treatments are not only money-savers over time but also are better for the environment. Are your products organic? Tell them. Will your window treatments improve energy efficiency in the home? Tell them. Finally, millennials want products that are personal to them and their life. Show them how custom window fashions can be tailored to them, no matter what their needs are. How they can keep the kids from destroying their sleep on weekend mornings. How they can create a better environment for entertaining. How they can improve the value of a home. How they can express one’s signature style as they make a home look better and live better. Millennials are all about experiences, and custom window fashions set the stage for more meaningful, memorable experiences at home. All you have to do is show them how. V Kathy Wall is president and ringleader of The Media Matters, an agency in the Triad area of North Carolina offering marketing, advertising and brand strategy to a roster of international clients. Kathy has shared her talents with the home furnishings industry for over three decades and formed her own business 18 years ago. Her motto? “We don’t work with jerks.” TheMediaMatters.com Facebook: TheMediaMatters Twitter: TheMediaMatters Instagram: Tmm.Agency





insight : james holloway

Are You Working on Your MBAs? Focus on these three areas to grow your business BY JAMES HOLLOWAY


hen running (or growing) a business, you need to focus on your MBAs.

I don’t mean trying to earn a Master of Business Administration degree. I am referring to three areas of your business that you should work on daily, weekly and/or monthly: marketing, branding and advertising. Those three components are like a Venn diagram for your business, overlapping in some areas, remaining separate in others, but all working toward the goal of convincing customers to buy from your company instead of a competitor.

What Is Marketing?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, marketing is defined as “the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.” Marketing refers to the actual tools you use to deliver your message. Those tools may change over time (the Yellow Pages is one example of a tool that’s rarely used anymore). But marketing is more than just advertising. It includes things such as having a professional website with proper search engine optimization (SEO); having an email address that is on the same domain as

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your website, not just a Gmail or Yahoo mail account; producing magazine, TV or radio advertisements; and having a reputation for quality and value that makes your past customers willing to refer you to their circle of friends and family.

What Is Branding?

Branding is defined as “the promoting of a product or service by identifying it with a particular brand.” If marketing is the tool you use to broadcast your message, branding is the idea behind the message. But branding is not just a logo, although a logo is a significant aspect of your company’s branding efforts. Branding is a mindset that lets your customer know who you are and what is important to you. It is why customers will come back to your business in the future instead of going to your competitor. Branding is your company vision for where you are going and how you are going to separate your business from your competitors.

What Is Advertising?

By definition, advertising is “the action of calling something to the attention of the public especially by paid announcements.” Advertising is one of the tools you use to promote your brand. Advertising is the actual message you are sending out into the marketplace.

Of the three components, advertising is probably the easiest to understand, because everyone is subjected to some form of advertising multiple times each day. Whether it is on TV, billboards or the radio, there are examples of advertising all around you. For your business, you may not have money to spend on a television ad during the Super Bowl, but you may be able to fund a weeklong “sponsored post” on Facebook or Instagram. When some people think about advertising for their business, they mistakenly think that means they have to promote a special sale or discount, but that is not the case. Advertising is all about brand recognition and keeping your company at the forefront of the customer’s mind when they become ready to purchase the types of products that your company offers. Consider the last Pepsi commercial you saw on TV. Did it display anything that discussed the cost of a two-liter or 12-pack? No, it conveyed the feeling that you are supposed to get when you drink an ice-cold Pepsi. Something else to note: Pepsi commercials almost never mention any other soft-drink brand. They don’t claim that they taste better than Coke, or that they are less expensive than Coke. The last thing they want to do is even mention the word "Coke" on the off chance you prefer Coke over Pepsi and feel inspired to buy the “wrong” brand the next time you go to the store.

How Much Time and Money Should You Invest in These Areas?

The amount of time and money you invest will be based on your individual goals and on how you have set up your business model. Some businesses spend zero dollars on traditional advertising but invest huge amounts of time developing relationships with people to create a word-of-mouth referral network. It is generally recommended that new businesses and startups spend 12 to 20 percent of their projected yearly revenue on their marketing efforts. Older or more established businesses can reduce that spending to 6 to 12 percent of their yearly revenue. Depending on what marketing channels you wish to participate in, you could spend zero dollars and focus on “DIY marketing,” or you could spend thousands and hire someone to do it all for you. You certainly want to be smart with your investment but sometimes you really do get what you pay for, so keep that in mind as you develop your MBA plan. V

Preview our new R-TEC Automation® Drapery Hardware.

Join Us at Booth #701

Your source for Workroom Upholstery & Installation Supplies

James Holloway began his window treatment career as a full-time installer in 2001. In 2009 he started his own business, South East Installation Solutions, an “installation only” company based in Greenville, SC. His professional writing career began in 2013 with the launch of “TraVerse: A Window Coverings Blog.” He has also been asked to speak at various events including WCAA chapter meetings. His latest endeavor is the creation of a hands-on installer training facility. SouthEastInstalls.com TraVerseBlog.com Learn2Install.com




insight : madeleine macrae

The Rise of the Millennial Manager

Set younger managers up for success by understanding their strengths and weaknesses and teaching them the things they need to know



n 2020, millennials are forecasted to make up 50 percent of the United States’ workforce. As baby boomers holding long-tenured management positions retire, millennials are quickly becoming the face of management across our industry. But business owners don’t seem to be ready for this wave.

Owners and leaders are elevating millennials into management positions but aren’t giving them the tools they need to succeed because they don’t seem to have a good handle on what this new wave of managers truly needs to learn. Any rising manager has a learning curve—a huge one—because they can’t know what they don’t know. In addition, no amount of coursework or book reading can truly prepare a person for what they face in their first few months and years of management. Until you have had to sacrifice your own to-do list to support one of your direct reports through a rough personal or professional experience; until you have had to learn how to channel all of your ambition and motivation into more palatable bites so you don’t alienate or burn out your peers; until you have pitched an idea to your boss that you're passionate about and gotten squarely rejected; until you have seen yourself accidentally hurt someone’s feelings by not giving them enough credit for their work and getting

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all the credit yourself; until you have lived and learned through those experiences, you cannot have all that you need to excel as a manager. You have to continually fail forward as you learn and master your new role as a manager. While this is a common experience and happens to everyone, it’s exceptionally difficult for a rising millennial manager to handle. Millennials were born into an era of instant gratification. Since the internet was a part of everyday life as they were coming of age, they could search and find anything they wanted to know at the push of a button. Then, with the advent of mobile phones, they could be in touch with anyone at any time from almost anywhere. When mobile phones evolved into smartphones, and services like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Prime Now hit the scene, it created the perfect storm to mint adults conditioned to believe that getting what you want as soon as you want it is the natural process. In your career, however, that simply doesn’t happen. This culturally fostered impatience has earned millennials the stigma of being entitled job-hoppers, and it makes their first foray into management particularly hard.

Millennials are coming to the table with a whole host of amazing attributes. They are exceptionally good at their work. They are able to adapt quickly, learn new functional skills and achieve personal results quickly and predictably. They are motivated to find their own passion. Whether they are doing it consciously or not, millennials who achieve management promotions have found their talents and have grown them into genuine strengths through the reinforcement of skills.

This is what is helping them excel and get promoted. It’s also what is mystifying leaders. Millennials have a lot of bravado. They appear to know what they are doing. They have smarts and focused skills, and their “I’ve got this” attitude lulls their leaders into believing that rising millennial managers really have their management game together. The truth is that most rising millennial managers don’t. They are lacking some of the bedrock philosophies that generations of leaders before them were taught. What was cutting edge for baby boomers and generation Xers became commonplace over time. Because of that, particularly among long-tenured leaders, these philosophies were treated as common knowledge, and I, for one, can attest to the fact that it was assumed that everyone, including millennials, knew these fundamentals.

Visit us IWCE at



CONNECT WITH US AT THE WFCP BOOTH and enter to win a $500 prepaid Visa card or a $995 FastTRACK Specialist Certification course!* Find us next to IWCE’s registration area.

Because of that, millennials are not being taught some of the prioritization and personal performance tools like Steven Covey’s “big rocks first” or Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle, which have been foundational self-management tools upon which their management skills could be built. We have an epidemic of millennials being elevated into management positions who not only lack management experience but who don’t understand basic fundamental skills in the way that prior generations did. The rise of the millennial manager is here to stay, so be prepared to support them differently than you’ve supported other rising managers in your organization to date. They need something different. They need the bedrock philosophies you may take for granted. They need to be taught how to be patient, how to be tenacious, how to manage others. Be patient with them. Equip them well and make sure that you are supplementing their amazing strengths and the powerhouses they bring to your management tables with the fundamentals they need to succeed. If you do this, your company will be able to catch the wave of the rising millennial manager and ride it to the top and beyond. V Madeleine MacRae serves as CEO and chief innovator for MM MacRae, an international firm focused on driving the growth of home improvement professionals and suppliers through cutting-edge sales, marketing and business education. She is a powerful speaker, and her ability to blend cutting-edge information with fiery inspiration drives audiences—both live and virtual—to stand up and take action toward their growth and business goals.

