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STAYING STRONG STAYING TOGETHER VOLUME 41, ISSUE 3 MAY + JUNE 2020

WINDOW FASHION PROFESSIONALS REACT TO THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS How to make your business resilient in troubled times Building your business when work is slow Manufacturers giving back

2020 TRENDS: TEXTILES, COLORS AND MORE


light, comfort and beauty Introducing six new colors to STYLE 5000.


contents : volume 41, issue 3

in this issue INSIGHT 16

What Do You Do When There Is Nothing to Do?

To keep your business going in tough times, think back to what you did to build it up in the first place.

by James A. Holloway

18

7 Practical Strategies to Infuse Staying Power into Your Business From paying attention to cash flow and expenses to maximizing marketing and technology, your goal right now is to react but not overreact.

22

Working on Your Business During COVID-19 Is your current business model sustainable or is it time for a pivot?

by Kathryn Dillon

by LuAnn Nigara and Vita Vygovska

24

26

Finding Money in the Couch Cushions

Protecting Your Mindset in These Uncharted Waters

During times of crisis, the best businesses adapt their business and sales practices. Here are two ideas to try.

We are facing unfamiliar and frightening circumstances right now. How can we build and sustain resilience?

by Madeleine MacRae

by Amber De La Garza

28

30

The forced slowdown is hard, but you can use this time to make your business stronger.

These five tips will help you improve the quality of online pay-per-click ads

by Roger Magalhaes

by Welton Hong

How to Benefit from the Pandemic

Successful PPC Search Ad Campaigns

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contents : volume 41, issue 3

in this issue INDUSTRY 32

How Manufacturers Are Giving Back in a Time of Crisis Learn about the many window covering companies that have shifted their operations to make masks, face shields and other personal protective equipment.

by Sophia Bennett

36

Remembering Beth Hodges Beth Hodges—drapery fabricator, educator, speaker, trainer, installer and window covering industry icon—passed away on April 26.

by Linda Principe

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contents : volume 41, issue 3

in this issue I N S P I R AT I O N 40

You Do You

Trends and ideas gleaned from domestic shows include mixed metals, wellness and retro influences.

by Kathy Wall

42

A Window into the World

Check out the hot products spotted at European design shows earlier this year.

by Susan Schultz

FIXTURES 12

Grace Note

A word from our publisher.

14

Letter from the Editor

Predictions for the coming months.

48

Focus

Product showcase

50

What’s Next The Marvin Skycove. Photo courtesy of Marvin.

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We pull back the curtain on our next issue.


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


W IND OW FASHION V ISION MAG A ZINE President + CEO | Grace McNamara grace@wf-vision.com Editor-in-Chief | Sophia Bennett sophia@wf-vision.com Creative Director | Nichole Day nichole@wf-vision.com Industry Liaison Editor | Gail Gutsche gail@wf-vision.com Copy Editor | Maude Campbell maudedotycampbell@gmail.com Marketing & Circulations Director | Ania McNamara ania@mcnamaramarketing.com

S TAY IN G S T R ONG S TAY IN G TOG ET

Controller | Heather Bradley heather@wf-vision.com

SALES AND M ARKET IN G

3 MAY + JUN E 2020

N PROFES

VOLUME 41, ISSUE

Competition Coordinator competition@wf-vision.com

WINDOW FASHIO

HER

SIONALS REACT TO THE CORONAVIRU Supporting your staff S CRISIS during hard times Building your busi ness when work is slow Manufacturers givin g back

2020 TRENDS: TEXTILES, COLORS

AND MORE

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

CONT RIBUT ORS IN T HIS ISSUE

MAY + JUNE 2020 VOLUME 41, ISSUE 3

Sophia Bennett, Amber De La Garza, Kathryn Dillon, James A. Holloway, Welton Hong, Madeleine MacRae, Roger Magalhaes, LuAnn Nigara, Linda Principe, Susan Schultz, Vita Vygovska, Kathy Wall

SUBSC RIPT IONS

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. May + June 2020, Volume 41, Issue 3.

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welcome : grace note

F

ive years from now, people will be remembering the crisis that took the world by storm. It will be one of the events

that marks time—a reference to what came before and what will change after. We started out the year in great spirits. The economy was booming and most businesses were having a record start to the year. And in a heartbeat, everything changed.

So what do we do now? When you get this issue, most of

us will be waiting anxiously for the good news as to when we can resume our businesses as usual. But “business as usual” is not going to happen anytime soon. What are our options in the meantime? There is most definitely a silver lining to this situation, and we need to have the strength and courage to say to ourselves: Not why did this happen TO me, but, rather, why did this happen FOR me?

GRACE NOTE

It’s time for a reboot and to look for alternative ways to do business.

This crisis will challenge us to rethink our businesses. For example, it's forcing many of us who thought we couldn’t sell products or design services online to learn that online opportunities are an indispensable part of doing business going forward—certainly not for each client, but as an alternative and a way to increase business in addition to inperson sales.

We have to look at this as an opportunity because we don’t have a choice. We were an industry before this crisis, and we will be the window covering industry again. It will take a little time and we will be wiser on the other end. Take the opportunity to develop new skills and reflect on what is next on the horizon because we will get through this, as we have before.

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There is some good news out there. While your customers are working from home, they are noticing their environment more. Google searches for “window treatments” are actually trending across the country. What can you do to capitalize on this now? Communicate with your customers. Send them a friendly note asking how they are doing. Remind them that you are here when they are ready for you. Give them a reason to visit your website and make sure your website is current and fresh. And please support the advertisers in this issue who are operating and looking forward to your business. Here is what we are doing to help you. We are embracing change and taking a risk to connect suppliers with customers that wanted to be at the International Window Coverings Expo in Charlotte by launching IWCE Virtual on July 29 and 30. It is not likely that we will be able to hold a live event this year, but this event will be a terrific alternative. I’m excited about the possibilities it holds. Please visit iwcevirtual.com for the latest information about our virtual event. Every week, we bring you a dialogue with dealers, suppliers, designers and others to discuss relevant issues and how to manage through uncertainty. You can tune in to the IWCE Business Forum on our Facebook page, facebook.com/ iwcexpo, and VISION Seat at facebook.com/wfvisionmagazine.

Let’s do this together as an industry—embrace change and move forward! Be safe and healthy. Until we meet in person again,

Grace McNamara Publisher grace@wf-vision.com


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welcome : letter from the editor

A

lot has changed since the last time I wrote to you. It’s been a heartbreaking

Knowing all of that, people are going to want to transform their homes into comfortable places where they enjoy

few months as I’ve watched friends and

spending time. These factors will create a favorable

colleagues get sick, have their businesses

environment for interior designers and workrooms.

gutted, become full-time home-schoolers and

interact with loved ones only via Zoom call. It’s a hard time for all of us—and yet, as an eternal optimist, I have to look for the good. For this issue, our columnists did an amazing job of offering you practical advice for how to maintain and perhaps

even grow your business during the pandemic. I thought I would use this space to offer a few predictions for what’s ahead for our industry.

PEOPLE WILL WANT TO RENOVATE THEIR HOMES. Homeowners have been stuck in their residences for a long time now. They’ve been staring at their windows and rooms and thinking about all of the things they want to change. I expect some of the people who have been granted permission

EDITOR'S LETTER

to work from home will like it so much that they’ll continue to telecommute once all of this is over, which will lead to a need for new home offices. In addition, it’s entirely possible that we will all

need to self-quarantine again at some point.

This assumes, of course, that people have money to pay for services and new products. But as LuAnn Nigara and Vita Vygovska point out in their terrific column (page 18), not everyone is suffering financially in this recession. In any economic downturn, there are industries that suffer and ones that do well. Demand will still exist once people can invite designers into their homes again.

