Window Fashion VISION Magazine: November/December 2022 | Volume 44 Issue 6

Page 40

MARK THE MILESTONES: Celebrating the Longest-Standing Companies How to Deal With Challenging Fabrics Increase Your Profits With Effective Goal Setting LUXURY Defining WINDOW TREATMENTS & INSPIRED DESIGN VOLUME 44, ISSUE 6 NOVEMBER + DECEMBER 2022 ANNIVERSARY

Explore our Honeycomb collection with excellent insulating properties to create a perfect indoor climate, optimal lighting, acoustic comfort and glare control. With advanced systems and MotionBlinds smart

| wf-vision.com

technology to integrate these cellular shades into your smart home. All in matching colors to fit any interior design. Smart and energysaving ¾ inch cellular shades where style and performance unite.

NOVEMBER + D ECEMBER 2022
1
VISION 1coulisse.com Discover more
BE INSPIRED

WINDOW TREATMENTS & INSPIRED DESIGN

VOLUME 44, ISSUE 6

President/Publisher | Grace McNamara grace@wf-vision.com

Vice President | Ania McNamara ania@wf-vision.com

Editor-in-Chief | Jennifer Jensen jennifer@wf-vision.com

Art Director | Eric Taylor eric@wf-vision.com

IWCE Conference Director | Shannon Flaherty shannon@wf-vision.com

Copy Editor | Maude Campbell maude@wf-vision.com

Marketing Coordinator | Indra Khalsa indra@wf-vision.com

Social Media Coordinator | Corina Buzdugan corina-elena@mcnamaramarketing.com

Accounting | Kim Rick accounting@wf-vision.com

CONTRIBUTORS

Steven C. Bursten, Jessica Harling, Roger Magalhaes, O’D McKewan, LuAnn Nigara, Vita Vygovska

SUBSCRIPTION S 651-330-0574 • info@wf-vision.com

ON THE COVER:

Photographer: Marco Ricca, MarcoRiccaStudio.com

Project: Residential Home, Colts Neck, NJ

Designer: Yelena Gerts House of Style & Design, Holmdel, NJ HouseOfStyleInteriors.com

Window

Window Fashion VISION (ISSN 08869669) (USPS 708930) published bi-monthly by AIM Communications LLC, 4707 Hwy 61 N #255, St Paul, MN 55110, Tel 651-3300574. Visit our website at WF-VISION.com. Periodicals postage paid at St Paul, MN. Postmaster: Send address changes to Window Fashion VISION , 4707 Hwy 61 N #255, St Paul, MN 55110. Allow 60 days for address change. Subscription rates: $22/yr. U.S. and possessions; $29/yr. Canada; $90/yr. Foreign (includes airmail postage). Copyright © 2022 by AIM Communications, LLC. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission prohibited. Canadian Publications Agreement Number: #40036514. Canadian Return Address: 4707 Hwy 61 N #255, St Paul, MN 55110 NOVEMBER + DECEMBER 2022, VOLUME 44, ISSUE 6.

2022 | wf-vision.com

NOVEMBER + D ECEMBER
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MARK THE MILESTONES: Celebrating the Longest-Standing Companies How to Deal With Challenging Fabrics Increase Your Profits With Effective Goal Setting LUXURY Defining WINDOW TREATMENTS & INSPIRED DESIGN VOLUME 44, ISSUE NOVEMBER + DECEMBER 2022 ANNIVERSARY
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
For magazine updates, go to Facebook.com/wfvisionmagazine Keep up with all the news @WFVMagazine Follow us and re-pin at Pinterest.com/wfvisionmagexpo Follow us on Instagram @wf_visionmag
MASTHEAD November + December 2022

Motorize a wide variety of window coverings to create the perfect environment, and enjoy the peace and serenity provided by the Sonesse® ULTRA . It offers exceptional lifting capacity so you can enjoy powerful operation in a quiet, relaxing environment.

Enjoy Windows in a New Light with Motorized Blinds and Shades Powered by Somfy

LOOKING AHEAD

As we finish up 2022, I know that many of you have experienced an exceptional year for your window treatment and design businesses. Nothing makes me happier than seeing our industry thriving and being recognized as an essential home furnishing category.

We have had a great year also, considering the difficulties we went through the last couple of years. The magazine is flourishing, thanks to the support of our advertisers and readers. IWCE was our best show in 15 years, and we are positioned for a healthy 2023.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to have served this industry for 35 years. We celebrate this milestone along with several other companies that have significant anniversaries in this special year-end issue. I wish all of you a big congratulations and a well-done round of applause. I’m sure there are many additional people and companies hitting milestones. If we missed anyone, please reach out to us.

Along with all our many informative columns, we also focused on “luxury” and what it means to different people. For me, luxury today is time and experience. I had the great fortune of traveling abroad, making up canceled trips and enjoying different cultures. Thanks to my daughter, Ania, who is a strong business partner, I have had the freedom to travel while I can.

We wish you a wonderful end of the year and holiday season.

Let’s wind up this year with a toast to all of us!

Gratefully, Grace McNamara

Publisher grace@wf-vision.com

HAPPIEST OF HOLIDAYS TO YOU!

This year has brought many wonderful surprises to my life! I’m filled with gratitude this holiday season for the opportunity to really settle into my new role as vice president at Window Fashion VISION magazine. Collaborating as a mother-daughter duo through the ever-changing environment has taught me patience, agility and how to really think outside the box. Working with the industry has connected me with creative minds. I especially enjoyed meeting our 20 Under 40 Award recipients this year and really look forward to celebrating their accomplishments at IWCE 2023 in Charlotte next year.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

ania@wf-vision.com

NOVEMBER + D ECEMBER 2022 | wf-vision.com4
GRACE NOTE From the Publisher
Vice President Ania with mother and Publisher Grace. Publisher Grace McNamara visits the seaside cliffs of Cap Canaille near Cassis, France.

SheerWeave BASIC is now available in a 1% openness factor. Suitable for all types of interior window shade applications, SheerWeave BASIC 1%, 3%, and 5% are an economical alternative to traditional solar screen fabrics.

The SheerWeave app is available for free download to all mobile devices. MADE IN THE U.S.A. ® SheerWeave is a registerd trademark of Phifer Incorporated.
NOVEMBER + D ECEMBER 2022 | wf-vision.com6 4 GRACE NOTE A
8 disCOVER About
10 POINT-OF-VIEW: New & Noteworthy All That’s Interesting 14 FULL
Technology Custom Motorization
Soft Treatments,
By O’D
19
Handling
Portion
By
22 FULL
Working
Challenging
By
24 FULL
Yelena
By
28 WELL-CRAFTED: Lessons in Leadership Fifth-Generation President
Owned Draper,
By Jennifer Jensen 51 LET’S MAKE A DEAL Goal Setting Helps Susan Day Build Her Business From $27,000 to Over $700,000 By Steven C. Bursten 55 AFTER THE HIRE The First 90 Days By Jessica Harling 58 SHOW ME THE MONEY: Best Business Practices Selling Luxury Products Must Include a Luxury Experience By LuAnn Nigara 62 FLAIR Product Spotlight 64 CURTAIN CALL Last Look FEATURES COLUMNS WINDOW FASHION WINDOW TREATMENTS & INSPIRED DESIGN VISION CONTENTS November + December 2022 IN THIS ISSUE Longtime Stacey’s Home Décor Owner Celebrates 52 Years Coinciding with our mark the milestones feature, we congratulate Vincent Lozzi Jr. on his long dedication to the industry. 49 These Companies Hit the Mark These long-standing companies celebrate major anniversaries. 44 What is Luxury? We ask industry leaders what luxury means to them and how they describe luxurious window treatments. Interior Designers Define Luxury Three designers share their opinions on luxurious window treatments and the styles they are selling to their high-end clients. 30 40
View From Above By Grace McNamara, Publisher
the Cover
FRAME:
of
Part 2: Roman Shades
McKewan
FULL FRAME: Installation
Fabrics: A Lucrative
of the Installation Industry
Roger Magalhaes
FRAME: Workroom
With
Fabrics
Vita Vygovska
FRAME: Designer
Gerts, Interior Designer and CEO of House of Style & Design
Jennifer Jensen
of Family-
Chris Broome

EVERYDAY LUXURY

New Jersey-based interior designer Yelena Gerts is all about creating luxurious spaces for her clients’ everyday spaces. When asked to design this grand living room for her client, a family of four in Colts Neck, New Jersey, which is featured on the cover of this month’s Window Fashion VISION magazine, she jumped at the chance. The client gave her a clean slate for their 10,000-squarefoot-house—a designer’s dream. The house was a “beautiful canvas with an open concept, large windows and the perfect layout,” she said. The goal was to create a house that was elegant, luxurious and timeless, yet functional and practical.