*Winner does not need to be present to win. Eligible attendees must be registered for seminars.

mmmacrae.com Facebook: mmmacraecoaching LinkedIn: macraemadeleine



iwce preview : highlights

The 2020 International Window Coverings Expo: BANKING ON YOUR SUCCESS It’s almost here! The 2020 International Window Coverings Expo is the best place to find new window covering products, continuing education, inspiration and chances to connect with your peers. Join with thousands of others in the banking capital of America this year.

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS: Workroom Central

The Construction Zone is now Workroom Central. Get hands-on educational sessions in a comfortable, casual environment. This is also the place to check out the refreshed Window Fashion Artisan Project and see the gorgeous creations submitted to our first-ever pillow contest.

New Educational Offerings

Half of this year’s educational sessions will be taught by new instructors. Many of the topics have been updated to reflect the hottest industry trends. Not sure what classes you want to take? This year's free "Your Business Center Stage" seminars on the expo floor will offer drop-in sessions that require no preregistration. Highlights include chances to connect with Window Fashion VISION’s top Window Fashion Influencers for 2020 on Thursday and Friday.

Opening Night Welcome Reception

Back by popular demand, you’ll have a chance to check out the show floor a day earlier than usual! Join us on Wednesday night from 6 to 8:30 p.m. for food, drinks and live music, and get a jump start on your shopping and networking.

Lunch & Learn: Design Harmony: Design’s Influence on Health and Wellness

One of the fastest-growing influences in design today is the realization that great design improves health and wellness. On Wednesday, join Mike Peterson, founder of Visionary Design Marketing, for an in-depth presentation to learn what design harmony is and how promoting it can help you earn more money and reach new clients. Sponsored by IFDA.

Queen City Design: Charlotte’s Interior Design Royalty

Trim Queen Jana Platina Phipps will moderate an information-packed panel with Charlotte-area interior designers Cheryl Luckett with Dwell by Cheryl, Melissa Lee with New South Home, Brenna Morgan with StudioB and Jill Seale with Jill Seale Design Studio. Get more information and register at iwce-vision.com.

March 25-27, 2020

Charlotte Convention Center CHARLOTTE, NC

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Thursday, March 26 9:00 9:30 10:30 11:00 11:30 12:00 1:00 1:30 2:00 2:30 3:00 3:30 4:00 4:30

9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Rowley: Motorized H-Rail for Drapery – Donna Cash Getting Ready for Fabrication – Rose Mary LeBlanc and Amanda Deal Smith Techniques for Bulky Lining – Anna Davis Beyond the Monogram – Donna Scott Johnson Most Commonly Used Hand Stitching – Terry Sandlin Airtable: Track Projects, Manage Workflow and More! – Julia Hash and Cathy Cuddington Making Good Use with That Bias Tape Maker – Terry Sandlin 20 Must-Have Tools & Supplies for Every Workroom – Ann K. Johnson Perfect Mitered Banding – Cathy Tucker The Efficient Workroom – Carol Dykhouse Building an Ottoman Frame – Ken VanSickle No Visible Bed Skirt Fabrication Method – Rose Mary LeBlanc and Amanda Deal Smith Setting Up Templates in Goodnotes – Anna Davis Draw Matic – Cathy Tucker

Friday, March 27 SHOW FLOOR 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30 11:00 11:30 12:00 1:00 1:30 2:00 2:30

Implement new ideas to improve sales

Have a group of mentors to bouce ideas off of and help you gain new insights

Discover industry-tested technology to make your business run more smoothly

Substantially grow profits and increase sales under your own business name

6:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.

Design to Install – Cathy Tucker Installer Panel – Tim Sanders, Roger Magalhaes, Tina Fontana, Ken VanSickle, Jim O’Brien


If you could...

9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

VAKO-NEW Headrail System – Nanne Valkenburg R-TEC Motorized Roman Shades – Donna Cash Roman Blackout Shade Technique – Julia Hash Roman Shade Headrail Systems – Chain to Motorization – Sandra VanSickle Motorization & Programming – Jacquelyn Weber No-Sew Roman Shades – Tina Fontana Monogram from Concept to Creation – Donna Scott Johnson Upcycling Embellishements – Jana Platina Phipps Interchangeable Ottoman – Karly Dickson Fabric Marbling – Jill Seale Pillow Raffle


You can do all that & more with exciting windows! EDUCATION • MARKETING • TECHNOLOGY

MEMBERS HELPING MEMBERS We do together what no one business can do alone.

Grow Your Business Visit us at IWCE in booth #913 Growth@ExcitingWindows.com



iwce preview : seminars





Wednesday, March 25


6:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.

CERTIFICATION 8:00-4:00 8:00-4:00 8:00-4:00 SEMINARS Super Session 9:00-12:00 9:00-10:15 9:00-10:15 9:00-10:15 9:00-10:15 10:30-11:45

JoAnne Lenart-Weary Roger Magalhaes Cheryl Meiklejohn

WFCP Color Certification 1WEC WFCP Installation Certification 2WEC WFCP Window Fashion Design Certification 3WEC

O’D McKewan Mike Peterson Deborah Moss Sara Lynn Brennan LuAnn Nigara Melissa Galt

Mastering Motorization The Power of Personal Branding Panel: Selecting the Best Motorization Option for Various Settings 6WE How and Why to Package Your Services… Closing the Sale: It Begins at Hello Instagram Insights and Strategies That Capture Clients Customer Service vs Client Experience Creative Solutions for Workroom Disasters Panel: Best Business Practices for Succeeding with Window Coverings in 2020 and Beyond

10:30-11:45 10:30-11:45 10:30-11:45

Stacey Brown Randall Ann Johnson Vita Vygovska, LuAnn Nigara, Sara Lynn Brennan

12:00-1:00 12:00-2:15 2:30-4:45 1:30-2:45

Mike Peterson WCSC WCMA Sara Lynn Brennan

1:30-2:45 1:30-2:45 1:30-2:45

Melissa Galt Ann Johnson O’D McKewan

Super Session

1:30-4:00 3:00-4:15 3:00-4:15 3:00-4:15 3:00-5:00

Vince & LuAnn Nigara Michele Williams Stacey Randall Deborah Moss Vita Vygovska Exciting Windows

Designer Panel



Moderator: Jana Platina Phipps with Cheryl Luckett, Melissa Lee, Brenna Morgan, Jill Seale WCMA Awards


Welcome Reception

Lunch & Learn


Design Harmony: IFDA Sponsored Annual Meeting Annual Meeting Create Informational Lead Magnets to Earn Income in Your Sleep and Build Your Pipeline The Social Media Routine That Drives Revenue Taming Sheer & Casement Fabrics Introduction to Motorization

4WE 5WE 7WE 8WE 9WE 10WE 11WE 12WE 13WE

15WE 16WE 17WE 18WE

Panel: Profitability – Know Your Numbers Referrals Without Asking Motorized Window Coverings Window Treatments De-Mystified National Advisory Council Meeting 3:00-3:45 Council Members Only 3:45 All Members

19WESS 20WE 21WE 22WE

Designer Panel: Charlotte’s Design Royalty


Thursday, March 26


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9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

9:00-12:00 9:00-10:15

JoAnne Lenart-Weary Ann Johnson

MARCH + APRIL 2020 | wf-vision.com

Staging Super Session Maximizing Efficiency in Your Workroom…


Thursday, March 26 continued


9:00-10:15 9:00-10:15 9:00-10:15 10:30-11:45 10:30-11:45 10:30-11:45 10:30-11:45

Michele Williams Roger Magalhaes Cheryl Meiklejohn Deborah Moss Michele Williams Jana Platina Phipps LuAnn Nigara, Sara Brennan


Mike Peterson


Comfortex Window Fashion Team

5:30-6:00 6:00-7:30

Best Pricing Strategies Installers Toolbox Details Behind the Design... The Sustainable Window Monthly Metrics for the Profitable Business The Secret Profit in Embellishments Develop Partnerships with Designers to Create a Systemized Dream Team Solutions to the Online Challenges Faced by Designers Think Color, Think Green: Infinite Window Color Possibilities