WE ALL NEED TO TAKE THE LONG VIEW. In a Zoom meeting a few weeks ago, my colleague Carolyn Miller, a writer and instructional designer in Portland, Oregon, shared

an insight she had gotten from a client recently: “This is not a time to sell people. This is a time to build brand loyalty. This is a time to be of service to your clients.” She hit the nail on the head. Right now, all of us need to be taking the long view. Of course, we need to do everything we can to survive in the short run. But we should also be thinking about how we advertise, market and otherwise get in front of clients so they will think of us when they’re ready to order window treatments or design services. Part of taking the long view, too, is finding ways to better ourselves as professionals. I hope you’ve had a few moments to pursue a certification, revamp your business practices, invest in e-commerce or other technology solutions, or do something else that will make your business stronger. Companies that can adapt, innovate and pivot are the ones that are going to thrive.

THERE WILL BE A “NEW” NORMAL. Many of you have probably seen an article titled “Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting” on social media. In it, author Julio Vincent Gambuto calls this period The Great Pause. Although he acknowledges that there has been widespread suffering and death caused by the coronavirus, he also argues that

it “has given us is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see ourselves and our country in the plainest of views. … If we want to create a better country and a better world for our kids, and if we want to make sure we are even sustainable as a nation and as a democracy, we have to pay attention to how we feel right now.”

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At this moment, most of us are a cocktail of emotions, with frightened, angry and exhausted very much in the mix. But does anyone else also feel somewhat … free? Free to spend time with their family rather than taking on an endless stream of social obligations? Free to do things like create a strategic plan or really dig into how to improve

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their business or life? And does anyone else feel a little bit inspired? Inspired to continue to live in a world where people help others in need, where the skies of major cities are free of pollution, where people realize the value of locally owned companies? Some people are quick to dismiss this notion and say nothing will change as a result of this crisis. But things will only stay the same if we let them. While it’s impossible to forget the bad things we feel right now, let’s not forget the good things too. We can make time for ourselves and our families, prioritize our health, find ways to be gentler on our planet. We cannot remake the world as quickly as we shut it down due to the global pandemic. But if we remember our goals and hold tight to them—and if we follow the wise words, “Be the change you want to see in the world”—we can and will make improvements over time. Please let us know if there’s anything else we can do to support you during this difficult time.

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

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insight : james holloway

What Do You Do When There Is Nothing to Do?

To keep your business going in tough times, think back to what you did to build it up in the first place BY JAMES A. HOLLOWAY

M

ost businesses have cycles. They have periods where they produce revenue with no indication that it will ever stop. Then they have downturns when there is little to no revenue being produced. It’s in these downturns that business owners have their mettle tested. These economic challenges can be seasonal, the result of changes in consumer demand, or the result of a natural disaster or other crisis (much like the one we’re facing right now).

The suddenness of a downturn can dictate how easily a business owner is able to adapt. If the market slows over a considerable length of time, the owner can more easily alter their business plan. However, a downturn like this one, which was almost immediate, makes it much more difficult for a company to adapt.

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A business owner may take advantage of a slowdown to catch up on paperwork and some less important to-do items, but there’s only so much time they can spend painting the walls of the showroom or having the van cleaned. Eventually, they need a plan to address the slowdown. If a downturn becomes significant, many business owners are faced with some tough questions. Will business pick up next week, or will it be another month or so before things turn around? Do they lay off half of the staff or eliminate some employee benefits to cover payroll for another month or two? What can they do to find more business? How do they cut production costs without sacrificing quality? First off, take a deep breath… hold it… now exhale… slowly. Give yourself permission to relax just a little bit.


Take some time to analyze exactly where your business is now. Then think back to when you were just getting started in business. Ask yourself these questions: •

What did you do to make the business grow?

What was the foundation you put in place to make it work?

Who did you surround yourself with for support?

Who was an integral part of your team? Are they still part of your team? If not, can you bring them back on board? Should you bring them back?

What philosophies, thought processes, values and techniques did you have in the beginning that you’ve let go by the wayside? Do you need to revisit or revive any of those or do you now have better ones in place?

Now, write down exactly what it will take to get your business where you want it to be. •

How many new clients do you need? How many closed sales? How many referrals?

How much revenue do you need? How much profit?

How soon do you need it? Don’t just say “as soon as possible.” Write down a deadline.

Honestly assess whether or not you can do what is necessary to get your business to the place you want or need it to be by the deadline you’ve set. If you can, then do it. Start right now and attack the game plan you’ve just laid out. If you can’t, then you’ve got to do some further analysis. Can you realistically move out your deadline to accomplish your goals and still operate your business at full or (at least) current capacity? Can you expand into other markets or related industries to create new opportunities for revenue? Can you expand into other cities and connect with potential clients there? It may be a bit of a cliché, but there is a lot of truth in the statement “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Just because things look bad right now does not mean that there is not a solution. If you really think about what needs to be done, without letting the stress and anxiety of the situation take control, you can find the answer you are looking for. You may even find more than one solution to your problem. V

WCAA chapter meetings.

James A. Holloway began his career as a window treatment 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.” From 2014 to 2015 he was the Installation Instructor for the Custom Home Furnishings Academy in Roswell, GA. He has been a speaker at various events including

SouthEastInstalls.com Facebook: HollowayJamesA Twitter: HollowayJamesA LinkedIn: HollowayJamesA

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insight : luann + vita

7 Practical Strategies to Infuse Staying Power into Your Business

From paying attention to cash flow and expenses to maximizing marketing and technology, your goal right now is to react but not overreact BY LUANN NIGARA AND VITA VYGOVSKA

G

iven the current situation and the everevolving information we are receiving, it is understandable that most of us are feeling anxious about the future of our businesses. We feel it too. The uncertainly alone is unbearable, let alone all the other grim news.

My biggest, overarching advice to you is this: Don’t overreact, but don’t not act. While it sounds like simple advice, a common reaction to a crisis is to find yourself in turmoil and become so overwhelmed by emotion that you are unable to take any action or make any decisions. That is not going to bring you any comfort, nor is it productive for your business.

We are partnering on this article to give you practical, experiencebased tactics we are employing in our businesses—LuAnn, based on what she’s learned over time, and Vita, from the perspective of a newer business owner (who also receives coaching from LuAnn).

You need to take action and make decisions that are going to allow you to lead your business through the crisis. As a business owner, you have a lot of people depending on you. They need your leadership now more than ever.

LUANN: I’ve seen my fair share of recessions and crises. I’ve made some mistakes—some big ones—but I’ve also learned several lessons that allow me to confidently say that Window Works will weather this storm.

As soon as we realized where this was going, we knew we needed a plan, and that we needed to take quick and decisive action. Here are specific actions and recommendations:

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1

Know Your Cash Flow

4

LUANN: Focus on your cash flow. Literally every aspect of your business and how you move forward into the unknown will depend on your current cash flow.

VITA: I love my spreadsheets, so for Vitalia, Inc., I turned to my tried-and-true tool (but you can do it manually too). We look at cash on hand + forecasted revenue – forecasted expenses. Forecasted expenses = actual expenses you’ve already incurred + your best guesstimate of additional expenses you’ll incur. Do this on a monthly basis or, better yet, weekly. This exercise (brutal as it may be) will show you how long your existing cash reserve will last you, thus giving you a much-needed kick to take action.

2

LUANN: Move forward with closing sales you were working on before the crisis broke. Not everyone will be financially affected by this. Don’t be afraid to be the one to close on these sales and opportunities.

3

Collect Accounts Receivable

LUANN: You should be looking at your expenses with a very critical eye. Take every step to eliminate unnecessary expenses, no matter how small or trivial they may seem. Many small expense cuts can add up to significant amounts that will make the difference in being able to make payroll down the road … or not. VITA: For Vitalia, Inc., I honestly didn’t think this would be applicable. I mean, c’mon, I run a pretty tight ship. But I went through our 2019 and 2020 year-to-date P&L with a very fine-tooth comb. I discovered that there was an app that renewed back in August 2019 that we no longer used. Canceled. Another discovery was that we had several URLs parked with hopes of using them some day. Canceled. I bet if you went through the same exercise, you would find some things to cut back too.