“They wanted a very light, open, spacious, luxurious space,” Gerts said. She said the client wanted to have that feel of being in a luxurious hotel lobby, not a typical room that everyone has.

The house features a two-story foyer that is divided into three zones for style and function. The grand living room features large floor-to-ceiling windows that are

dressed in super-lightweight wool drapes to create a sense of luxury you can see from each point of the house.

“The wow factor is those Dedar drapes,” Gerts said. “It’s like a cashmere scarf hanging down from the ceiling.” She described entering that room as a “breathtaking moment.”

The windows and the drapery are huge. “That really made this room,” she said. “The windows are really the soul of this room.”

The gray area rug’s subtle abstract pattern became “the neutral foundation for the whole space,” she said. There is a mix of different textures in the room. The main seating is an extra-long sofa upholstered in high-performance white linen, which was custom made and sized to fit the room. There are mirrored surfaces that keep the space soft and airy, Gerts said, as well as contemporary art pieces. The other spaces in the house all have a similar palette, but each have their own voice, V

NOVEMBER + D ECEMBER 2022 | wf-vision.com8
dis COVER Cover Story
PHOTOS: MARCO RICCA STUDIO

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NEW & NOTEWORTHY

SETTING A NEW STANDARD: SONESSE 30 DCT 24V DC

Somfy launched a new and improved version of its Sonesse 30 DCT 24V DC motor. The Sonesse 30 motor can be used with a variety of window coverings.

■ Improved sound level that meets the company's Designed for Silence criteria

■ Interchangeable head cover available in three different colors (white, gray and black)

AERC MEMBER HUNTER DOUGLAS CERTIFIES FIRST ROMAN SHADES

The Attachments Energy Rating Council (AERC) has certified Hunter Douglas’ roman shades under the AERC energy improvement rating. Hunter Douglas is the first manufacturer to get certified. AERC’s Energy Improvement rating and certification program, developed with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), offers independent and accurate information about the energy performance of window attachment products.

AERC-certified roman shades can be identified by the AERC Energy Improvement rating label, which highlights the product’s energy savings potential in both warm and cool climates, making it easier for consumers to compare and select the most suitable energy-efficient roman shades for their homes.

“AERC is pleased to add roman shade products as part of the growing list of available certified products for manufacturers to showcase their product’s energy performance in the exact climates where the consumer lives,” AERC Executive Director Ralph Vasami said. “More than ever, consumers are concerned about their energy bills and whether the products they buy are energy efficient. The addition of a vast category such as roman shades will expand their options exponentially.”

According to Hunter Douglas Energy Efficiency Program Manager Stacy Lambright, Hunter Douglas is the first to rate and certify roman shades with its Vignette Modern Roman Shades. The AERC energy ratings provide consumers with credible data on the energy-saving potential of a window attachment product. A sophisticated process of material testing and window modeling is used to gauge the degree to which a window attachment—such as a shade, blind or storm window—will improve the performance of that window in reducing heating and cooling usage.

It has an even quieter sound, a new style of motor head, the same robust quality and performance, and many improvements and benefits:

■ Fully UL-listed motor meets safety and inspection requirements

■ Ergonomically friendly manual programming button on the motor head

■ Easy access

■ Local control without a remote

■ LED lights provide visual feedback to confirm communication

■ Thin motor head minimizes the light gap

■ Recessed, interchangeable metal adaptor plates are compatible with industry-leading hardware and maintain the reduced light gap

■ Independent stop wire for easier integration

SHERWIN-WILLIAMS ANNOUNCES COLOR OF THE YEAR

Sherwin-Williams introduced its 2023 Color of the Year as Redend Point SW 9081, a calming blush-beige that inspires expanded horizons and eyeopening discoveries.

“Redend Point was inspired by the idea of finding beauty beyond ourselves,” said Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at SherwinWilliams. “It is a heartening hue that invites compassion and connection into any space. The color is a natural choice for those looking for a warm and joyful neutral in both interiors and exteriors.”

According to the company, it said in exploring “beauty beyond ourselves,” the hue provides a grounding reminder to stay curious and empathetic toward ourselves and our communities.

As neutrals continue to warm up, Wadden expects this blush-beige to be a versatile shade seen across residential and commercial spaces in the years to come.

“Redend Point’s subtle pink undertones make it easy to incorporate into any space. It delivers an enveloping warmth that instantly makes you feel at home,” Wadden said. “Build on its earthiness by utilizing the hue alongside natural-looking textiles and wood accents or create a desert oasis by layering terra-cotta shades and clay materials.”

The intriguing hue is part of the Nexus palette in the Sherwin-Williams 2023 Colormix Forecast. Wadden recommends pairing the hue with grounding neutrals— like Urbane Bronze SW 7048, Pure White SW 7005, Cool Beige SW 9086 and Foothills SW 7514—or tonal clays such as Hushed Auburn SW 9080, Toile Red SW 0006, Carnelian SW 7580 and Malted Milk SW 6057.

Led by Wadden, the Sherwin-Williams global color and design team researches and identifies key trends that influence the way people interact with color. From those findings, the team turns emerging themes into the annual Colormix Forecast, which for 2023 features 40 colors and four palettes.

NOVEMBER + D ECEMBER 2022 | wf-vision.com10
POINT-OF-VIEW
VISION 11 QUALITY & FUNCTIONALITY IN FOREST METAL COLLECTIONS www.forestdh.com FOREST DECORATIVE METAL COLLECTIONS: From ringed pole sets, to hand drawn traversing, to motorized, Forest has a collection with the quality and functionality you are looking for. THE WORLD BEHIND YOUR DRAPERIES

NEW & NOTEWORTHY

DESIGNER OF THE YEAR: MONIQUE HOLLAND OF WASHINGTON, D.C.

Legrand Shading Systems’ new line of alluring, runway-inspired fabrics are now available.

LEGRAND SHADING SYSTEMS DEBUTS NEW DESIGNER SHADE FABRICS FROM COULISSE AND MORE

Legrand Shading Systems launched its new fabrics featuring designer collections from Coulisse, Twitchell, Phifer and more. The curated collections feature new decorative, solar screen, sustainable and room-darkening options.

“Windows are one of the most distinct design elements of any home or business, and they should be outfitted that way,” said Charlie Derk, director of product marketing, shading and residential controls, Legrand North America. “Our latest collections have been expanded and curated to reflect today’s style trends, delivering many decorative window covering options that can pair with blackout fabrics to create the most functional yet beautiful window treatments available.”

The Coulisse line reflects European style with textures and colors inspired by nature. Legrand Shading Systems added several Coulisse collections that provide many light-filtering levels to create attractive, elegant finishes, including Como, Hampton, Mexico, Mombassa, Salvador and Santiago styles.