Cocktail Reception VISION Design & Workroom Competition Awards

3TH 4TH 5TH 6TH 7TH 8TH 9TH 10TH 12TH 11TH

Friday, March 27


9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

Super Session

9:00-10:15 9:00-10:15 9:00-10:15

Jana Platina Phipps JoAnne Lenart-Weary Roger Magalhaes

Social Media Basics: How-Tos and Hacks eDesign Installation 101




iwce preview : center stage

YOUR BUSINESS CENTER STAGE Located on the show floor THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 2020 1ST – 10:30 a.m. – Take Your Home-Based Business to Over $250,000 Susan Day, Exciting Windows Karen Essary, Couture by Karen Join Susan Day and Karen Essary to discover how they took their home-based window covering business from $50,000/year to well over $250,000. You will learn how to grow your business systematically by focused, consistent marketing, following a proven selling system, when to hire help and expertise and achieve a close rate of over 80%. Learn from the pros that made this happen and are now enjoying a lucrative business. FREE 3ST – 11:30 a.m. – Meet the Influencers Panel This year, for the first time, Window Fashion VISION magazine named eight top Window Fashion Influencers for 2020. Come meet five of those influencers--Sharon Falcher, Rosemarie Garner, Sherica Maynard, Jill Rodgers and Claudia Clobes Yudis--and ask them anything you want! How do you become a design influencer? How do they use digital marketing tools to successfully market their business? How do you keep an audience engaged? What trends do they see in the industry right now? We’ll take your questions on these topics and more. FREE 2ST – 1:30 p.m. – What Will and Will Not Work in 2020 For Getting More Leads Welton Hong, Founder of Ring, Ring Marketing It's common knowledge that many window covering business owners are still struggling to understand internet marketing and how to leverage its possibilities. Welton Hong breaks down the fundamentals of online marketing and why certain techniques work better than others, depending on what you want to accomplish. Need to drive more warm leads? Search optimization and pay-per-click advertising work wonders. For branding and engagement, social media is quite effective. For both, you need a website that converts well, a pristine online reputation (driven by review quality and quantity), compatibility with mobile devices and plenty of high-grade content. You also need to be prepared to adjust your plans in tandem with the dynamic nature of online marketing. Window covering companies that stay up to date with the changes (and act on them) have a huge advantage in their local markets. FREE

FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2020 1SF – 10:30 a.m. – Leveraging Technology to Generate and Convert More Leads to Sales in the Home Without a Lot of Expense or Labor Costs! This panel is presented by Socius Marketing, MarketSharp and Solatech. The Technology Leaders for the Window Fashion Professional. Everyone has a website, but is yours generating in-bound leads for you on a regular basis? If it was, could you spend more time selling? Once you have a lead, how often are you “in front of them” before and after they are a client? Every business should “touch” a lead or client regularly to drive more sales and referrals. If you could accurately quote and close a client with less effort in the home and have all your vendor PO’s placed automatically and also have your QuickBooks integrated, how much time would you save and how much more money could you make? FREE 2SF – 1:00 p.m. – The Four Stages in a Successful Social Media Cycle and How to Implement Them Welton Hong, Founder of Ring, Ring Marketing The usefulness of social media remains a mystery to many window covering companies, and that’s understandable: A window covering company certainly is a very different type of business than a retailer or a restaurant, for example, and it should not be promoted the same way. But here’s the truth: Social media definitely can be a big asset for a window covering company. It just needs to be implemented the right way. A properly executed social media campaign greatly benefits sales. Welton Hong covers the basics of social media and explains the four aspects of the social success cycle: social listening, social influencing, social networking, and social selling. Every initiative has a specific goal, but they all work together to drive revenue for your window covering company. FREE 3SF – 2:00 p.m. º– Best Ideas from IWCE Window Fashion VISION magazine's top Window Fashion Influencers for 2020 join editor-in-chief Sophia Bennett to wrap up IWCE in style. Sharon Falcher, Rosemarie Garner, Sherica Maynard and Jill Rodgers will discuss the hot products they spotted at the show and their thoughts about where the industry is headed in the next year. Influencer LuAnn Nigara will also moderate a discussion about how put all of the great ideas gathered at IWCE into action when you get back home. FREE

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You’re invited...

Exhibit Hall opens Wednesday March 25 6:00 pm–8:30 pm ONLY JOIN US FOR THE GALA OPENING RECEPTION! SHOW FLOOR HOURS: Thurs. March 26:

9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Fri. March 27:

9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

DON’T MISS THESE COMPLIMENTARY SPECIAL EVENTS AT IWCE • Welcome Reception – Wednesday, March 25 • Charlotte Designer’s Panel – Wednesday, March 25 • VISION Design & Workroom Awards Gala – Thursday, March 26 • 100 Best Ideas: Putting It All Together – Friday, March 27 • Pillow Contest Award Winners • Workroom Central – Demonstrations + Workshops – All Three Days

See you at the industry’s largest expo & conference!

March 25-27 2020 IWCE-Vision.com V ISION |


industry : in tech we trust?

In Tech We Trust? The future of the home of the future BY SUSAN SCHULTZ


We are in the midst of a seismic paradigm shift when it comes

But with technology changing so rapidly, everyone, from the

networks has many companies already touting the sleek,

store, is facing huge challenges.

to technology in our homes. The emergence of 5G wireless

utopian ideal of connected devices and seamless services that will supposedly define the homes of the near future.

Residential tech adoption is so important to big-name brands

that they’ve become major players at Milan Design Week, the world’s largest design event. For the past several years, tech

companies such as 3M, Apple, Google, Sony, LG, Sonos and

Bang & Olufsen have been using Milan to showcase their efforts to integrate tech into the home.

In the window treatments industry, motorization companies

have served as “gateway” home tech for most designers, retailers and installers. For consumers, it’s been devices like

Google Home (now Google Nest) and Amazon Alexa or Echo.

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international manufacturers to the local window treatments

“How do you implement the latest technology and still have it compatible with older products?” asks Scott Hand, director of

new product development at Current Products Corp, when he was queried about issues the industry will need to confront

in the next decade. “Improvements will be exponential, so how does a consumer know what to invest in for their home?

For example, imagine the first 10 to 20 years of radio and

what the devices looked like then compared to today.” His

initial thought would be to take a cue from the mobile phone

industry, which has programs in place to buy back, credit or lease equipment.



industry : in tech we trust?

Moving Consumers Along the Trend Curve

But we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves. No matter how quickly technology is changing the consumer market, for most window treatment projects, automation and integration into a home “internet of things” (IoT) setup is still rare. “Although smart products provide many benefits, they are still considered an unnecessary investment to many,” says Kyle Choi, applications coordinator at Draperies.com. “But as tech becomes more effective, more accessible and more affordable, eventually the cost and benefits of upgrading to a smart device will outweigh using a dated solution.” Morgan Glennon with Somfy Systems believes this tipping point for the industry will happen relatively soon, based on current demographics. “The digital native generation expects homes that will work with the same kind of immediacy as the rest of the technology in their lives,” she says. “This could mean triggering a ‘movie night’ scene with a voice command that closes the shades, turns off the lights and turns on the television. They expect a home that makes their lives easier and also saves them time, money and energy.” She added that the exact same features are selling points to the aging baby boomer demographic, as a fully realized smarthome ecosystem that includes window treatments makes homes more friendly to those aging in place. Willis Mullet, founder of QMotion and now owner and founder of Current Products Corp, expects even more from a well-designed home-tech ecosystem. “We are just seeing the beginning of what these devices are capable of doing. For example, I have noticed recently that my Echo device has an expanded knowledge base

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along with more conversation skills. With the help of AI, these devices will become more conversant to the point where they become companions.”

The Home as Partner

This idea, that our homes will soon be able to (virtually) care for us, is a frequently voiced goal. A recent survey by Accenture on the issues facing companies investing in the future of the home opens with, “Imagine returning home and … as you enter the keyless door an AI assistant welcomes you and begins gently organizing your evening … while your home environment is invisibly adjusted in response to its current occupants.” Alexandra Egan, a marketing manager at Current Products Corp, shared the same thought. “Over the next decade, adaptive automation, where devices and hubs learn your common behaviors and react, will become increasingly sophisticated and commonplace in home-automation setups. For example, if I come home from work with a headache, my doorbell would be able to read my facial expression and tell that I’m in pain—it knows it’s a headache based on my Google search history for ‘best headache remedies,’ or perhaps it can tell based on the way my head is bent forward slightly. Seeing this, the doorbell would tell my lights to dim, my voice assistant to speak softly and my curtains to close.” But this vision of a home of sleek, seamless services is pretty far removed from the smart home of today, where we have an increasing number of factionalized platforms, privacy concerns and unconnected devices. Solving these issues, in a way that truly

Visit us at Booth 301

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industry : in tech we trust?

understands how technology has changed the very definition of home, is critical to engineering the future-home solutions that consumers really want.