5

Maximize Your Revenue

VITA: Even though this was tough advice to hear, I took it to heart. Not everyone is struggling financially. It’s also helped me to know that I can close sales using my authentic voice. For Vitalia, Inc., I personally reached out with an individual email or phone call to each and every one of our customers. I titled it “Touching base” and started by saying, “I’ve been thinking about you.” I continued with, “We are here for you to provide advice, support, estimates, samples and whatever other help you need.” I closed by sharing my personal feeling that “we will get through this and will be stronger and wiser on the other side.”

Minimize Expenses

Manage Payroll

LUANN:There may come a time when you need to institute a pay cut. Payroll is the number one expense of most businesses, mine included. Making a temporary pay cut can help keep your employees on the payroll, if partially, and keep your business afloat.

VITA: Although the hours have been reduced, I am doing everything I can to keep my people busy with projects that would not have seen the light of day otherwise. Standard procedures manual—yes, let’s dust it off and update. Product presentations (to have ready at appointments)—yes! Pricing comparisons and analyses—give me five, please!

6

LUANN: Now is the time to collect on the monies due to you. Review all outstanding balances and move to collect on them as soon as possible. Yes, you should absolutely do so in a manner that is tactful and respectful to individuals and their situations, but do understand that you must be firm in collecting what is owed to you for the well-being of your business and your family.

VITA: I really listened to what LuAnn was saying. Do it in my own authentic voice, but don’t not do it. We reached out with the following message (email or phone call): “Thank you for letting us provide value to your home. We hope you’re enjoying your window treatments, especially now that we are bound to our homes. Your final balance for this project is $X. Kindly remit it at your earliest convenience. Our acceptable terms are ___. Please stay healthy and safe. We can’t wait to see you in person soon.” Kind and empathetic, but unapologetic and firm.

Leverage Technology

LUANN: You should continue to conduct as much business as possible by utilizing all the opportunities and technology that make working remotely possible. You may not be able to complete any installs at this time, but that does not mean your only option is to remain idle. VITA: At Vitalia, Inc., we are employing all virtual means of communication and still providing support to our design clients. Jill Rodgers of High Country Drapery Design is offering semi-custom window treatment services from the predetermined selection of fabrics, trims and hardware. This cuts down on measuring trips and keeps her employees working and her customers happy. Hundreds of interior designers are starting, revamping or speeding up the release of virtual design services.

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insight : luann + vita

7

Focus on Marketing

LUANN: Do not cut back on your marketing. This is one expense that you should continue to invest in as much as your budget allows. Be smart about how and where you are investing and how much. Do not go into debt by any means. But you need to continue to reach your current and potential clients to let them know you are still here and can be relied upon. VITA: As a marketing major in college with 10 years of marketing experience for a major corporation, and someone who built my business on grassroots bootstrap marketing principles, I could not agree more! Here are some specific tactics we are employing at Vitalia, Inc.: •

Instagram. I am continuing to invest resources (time, energy, money and mental bandwidth) into Instagram—the place where my target market hangs out.

Virtual Lunch ‘n Learns. Education is something that often gets put on the back burner during busy times. Now that we have the time, I want to be that educational resource for my customers.

Staying in touch. We are picking up the phone and having voice-to-voice conversations. We are texting, emailing, DM’ing, PM’ing, Voxer-ing—employing every communication vehicle known to us to just say “hello.”

Economic downturns are inevitable; they are a fact of life. It is absolutely critical that you build and grow your business with that in mind. If you’re capable and prepared to launch a downturn plan of action as soon as a recession becomes clear, you, too, will be able to steer your business through to successfully endure what is to come. Remember: Crises and recessions are temporary, but your business can be built and managed with staying power. Decide to be excellent! 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. WindowWorks-NJ.com/podcasts Facebook: WindowWorksNJ Twitter: WindowWorks_NJ Instagram: WindowWorks

Vitalia Vygovska (Vita for short), CWFP, MBA, is an award-winning window treatment specialist, author, speaker, mom, wife and ballroom dance enthusiast. Her company, Vitalia, Inc., has provided all-encompassing fabrication, measurement, installation and project management services for interior designers for more than a decade. VitaliaInc.com Facebook: VitaliaInc

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insight : kathryn dillon

Working on Your Business During COVID-19 Is your current business model sustainable or is it time for a pivot? BY KATHRYN DILLON

W

ow! I have been super proud of the generous spirit of our industry since the COVID-19 pandemic began. So many individuals have stepped up to create patterns and sew masks, and several furniture, apparel and mattress companies sectioned off part of their production area to create a dedicated space for mask, cap and gown production. Many fabric vendors have also donated fabric to enable personal protective equipment production on a mass-production level as well as an individual level. Sandra VanSickle started the Mask America Facebook Group and joined a nationwide movement of home and professional sewers making masks to donate to fill the gap of the shortage in the medical community. Industry professionals, coaches and vendors have also been super generous with their knowledge and resources, creating webinars that are guiding the design community to shore up our

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businesses. There is a lot to evaluate as we try to understand the psychological, emotional and economic impact of COVID-19 and what we can do to make sure our businesses are sustainable—and how to pivot if needed. By the time this article comes out, I am assuming all of you will have scoured your finances to understand where you are in your cash-flow position. You know what you need to keep your doors open every week. You’ve increased your available credit lines and applied for the government financial programs that are available. Some of you will be continuing to work on current projects, but others are looking to create new opportunities. This is a good time to reevaluate the core values of your company and mission statement to make sure you are working in alignment with your strengths. Have you taken on projects or clients that are outside of your expertise and skill set? Do you still enjoy what you are doing? Are you saying yes to projects and clients that cause undue angst?


If so, use this slower time to explore opportunities and work toward clarifying why you do what you do, what your strengths are, what you love and how to realign the core of your business to allow you to work in your sweet spot. For those of you who are focused on ways to work on your current business, here are some things you can do right now:

For those of you who are looking to pivot or diversify your business to create multiple streams of income, here are some opportunities you might consider: •

Research eDesign and how to approach this service to create a sustainable business long term.

Create scalable projects to give clients three price-point options.

Review your processes and procedures and write them down.

Review your client Letter of Agreement.

Evaluate your pricing structure. Have you raised your prices lately? How should you charge: a flat fee, project-based or hourly?

Collaborate with design-build firms to provide interior design services for their clients. Create different design packages that may include full design, kitchen and bath, paint color selections, soft goods and window treatments.

Create online room-design packages. These can be preselected with a couple of different options per item, customized by color, or a completely custom room design package.

Develop educational courses.

Collaborate with real estate agents by adding staging to your offerings.

Update photos on your website, making sure to name them. Include a description of what’s in the photo in the alt tag.

Check to see if your website has an updated Google address with name and phone number. Google likes to have all the information!

Reach out to clients to ask for Google reviews.

If being consistent in adding content to your website is a challenge, take the dates off your blog post entries.

Add video to your marketing strategy. I know this can be a scary one! Start with Instagram and Facebook stories and work up to IGTV and using video in your newsletter and email.

My Favorite Business Resources A Well-Designed Business Podcast by LuAnn Nigara

Episode 442: Power Talk Friday: Kimberly Merlitti: Do You Know Your Cash on Hand Number?