The Twitchell fabric line encapsulates laid-back luxury to achieve the allAmerican boho feel with meticulously designed, high-quality woven fabrics. Twitchell’s EarthTex and Shadeview solar screen collections are made in the U.S. Legrand’s Phifer fabric line features stylish, high-performance fabrics with several certified sustainable selections. It includes more colors and light filtering and blackout choices, including an aluminum-back-performance-plus option.

Legrand’s Blackout collection continues to grow. The new collection also offers a variety of blackout styles and shades. Legrand has several matching light-filtering and blackout fabrics available, which utilize one set of brackets for two shades.

Monique Holland was selected by interior design journalists from throughout the U.S. and Canada. Celebrating more than 50 years of great design, Decorating Den Interiors’ Annual Dream Room Design Contest received more than 300 annual entries from designers and decorators across North America. Their design work is voted on by national journalists, editors and design professionals, as well as the general public, in a special segment called the People’s Choice Awards.

Holland’s design was a modern and industrial dining room brought together with bold wallpaper and mustard yellow velvet draperies. A stunning live edge table makes the space one of a kind.

Holland Custom Designs is a full-service interior design firm in the Washington, D.C., area. The design firm is owned by Holland, who works with her team to create award-winning interiors.

The client, Sandi Rockwell, said: “I knew that I wanted a beautiful and unique space. I also knew the color scheme I wanted; however, I had no idea where to start. From the time I contacted Monique, through the installation, I felt at ease. Not only was she patient and took time to listen to my ideas, she contacted us weekly with the status of our project.

The final design reflected the feel I wanted in my space. I had no idea how refreshing a room and adding custom draperies would warm up my space. Thank you so much. We love our space.”

CEO OF SCARLET THREAD CONSULTING LAUNCHES METRIQUE SOLUTIONS

For decades, Michele Williams, CEO and founder of Scarlet Thread Consulting, has been teaching and coaching servicebased businesses about how to make better decisions. “Financial information reflects the health of your company, just like your blood pressure and blood sugar reflect the health of your body,” Williams said. “Yet, business owners are so busy running the day-to-day aspects of their business, they often ignore the indicators of business health and get overwhelmed by the numbers.”

Williams decided the best way to teach business owners and finances was to create a tool for them to use. With this vision, Metrique Solutions was born. She began developing her methods, spreadsheets and visual aids into an easy-to-use platform. Metrique Solutions is the ultimate money dashboard for service-based businesses.

Users get analytical feedback in a form that is beautiful, as well as easy to read and

understand. With this instant snapshot of the health and trajectory of their company, business owners can make wise and confident decisions.

Metrique Solutions is a software application that helps you measure what matters. The goal was to allow business owners to see at a glance the information needed to know where they are and where they are going.

This application is not a client project or product management system and it is not a financial accounting system. Metrique Solutions sits between the two. It uses the data captured and assimilates it together so that users can see the entire picture, then show it to you on a visual dashboard. V

NOVEMBER + D ECEMBER 2022 | wf-vision.com12 POINT-OF-VIEW
Beautiful Range of Colors A VAILABLE I N W IDE WID T H CONT I N UOUS ww www.wilsonfabrics.com follow us: Will suit a variety of interiors Sheer Drapery Fabrics

Custom Motorization of Soft Treatments

Part 2: Roman Shades

Let’s look at some of the challenges of custom motorization of roman shades. There are a lot more intricacies with these as there are so many different manufacturing processes and options. I will try and concentrate on some of the major issues. First, we must discuss the differences between using a metal headrail system and a wood board-mounted system. Although the shades themselves will look fairly similar from the front, the mechanisms and motorization types are completely different.

We will start with the simpler metal headrail system. Although there are technically more parts to the metal headrail system, the motorization is much simpler. These systems generally use a headrail similar to a cell shade headrail or a wood blind headrail. They have a specific motor that fits each headrail type. Many of the major window covering manufacturers use these types of systems as there are more production-based facilities and they have these components in stock for other types of window coverings. The cell shade style generally has a much lower lifting capacity as the motors are generally small and utilize a shaft-drive motor system. This does allow for a compact headrail and uses cord take-up spools that allow for some pretty large shades; however, fabric weight and the length of the shade are limited by the strength of the motor and the size of the cord take-up spools. These headrail systems also allow for the less expensive wand-activated motors, thus making them more affordable products overall.

For larger production-style roman shades, some manufacturers utilize a larger metal headrail system like wood blinds use. Instead of using a small shaft-driven motor system, they use a tube system with larger cord take-up spools that are powered by a roller shadestyle tubular motor. This allows for very large roman shades to be operated. Since the tubes are cradled by the cord take-up spools, there is no deflection of the tubes and lifting capacity is only limited by the motor size—and there are some very powerful tubular motors on the market.

Both metal headrail options allow for some great motorizations of custom roman shades and limit the challenges of design and production problems; however, I am aware that most independently owned workrooms do not utilize them for many reasons. The most prominent reasons are cost and storage. These systems are more expensive to purchase and they require a lot of stock items and storage space. This is why most workrooms prefer the traditional wood headrail system since they are commonly used with most of their production.

Let’s look at the traditional wood headrail system for roman shades. Here is where I see most of the problems with custom-motorized roman shades—mainly with the manufacturing of the shades. With the wood headrail system, you have the most options available, both in style of the shade and size of the shade. A wood headrail

While roman shades pose their own challenges, once you identify the set's intricacies, you can better prepare yourself for the project.

system uses a roller-shade motorization-style system to wrap the pull cords around the tube. This includes lifting and lowering the shade by the directional rotation of the tube and motor. Now, if you’ve taken any of my motorization courses or read my previous articles about roller shade motors, you’ll know that tube size and motor size directly relate to lifting capacities. Therefore, by using this tubular motor system, you can have the largest selection of motorization options and the most margin for errors. Where I see the most problems with the manufacturing of these styles of motorized roman shades is with the cord placement on the shades and the size of the tubes and motors.

For the cord placement, the most common issue I see from workrooms is that they make their motorized shades the same as they make their manually operated shades. They use too many take-

NOVEMBER + D ECEMBER 2022 | wf-vision.com14 FULL FRAME Technology
PHOTO: ROLLEASE

wrap gets thicker around the spool, it’s harder for the motor to turn it. (Motorization 101: A smaller diameter is easy to turn.)

That takes me to my next suggestion for workrooms. Bigger is not better. I prefer to use the smallest wood headrail as possible on my custom roman shades for obvious reasons: less protrusion into the room for outside mounts, fits in shallow sill depths for inside mounts, and better light control by keeping the fabric closer to the wall or window for fabrics off the front of the headrail. If you’re going to make a shade where the fabric comes off the front of the headrail, make sure to use a back valance if you’re doing an inside mount.

Many workrooms are basing their tube size on the width of the shade using roller shade standards. The wider the opening, the bigger the tube needs to be to limit deflection. That’s not the case for roman shades. Consider using multiple smaller-diameter tubes coupled together and turned by a smaller-diameter motor. The strings don’t care if they are wrapped on the same tube. If you align the spring clamps or cord spools, the shade will lift evenly with a lot less force than a bigger tube. Also, using a smaller tube will let you use a smaller motor, thus smaller brackets and smaller headrails. I generally make all my motorized romans on either a 2- or 2.5-inch headboard. The largest tube I use is 2 inches and most of the brackets I use have less than a 2.5-inch footprint. Speaking of brackets, check and see the availability of slim line brackets for your motors. Many manufacturers now offer smaller footprint brackets. Since you do not need to worry about roll-up diameter, the smaller the bracket, the

There’s one more type of lifting system for custom motorized roman shades and that’s the cordless lift-band system. If you’re unaware of this system, you should research it. It’s a newer child-safety lift system that uses narrow bands of fabric to wrap around the tubes instead of cords. This is designed to reduce the chances of child and pet injuries by eliminating cords from roman shades. If you chose to implement this type of system, all the above tips regarding the size of the motor, tubes and brackets still apply. Although this system will incur an increased roll-up diameter around the tube as the shade raises, it’s minimal compared to a cord take-up spool. I personally have not used this system for a motorized roman shade, but I’ve seen them on the market and I see the potential.