Open Source Opens Opportunities

Most industry observers agree that there’s going to be a shakeout in terms of tech platforms and interoperability. “Technology is driving home automation away from proprietary protocols and toward an open, connected home ecosystem,” says Glennon. “This delivers the confidence that products and services will all work together through standardization and will be increasingly important as the smart-home environment continues to develop.”

Fritz Werder, vice president and general manager of residential AV systems at Legrand, goes one step further. “If we had to pick one thing (that would be most important), our money would be on an AI smart hub that will be extremely secure and support all the smart devices and appliances in the home. However, it’s worth noting that as new technology continues to accelerate, there could very well be something that we haven’t even heard of yet that will be a necessity.”

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Improving the Consumer Experience

Key to Werder’s statement is the phrase “extremely secure.” Given the high-profile cases of IoT devices listening, recording and transmitting data, as well as the ability of hackers to access IoT gadgets, consumers have reason to be concerned. “I’m waiting for a gangster or mob thriller using household voice automation listening devices as a bug,” says Hand. Consumers will require assurance that the interactive appliances and devices they bring into their home will be and remain secure. Mullet agrees, saying, “The challenge will be to have the developer of these new skills remain agnostic to politics and not become

a way of gathering information related to commercial interests. The privacy threat, whether real or imagined, will be the biggest obstacle to overcome in the introduction of these new capabilities.” To Hand, the challenges of security and reliability are inseparable. “If the Wi-Fi service provider fails, what happens? If power is lost, what happens? If batteries decay and signal strength is lost, what happens? One bad experience for a customer can hurt your company’s reputation and the reputation for IoT devices in general.”

Unveiling our new booth at IWCE.

Come see us!

UNVEILING OUR NEW BOOTH & NEW PRODUCTS FOREST DRAPERY HARDWARE will unveil an all new booth filled with all the industry leading products you know and new products you will want to know! Come see us with a FREE PASS available at forestdh.com. NEW PRODUCTS INCLUDE: • Battery operated Shuttle motor • Light up your drapes with our DSXL LED motorized track • Expansion of our Deventer line into motorized and Deco Rod Sets • Acrylic Pole Sets in our Glasgow Collection • Slim line motorized Atlantis roller shade

The world behind YOUR DRAPERIES FORESTDH.COM | 678-721-0004



Counting the ways... R EA SO N #44

We’re in it for

the long haul. Just ask our dealers.

Join us and learn


IWCE | Booth #601




© 2020 Custom Brands Group. All rights reserved.

March 25-27 | Charlotte, NC

industry : in tech we trust?

Finally, as anyone who sold or installed an automated window treatment 10 or more years ago can attest, while practical concerns like light control and out-of-home security were the reasons given for the sale, the clients back then were just as pleased to show off their tricked out window treatments to friends and family. That’s not a surprise. A 20-year study conducted at Cornell University concluded that happiness derived from experiences is more enduring than happiness gained from buying things. People want experiences they can remember and share with others. A decade ago, motorized window treatments were the creators and enablers of such an experience. But with the experience economy already mature in many areas of consumer culture, from attending live events in your living room to streaming workout routines from the gym, the window treatment industry’s head start has disappeared. In order to ensure window treatments are an integral part of future homes, the industry will need to look at how tech can be applied toward a larger goal, one that is connected to widespread consumer behavior trends. For example, how can automated window treatments assist in living a healthier lifestyle? A more sustainable lifestyle? Can IoT window treatments be metamorphic and responsive beyond light control? As an example, here’s a call back to the beginning of this article and the fact that so many consumer electronics brands are showing in Milan. They are all trying to solve the issue that

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televisions are ugly black wastes of space when they’re not in use, which is most of the time. Combine that with a generation of people who move frequently for work and personal reasons, use phone and tablets more than computers, and love clean, stylish home-design shots via Instagram and you get persistent year-onyear declines in TV sales. If TVs can disappear from the home, replaced by smaller screens with easier access, flexibility and mobility, who’s to say window treatments won’t be replaced in 10 years by electrochromic or other smart-glass technologies in many buildings? Or integrated into home entertainment systems as literal “windows on the world” with speakers, lights and displays that work together to create ever-changing visuals where there used to be blinds? The good news is that automated window treatments already combine two important long-term consumer trends: convenience and personalization. So, one of the most important industry goals should be guaranteeing that custom, automated window treatments remain relevant, in spite of changing demographics and technology. That’s something we can all get behind today as we wait to see what the home of the future holds for tomorrow.


We see your vision.

Drapery Hardware Made to Order in the USA Since 1992 Exclusively to the Trade 214.653.1733 AntiqueDraperyRod.com



industry : the benefits of digital fabric printing

Photo courtesy of Comfortex



esigners have been printing on fabric for decades, but today’s textile-printing technology gives decorators more creative leeway, including the ability to create micro batches of one-of-a-kind prints using a variety of colors and fabrics.

The boom in digital printing on fabric isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon, says Kurt Van Steemburg, innovation business development manager at Comfortex, which utilizes digital printing

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and production-on-demand (POD) technology to produce its Color Lux line of shades and soft treatments in more than 800 solid colors and coordinated patterns. “This method will continue to grow because it’s sensible, produces a high-quality image, reduces waste and allows greater opportunity to customize what you print. Patterns and colors are stored in a vast digital library and pulled as required. Patterns are never discontinued. There are no back orders, no mixed dye lots.”

Photos by Andrew Livingston

Scaling a Small Business with POD Fabric When textile artist Kathleen Fitzpatrick started her boutique fabric business, Tie-Up Textiles, she offered one-off handwoven and hand-dyed home goods. But she soon realized that the one-of-a-kind fabrics that built her brand wouldn’t be scalable over the long run. In spring 2017, she turned to Adaptive Textiles’ custom fabric printing and began building her first custom yardage collection. The Pennsylvania artist uses her handmade textiles as the basis for her fabric. After converting a design into a digital format, she creates scales, repeats and textures before ordering printed yardage. She offers the finished fabric to designers, architects and other home décor specialists. Digitizing her patterns was the best thing she could have done for her company, she says. “With digitally printed fabrics, I can accept larger orders that I would have otherwise turned down.” V ISION |


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industry : the benefits of digital fabric printing

Photos courtesy of Spoonflower

From Costumes to Curtains, Digital Printing Helps Heidi Kaczenski, a Los Angeles costume designer and owner of Sewing Bird, uses Spoonflower to create specialty fabric for her professional and personal projects. The company has printed a music-themed scarf for a character on a TV show, embroidery patterns for Sewing Bird and a colorful ombré polka dot pattern to make curtains for her daughter’s bedroom. These projects, she says, “were very simple, but very specific. Spoonflower can really dial in the color. “Digital printing is a boon for small businesses,” she adds. “The process has opened a lot of creativity and personalization. If you have a small store or Etsy site, you can really offer up some amazing stuff that no one else has.”

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Photos courtesy of Spoonflower

The Creative Benefits of POD

Although many aspects of POD technology are appealing, the creative benefits may top the list. “Print-on-demand technology enables makers, interior decorators, homeowners and DIY enthusiasts to find the perfect design to complete their space, and to order as much or as little fabric as they need, as often as they need,” says Alex Craig, senior associate, multimedia production at Spoonflower, which recently added curtains to its line of print-toorder cloth, wallpaper and other products. “Spoonflower’s printon-demand platform enables window fashion professionals to customize projects to meet their clients’ exact needs. This level of specificity and customization allows for truly unique creations.” This technology has been a boon for small boutique enterprises, allowing them to create unique textile collections. There are many types of digital textile printers, from large-format to smaller machines. Some may utilize inkjet technology, while others use dye sublimation. Machines may be modified to run different fabrics, including cotton, chiffon, satin, twill, jersey, canvas and velvet. Just as desktop printers have become more advanced in printing capability, fabric printers have also advanced, offering designers a greater measure of artistic freedom. The technology usually offers greater design detail than screen printing, which means users can digitally create more complex designs and patterns, from subtle watercolor-like layering and multihued ombré fades to stylized patterns and rustic impressions. It also offers a greater ability to match colors from Pantone, paint chips, fabric swatches and more. Another benefit to digital printing is that it results in less fabric waste. When preparing a print run, producers use only what is necessary. “We can ‘nest’ projects to get the best trim from that roll of fabric,” says Van Steemburg. He likens the process to printing several separate photos on one sheet of paper instead of printing photos on individual sheets. “We can print a blue next to a red next to a green, changing colors as we go. For example, if a decorator wants to print shades or drapery panels in different colors, the operator selects the fabric and pulls up the images. He can print two or 200 units next to each other or in sequence, even if they are different colors or designs. This conserves material and gives decorators only what is needed.”