Episode 429: Alinda Morris: A Successful Design Business Depends on a Firm Foundation

Profit is a Choice Podcast by Michele Williams

Episode 11: Tracie Taylor: Backwards Financials for the Win

Online Courses with Michele Williams of Scarlet Thread Consulting

• •

Understanding Your Financials Master Your Profit

As of this writing, I cannot begin to predict exactly how things will look economically in a few months, but I am certain life will be different and business will be different. I see so much good in each of us, rallying together to do what we can to move forward. Think through what you can do using the ideas above to jump-start your creative mind into action. Reach out to colleagues when you get stuck or have an idea to share. We are all in this together. V Kathryn Dillon owns and operates Kathryn Dillon Drapery & Design, LLC, a full-service window treatment and soft goods design and fabrication business based in Marietta, GA. Over the past 24 years, she has created lasting relationships with repeat clients and those that value attention to detail throughout the design and fabrication process. In addition, she travels to other workrooms to provide an extra set of hands or creates customized education to workrooms to fill a knowledge gap. Kathryn has been a local and national WCAA member since 2005 and she currently serves as the WCAA Virtual Chapter President. TheDraperyDesigner.com Facebook: Kathryn Dillon Drapery & Design Instagram: TheDraperyDesigner

Personality Assessment Tools • CliftonStrengths (previously called StrengthsFinder) • Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator • DiSC

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insight : madeleine macrae

Finding Money in the Couch Cushions

During times of crisis, the best businesses adapt their business and sales practices. Here are two ideas to try

P

BY MADELEINE MACRAE

andemic or not, there is one huge opportunity that most window covering dealers neglect. Consider this scenario: You are an owner/operator and your close rate is in the 70 percent range and you’re raking in about $500,000 in sales annually. That means that if your average sale price is similar on abandoned and sold projects, you have about $225,000 in unsold projects sitting in your “quoted” queue.

The status quo is a far bigger competitor than all your other competitors, combined. But the status quo doesn’t win forever. It only wins in the short term. Sixty percent of your unsold leads buy within one year of getting a custom quote. That might mean that they buy on the spot from one of your competitors. It may mean that they go through the whole process from scratch again in a year or so. It may mean that they buy from the company that stays in front of them.

If you’re closer to the $1 million mark at a more modest (and if you have a team, more realistic) close rate of 40 to 45 percent, that means your unsold project kitty is closer to $1.25 million. That’s right: The value of the business you have walked away from is in the twocomma category and exceeds what you’ve actually sold.

So if you’re looking for revenue options within your business, you have two huge opportunities in the realm of what’s typically called “rehash.”

It’s simple math, but many businesses don’t consider the ramifications of putting focus on that number because most business owners think that a customer will call them back if they are interested. False. A customer might call someone back if they are really interested and the need feels urgent to them. That someone might be you, but the odds are not in your favor. The reality is that most homeowners don’t call anyone at all. They settle for the status quo and live with the outdated, inefficient options that are hanging in their homes right now.

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Before we dive into the opportunities, one quick note: If you or your team members are closing at a rate of 30 percent or lower, you are order taking. You are not selling. Thirty percent of people will buy if given the opportunity, so if you are the one presenting the opportunity, you’ll get 30 percent of the business you try to get. But there is so much more for you if you up your selling game. If you’re at a 30 percent close rate, it is high time for you to cough up some cash for some excellent in-home sales training. You will get your ROI over and over again because you will increase your close rate.


Opportunity #1: Follow Up Faster Than You Have Before

To increase your close rate, upping your in-home selling game is critical. But for a sustainable and repeatable increase, your postappointment game is even more critical. If you leave room for your competitors to come in after you and bat that ball right off the tee where you left it, they certainly will, and you will lose business. You have to be persistent and consistent in your follow-up from the next day to the 15th day. “Madeleine, that’s outrageous, our client will hate us if we hound them like that!” Nonsense. Most of your clients will appreciate that they don’t have to chase you. People are busy. No matter how gorgeous or perfect your solution was for their home. No matter how much it reflected their personality and style, I can promise you, window treatments are not their top-of-mind concern. They're something they wanted and may even need, but they're not a crisis that they will inconvenience themselves very much to solve.

If you aren’t keeping outstanding track of where each lead is in its life cycle, you will not be able to track, target and make revenue from each of the three categories of consumers whose projects can result in significant additional revenue in your business. There are three categories of people who can still buy from you. There are those who you consider “open.” They sat for an appointment and said they were interested, but maybe kicked the can down the road. Whatever the reason, they are legitimately open opportunities. The next category is those who you put as “unsold-closed.” Remember that people are honest, but prospects lie, so if someone told you they bought from someone else, maybe—just maybe—they didn’t. Wouldn’t you like the opportunity to help them if you still can? Finally, an unexpected but very lucrative source of potential is people who expressed interest but never scheduled or maybe even canceled their initial appointment.

Now, if you do roto-dial them nonstop and pressure them to make a decision, they will likely feel annoyed and hounded. If, on the other hand, you adopt the attitude of “I’m doing this to help my client get the solution that they told me they really loved and wanted,” that goodwill will be felt and reflected by the vast majority of your clients.

You might think it’s not worthwhile to reach out to people who already told you no. But when major crises hit, the best businesses get really creative. One of my clients found new business in their no list with something as simple as a direct call program. Outside of crisis mode, reaching out to your unsold-closed list might not be something you do each day, but if you do it quarterly, you will make consistent gains.

To avoid feeling gross about the follow-up game, you have to switch your approach. Leverage phone calls, voicemails, emails and text messages as separate formats for outreach. Tag them in something on social media that reminds you of their project. Screenshot a Yelp or Google review and send it to them as evidence of how happy you make your customers. Don’t just do more of the same. Do more, but do more better and a bit differently. If you do that, it will feel good to you and to them.

If you run call, contact and content programs that keep your business and your expertise on display for each of these segments, there are proven long-term dollars in each category. One of my eight-figure window covering clients runs call programs for his unsold leads on a monthly basis. For every 30 calls, he can count on two additional sales. If you have a $3,500 average sale price, that’s $7,000 in additional business with one easy program that you can use smart tech like ringless voicemail to run.

Another pro tip is to have a plan for what you are going to say with each outreach. If you just “check in” endlessly, how are you able to move the ball forward? You want to think through the majority of issues that your consumers have. Resolve their issues. Remind them of their hot buttons. Ask them what it will take to earn their business.

Put a sequence of phone calls, personal emails, newsletters, social media ad targeting and ringless voicemails in place and you will make trackable, consistent, incremental business gains. It won’t happen overnight, but if you keep at it, it will happen. V

If someone feels that you want to earn their business, they will feel more inclined to let you earn it. So, if you increase the intensity and variety of your post-appointment follow-up, you will see an increase in your sales revenue.

Opportunity #2: The Long Game

The long game is about two things: excellent record keeping and consistency. Your first course of action is to get your leadmanagement process in good shape. You can use a vendor-specific customer relationship management (CRM) tool; you can use one of the several industry-specific quote tools with a light form of lead management built in; or you can use a CRM company like MarketSharp that caters to remodelers but is well-suited to window covering retailers too. The best option for you will be dictated by your business model, sales process and annual revenue.

Madeleine MacRae is a business coach and sales trainer who focuses on bringing to her client cutting-edge information mixed with just the right amount of inspiration to help them accelerate their implementation and long-term results. She helped hundreds of companies thrive through this COVID-19 crisis. She can help you too! Book your complementary consultation using the website below. meetme.so/MadeleineMacrae mmmacrae.com Facebook: mmmacraecoaching LinkedIn: macraemadeleine

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insight : amber de la garza

Protecting Your Mindset in These Uncharted Waters We are facing unfamiliar and frightening circumstances. How can we build and sustain resilience through this crisis—and even into the next? BY AMBER DE LA GARZA

R

ight now, we are in uncharted waters and circumstances are outside our control. The question is: How are you going to react? Are you going to rationalize why it’s OK to not show up for your business? Or are you going to take a stand, fight for your business and ensure its survival through this global crisis?

If you want to come out victorious on the other side of this, mindset is the name of the game. That’s because even

if I could wave a magic wand and give you the perfect, customized strategy to get your business through this storm, you could still very easily fail if your mindset is not protected. Make the claim today that you will come out of this storm successful. Hold that affirmation sacred as you go about your days and make decisions for your business. Look for positive proof in the past so you know that it’s possible to make it through this. Also, look for positive proof in yourself. Consider all the obstacles and adversity you’ve overcome in your life to get to where you are today. Lean into those victories as proof that you can get through this too.

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Here are some things you can do to strengthen and protect your mindset.

Practice Gratitude

Fill your mind with everything you’re grateful for. Your family. The roof over your head. Food in the pantry. The list goes on. Throughout your day, look for reasons to be thankful. Commit to journaling or just continue adding to a gratitude list. Appreciating the small things will aid in keeping your mind in a positive, grateful space that allows room for growth.