It does not matter which lifting system you use on your wood headrail, it depends on what manufacturer of motors you use for your roman shades that will determine the size of your motors, brackets and tubes, but try and use the smallest tubes and brackets.

I spoke with a few workrooms and manufacturers and asked them what are the most common challenges that arise from motorized soft treatments and, other than price, the No. 1 issue was programming the motors and integration of smart home devices. Read the directions or watch the videos online. Make sure your installers are trained in the motor systems you’re selling. V

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

WindowCoveringWorld.com

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Handling Fabrics: A Lucrative Portion of the Installation Industry

No interior decoration is fully complete without adding soft fabrics and textures. They provide luxury, depth and coziness to any room. However, adding fabrics may also increase stress levels and be worrisome to window treatment professionals when the goal is to provide a stunning installation.

Soft treatments such as roman shades and drapery panels require extra time during installation because they are more delicate and the materials usually don’t behave as predictable as hard treatments. Also, not every installer has the patience, finesse or interest in learning this very lucrative part of the installation industry.

Along with a shortage of installers, a strong demand for installation of hard treatments such as faux-wood blinds and roller shades has left workrooms very stressed out and struggling to find professionals to install their beautiful creations.

I agree that installing hard treatments is much easier and straightforward, while installing soft treatments requires deeper math calculations, being extra careful handling delicate fabrics and out-of-the-box thinking. Unfortunately, many installers don’t see the benefit of investing their time in learning this very lucrative area of the installation world. Expert installers with a top-notch reputation for soft goods can easily make $125 to $175 per hour installing such treatments.

If you are having a hard time finding a good installer for this area of the business, perhaps it is time to start grooming your own installer. I am going to share five tips to help you and your installer when the topic is soft treatment installations.

1Keep hands clean, clean, clean.

It seems obvious that installers must keep their hands clean during installations. However, even the simple fact of grabbing screws, L brackets, moving the step ladder around or even handling a tape

measure can add fine dust to their hands. Things may worsen if the installer has sweaty hands or if the fabrics are a lighter color. The solution? The installer must develop a habit to constantly check their hands. Eventually, it will become natural to spot-check their hands, but at the beginning, they must remind themselves to do so. Additionally, a good installer will have cleaning wipes in their tool bag when a washroom is not available and even wear disposable gloves before touching the fabrics.

2Use a pinsetter tool.

Not every workroom provides their drapery panels pinned. It is not a big deal when the installer has to pin a panel or two by hand. However, it may become a very tedious and time-consuming process if the amount of pinning is considerable. Also, when doing it by hand, the pins will be set at slightly different heights from each other and they won’t look professional. On the other hand, when the installer starts using a pinsetter tool, the

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process of pinning panels will never be the same again. With the assistance of a pinsetter, the professional will be able to adjust a tab at a desired height so every pin will be placed at the exact same spot. Additionally, by utilizing this device, the installer will be automating the process and saving time. As a bonus, their fingers won’t be hurting the next day.

Drill through fabric.

Depending on the installation or product application, there will be situations when the installer must drive a screw through the fabric to achieve the desired results. Instead of taking the risk of possibly pulling a fabric thread and damaging the product as they drive the screws, I highly suggest using a razor blade to cut a small slit on the fabric where the screw will be driven through. That way, the installer will ensure that the fasteners will not get in direct contact with the material and, consequently, avoid screws from pulling threads and hacking the treatments.

Make sure to have time for dressing.

Depending on the content of the fabric, some materials will resist handling more than others. In other words, some fabrics will wrinkle much more easily than others. One is linen and, unfortunately, it is also one of the most popular in our industry. Installers should try to minimize handling the fabric as much as possible. Drapery panels should be transported flat in working vans or, if the installer has a commercial vehicle, a rod or track could be installed near the roof to create a hanging system for drapery panels. When arriving at the jobsite, use a drop cloth or blankets and lay the drapes flat on them to minimize moving them around. Once the drapes are hung, fan-fold them and use strips of plastic to gently tie the panels at top, middle and bottom to keep the folds in place for a day or two until the fabric is trained and the fibers create memory. Avoid excessive steaming, as water will make the panels grow. Use an iron and a board as an alternative to remove wrinkles.

Fill up a bag of tricks.

As mentioned earlier, fabrics have a life of their own and different content acts and drapes differently than others. As a soft window treatment installer, it is important to fill up a bag of tricks with various aids for potential solutions. Tenderhooks or picture-hanging hardware are great solutions for drapery returns. Double-sided tape, a tag gun, safety pins, nails and even pushpins would surely come

in handy when the installer must find creative ways to keep the fabric where it should be. Even a drop cloth is a must in the installer’s bag to use as a barrier between the ladder and the drapery panels while hanging them. Most ladders are made of aluminum and fine aluminum dust is natural and expected. However, knowing that, it is imperative the installer prevents contact between the ladder and the fabric at all costs.

It is not easy or quick to become a soft window

treatment installer.

It takes time to develop soft skills, a problem-solving mindset and knowledge about fabrics. However, the financial rewards and recognition are worth the efforts. Once an installer becomes good at it, their reputation will spread and so will the possibilities. Instead of being “just another installer” in the hard treatment arena, why not stand out in the crowd by becoming a top-notch soft treatment installer? I guarantee you won’t regret it. V

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

» TradingUpConsulting.com

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Working With Challenging Fabrics

As a custom workroom exclusively serving interior designers, Vitalia Inc. lives and breathes fabrics. We’ve seen it all, sewed it all and installed it all (almost)—and made all the mistakes. When choosing fabrics for your projects, it can be tempting to make your selections based on color and pattern alone. But keep in mind that those pretty fabrics don’t always behave the way we want them to. It’s good to have an idea ahead of time of what to watch out for and what fabrics are suitable for what applications. This will save a lot of time and reduce headaches for both you and your clients.

Linen

Ah, linen. So beautiful and so challenging. The main challenge is that 100% linen drapery panels may grow after they are installed. Really, any natural fabric is apt to behave this way. And it’s a guessing game. You never know how much it’s going to grow. It could be a ½ inch, 1 inch, or more or maybe nothing. Anything is possible with a natural material. Temperature can also be a cause of stretching, which is something to keep in mind if the draperies are near an air vent.

Linen soils and wrinkles easily, and typically it doesn’t withstand heavy wear. However, it does resist pilling and fading. Soiled linen upholstery must be professionally cleaned to avoid shrinkage.

Wool

When working with 100% wool, just like linen, you should allow for some growth when fabricating and installing. It’s something you should consider before you end up with drapery panels that are dragging on the floor rather than skimming the surface. Wool is also more susceptible to sun damage, so lining them is essential.

Sturdy and durable, wool and wool blends offer good resistance to pilling, fading, wrinkling and general soiling. Wool is often blended with a synthetic fiber to reduce the possibility of felting the fibers.

Open-Weave Fabrics

Bring on the drama. Open-weave fabrics are a great way to make a statement with your window treatments. You can add a trim at the top and bottom of the panels in order to add a pleat and create a finished, polished look when working with an openweave fabric.

Keep in mind that an open-weave fabric will stretch—possibly quite a bit. A good course of action is to hang them during fabrication to give them a chance to grow before installation.