The Business Case for Digital Fabric Printing

Production on demand also helps with inventory problems, be it too much or too little. “The traditional soft fabric manufacturing practice is that someone creates a pattern, preprints a large inventory then hopes it sells,” says Van Steemburg. “If it doesn’t sell, it may stay in inventory forever, make its way to a job-lot distributor or end up in a landfill. If the fabric doesn’t sell, you’re stuck with a lot of dead inventory.” With digital printing, “we’re only using what is required for the job.” Adaptive Textiles, which was founded by Jeanelle Dech, a former drapery workroom manager, provides custom printing for small textile designers and startups seeking to maintain a low-inventory model. The company can do runs as small as 36-inch-by-11-inch strike-offs or as large as 1,000 yards. Designers—and consumers—are often disappointed when a pattern or color is discontinued. But having a digital library solves that problem. Companies such as Comfortex, Spoonflower and Adaptive Textiles can keep thousands of print patterns in computer files to be printed at will. Colors can be set to a standard, with every print run calibrated to that standard, which keeps colors relatively consistent (depending on fabric choices). However, because of the variety of ink systems, substrates and other variables when printing on fabric, most companies offer swatch books so customers can see exactly what they are getting. “We suggest that decorators look at the color in the room where you will actually display the product,” says Van Steemburg. “Also, different fabrics take color differently and the color might look different in different lights.” It’s also important to note that the washability of digitally printed products depends on the character of the textiles and which print technology was used. Although some fabrics can be washed, dry cleaning is usually recommended. Rub-resistance and durability also vary by fabric and printing technology, so consult the manufacturer for proper applications. V



industry :

software for soft furnishings professionals

Software for Soft Furnishing Professionals 9 programs to make designers’ lives easier BY SOPHIA BENNETT

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Curtains Calculator Curtains Calculator is a web application that cuts the curtain calculation process down drastically—often from a few hours to a few minutes. It assists interior designers and sales staff at curtain shops in the decision-making process while quoting, planning and bidding everything from small sales to bigger projects. Features include the ability to quickly create and print offers for customers, do fabric stock control and keep track of customer information with a complete database.

BlindsBook BlindsBook bills itself as the complete management system for the window treatment industry. The cloud-based integrated management system combines several features—including work and purchase orders, quotes, scheduling and customer relationship management (CRM)—into one platform. It offers different versions for different types of businesses, including Retail for designers; Fabricator for fabricators, manufacturers and distributors; and Fabricator Plus for resellers. One popular feature is the ability to create quotes using your own charts and prices. BlindBbook can also export information and reconcile to QuickBooks. “Blind and Screen has been using BlindsBook for two years and it has simplified our work process immensely. We are manufacturers and needed a management system that was tailored to our window treatment business. After reviewing the different management systems available, we quickly realized that BlindsBook had all the things we were looking for. My favorite thing about this software is the work orders. I no longer have to manually figure out cut deductions. BlindsBook also offers great customer service. I needed the system tweaked and they did so free of charge. I am very happy with my decision to acquire BlindsBook into my business.” —Steven Tristan, Blind and Screen, Sylmar, CA

“We started using the Curtains Calculator web app in 2017, and we can no longer imagine our daily work without it. One of the main things I love about it is that you can do the most complicated and hardest calculations in just a few minutes. Also, I love the idea that you can add employees and designers (freelancers) into the application to handle orders by themselves. There are analytics so you can see how many orders are still in waiting for a position and how many of the calculations were successfully closed. In the last two years, we have saved almost 5 percent of our annual revenue just from eliminating human error from improper calculations.” —Evelina Baltune, ADmaja, Lithuania

Design Manager Design Manager is a cloudbased project management and accounting software for interior designers. By combining multiple functions into one platform, Design Manager saves designers time, money and the headache of trying to patch together multiple systems. Specific tasks the software can handle include specifying products; creating proposals, purchase orders and invoices; and taking care of accounting. With Design Manager, there’s data replication, so designers don’t have to waste time retyping or re-creating documents. The software also presents a full picture of your design business, so you can tell where an item is in the design process in a couple clicks.



industry :

software for soft furnishings professionals

DesignerInc.com DesignerInc.com is a trade-only marketplace that allows verified interior designers to source from thousands of vendors—ranging from showroom level to value priced—all in one place. Designers love DesignerInc.com for the time savings, but perhaps even more importantly, they love being able to take full advantage of the company’s technology without abandoning their existing relationships. That’s because DesignerInc.com places orders with the showroom or sales rep of their choosing. “DesignerInc.com has been a game changer in my business flow and organization processes. With their help expediting projects and facilitating the ordering process for our interior design business, I don’t feel like I have to hire one person just to oversee expediting. You can order samples for any of the hundreds of lines of furniture they carry, and their turnaround for pricing is extremely fast in most cases. The best part is that instead of having to deal with slow response times from some trade-only showrooms, DesignerInc.com has a team that is online at all hours of the day. They track shipping for us and have been great with claims and returns. Their online portal is incredibly user-friendly and makes sense with regard to a design project workflow.” —Kylie Ponton, Ponton Interiors, Tampa, FL

Mydoma Studio Mydoma Studio is a cloud-based project management software for interior designers, interior decorators and home stagers. It allows users to upload contracts, schedule payments, upload deliverables, keep track of costs and time spent on projects, and create mood boards. Users can generate a personal product catalog of favorite products that can be used in multiple projects. If desired, invite clients to collaborate on projects and upload assets such as images and measurements. Users can also take advantage of the Mydoma Designers Community, which provides meaningful connections, discussions and tailored content to support all of the professionals who use the platform. It’s a safe place to ask questions, meet like-minded designers and get connected to a global community.

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MyBlindCo MyBlindCo is an all-in-one app for window treatment professionals that provides scheduling, a CRM and the ability to create quotes, all from the convenience of an iPad. The company touts the software’s design as one of its great attributes. Not only was it created by industry experts, it allows designers to create quotes offline, which means you can be in the customer’s home and complete a quote immediately. Once a quote is accepted, you can convert it to an order and get the customer’s signature right away. Quotes get synced to the office in real time, and salespeople can get scheduling updates in the field. MyBlindCo is great for installers too. They can use it for scheduling, updating installation notes and even back-end sales. The product easily integrates with Google Calendar and QuickBooks.

Solatech Solatech provides numerous industry-specific software solutions for fabricators and retail dealers. They include a cloud-based and offline Point of Sale (POS) system and vendorintegrated selling and ordering solutions that will save time and money for the retail dealers operating from a showroom or Shop@Home. Solatech’s Focus system was designed for retailers as an easy-to-use system that is supported by accurate product data provided in partnership with the industry’s leading fabricators. This exclusive benefit allows Solatech users to quote, price, sell and order with confidence, all while in the home and on an iPad or any internet-enabled device. (The company’s Dealer Ordering System (DOS), which is specific to window covering groups, franchises and fabricators provides similar services for this specific market.) The software integrates with QuickBooks, Dispatch.me (for last-mile management) and Google Calendar. Integrated laser measuring is another key feature. “Exciting Windows! members are adding the Solatech Focus system to their technology portfolio. Immediate pricing helps build the sale and closes more sales on the first appointment. Ordering direct reduces errors. It is a terrific benefit to customers and installers, and saves time for personal business owners. For managers, adding sales consultants is more efficient and money-saving.” —Steven C. Bursten, Exciting Windows!, Bethesda, MD

Smartpad Pro Smartpad Pro is an easyto-use, fully integrated software for window covering dealers that combines performance management, project management and process automation to cover every aspect of a sales team’s workflow. The biggest thing dealers appreciate about Smartpad Pro is that it’s the only software to maintain all of its products and pricing for free. Drapery dealers can use Smartpad Pro’s drapery tool for making the calculations needed to produce accurate quotes for customers. They can also utilize features such as automated marketing tool, the quote tracking and conversion tool, and an integrated workflow manager. Administrative staff like Smartpad Pro because it works with many accounting systems and TaxJar integrations. It includes a payment gateway so sales and installation staff can take payments on the road.