Adapt and Overcome

The goals you set for this time months ago may not make sense now, but that doesn’t mean you need to trash them entirely. Look for ways to adapt your current strategy and continue progressing toward your goals. Doing this will serve you now and in the future because there will always be struggles. There will always be opportunities to adapt your strategy and overcome a bad situation. Believing in your power to adapt and overcome will unlock opportunities currently unknown to you.


Double Down on Your Routines

When facing a crisis, there’s a huge temptation to throw our routines out the window, but those are the times when structure and a sense of control are needed most! Routines help you work toward your goals incrementally. The routine you had two months ago is likely not going to serve you well considering everything going on now. Tweak it to allow for kids and your spouse being home 24/7, working strictly from home and not being able to go to the gym or out on the town on Friday night. Find a new way to work out each day. Make a candlelit dinner every Friday to share with that special someone. Host a virtual happy hour to stay connected with friends. Call your past clients, potential clients and strategic referral partners (because they are home!) to build stronger relationships every morning at 10 a.m. Stick to routines that work with your new normal.

Reclaim Control

You don’t have control over everything happening in the world, but news flash: You never had that control to begin with. What you do have control over is your thoughts and actions. Identify what you can control in your personal life and your business. Can you control pouring love into your kiddos? Reaching out to your friends and clients? Showing up for your business every day? Exercising? How your desk is organized? Recognize that you are still in control of many things and reclaim control in those areas with renewed fervor, so it has a ripple effect throughout your business and life.

Move Through Decision-Making

The tendency in times of uncertainty is to freeze because you’re not clear what the right next steps are. Although decision-making feels especially overwhelming, you can’t stay in limbo because it creates stagnation in your business. You also can’t allow yourself to panic and make knee-jerk decisions like letting go of all your employees. Identify what decisions need to be made and when, then move through making those decisions thoughtfully, taking all the information you have into consideration. Don’t fear the possibility of making a wrong decision. There are few decisions that are a one-way door. If you make a decision and that outcome isn’t working for you, walk right back through that door and make a different decision that could produce a better result.

Put Boundaries into Effect

Your new normal requires boundaries, both physical and emotional. First, get really clear on what boundaries you need to succeed. One hour of working out a day? Four hours of distraction-free time to design and email contractors? Your loved ones are not mind readers. Verbally and lovingly communicate your nonnegotiable needs. Share why they’re important so everyone’s on the same page. Once you’ve identified and communicated your boundaries, Hold. The. Line. You might be the first one tempted to trample them. If your family catches you scrolling through social media during your “distraction-free work time” even once, you lose all credibility.

Invest in Your Business

Surely, you used to feel like you didn’t have enough time to do everything you wanted. Now you just might have more time, so get excited about what’s possible in your business. What can you do now to serve your business in the future? Make a strategic pivot in your strategy so you’re not going off course, just taking a different route to get to the same goals. You can invest your time in learning a new skill set, so you can show up for your business and your clients in a different way. The possibilities are endless and e-learning enables you to attain these new skills from home. V

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

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insight : roger magalhaes

How to Benefit from the Pandemic

The forced slowdown is hard, but you can use this time to make your business stronger BY ROGER MAGALHAES

T

he pandemic triggered by the coronavirus is not news anymore. Everyone around the globe is being affected by it to a certain degree. However, this crisis had a side effect that not many were expecting: a crippled economy. As businesses were forced to close, many owners were not prepared financially (or emotionally) for the sudden loss of income. What can we do now, while we still have some free time on our hands, to get our companies ready to gain market share once the economy returns? Below, I share five suggestions to help you prepare your business to be stronger (and more profitable).

Create a Regular Schedule and Stick to It

If you have difficulty maintaining self-discipline, staying home without defined goals can be challenging. The TV, the fridge or even frequent walks around the neighborhood can cost you hours that could be directed toward improving your business. I created a colorcoded schedule for myself during the lockdown. I even included time for naps and TV.

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Working from home does not need to be as formal or strict as working at your shop or showroom, but following a detailed plan will make you more productive. Once you break your day down into small tasks, it will be easier to accomplish results. As a bonus, it will boost your self-esteem too.

Organize, Clean Up and Learn

Until recently, I was complaining that I had no time to keep up with all my work and I was running behind on everything. Guess what? Now, I have time to fix that and catch up. You should do the same. Utilize the current downtime to clean up your shop, your working van, your showroom and your office. Get rid of extra parts, extra catalogs and tools or materials that are taking up extra space. Make an assessment about your current processes and the efficiency of them. Should you keep them or replace them with something better? Need new displays for your showroom? Take the time to sort out all the parts and materials that are piling up in the corner of your shop. Can you easily search and locate tools in the van? Do


you have all of your screws, materials and brackets organized? Take this time to create a clean and easy-to-navigate environment. You will be more productive. Also, use this opportunity to learn a new product or sharpen your skills. Perhaps you always wanted to get into motorization but were too insecure to sell it. This is an awesome opportunity to practice. Utilize the downtime to enhance your knowledge. Eventually, that knowledge will translate into profit.

Reevaluate Your Business Model

It is easy to push things around or overlook inefficiency when we are busy. Perhaps you decided to open an account with a specific vendor because of a single request. Or maybe you kept that soso employee just because he or she was “helping.” Maybe your commercial space was too big for your current needs, but you did not want to go through the inconvenience of moving. Now that you have extra time and limited income, it is imperative that you reassess your processes, product offerings and staff. Perhaps it is time to cut loose those employees that don’t really represent your organization. Perhaps it is time to change your business model. Michelle Wollmann, owner of Accent Window Coverings in Reno, NV, decided to switch her operations recently. She told me, “We have cut down our employees to just our installer, my husband and myself. When we reopen, I will only be hiring back my assistant. I will no longer have other sales staff. This from a business that was doing close to $3 million before all of this.” Maybe this is the opportunity you were looking for to get out of the industry to pursuit your true passion. Perhaps you are in the position to take over some of your competitors and gain market share. Take the time to study different scenarios. Run the numbers and, if they make sense, go ahead and implement your strategy.

Introduce a New Product or Service

Take this opportunity of slow sales to go through your offerings. Revisit your sales reports and compare products and services sold in the last 12 months. Are you in line with your competitors? Do you stand out by offering something unique in your area? Maybe it is finally the right time to introduce a new product to your clients: awnings, window film, color consultation or art-hanging services, for example. Or maybe it is time to get rid of a product or service that you don’t really enjoy selling or installing, or one that is not lucrative enough to justify maintaining it. One thing I did years ago was consolidate my hard-treatment vendors. I went from 15 lines to about four. That move gave me more buying power and, therefore, better margins with each vendor since I was able to negotiate better discounts based on volume. That change also allowed me to be more efficient and leaner, as I did not need to buy as many samples and carry so many spare parts in my van. All of this has only one goal: make my company more efficient and profitable.