We once worked with a fishnet fabric for drapery panels, where the designer specified a 5-inch band at the bottom. We chose to sew the band on the draperies while they were in their hanging state, so we would be able to accommodate for the stretching and ensure they were the right length for the client. This was definitely one of the most challenging fabrics we have ever worked with.

You should be aware of the amount of stretch you can expect depending on the height of the windows too. We once had to hem a two-story mesh drapery panel on-site because there was no way to predict the amount of stretch on a window that tall.

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100% Polyester Fabric

A 100% polyester fabric can be prone to flaring and resistant to training. This can be especially troublesome and noticeable on long drapery panels. You’ll have to consider other ways of training the panels, such as memory stitch or even using wire inside the bottom hem to force the folds to hold their shape.

100% Silk Fabric

Silk may be thin, but it’s quite durable. It’s an elegant choice for a formal room. Like polyester, a 100% silk drape may have trouble holding its shape and be susceptible to billowing. When using silk for drapery projects, you’ll want to choose a lining and an interlining. This will help the drapes hold their shape, as well as prevent sun damage.

Patterned Fabrics

Patterned fabrics can make a beautiful statement, especially when you take the time to properly design and visualize how the pattern will change once fabricated. A pretty pattern can end up hidden in the pleat if the wrong pattern placement is chosen. You’ll also need to take the size of the pattern repeat into consideration, as well as your choice of pleat.

Sometimes, the challenge is less about the way a fabric behaves and more about whether it works for the type of window treatment. For example, when choosing a fabric for ripplefold drapes, it is important to select one that is pliable and not too stiff. A stiff fabric will billow out and will not hold its shape.

Tailored mock-roman valances fabricated with a sheer fabric will show shadow variations between the wall and window, and the bottom hem and ladder tape used in the back will be visible. An upholstery-weight fabric will create an unattractive large stack on a roman shade when it’s pulled up. Drapes for a two-story window may shrink or grow—time and time again—if an inappropriate fabric is selected.

These are all challenges that you need to be knowledgeable of so you can provide the best guidance and advice for your clients. How do we know? We’ve been there, done that and learned. You won’t catch us making the same mistake twice.

Many fabrics, especially natural materials, can be unpredictable. That’s why you must be proactive in telling your client what will and won’t work for their project, and that changes in length can fluctuate due to many factors, including temperature and humidity.

When working with your client to choose the appropriate fabric for each project, communication is key. It’s important to set realistic expectations and educate them when necessary.

The more you know about what to expect when working with challenging fabrics, the better prepared you will be to make the right recommendations. This will result in a happy client and a beautiful project—and a great reputation as a workroom that provides great support and advice. V

Vita Vygovska is the award-winning author, speaker, business coach and window treatment specialist. Her company, Vitalia Inc., is a comprehensive fabrication, measurement, installation and project management service. It is a one-stop shop, expert go-to resource, wrapped in tech-driven detailed and meticulous style, exclusively to the trade.

» VitaliaInc.com

ORNAMENTAL IRON, INC.

The Clear Vue Collection is growing!

We have added new accessories to our popular acrylic collection, Clear Vue. The collection continues to answer today’s consumer’s desire for statement making decorative drapery hardware The centerpiece of our new additions is our award-winning French Pole set. Available in hollow or solid 1-3/8” or 2-1/8” acrylic poles with metal mitered elbows in 2 finishes. It’s the perfect finishing touch to your custom window treatments.

We know that drapery hardware isn’t just about making a statement it has to be functional and offer solutions for every window. That’s why we have added metal end caps and double brackets for both pole sizes in Chrome or Satin Brass. Because we believe draperies are on the move, we now offer metal passing brackets and C rings. Rounding out our new accessories are acrylic moveable elbows for those bays, bows and corners. All items are available in both 1 3/8” and 2 1/8” sizes and chrome (CHR) and satin brass (SBB) finishes. Think of the possibilities!

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

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TIMELESS LUXURY

Yelena Gerts is an award-winning, luxury interior designer and CEO of House of Style & Design based in Holmdel, New Jersey. She started her career in interior design after 15 years of experience in a luxury retail environment. “I took the leap to pursue my true passion for design and started my own business,” she said. She now leads a team of other designers and experienced employees who specialize in turnkey residential interiors, renovations, new construction, smart home solutions and custom window treatments. She is also an allied member of the American Association of Interior Designers. In 2022, the firm received six awards in design from the association.

Her company’s motto is to “create interiors that transcend a feeling of everyday luxury with style, function and comfort.”

WINDOW FASHION VISION: How would you describe your design style?

YELENA GERTS: Luxury that is modern and comfortable yet elegant and timeless.

WFV: How do you ensure a design will remain timeless and in style?

YG: To make something timeless, I try to remain true to the essence of the project and the client. Trends are good for accents and styling that can be easily changed while making sure that the more permanent elements are classic and unique.

WFV: Where do you look for inspiration?

YG: Travel is a major factor of inspiration, getting out of the everyday environment and visiting trade shows and places with architectural and cultural beauty.

WFV: Where are your favorite places to travel to for inspiration?

YG: Europe is one of the most beautiful places for inspiration. Italian architecture and Parisian couture are especially inspirational. Seeing new trends and modern fashion helps me think of the lifestyle I want to create with each project. I also love winter-esque places like Colorado. The architecture and color palettes are stunning. Designing a winter chateau is an absolute dream of mine.

WFV: What role do you feel windows play in the overall design of a room?

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YG: Windows are a luxurious necessity. They are one of the most important elements of the room and complete the space.

WFV: Are there any new trends you’re seeing in design?

YG: People are starting to bring color back into the design space. There is a whole new wave of maximalism, textures, colors and patterns that are making a clear comeback. The 1960s and ’70s seem to be playing a part in sculptural forms. Lots of texture and stone in the kitchens and bathrooms are coming in, veering away from the smooth, sleek white that is so popular. Patterned wallpaper is coming back as well.

WFV: Any new trends in window treatments specifically?

YG: Window treatments are becoming more and more about texture and motorization is the new normal. The finer materials like silks are coming back, as well as daring trims, from metal and pearls to organic materials in the most sophisticated way.

WFV: What are the biggest challenges of your job?

YG: The true challenge is the growing pains of expanding a new business. Growing the team while redefining my business model to accommodate the direction that I want to take is a challenge, one that I am proud to face.

WFV: What do you love about your job?

YG: The personal connections that I’m able to form through my business,

whether with my clients, my team or the trades and vendors we work with. This business is truly about personal connections and learning about others. My business has allowed me to meet people and form relationships that I would never have expected and has given me rare opportunities and close friends. I also love being able to realize the concept of what we are trying to create. Seeing the process through from the drawing stages to the final installations is such a joy and achievement. Seeing the amazed and happy looks on the clients’ faces after they see their new home, which is an unrivaled experience of accomplishment and pride.

WFV: What’s next for you?

YG: The next step for me and my business is opening a luxury design showroom in Holmdel, New Jersey, as well as an online store that will be up and running in the next few months with curated pieces to allow for bringing small elements of luxury to add that elegance and taste to everyone’s home.

» HouseOfStyleInteriors.com

V

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Horizons Workroom

Your Local Workroom with Endless Possibilities

Located in Waukegan, Illinois, our team of talented artisans pride themselves on bringing your designs to life. Each project is given the same attention to detail and care as a small workroom, all while serving designers like you nationwide. We understand that your designs are as unique as the clients you serve. That’s why we give our full attention to each custom window treatment—no matter the size, quantity, or simplicity. Want to see for yourself? Come visit us for an in-person tour. Simply call 800-858-2352 or email sales@horizonshades.com to set up an appointment.