Steelyard Steelyard is a free sourcing website that helps interior designers, architects or purchasing departments secure to-the-trade products. Search and filter thousands of products; store and organize selections in project folders; and send and track purchase inquiries to the vendor with one click. Because Steelyard is not a direct reseller, you can be confident that when you contact a vendor, you’re getting the same (or better) designer terms, discounts and pricing that you would get if you contacted them independently. Steelyard manually vets the credentials of every registered member, so when a vendor receives your inquiry, they immediately know that you are a qualified design-trade customer, which means there’s no need to send your information to multiple vendors. Steelyard also makes product management easy, allowing you to save and organize products by client, project, category or phase. V



inspiration : all in the family

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All in the Family BY SOPHIA BENNETT


orking with a family member can be the best thing in the world or a chance for long-standing tensions to come up at the office, not just

around the dinner table. Fortunately for Sharon Falcher and Sherica Maynard, owners of a

Decorating Den franchise in Conyers, GA, that first scenario is true. The mother-daughter pair have complementary skills and a deep respect for each other that makes their partnership work (until their strong personalities clash… but

more on that later). The award-winning designers shared their thoughts on current window treatment trends, best practices for digital marketing and what the home of the future looks like.



inspiration : all in the family

Sharon’s Story Growing up in Trinidad and then Toronto, Falcher always looked forward to her family’s tradition of transforming their house at Christmastime. “My job was to make the window treatments and make the tablecloth,” she says. “I didn’t know what to call it, I just knew every Christmas I looked forward to doing my thing.” When she moved to Atlanta as a young adult, the first thing she bought was a sewing machine. She worked for a designer making window treatments, and after nine months, that designer told her, “You need your own business.” Once she went out on her own, her business quickly grew to more than making drapes. “I would go into people’s homes to install the treatments and I would start moving furniture,” she says. Soon people were hiring her as a full-blown designer. That worked well until the recession hit in 2007. As business began to slow down, she went back to work for a design company while pursuing an interior design degree. Her goal became to buy a Decorating Den franchise so she could take advantage of the company’s wholesale relationships and other tools. But she wasn’t sure how she would ever be able to afford one. Then her mother won the lottery. She gave the prize money to Falcher so she could buy her franchise. She became her own boss again in 2013.

Sherica’s Story The oldest of four girls, Maynard was always her mother’s second-incommand. She began helping with sewing and window treatment installation at a young age, and she picked up her on mother’s love of design quickly. “Most people on a Sunday, they would relax and hang out,” she says. “We would go to model subdivisions and check them out and come home and say, ‘Let’s knock down this wall!’ It was a hobby for us to redesign spaces.” Maynard went to Georgia State University intending to study architecture. But a year into her program, she was offered an opportunity to move to New York and become a professional model. “I went for the summer, and the summer turned into one semester off, which turned into 10 years later,” she says. She traveled the world, doing shows in places like Milan and Cape Town, while simultaneously earning her BFA at the Parsons School of Design. She gave up the runway and joined her mom in 2016. The transition from model to designer has felt natural. “The home is really like fashion for me,” she says.

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inspiration : all in the family

Family Matters Falcher and Maynard love working together. “Sherica brings a younger approach to things than I would have thought of,” Falcher says. “She has some fresh ideas. And she knows me. If I say to her, ‘I’m not really feeling that,’ she knows it’s not to knock her down. It’s to do a better design.” “I’ve definitely been blessed to work with someone who has the amount of experience (my mom) has,” Maynard says. “Coming into this industry, there’s a lot that school doesn’t teach you that she just knows. Not just window treatments or scale or pattern, either. She knows construction. Sometimes I feel like the contractors are intimidated by her because she knows construction.” Both women appreciate having a colleague they can trust without fail. “Sometimes when you do a bigger project, it’s helpful to step away,” Falcher says. “But if you don’t have that time to step away and refresh your eyes, it’s good to have someone who has a fresh eye and can make sure it doesn’t become stale.” Tensions inevitably rise, though, and they have a slightly different tenor given the family dynamic. They’re both stubborn, and their natural tendency not to budge can lead to conflicts. “My mom is used to doing things her way because she’s done them her way for so long,” says Maynard. "Sometimes it kind of bothers me because I want to do things a different way."

Views on Current Window Treatment Trends Falcher has been making and specifying window treatments for over 30 years. In that time, she’s seen many trends rise and fall. Right now, the focus is on simpler styles. “People don’t want all the fussy window treatments,” she says. “They just want simple. We’re doing a lot of top treatments. A lot of people like plantation shutters. But most of the time it’s paneling. They’re all about keeping the natural light in.” She typically insists on blackout lining for her clients’ draperies, though. “If I’m selling them fabric, I want (the color) to stay true for years, but that sunlight beating through it is not good for it,” Falcher says. And most of the time, she is installing curtains with vibrant designs and colors these days. “We very rarely do a solid panel, and we very rarely do neutrals.” Homeowners are often afraid of colorful window treatments at first, Maynard says, but their nervousness quickly fades. “Fabric is a big part of the space, and the window treatments can really add character. When we show them that window treatments can almost be a piece of art, they’re more open to it.”

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“Sherica is very firm and she knows exactly what she wants, and I like to her to bend because I am mom,” Falcher says. “But she’s very confident in what she’s doing as a designer. I trust what she’s doing, and I really value her input.”




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inspiration : all in the family

Advice for Digital Marketing Falcher and Maynard rely on Instagram to publicize their company and attract clients. When using the platform as a branding tool, “make sure the page is clean. You don’t want too much personal info,” Maynard says. (Save that for Stories or other ephemeral features.) “Make sure people can know what you’re about, what your style is. Post pictures that show how you want to be perceived in the industry. You might do a client’s home and it’s not your style, so that might not be something you put on your page. If there’s more than one person on your team, highlight their work too. No brand is built by an individual. It’s built as a team.” Besides sharing your own work, post information that’s relevant to the design industry and positions you as a knowledgeable resource within it. “As design professionals, we’re the leaders in our industry, and people come to us knowing that we know what’s next and what’s the trend,” Maynard says. “Not everyone can afford an interior designer, so they’re looking for inspiration for what they can do themselves as DIYers.” Falcher and Maynard also have a YouTube channel. That platform is a great resource for pulling back the curtain and showing how a beautiful room is made. “We’ll show an installation or do a Q&A. With that video, you can see all the moving parts it takes

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to bring a vision to life,” Falcher says. Besides helping clients understand how their design process works, videos are a great way to demonstrate their level of customer service and how they interact with each other. “A lot of people say it’s fluid. They don’t feel like I’m the boss or Sherica’s the boss. It’s just a team of women doing the job.” Anyone interested in doing TV should spend some time with YouTube first, Maynard says. It’s a good chance to experience working with video, and it can show you things like your best angles, what words you overuse, how fast you talk and other things to work on. YouTube is also a great spot for firms with colorful characters. They like to do outtakes and blooper reels, dance-offs, DIY demos and other things that allow people to get a sense of their personalities. The pair were recently recognized by Window Fashion VISION as top Window Fashion Influencers. Maynard shared a few thoughts about what it takes to reach “influencer” status. “If you’re using social media as a platform, it’s not just a portfolio, it’s about being social. It’s not just about getting likes, it’s about engaging with the design community.” Use hashtags to find people interested in the same topics as you. Like, comment on and share posts from people you admire, including writers, editors, and other bloggers

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inspiration : all in the family

Thoughts on the Home of the Future Maynard believes homes in the future will be smaller, with open floor plans and more casual décor. They will contain fewer tightly programmed spaces, with people choosing greater flexibility to alter rooms as their needs change from day to day. “People are doing less formal living rooms that can be converted into conversation rooms,” she says. “In big spaces, they like to have multiple seating areas that can be programmed in different ways. A lot of our clients are trying to find work space within their livable space because they’re entrepreneurs and are working from home.” Interest in motorized window treatments is growing among people of all ages. “For the older demographic, technology can be complicated,” she notes. Maynard continues, “It’s our job as designers to show them how simple it can be and how it can be integrated into the house. Motorized treatments help with privacy, save energy and can be easier to operate, especially with two-story windows.” “The thing that I find with this generation, as opposed to when we were growing up, is they’re really interested in making their house a home,” says Falcher. “They’re interested in investing in their space. My mom was about working, working and saving. Younger people want to work and invest in their home so it’s beautiful, so when they come home they can see what they’re working for.” V

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Photos on pages 54 and 56 by Lew Falcher. Photos on pages 58, 60, 62 and 63 by Scott Johnson.