Extra Money When You Don’t Need It

This topic might be a bit late for now, but it definitely will help you in the next crisis. I am a big saver by nature. However, I made a big mistake by not having a good cash reserve to be deployed in a situation like the one we are in now. My company produces a good stream of income, but I was using the surplus to pay off car loans and my mortgage faster, buy real estate and fund retirement accounts. Those are all good strategies in the long run to build a nice nest egg; however, I did not set enough cash aside for the present situation, where my income dropped by almost 80 percent. Because of that, I was cash-strapped and had to negotiate payments with several of my vendors. Moving forward, I will be putting a small weekly contribution in a separate account. The goal is to grow an emergency fund equivalent to six months of liabilities. Once I have that in place—and only then—will I be allowed to use the surplus of the company to pay off loans and fund retirement accounts again. Another suggestion is to open a credit line with your bank. Not to use it, but to have it available for times like now. Asking for money when you don’t need it is a lot easier. Besides having enough resources available, it won’t affect your bottom line. I hope that those suggestions help you weather this storm. As hard as it is living through this right now, the crisis will eventually end and you will come out stronger and better prepared for the next chapter. Stay safe. V

Roger Magalhaes is the owner of Shades In Place, Inc., in the Boston area. He has received formal training and certifications from many of the country’s most respected vendors such as Somfy, Hunter Douglas, Norman Shutters and Lutron. He also attended the Custom Home Furnishings Academy for formal installation training focusing on drapery and other soft treatments. Roger is the founder of the Facebook group Free Speech Window Covering Pros and the Installation Instructor for the Window Fashion Certified Professional FastTrack program. ShadesInPlace.com Facebook: ShadesInPlace Twitter: Shades_In_Place Houzz: Shades-In-Place

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insight : welton hong

Weave These Factors Together to Create Successful PPC Search Ad Campaigns

These five tips will help you improve the quality of online pay-per-click ads BY WELTON HONG

P

ay-per-click (PPC) advertising has some sweeping benefits for all types of companies. Businesses see an average return of 200 percent on money spent on Google PPC ads. Close to half of the clicks in search engine results pages (SERPs) go to the top three paid ads, and just over 45 percent of people say they can’t (or don’t) differentiate between paid ads and organic SEO listings in search results. Paid search ads also increase brand awareness (that’s the likelihood people will think of your company when they have window covering needs). PPC and similar efforts can drive that awareness up by as much as 80 percent. The moral of the story here is that PPC advertising is a costeffective and powerful channel to add to your online marketing repertoire—especially now, when our current economic crisis makes it more important than ever to find effective ways to drive

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traffic, leads and brand awareness. Here are five strands you must weave together for successful PPC search ad campaigns.

1

An Understanding of Your Target Audience

The power of PPC advertising is that you can target it so specifically. When you advertise via traditional television spots, you target ads based on the overall demographics (e.g., age, income level or location) of the standard audience for a show or watch time. But with PPC ads, you can target by more specific criteria, including:

Demographics, such as age, gender, location, income and whether or not someone owns a home

What types of searches the person is conducting or has conducted. Are they looking to buy curtains?

Online behaviors, such as sites the person has visited recently, which can help you target buyers at very specific points of the sales funnel


But you can only weave this powerful thread into your PPC ad campaigns if you truly understand who your target audience is. PPC campaigns take as little as 30 minutes to set up, but for the best performance you should spend time before that defining the audience. Gather team members and whatever data you have about the people who are buying or engaging with your product. Use that to define who your target consumers are.

2

Well-Researched Keywords

Once you know who you’re advertising to, figure out which keywords are most likely to tie your search ads to the right individuals. Google and other PPC ad networks let you create keyword groups, so you can target ads to specific people and buying intents.

For example, you might discover that some people search for howto content, such as “how to hang a curtain” or “how to install a mini blind.” Other searches may have more commercial intent, such as “where to buy blinds” or “how much do full-panel curtains cost?” A single Google Ads account can support up to 10,000 campaigns. Within each of those campaigns, you can have a whopping 20,000 ad groups. That means you’re almost completely unfettered when it comes to trying out groups of targeted keywords to drive people to various landing pages and products on your site.

3

Here are some quick tips for writing ad text that is more likely to convert. •

Make the consumer central to the message. Instead of “Our window coverings last,” say “Window decor you’ll enjoy for years.”

Keep feature/benefit context. You don’t typically have a lot of space for content, so choose one key feature and benefit to promote in each ad version.

Set yourself apart. Research competitor ads and see what’s missing. Include those features, benefits and offers in your own ads.

Give the user a hint. Include a short call to action that tells them what they need to do: “call now,” “click here,” “view now,” “request a quote” or “learn more” are all viable options.

5

Landing Pages That Convert

The finishing touches for the PPC ad tapestry you’re weaving do not come from the ad itself. They come from the landing page. This is where a person ends up after clicking on your ad, and it does the final job of convincing the consumer to act. Here are a few tips for creating PPC landing pages that perform. •

Create multiple landing pages. At minimum, each ad group should have its own landing page. That’s because each group targets different people and search intents. Your landing pages should be customized with that information in mind.

Understand your conversion goal. Do you want people to sign up for a newsletter, call for an appointment, click to learn more or make an immediate online purchase? Each landing page should have a specific goal so you can customize the content and call to action appropriately.

Match your ad. Everyone hates a bait and switch, so be certain that your landing page tone and offer match those noted in your ad. If people follow the link only to find something completely unexpected, their trust in your brand erodes—as does the chance they’ll make a purchase with you now or in the future.

A Budget with Specific Boundaries

If audience and keyword targeting are the foundation of this PPC ad fabric, your budget outlines any design that begins to take shape as you weave it. Your PPC ad budget goes beyond a total you want to spend, although obviously that’s important. Since you can set a maximum spending limit within your automated PPC bidding software, you can easily manage your overall budget. You’ll also want to consider setting other parameters, such as how much you’re willing to pay per click. With PPC ad structures, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. But if you don’t set your maximum bid high enough, you won’t compete with other bidders. The result is that your ad never shows up. On average, Google PPC search ads cost between $1 and $2 per click, but that price increases in highly competitive locations or niches. In contrast, if you can target a location, niche or keyword with little competition, you could pay pennies for the click.

4

Ad Copy That Does Its Job

Now that you’ve got a foundational PPC fabric with an outline of your design, it’s time to fill it in with vibrant tones that draw people to your work. In this case, you want to draw them to your website or offer with strong ad copy.

For every ad group you run (remember, up to 20,000 per campaign), you can run up to 50 versions of a text ad. If you’re getting overwhelmed, don’t worry. You don’t have to manage this many versions of your campaigns, but you do want to run at least a few various ads to test which ones perform best.

You don’t become a master weaver overnight. You also don’t perfect a PPC campaign overnight. But by carefully integrating all the elements above and regularly testing the outcome, you can see fast returns that will continue to grow in the future. 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.” RingRingMarketing.com Facebook: RingRingMarketing

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industry : manufacturers giving back

How Manufacturers Are Giving Back in a Time of Crisis

People at Anderson Fabrics (left) and Fabricut (right) are working hard to make masks during the coronavirus outbreak.

BY SOPHIA BENNETT

We are living through an unprecedented period of upheaval and fear due the COVID-19 outbreak. One of the bright spots in this dark time is that people are coming together to give back to the doctors, nurses, first responders and other professionals keeping us safe. Here are some of the manufacturers, distributors, retailers and other firms that are part of the window treatment community that are working hard to help others. We will continue to make updates to this list on our website, wf-vision.com.

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Photo courtesy of Anderson Fabrics

Anderson Fabrics

Anderson Fabrics, which produces custom window treatments and other products, has dedicated a portion of its manufacturing facility to crafting fabric masks. So far, it has made and distributed over 40,000 masks. The company is also prototyping and designing other types of personal protective equipment for medical professionals.

Ball Chain Manufacturing

Ball Chain Manufacturing has leveraged its longestablished supply chain overseas to import a significant quantity of masks per week through its Bona Fide Masks brand, which is part of the LogoTags division. Its goal is to provide hospitals, health care providers and the general public with the PPE they need. Thousands of masks have also been donated to local police, fire and civic organizations. In addition, the company is keeping employees working by assembling face shields for a local company that is providing them to hospitals and front-line staff.

Carole Fabrics

Window covering manufacturer Carole Fabrics is making face masks at its production facility.

Comfortex Window Fashions

Comfortex Window Fashions has shifted a portion of its New York manufacturing facility to producing general-purpose face masks for fire responders and others in its region.

Draper

Window shade manufacturer Draper is making medical masks and looking for additional ways to help its community during the COVID-19 outbreak. It has already donated 1,200 paper and N95 masks to a local hospital.

Eastern Accents

Bedding, drapery and home products manufacturer Eastern Accents has shifted its production facilities to make cloth masks. It is donating up to 1,000 masks per day to medical facilities in the Chicago area. Masks are also being sold to members of the general public, with a portion of the proceeds from each sale going to the donation program.