National Service, Local Feel

We aren’t just another workroom. With a team of hundreds of talented seamstresses, artisans, assemblers, and associates, we take our role as your preferred workroom very seriously. Although we provide service on a national level, we give each and every project the same attention you’d expect from local specialty workrooms including services like C.O.M. processing, design modifications, trim options and more!

A Local Workroom at Your Fingertips

Finding a place to make your clients’ dreams a reality can be tricky. At Horizons, we work closely with designers just like you to make sure every detail is just the way you envisioned it from the first few cuts to the very last stiches.

The Proof Is in the People

It takes more than beautiful fabrics to create high quality custom window treatments. Our team of dedicated artisans cut and sew each design, ensuring each project receives detailed attention. Our talented staff makes sure each window treatment meets high quality standards—creating a finished product they would be proud to display in their own homes.

(07/22) 22-362650_v2

Fifth-Generation President of Family-Owned Draper, Chris Broome

Chris Broome is at the helm of his family-owned window treatment company, Draper, which specializes in commercial roller shades. Broome is the fifth generation to run the company. He took over the reins from cousin John Pidgeon in January 2020, right at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Broome’s father is vice president of manufacturing Mike Broome.

“I have been very fortunate to have been able to work with my father for the last 28 years,” Chris Broome said, “and to continue to build on that family legacy.”

Broome started out as a regional manager for the Midwest sales territory. He covered five states and really got to know the business. “You started and you had several jobs,” he said. “You worked your way up, so you had to learn it.”

Family businesses come with benefits, but they can also come with challenges.

“You don’t want the business side to get into the way of the personal, family relationship,” Broome said. And he feels like that is why some family businesses fail.

In addition to that, there’s also extra pressure that comes with running a family business. “You want to continue to build that legacy,” he said.

However, he said he never felt pressured to lead the company. “I was always really fortunate that way,” he said. His father and cousin wanted to ensure everyone would be happy with the decision for Broome to take over as president. “They wanted to make sure it was a good fit,” he added.

Broome uses that family legacy to his advantage, turning it into inspiration.

WFV: To be around for 120 years in the window treatment industry takes grit, determination and innovation. How has Draper sustained and continued to grow?

One of the biggest things the company has done is to constantly look for opportunities, whether they are new products or new markets, Broome said.

“Don’t pigeonhole yourself into what you are today,” Broome said. “Think about what you can be and where those growth opportunities are.”

The company started out 120 years ago selling window shades to schools. It then expanded and offered projection screens to the schools and eventually offered window shades to commercial markets. Recently, it has expanded into

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WELL-CRAFTED Lessons in Leadership

the residential market under the brand Draper@Home.

WFV: How would you describe your leadership style?

Broome said he learned a lot from his father and other mentors. He believes one should lead by example. “I’m also a person that thinks you have to be seen to lead,” he said. “You need to spend a lot of time out in the factory.”

Draper has more than 750 employees. Although he may not know them all, he said he tries to meet as many people as he can.

It is also important to bring people together in an organization. Reaching collaborative decisions together is good for business, Broome said.

“When you have somebody who makes all the decisions, in a dictator-type style, that can move the needle, but it doesn’t serve you well in the long term,” he said.

Broome said prior to making a decision, he thinks about all the stakeholders who will be impacted by it. He then puts all those people in a room to get their opinions.

In companies, it’s easy to become compartmentalized and have each department do their own thing and not communicate with each other, Broome said.

“The more you can break those barriers down, the more success you will have,” Broome said.

WFV: How do you encourage new ideas and where do those come from?

Leaders should encourage new ideas among employees and foster an environment where they feel comfortable bringing them up to management, he said. “You want people to be open-minded,” he added.

Another great place to garner new ideas from is your customer base. Broome encouraged companies to listen to their customers’ feedback.

“Most of our best ideas that we’ve implemented have come directly from our customers,” he said. “We take a lot

of customer feedback and make a lot of changes because of that.”

Broome said he gets inspired when he goes out and spends time with his customers. He learns new ways to help them solve their problems.

WFV: How does Draper differentiate itself from others in the industry?

The company strives to ship in short lead times, he said. “We ship it when we say we’re going to ship it,” Broome said.

The company also offers exceptional customer service, he added. If there is an issue, the company will make it right.

WFV: How do you retain employees?

Broome said the company works hard to keep their employees happy and encourage retention. Besides the obvious pluses of competitive pay and good benefits, the company also holds employee appreciation days and luncheons where they solicit feedback from their employees.

The company also has an on-site health clinic where employees can receive primary health care services. This is a huge benefit for employees because the company is in the rural, small town of Spiceland, Indiana. The town is not located very close to health services.

Complementing the clinic is an on-site wellness park, including walking trails, which can be used on lunch breaks or even after work.

“We do a lot of things to try and encourage our employees to stay,” Broome said.

And it seems to be working. The company has many employees who have been there for 20 and 25 years. One of their shade manufacturer department heads just celebrated 50 years at the company.

WFV: What’s next for the company in the short term?

In the near term, the company hopes to grow more into the residential marketplace. It already has a strong hold of the commercial market.

“We see the real, strongest, future growth opportunity through the residential channel,” Broome said.

And in growing this market, the company will need to continue to innovate.

“We plan to bring products to market that differentiate ourselves from our competitors,” Broome said.

The company will introduce a flex-style shade with decorative brackets. This has a “much more residential feel than any type of window covering product that we have produced,” Broome said.

The company has also begun construction of a 100,000-square-foot building.

“We’ll pick up more production capacity and we’ll pick up more warehouse space,” Broome said. This will help keep production timelines short, he added.

Broome said he is also proud that the company continues to keep all manufacturing facilities in Spiceland. The new facility will increase employees to about 800. Once complete, the company will have 500,000 square feet of manufacturing facilities.

“Being able to create jobs and opportunities in rural America is something to be proud of too,” he said. V

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WHAT IS LUXURY?

The word means something different to everyone. What one might consider a luxury, another might consider a necessity. We all have our own standards and what we consider needs or wants. Some may think of things that are extremely extravagant when defining luxury, while others see comfort as a luxury. We gathered those in the industry to find out what luxury means to them and how they would describe luxury specifically relating to window treatments.

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“I define luxury as a moment or a feeling of when you look around your surroundings and would not change a single thing. I personally believe that ‘rich’ means being around people and things you truly love; whatever that means to you personally. To me, combining these worlds to suit your every day is living a rich life of luxury.”

“Luxury window treatments suit the need of the space they’re in in an effortless way. When you need to filter light to best enjoy the space, the opportunity is there at your fingers to make adjustments and continue on. I think the best window treatments, similar to a great waiter at a restaurant or referee in a sports game, can often go unnoticed but are a vital element for a complete and enjoyable experience for all.”

“Luxury is beauty and everything that is connected to beauty. For me, being surrounded by beautiful objects brings me comfort and makes me feel positive and inspired. I try to create a comfortable space that makes me feel good and is an escape from a busy and hectic life.”

“Our sustainable fabrics made from recycled yarns are our new luxury. We have developed these fabrics, as we want to be careful about what we add to the world. We aspire to make better choices and think more about our products before launching them. This gives us a real sense of luxury. And, of course, together with our smart home concept MotionBlinds, we are bringing beauty and intelligence together. This is the ultimate form of luxury. Pure, beautiful and tactile fabrics working seamlessly together with our advanced systems and smart technology. Now we can all have luxury in our daily lives.”

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—CATHARINA PHOTO: COULISSE PHOTO: JENNY MELICK

“Luxury is effortless, comfort and sumptuous.”

“Luxurious window treatments operate with a push of a button or a spoken word and, most importantly, are created with the beauty of fabric that adds to a room’s overall ambiance.”

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“We believe quality equals luxury.”

“We believe luxury in window treatments is quality combined with great function.”

Luxury is “something enjoyed or enhanced over and above the ordinary necessities in life.”