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inspiration : at home in hospitality

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At Home in Hospitality BY SOPHIA BENNETT

Designers have often perceived a wall between residential and commercial or hospitality design that was hard to climb over. The needs and aesthetics of multifamily housing projects, hotels and restaurants, office buildings and storefronts were unlike the demands of private homeowners. The materials and rules were different. Owners of commercial projects were unwilling to break out of their own boxes and look to fresh talent when they needed design work. Some of this is still true today. But this “glass curtain” is slowly falling away as the way we work, travel and live changes. There is more of a desire to have the comforts of home at the office as people work longer hours. As folks travel more for work and pleasure, they’re looking for places that are less institutional and provide more of a sense of place. Women want to feel comfortable in environments that were once dominated by (and decorated for) men.

Shifts such as these have many commercial property owners looking to create spaces that feel more like homes. “Resimercial” design, as it’s sometimes called, presents a big opportunity for many designers who have always wanted to work with businesses but didn’t know how.

Photo courtesy of Crimson Design Group. Photographer: Reagen Taylor Photography



inspiration : at home in hospitality

How Coffee Shops, Co-Working and Clubs Are Changing Design Tim Schelfe, FASID, CID, CAPS, vice president and principal at Laura Britt Design in Austin, TX, attributes the blurring line between residential and commercial design to the shift in the way commercial establishments operate in our rapidly changing world. “Starbucks was instrumental in making the coffee shop about more than getting a coffee and walking away,” he says. “They designed them as active, communal areas where people come together. They had to evolve from hard surfaces to a place where people want to sit on their laptops, make calls and meet friends.”

spas and swimming pools, and—perhaps most importantly— access to like-minded people. She points to Soho House, which now has lodging facilities all over the world, as one of the best examples of how private clubs are evolving. “I think country clubs are going away, or they’re going to have to be forward-thinking, because this younger demographic isn’t really interested in a stuffy country club,” Stauffer says. Besides changing their policies on things like dress codes and family restrictions, they need to do away with the stiff leather chairs and dark colors that made these spaces seem exclusive to men. Many office buildings are trying to co-opt the interest in private clubs by adding amenity areas that have formal and informal meeting spaces. They have features like fitness centers, snack bars and outdoor seating with firepits. “You can’t get to these areas unless you’re a tenant of the building, but if you’re a tenant, you can go there and have a meeting, or have coffee, or take a little group or entertain a client,” Schelfe says.

Zachary Luke, owner and principal designer at Zachary Luke Designs in Charlotte, NC, points to a CBD oil company he worked with recently as another example of how retail establishments are changing.“ The client wanted it to be a hangout where you can come and do CBD if you want, but you can also just enjoy the space and meet new people,” COMMERCIAL AND HOSPITALITY DESIGN he says. “It’s about blending RESOURCES different businesses and different creatives together.”

Looking to break into commercial and

Put all of this together, and it’s easier to see why builders, architects and property managers are looking for a softer, more home-like look and feel for their properties. And that means that in many cases, residential designers are the perfect partners. “(They) know the soft side of design—texture, color, pattern,” Schelfe says. “All of that translates perfectly to these types of projects.”

Senior living is an obvious place hospitality design? Here are resources and where there’s not a significant events to explore: distinction between residential and commercial. “The aging American Institute of Architects (AIA) population is exploding,” says American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Schelfe. “People are living longer and they’re living healthier HD Expo longer, and they want to be in Hospitality Design magazine an environment that’s exciting rather than like a hospital. And How to Make the Switch Interior Design Society (IDS) then as they’re transitioning It’s easier than ever for residential Interiors magazine to senior living, they’re doing designers to break into working on so with their younger children commercial spaces. But how do you International Interior Design Association (IIDA) participating in the process. actually go about it, especially if When they go to these facilities, you have a small firm? the children want to feel that mom and dad are going to be in a really interesting facility, not Luke recommends starting with smaller businesses. “Don’t go an institution.” after big projects right away because you’re not going to get Cheryl Stauffer, CEO and principal at Crimson Design Group in Columbus, OH, is seeing a big shift in hospitality and commercial office design. “People spend so much time at work, and they’re becoming so mobile, so they want spaces that feel like home and they want the comforts of home while they’re traveling,” she says. More and more clients are telling her they don’t want the same-old spaces at their property. “They want it to feel like someone’s living room.” The other area of the hospitality industry where Stauffer has seen big changes is private clubs. Some co-working spaces and hospitality companies are taking the place of the traditional country club, adding features like dining rooms, movie theaters,

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them,” he said. “But you can get in with someone who owns a business and wants their office done.” One of his firm’s early commercial projects was for a real estate agent whose home Luke had designed. He was able to do the client’s conference room and lobby as well.

Small projects will help you build a portfolio of commercial projects you can use to land larger contracts. Put them in your portfolio, and share them on social media with relevant hashtags, Luke recommends. “A lobby is the commercial version of a living room, so if you have some really good living rooms or family rooms you’ve done, present those as well. It shows how well you use furniture and artwork. After people see you can do a little commercial design, that puts you on their radar and

TOP LEFT: A sitting area at HempLily in Cornelius, NC. Photo courtesy of Zachary Luke. TOP RIGHT: A room designed by Zachary Luke at Lake Norman Law Firm in Cornelius, NC. BOTTOM: Photo courtesy of Crimson Design Group. Photographer: Reagen Taylor Photography

< Zachary Luke

Tim Schelfe Cheryl Stauffer



inspiration : at home in hospitality

Photo courtesy of Crimson Design Group. Photographer: Reagen Taylor Photography

they’re like, ‘Oh, you can do it on a larger scale too.’” “I really started the commercial work for my residential clients who were business owners—which is most of our clients,” says Schelfe. “It was about having conversations with them about where they work and what they do. They all work in places that need window treatments and furniture and design. Really, it’s about leveraging the relationships that are in front of you.” Schelfe recommends getting to know local architects (especially those without in-house designers), real estate agents and developers, who are some of the best people to make referrals. Attending hospitality and commercial design shows can also be a helpful way to network and learn. (See sidebar on page 68 for a list of recommended shows and resources.)

Things to Know About Commercial Design

There are some very specific things designers need to know if they’re going to work on commercial and hospitality projects. The code requirements are different and often more plentiful, so it’s important to study up. “This is a litigious world, so you have to document everything,” Schelfe adds. While a homeowner may have ideas about creating a greener or healthier home, a company may have a very specific building program it wants to follow. (LEED, WELL and Passive House are a few examples.) Designers need to make sure they’re educated on these programs. It’s important to set your firm up for growth and develop enough capacity to take on big projects, according to Stauffer. If a large commercial entity likes your work on one project, they may ask you to take on their next 10. To do that successfully, your company needs to have processes and systems for everything, Stauffer says. “Clients want to be led through how you’re going to lead their project.” Good communication is key to working with these larger clients. One of the ways Stauffer ensures that happens is assigning a single staff

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person as the point person for each large client—even if there is a team of designers working on multiple different projects for the company. She also recommends moving to a flat fee model rather than an hourly model.

Window Treatment Trends for Commercial Spaces

Even though companies are asking for more homey spaces, they rarely think about window treatments, says Stauffer. That means there’s a real opportunity to educate them about the importance of adding curtains, shades, solar screens or even window films. “The window treatments just finish the room,” she says. “It’s amazing how clients can’t believe the difference it makes in the space.” The most common window coverings Stauffer’s clients want are solar shades. When she specifies draperies, “generally it’s just very simple drapery panels. Where things used to be over the top with lots of trim, that has all gone away. But that’s fine because it’s the fabric that makes the space.” Very simple roman shades are also commonly requested by many of the firm’s clients. Taking advantage of natural light is very popular today, Luke points out, and that can make business owners hesitant to include window coverings in a design project. He talks up their functional use as much as their decorative one; come afternoon, the last thing a business owner or their clients want is the hot sun beating in on them. For people who want to retain their natural light, Luke will often recommend a tinted window film to block UV rays, along with a simple roller shade or blind. “The trends that I’ve seen is window dressings that are much simpler,” says Schelfe. “They’re not as dressy or ornate as they were. That probably follows the culture we’re in, where I can’t even tell you the last time I wore a tie.” For clients that give the green light to draperies, he typically does good-quality, highly tailored panels with no swags and minimal trim. He’s also likely to specify fixed blinds, shutters or roller shades. V

w ww. wc a a . o r g V ISION |


inspiration : a window into the past

Thistle Hill Weavers made the fabric for these curtains, which hang in the parlor at the Isaac and Elizabeth Hale Home in Harmony, PA. The Hale's daughter was Emma Hale, who married Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church. Photo by Rabbit Goody. This green gossamer fabric was used for the undercurtains at the Schuyler Mansion in Albany, NY. Photo by Rabbit Goody.