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industry : manufacturers giving back

Halcyon Shades

Photo courtesy of Anderson Fabrics

Eskayel

Fabric company Eskayel has been selling masks, with a portion of the proceeds going to Direct Relief, a nonprofit that provides personal protective equipment to health care workers.

Fabricut

Fabric distributor Fabricut is making masks for medical workers. The company is also donating fabrics to other companies that are making masks, including Wesley Hall, which is manufacturing N95 mask covers for hospitals in New York, Michigan and California.

Halcyon Shades is creating protective face shields that can be used by medical professionals, first responders, grocery store clerks and others. The company is making 2,000 shields per day and hopes to increase capacity over time. This shift has allowed the company to not only retain its existing staff, but also hire additional people. Company CEO Chris Lozano encourages people who buy shields to purchase extras that can be donated to small rural hospitals and other organizations that might struggle to pay for them.

Kravet

Kravet, a trade home furnishings company, is producing medical masks. At one point, the company estimated it could make 3,000 per day. It is also donating fabric to others who are sewing masks.

Polar Shades

Manufacturing company Polar Shades has refocused its employees on making personal protective equipment for medical workers. The company is also looking into using its 3D printers to make plastic masks that can accommodate a replaceable filter and be disinfected with relative ease. Photo courtesy of Fabricut

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Photo courtesy of Vertilux

Vertilux Fabric design and development company Pindler has shifted its seamstresses to making masks for medical professionals. Its effort is part of the #MillionMaskChallenge issued by the American Medical Association and other organizations.

Vertilux, which manufactures window blinds, shades, fabrics, automation equipment and other window fashion products, recently began making face mask kits for people interested in sewing protective equipment for first responders and others. People can pick up kits in person in Miami. Vertilux can also ship kits to people or companies with the capacity to make at least 100 masks.

Pollack Fabrics

Zoffany

Pindler

Pollack Fabrics, a designer and distributor of fabrics for interior furnishings, has donated fabrics to companies that are making face masks.

Zoffany, which offers curtains, textiles, wallcoverings and a range of other products, is providing fabric to workrooms and designers who are fabricating masks, including Primo Interiors and Tres Joli drapery workroom in Illinois and Moss Design in Connecticut. V

Thibaut

Thibaut, maker of fabrics and wallcoverings, has donated fabric to volunteers across the country who are making masks.

Photo courtesy of Fabricut

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industry : beth hodges

Remembering

Beth Hodges BY LINDA PRINCIPE

B

eth Hodges—drapery fabricator, educator,

Through a chance meeting, she met Cheryl Strickland, who was

speaker, trainer, installer and window covering

establishing a school to train others about window coverings.

industry icon—passed away on April 26. Beth

Cheryl hired Beth as an instructor. Beth continued to work as a

was born in Augusta, GA, on January 14, 1949.

lead teacher for 17 years in addition to growing her business in

She worked at Southern Bell for 13 years before

Elberton. She taught classes across the country for many years. In

moving to Elberton with her husband, the Hon. Thomas L. Hodges,

2014, Beth was named the education director for DöFix USA and

III. She was an active member of

traveled all over, presenting seminars

many civic organizations in Elberton,

and doing private training for the

but when her twins were born, she

German company.

took a break to care for her growing family.

Beth was a longtime member of the board of directors of the Window

During this time, Beth learned to sew.

Coverings Association of America and its

She began a small business making

president for two terms. She continued

window treatments, working alone

to present seminars at international

and at home in what spare time

events, trade shows, trade schools and

she could find between children’s

universities throughout her working life.

activities. As the children got older, the business grew also, and Beth took opportunities to learn her trade by attending classes offered at trade shows around the country. Eventually, she qualified for every certification in the window covering industry and became a champion for education.

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MAY + JUNE 2020 | wf-vision.com

Beth was a loving wife, mother of five and grandmother of 11. In addition to her designers and clients, Beth cherished the ladies who worked for her. View heartfelt

reflections from some of the industry professionals who were impacted by Beth’s skills and friendship at wf-vision.com. V


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

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

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Counting the ways... R EA SO N #5 1

Our product assortment of classics is unparalleled.

Why?


Because we know

altawindowfashions.com/pickalta

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© 2020 Custom Brands Group. All rights reserved.

what you need.


inspiration : TRENDS | you do you

Photos (from top left): A room with products by Daltile, the GE Café line of appliances, the Family Hub from Samsung, a rod from Orion Ornamental Iron, sinks by Bocchi, Pro Style gas ranges from Forza, countertops from Daltile. Opposite page: curtain rings by Orion.

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MAY + JUNE 2020 | wf-vision.com


YOU DO YOU Customization, personal style and innovations that make life better were strong themes at the winter 2020 industry events. New products and ideas unveiled at the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS), International Builders’ Show (IBS), SURFACES and Las Vegas Market gave designers plenty to discuss with their clients this summer. BY KATHY WALL

Mixed Metals

The demand for mixed metals showed up most noticeably in large kitchen appliances. In the Café portion of the GE booth at KBIS, for example, matte white and black ranges displayed brushed bronze and brushed copper knobs and handles. Gold-tone and brushed bronze hardware also shone on Dacor appliances. Bertazzoni offered jewelry-inspired sets of knobs and finials in real gold, copper and black nickel plating to outfit the Heritage line’s ivory, matte black and stainless-steel appliance finishes. The mixed metals trend continued on faucets—notably in the new Michael Berman offering for ROHL—and in every type of hardware, including window treatments. Orion Ornamental Iron offers seven new finishes in its Italian collection, running the gamut from warm to cool metallics in brass, rose gold, black chrome and more. Homeowners and designers can mix and match rods, rings, finials and brackets for a signature look. Warm gold and brass hues are even popular in paints, showing up in multiple 2020 palettes and overlapping with another trend: wellness.

Wellness

With personal well-being at the forefront of consumers’ minds, Sherwin-Williams put a twist on the idea of colors of the year. Its new Color in Balance palette spins on-trend shades into palettes designed to bring serenity, joy and focus to mind, body and spirit. We loved that window and door company Marvin tapped into the wellness trend by helping homeowners feel better connected to nature. At IBS, the firm won an award for Skycove, a fully constructed glass alcove that can turn a wall or window space into an immersive nook. It reinvents the ordinary window seat, turning it into an almost open-air experience. Finally, wellness and customization/personalization intersected with another trend: taking refrigerators out of the kitchen. Liebherr, Thermador and Perlick were among the manufacturers showcasing

vignettes with under-the-counter fridges in workout rooms, master bedrooms (perfect for wine or organic makeup), pet stations (great for fresh dog food) or nurseries (for formula or other baby needs).

Sophisticated Surfaces

Manufacturers are expanding their offerings of low-maintenance stone-look surfaces in ever-larger formats. Daltile, for example, is producing extra-large quartz slabs that give consumers the seamless countertops and backsplashes they love. Homeowners who want the look of marble or other natural stone can get it at every price point from Dekton, Cambria and Caesarstone. Porcelain also continues to gain traction, even entering the DIY market. Daltile’s new RevoTile porcelain installs in three easy steps: place underlayment (no mortar required), click tile together and apply grout. Done!

Smart-Home Technology

Connected appliances are everywhere. Fisher & Paykel, GE, LG, Samsung and Thermador are among the companies putting recipes right on your range. Tech makes it easier for cooks to feel confident and explore new recipes and cooking methods, even sous vide. (Signature Kitchen Suite, in fact, now offers ranges with built-in sous vide.) Technology is making life easier in other ways, too, in areas such as smart lighting and entire connected-home systems.

Retro Influences

Gorgeous art deco elements are back in new faucets by DXV and Brizo. A nod back to the Roaring Twenties also appeared in sink colors; a vintage mint green is offered on both Elkay and Bocchi sinks.