“Enhancing the comfort of your living space by providing function as well as beauty. SheerWeave fabrics offer sun-control properties for comfort and refined elegance that complement any design.”

—PAULA DEASON PHIFER

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PHOTO COURTESY OF BLIND DESIGNS SOUTH AFRICA

“Luxury is exceptional quality and bespoke design. Luxury is handcrafted by talented artisans. Luxury is custom-made for discerning clients who value quality. Luxury is the opposite of fast fashion; luxury lasts a lifetime.”

“Luxury window treatments require high-quality fabrics and trims. Designers create luxury by designing oneof-a-kind window treatments for their clients. Only talented, knowledgeable workrooms can craft truly luxury window treatments.”

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—LINDSEY PUTZIER LINDSEY PUTZIER DESIGN STUDIO PHOTO: ADDISON JONES

“I think the traditional definition—an inessential, desirable item that is expensive or difficult to obtain—has waned and evolved in the last several years. Luxury is more than just a product or a brand, it is about experience, accessibility or a feeling of being special because you are the only one who has it.”

“Though the key to luxury is always exclusivity, which usually equates into products that are perceived as quality, elegant, comfortable and are higher priced, this no longer holds true. The term ‘luxury’ is evolving to encompass several additional things. Not all luxury purchases are necessarily the most expensive … There is a shift in priorities from notions of ‘what you can do’ to ‘who you can be.’ Today our clients are looking for experiences that help them learn, differentiate themselves, express who they are and have a purpose beyond comfortable elegance.”

“Modern luxury in window treatments applies to both the products we design and sell and the service experience we provide our clients. To me, luxury window treatments are sophisticated statements informed by the past, exquisitely crafted by artisans, and are creative solutions to each window that provide superior performance made of luscious materials. They are so much more than a finishing touch in a room. It’s about ‘true’ custom craftsmanship, not ‘designing’ from a pricing chart limited by your vendor options. It’s about the recognition of the hand and providing a product and service that is personal and unique to each client. Window treatment designers are becoming storytellers, curators and concierges of the luxury window experience.”

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—DEB BARRETT SPEAKER, DESIGNER, CONSULTANT AND COACH PHOTO: DEB BARRETT
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“Luxury is about being able to spend your money on quality items that provide a lifestyle that makes you happy.”

“Luxury custom window treatments are made up of three things: the materials used, the fabrication process and the installation. It doesn’t matter how well one of these is done; without the other two, it will be downgraded significantly. No matter how beautiful the fabric is, if there is no care in the fabrication or installation process, it will look like any other fabric. Two of these parts are not enough either. All three must be achieved in unity to provide a full custom luxurious product. Higher quality materials combined with attention to details and hand-stitching fabrication techniques, then handed off to be installed properly by a professional, will make that window treatment luxurious no matter the setting it is in. When materials, fabrication and installation all sync in unity, the final product is one to be envied.”

Michelle Williams

“Luxury, to me, is an elevated experience, service or product. Luxury is more than a utilitarian solution—it goes above and beyond what might be needed, expected or assumed.”

“In window treatments, luxury is expressed in all of the elements from concept, design, product selection, fabrication and installation. In some ways, all custom window treatments are luxury because they are ‘made to fit’ a space, designed for a client on purpose and not mass-produced. But the ultimate luxury in window treatments is a design that meets the needs of the client but enhances the overall look and feel of the room.”

LuAnn Nigara

“By definition, luxury is the act or product that adds pleasure or comfort but is not necessary. Our consumer does not need to have custom window treatments, they desire them. So, when we show up as the professional—able to educate, design and provide a seamless experience—this translates value and draws the luxury consumer to us.”

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—ELIZABETH GERDES OWNER, STITCH ABOVE THE REST

INTERIOR DESIGNERS DEFINE LUXURY

Three designers share their views on luxurious window treatment styles and products they are selling and what they see for the future.

Luxury is a loaded word and defining it can be tricky.

We asked three interior designers for their take on luxury. Each had somewhat of a different response, as there is no right or wrong answer. It is simply an opinion and one that can take shape in a multitude of ways. Luxury can vary based on location, stature and from person to person.

When talking about luxury in interior design, one can’t ignore window treatments. Window treatments can be a statement piece in a room if done correctly. And for those selling to high-end clients, the options and wants can vary from client to client. As a designer, they must truly listen to their clients and inform them of the latest trends and styles.

For self-taught interior designer Rachel Moriarty, owner of Rachel Moriarty

Interiors, luxury is “so much more than functional or essential, it’s sumptuous surroundings.”

Michelle Castagna, owner of Muse Design Studio, who has been serving high-end residential clients for 25 years, said luxury is defined by her client. “Luxury is where they see the value,” she said. “It’s an overall finished product. It’s how you make their lifestyle feel luxurious in an understated way.”

For Cheryl Luckett, owner of Dwell by Cheryl Interiors, luxury is extreme comfort.

“Luxury is about having things or a lifestyle or a home that make you ultimately comfortable,” she said. “Those little things that before you need to request them, they’re already there.”

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DESIGN BY CHERYL LUCKETT. PHOTOGRAPHED BY LAURA SUMRAK PHOTOGRAPHY.

WHAT ABOUT LUXURY IN WINDOW TREATMENTS?

Luckett is very passionate about window treatments and said, in and of themselves, window treatments are simply luxurious. “You literally have tons of fabric floating on your wall,” she said. “That is luxury. That brings an element, a layer to the space. There is no substitute for that, for that feeling drapery brings.”

Moriarty defined luxurious window treatments as those that are “custom, detailed and layered with beautiful hardware and motorization.”

Castagna said luxury in window treatments is about scaling back. “People don’t want all the fuss,” she added.

And while each designer is located in a different part of the United States, there are some similarities in what they are selling to their high-end clients.

“I’m in Southern California and we have a very relaxed coastal vibe here,” Moriarty said. Lately for her clients, she has been featuring roman, woven and roller shades, as well as ripplefold drapery. Moriarty said while working on a lot of modern luxury

beach homes, these are the things most requested. “But they also want them motorized,” she added.

While drapery still exists, these aren’t the major things Castagna is selling these days. She said people seem to want more of a clean look and are asking for much more simplistic window treatments. She is selling more panels, simple hangings, drapery pockets and less hardware and trimmings.

South Florida-based Castagna said she feels like there is a less is more mentality in the world. “Luxury is being represented on a more simplistic scale.” She attributes this to the two years during the COVID-19 pandemic when people were stuck at home, as well as the constant visual stimulation people are experiencing on a day-to-day basis. “We see more in a day than our ancestors saw in a lifetime,” Castagna said.

Due to this overexposure out in the world, people are wanting visual calm at home. Home is their sanctuary, she said. “We are all seeking that refuge from that visual chaos,” she added.

While some of this might be true, for Charlotte, North Carolina-based Luckett, she is seeing some of the opposite as well. “We’re no longer spec-ing the simple things,” Luckett said. She feels there has been a shift away from the simple designs that have been so popular the last several years. “People want those things that feel special, really custom, made especially for their space,” she added.

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DESIGN BY MICHELLE CASTAGNA. PHOTOGRAPHED BY IBI DESIGNS. PHOTO: NICK SARGENT

She agreed that the pandemic played a part in what people are asking for now. People are now wanting functionality out of their drapery, which is something that wasn’t asked for in the past. “They know how they live now and want something functional and that meets their extreme comfort desires,” she said.

Clients are asking Luckett for window treatments that are easy to close, can block the light and keep the room cool. Her company is installing more track systems from the floor to the ceiling and more motorization. Clients are also seeking a more maximalism approach. They want color, patterns, luxury and details, Luckett added. “People are yearning for those luxurious details with that functionality,” she said.