These historically-accurate window treatments hang in a private home. Photo by Richard Walker.

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Schuyler Mansion in Albany, NY. Photo by Rabbit Goody.

A Window into the Past BY SOPHIA BENNETT Thistle Hill Weavers in Cherry Valley, NY, owned by renowned textile historian Rabbit Goody, has built a niche weaving cloth that is perfect for older homes, museums and 21st-century clothing designers. “We work more like the 18th- and 19th-century weavers who were jobbers,” she says, where people could bring small, specific manufacturing projects that fit a certain need. Besides supplying textiles to tradespeople, Goody has put her deep knowledge of traditional styles and décor to work by designing and installing historically accurate window treatments—something she has done for private homes as well as some of the country’s most famous monuments for the last 30 years.

In the Beginning…

Goody was part of the “back to the land” movement that took off in the 1970s. She moved to upstate New York intending to build her own house, grow her own food and make her own clothes. She quickly developed a talent for spinning and weaving. “It’s something I describe as innate,” she says. “The same way some people can pick up a musical instrument and play without a lot of formal training, I was able to do that with weaving.” In addition to making cloth for her own clothes, Goody had a line of high-end wool and silk scarves she sold to major department stores. She did all of the work by hand—something she hid from her clients because she feared they would question her ability to keep up with production. She had her own worries about whether she would be able to continue to run a viable business based solely on her body’s

ability to sit at a loom for hours at a time. She put those worries—and the business—on hold to work as the head of the weaving department at The Farmers’ Museum in New York. She later became its head of domestic arts and assistant curator of textiles, then moved to the now-closed New York State Historical Association, where she was the curator of textiles. By the late 1980s, she was ready to stop managing old textiles and go back to making new ones. This time, though, she had a different business model in mind. Mills in New England were going out of business because they could no longer compete in the international market. But Goody believed there was a place for someone who could do small-batch, specialized production. She started acquiring equipment from the defunct mills, and Thistle Hill Weavers was born. Today, her clients include the film industry, architectural firms, clothing designers and local sheep farmers looking to have their wool turned into value-added products. The mill works mostly with natural materials such as hemp, mohair, silk, worsted, alpaca or exotic fibers (although its architectural clients are more likely to specify products made from synthetic fibers). Goody also works with several clothing designers who are looking for eco-friendly fabrics that are hard to find elsewhere.

Designing Historically Accurate Window Treatments

For historic projects, Goody’s work often goes beyond just making



inspiration : a window into the past

fabric. She may do the research, design and even the installation of curtains or bed hangings in older homes or museums. “We use historic texts that were published in the period for the designs,” she says. (See sidebar below for some of her favorites.) “We have to imagine people’s taste, but we don’t have to imagine people’s styles from that period.” The first question she asks any client isn’t the age of the house or where it’s located, but the economic standard of the original occupant. “Was this person the wealthiest person in the neighborhood? Were they middle class? What did they do for a living? Were they aristocratic? The clothes make the person, but the window treatments make a statement about the house. That was how people identified their status in the past.” She’ll even dig into old probate records to get a sense of what types of things the family spent their money on, including how much they invested in home furnishings. After that, Goody considers what is appropriate for the home’s architectural style, when it was built and the type of room. (The drapes for a formal parlor, for example, may require a different level of sophistication than those for a bedroom.) If there’s documentation about the types of curtains and valances that existed in the home, that will also influence her thinking about what to recommend.

looked like in the past. We can only know what the style was.” With all of that information, she’ll finally start thinking about the types of fabrics to use. “Often, we send a variety of samples to clients and we say, ‘Here are things we’ve done. Where does this fit for you and what colorways are you thinking of?’” From there, they can start to make decisions about the specific needs for that home. Besides her ability to create historically accurate fabrics, Goody differentiates her design work by paying close attention to trims and finishes. “The trims are actually more important than the fabric or the style,” she says. “The way people used to talk about it with bed hangings is that the fabric costs pennies, the trims cost shillings, and the tassels and tiebacks cost pounds. That’s still true today. And what makes an 18th-century window treatment work is the trims and finishes more than the style.” Goody’s fabric and design work can be seen in George Washington’s Mount Vernon near Washington, D.C.; Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s manse in Virginia; the home at the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site near Kinderhook, NY; and Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace in Kentucky. Get more information about Thistle Hill Weavers at thistlehillweavers.com. V

She also encourages her clients to make sure whatever window treatments they choose fit with their own taste. People often think they need to create a perfect replica of the previous owner’s treatments to keep the house historically accurate. But it’s important not to confuse style and taste, she says. “Your taste is your taste, and you need to let your taste be what you get. Don’t feel compelled to look at other historic houses. You need to make the house your own and not feel guilty about it. That’s the mistake curators make all the time. We can’t know exactly what the window treatments

BOOKS ON HISTORIC HOME DESIGN “Authentic Décor: The Domestic Interior 16201920” by Peter Thornton “Capricious Fancy: Draping and Curtaining the Historic Interior, 1800-1930” by Gail Caskey Winkler “Soft Furnishings: 1830-1930” by Elizabeth Wright and James Broadbent A project for the More House at The Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown, NY. Photo by Richard Walker.

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V ISI ON S E AT is a biweekly Facebook Live broadcast that gives you a look behind the scenes of the window coverings industry. Host Sophia Bennett, editor-inchief of Window Fashion VISION, and special guests highlights trends, movers and shakers, educational opportunities, suppliers and other information you need to make your interior design practice stronger. Join us every other Tuesday at 4 p.m. eastern time at facebook.com/wfvisionmagazine.


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Uni-Soleil new roller clutch are smoother, easy go and much quieter. With complete range of roller collection in the world with USA patent, we can advance your roller blind to high end class. The standard colors are in white, black, ivory, grey and brown. We offer full solution in window blind industry. Please contact Uni-Soleil for further information. sales@uni-soleil.com.tw or visit www.uni-soleil.com.tw

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

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Surewin – Quality components at competitive pricing from our Florida warehouse. Custom sourcing available. Plastic bead chain in rolls or continuous loops; numerous colors in all lengths, nickel plated and stainless chain in 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 lbs. Get our new catalog! Contact: Surewin@optonline.net, tel: 239/3623342, fax: 239/362-1383


The Perfect Pairing



Designed by Stephanie Freeman, Lead Interior Designer, Custom Drapery Designs, LLC, Richardson, TX

2020 is the Year of Motorization. At Orion, we have partnered with the experts at Somfy, the premier resource for motors and controls, to craft the perfect pairing of technology and style in our custom crafted motorized decorative drapery hardware. Motorized draperies bring a dramatic finishing touch to any room, and beautiful drapery hardware is the perfect way to complete the look. We design, fabricate and hand-finish all of our broad range of traversing systems. With over 200 finishes to choose from on single or double rod track systems; with or without rings, and a variety of fascias, styles and materials from traditional to modern, we are your go-to source for motorized drapery hardware.

Round Hammered Iron Art Classic designs in steel with over 200 finishes to choose from on single or double rod track systems; with or without rings, and a variety of fascias, styles and materials.

Square Italian Collection Brushed stainless steel and Bohemia crystal and the seamless function of motorization give new meaning to Modern Glamour.

Design Art From elegantly simple to exquisitely detailed, Design Art motorized drapery poles are hand painted and assembled just for you. Our finish combinations give you over 685 choices

Booth #509 sales@ironartbyorion.com | www.ironartbyorion.com | 877.476.6278



In Our Next Issue…

The May + June issue of Window Fashion VISION will have complete coverage of the International Window Coverings Expo. Get tips from our speakers, pictures of the show and a preview of the 2021 host city. We will also showcase the first group of winners from the annual VISION Design & Workroom Competition Awards.

Writers such as Jana Platina Phipps and Susan Schultz will share the latest window treatment trends they’ve seen at national and international shows. Among those trend pieces will be a look at the latest news and information on the textile industry. We’ll continue our look at how designers can transition from residential to hospitality design with an interview with Karla Teuffer, co-owner of Hotel Drapery & Bedding in California (one of her rooms is pictured here). Plus get business tips for retailers and designers, inspirational photos and all of the great information you’re accustomed to finding in every issue.

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MARCH + APRIL 2020 | wf-vision.com döfix No Sew, Inc. • 1947 Ironway Dr • Sanford, MI 48657 • Tel 800-962-8983; 989-687-7999 • www.dofix.com

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