Goodbye, Gray

After a decade where gray ruled, beige is making a comeback in interior design. Shades of rich brown are also surging. Expect to see moody, very un-drab browns paired with earthy blues and greens and natural textures. V

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inspiration : TRENDS | a window into the world

A WINDOW INTO THE WORLD

I’m not sure if it’s prescient or just the way my eye works, but two of three trends spotted at the late winter/early spring markets in Europe are based on travel and large-format visuals. Considering the timing of this issue, when most of us are tucked away in our homes, a look at the beauty offered by the wider world is something to treasure. BY SUSAN SCHULTZ

Setting the Scene: Wallcoverings

Once the provenance of old-world brands like Zuber & Cie, wallcoverings have made a comeback in recent years. Technology has played a huge role in this resurgence. Wide-format digital printers now output in much finer detail. High-resolution scanning is available to capture more detail from antique and vintage images. Finally, the tools for retouching, reworking and manipulating these large files are now more accessible. But for a variety of reasons, and not just the technical ones, wallcovering murals are now widely available in styles ranging from classical to contemporary.

Armchair Travelers: Patterns

“Exotic” patterns and designs have long been a go-to inspiration source for textile collections, but many brands are digging deeper. What this means is that there’s a stunningly large collection of designs that range from the whimsical to formal, from definitely “ethnic” to “where did that come from” and everything in between.

Technical Achievements: Fabrics

Another aspect of innovation in textile design and production can be seen in the fabrics themselves. Highly advanced weaves are now possible due to more sophisticated looms coupled with improvements in fiber and spinning techniques. Oftentimes these incredibly complex fabrics (from a production point of view) appear remarkably subtle, while in other cases, the techniques are right there, designed to be admired. On the other hand, there has been a resurgence in hand-blocked patterns on the market, including new brands that have started working directly with artisans and heritage brands that have gone into their archives to reintroduce, or sometimes reinvent, past patterns. This ancient, hands-on process requires a completely different type of technical expertise. V

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Cole & Son introduced Seville, a collection based on the centuries-old city founded by Phoenicians that still bears remnants of its long history under many rulers. Shown here is “Hispalis,” a densely overgrown archway leading to a mysterious beyond.

MAY + JUNE 2020 | wf-vision.com


The Mansfield Park collection from Osborne & Little features two mural designs, including “Palm House,” a wonderfully detailed depiction of a Regency-era greenhouse, complete with towering palm trees, climbing vines ,and variegated foliage, set against white-painted ironwork and a gently ombréd background. The detail on the print is such that shadowing and layering make the flat surface almost look 3D.

Paisley is an eternal classic, and de Le Cuona has some of the best designs on the market. The newest addition to their paisley collection, “Victoria,” combines a bit of fantastical architecture with the traditional boteh motifs in a wool-cotton woven that uses 14 colors to achieve its richly detailed design. According to a de Le Cuona rep, the pattern development and production took more than four years to get right.

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inspiration : TRENDS | a window into the world

Read an expanded version of this article at wf-vision.com.

44 |

Pierre Frey has been producing exceptionally strong travel-inspired collections for the past several years, and January’s 2020 collection is perhaps the most impressive yet. Rêveries Orientales features influences from all along the Silk Road. “Ararat Rose” (right) and “Astara Vert” (above right) are two ikats from the collection. “Ararat Rose” is a traditional warp-printed ikat, while “Astara Vert” is a jacquard. The designs, drawn from Pierre Frey’s archive, also appear in the colorful “Manisa” pattern (above left).

MAY + JUNE 2020 | wf-vision.com


ORION

ORNAMENTAL IRON, INC.

Traversing Systems

Interior Consultants

Budget Blinds of Tustin

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

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iwce virtual :

july 29-30, 2020

A WORLDWIDE VIRTUAL CONFERENCE

IWCE E PO V I R T U A L

JULY 29-30, 2020 INTERNATIONAL WINDOW COVERINGS EXPO

IWCE Goes Virtual Worldwide! A NNO U NCIN G

IWCE

VIRTUAL

July 29-30, 2020

Changing times require creative solutions. The International Window Coverings Expo is not able to take place live this year for health and safety reasons. For that reason, we are taking a new approach to bringing the industry together to educate, inform and inspire our path forward. We hope you join us for the first worldwide virtual industry education and business networking event. Learn how to rebound from the crisis, sell virtually, price your services, maximize social media and do business

successfully in our changing world!

Exhibitor Hall with virtual booths (chat live with attendees and showcase and sell your products and services)

Live seminars and workshops

Live webinars presented by exhibitors and keynote speakers

A fun, high-energy and collaborative environment

30-day access for all attendees

Connect with industry-leading vendors in the virtual exhibit hall to see the best new products and services to run a successful business

AMERICA’S LARGEST VIRTUAL BUSINESS NETWORKING AND EDUCATIONAL EVENT FOR WINDOW TREATMENT PROFESSIONALS 46 |

MAY + JUNE 2020 | wf-vision.com


Check Out Our Amazing Lineup of Speakers! MELISSA GALT with Melissa Galt Interiors is a sought-after speaker, business coach and author. She bills herself as a referral-building relationship-maker who doesn’t just show design teams what to do, but leads them through a remarkable experience that forever changes how they do business. Melissa will discuss MARKETING LUXURY DESIGN and ATTRACTING AFFLUENT CLIENTS.

WELTON HONG is the founder of Ring Ring Marketing and a leading expert in creating case generation from online to the phone line. You love his articles in Window Fashion VISION on pay-per-click advertising, SEO, search and other digital marketing topics… now learn from this industry-leading expert live and “in person”! Welton’s workshops topics are THE FOUR CYCLES OF A SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN AND HOW TO IMPLEMENT THEM and WHAT WILL AND WILL NOT WORK TODAY TO GET MORE LEADS.

MADELEINE MACRAE is a business coach and sales trainer who focuses on bringing to her clients cutting-edge

information mixed with just the right amount of inspiration to help them accelerate their implementation and longterm results. Her videos, webinars, articles and coaching have helped hundreds of companies thrive through this COVID-19 crisis. She can help yours too!

LUANN NIGARA is the show’s keynote speaker and will discuss Opportunities in Today’s Changing World. LuAnn is the co-owner of Window Works NJ, a specialty custom window treatment and awning retailer in Livingston, NJ. She is also a best-selling author, business coach and the engaging host of the design industry’s No. 1 podcast, “A WellDesigned Business.”

SANDRA VANSICKLE is an ardent entrepreneur, continuing education instructor and lifelong learner with nearly 42 years of experience in the window fashion industry. She is the owner of Sew What’s New LLC, a wholesale custom window treatment and soft home furnishings workroom and training center in Apex, NC, and “Live With Sandra V,” where she shares her goal to educate, inspire and promote others within the industry.

MICHELE WILLIAMS is the owner of Scarlet Thread Consulting, an advisory and coaching company focused on the interior design industry. She offers online courses, one-on-one coaching and other programs to help designers who want to grow their business without working more. Michele is also the host of the popular podcast “Profit is a Choice.” Learn how to get and stay “in the money” with her workshops PROFITABILITY: MONTHLY METRICS FOR THE PROFITABLE DESIGN BUSINESS and BEST PRICING STRATEGIES.

SAVE THE DATE! Visit IWCEVIRTUAL.COM to sign up for updates

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

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

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, lowprofile Sure-Lift® Roman Headrail System for shades up to 50 lbs. Get our new catalog! Contact: Surewin@optonline.net, tel: 239/362-3342, fax: 239/362-1383

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MAY + JUNE 2020 | wf-vision.com


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In Our Next Issue…

The July + August issue of Window Fashion VISION is our International Window Coverings Virtual Expo issue! Get great information to supplement the online events, including details on hot new products from exhibitors. As we continue to cope with the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting economic downturn, our columnists will bring you fresh insights, ideas and tips for surviving and thriving in this time of uncertainty. Continue to get updates on what industry members are doing during the crisis on our website, wf-vision.com.

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MAY + JUNE 2020 | wf-vision.com


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plug... just tug

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MAY +döfix JUNENo 2020 wf-vision.com Sew,| Inc. • 1947 Ironway Dr • Sanford, MI 48657 • Tel 800-962-8983; 989-687-7999 • www.dofix.com

Profile for Window Fashion Vision Magazine

Window Fashion VISION May + June 2020  

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