A huge trend that all designers are seeing and expect to continue is automation and motorization. These are those hidden components that one doesn’t see. But these “details you don’t see take more time,” Castagna said. Window treatments have been simplified into very basic forms and they become part of the backdrop, she added. “There is more of a flow and less in your eye kind of detail,” Castagna said.

Luckett said she sees the pendulum swinging back to those old details, but with a technological touch. “You can have the pretty and the function,” she said.

Moriarty agreed that motorization is the future in window treatments. “My clients like to be able to schedule, open and close their window treatments from a remote or their smartphone or by voice using Google Home or Alexa,” she added.

Castagna believes automation and motorization will become more accessible in the future. It won’t be something just the high-end client can afford. They will get more sophisticated for the people who can spend more money on it. “To develop window treatments in a technical way is the evolution,” she added. V

HOW DO YOU DEFINE LUXURY?

We’d love to hear it. Send an email to editor@wf-vision.com.

VISION 43
DESIGN BY RACHEL MORIARTY. PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEBORAH SHIELDS PHOTOGRAPHY.
IG:
PHOTO: DEBRA SHIELDS PHOTOGRAPHY
» Michelle Castagna: MuseDesign.studio
@muse_design_studio
» Cheryl Luckett: DwellByCheryl.com IG: @dwellbycheryl
» Rachel Moriarty: RachelMInteriors.com IG: @rachelmoriartyinteriors

THESE COMPANIES HIT THE MARK

To become a staple in any industry is no small feat and to be sustainable long enough to hit a major milestone is another one. This especially applies to such a niche market as the window treatment industry. Yet, there are numerous companies who are celebrating their 20th anniversary and beyond, even up to 120 years. We applaud those companies. Congratulations!

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120 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE FROM DRAPER

Draper was founded in 1902 by Luther O. Draper in Spiceland, Indiana. The company manufactured and sold window shades to schools, initially in Indiana and western Ohio. In the 1950s, Draper’s grandson, Luther Pidgeon, invented the company’s first projection screen for schools. For many years, this was the company’s largest revenue stream.

In 1968, Draper’s great-grandsons John Pidgeon and Mike Broome joined the company and were part of much of its most dramatic growth. Now, Chris Broome is the fifth generation to lead Draper and members of the sixth generation are already working with the company as well.

Draper now designs and manufactures motorized window shades, as well as manually operated shades. The company also provides outdoor shading systems, including roller shades, “ZIP” shades, metal shading systems, and custom solar control solutions that are unique, one-off designs specific to each project.

“Our product diversification gives us capabilities that most other manufacturers don’t have,” said Terry Coffey, external

communications specialist for Draper. “Our integrated manufacturing means we make most of what we need right here in our own factory, so supply chain issues are less of a concern for us.”

The company said it also provides a high level of customer service, quick manufacturing lead times and ships products on time.

Throughout Draper’s existence, the owners, managers, and employees have seen the company itself as a legacy—for the family, for the community and for the industry.

“Our ability to not only survive but thrive and grow over 120 years is a testament to hard work and commitment,” Coffey said.

PHIFER PIONEERS FOR 70 YEARS

In the 1950s, air conditioning was expensive and rare. The primary means for many to cool down was through ventilation in windows and doors and insect screening was a critical component to protect from insects. In October 1952, James Reese Phifer, an attorney with no previous manufacturing experience, transformed a five-employee weaving factory in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, into a screen and fabrics business.

The second generation began managing the company in 1984, when Beverly Phifer was named president. Under her leadership and dedication to product innovation, Phifer expanded its product lines with the development of SheerWeave, an interior roller shade fabric designed to manage light and heat at the window and Phifertex outdoor furniture fabric. Today, both product lines have continued to grow. The company is now in its third generation as a Phifer family-owned and -operated corporation.

In its history, Phifer said it has always worked to provide the highest quality products in the industries it serves. The company’s vision is “to excel in everything we do” and its mission is “to serve customers.”

When the company was founded in 1952, there were more than 60 weaving companies making insect screening in the U.S. Today, Phifer is the only made in the USA manufacturer remaining.

VISION 45

ROWLEY ROLLS INTO YEAR 60

Hardware, an elegant line of handcrafted custom drapery hardware.

The company continued to innovate and implemented new operating systems to improve efficiencies in the customer service call center, warehouse and order packaging.

Rowley has been in the window coverings industry for more than 50 years. It has grown and evolved since its founding in 1962 by R.H. Rowley and his wife, Vaughn. The couple moved to Atlanta and purchased The House of Draperies, a small drapery workroom and installation business. The business quickly grew to 11 workroom tables. The Rowleys sold the Atlanta company and moved back to New England. They saw a need for drapery supply wholesalers in the area and began supplying drapery and installation products to trade professionals in the region.

The company began to innovate in 1982 when Rowley came up with the T-handle, a solution for casement window cranks that prevented blinds and draperies from hanging correctly. “The phenomenal customer reaction to this product line, and several other unique problem-solvers, was the genesis of a national company,” the company said.

The company moved to Gastonia, North Carolina, where its company offices still remain today.

In the 1990s, the company’s product line continued to expand from several dozen unique items to more than 10,000 items to aid workrooms, designers, installers and upholsterers in exceeding their customers’ expectations.

The company continued to expand, into its sixth warehouse, and Rowley eventually retired and sold the company to private investors. They leveraged the company’s value proposition into new product lines and new channels of business while staying true to the foundation that made the company so successful. Then, it acquired custom decorative drapery hardware manufacturer Resin Solutions Inc., and then launched Finestra Decorative

It opened a warehouse facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, and continued expanding its product line with a full line of metal decorative drapery hardware under the AriA brand. Rowley extended the Rowley brand directly to the home decor channel by launching a line of DIY products at JoAnn Fabrics stores, and further positioned the brand to the DIY market with the online launch of Rowley DIY.

It then acquired Article Inc., a leading designer and manufacturer of decorative drapery hardware. The business continues to grow under the banner of Home Décor International.

“We’ve remained true to our original focus of providing excellent customer service and delivering an experience that exceeds your expectations,” the company said.

Rowley said it distinguishes itself from its competitors by offering a one-stopshop selection of competitively priced and innovative products for workrooms, designers, upholsterers and installers while also providing free expert technical support, education and training to help customers grow their businesses and enhance the experience for the clients that they serve.

The company calls itself a champion for small business owners who are able to access the products, resources and training they need to successfully develop and grow their businesses.

CUSTOM MACHINERY

FOR OVER 50 YEARS

Creative Machinery was started by Michael and Irmi Tuskos (changed later to Tueskoes) after they immigrated from Hungary in 1957 with no knowledge of sewing or the ability to speak English. The two started a small drapery workroom and an upholstery shop in Miami, Florida, a few years later, which eventually became Tueskoes Drapery Machinery in 1964.

Irmi learned to make drapes, swags, and everything else that was necessary. When Michael came home from studying mechanical engineering at the University of Florida, he noticed how hard it was to make perfect drapes on horizontal tables and, thus, along with Irmi’s help, the Vertical Tabler was born.

“In a few months, the news spread in Miami about the new invention—Vertical Tabler,” Irmi said. The company sold numerous tablers to many workrooms before closing the shop and moving to Louisville, Kentucky. Shortly after, the couple reopened the drapery machinery business under the name Tuskos Machinery and the drapery business, Bluegrass Drapery. Michael designed several new machines for the drapery fabricating industry, including the Six Function Cutting Machine.

In 1974, the couple sold both businesses. They restarted the drapery workroom, calling it Bluegrass Drapery again. The equipment business was also restarted and named Creative Machinery LLC with several newly designed machinery for drapery workrooms and the textile industry.

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R.H. Rowley and his wife, Vaughn.

“We were the pioneers in this business, the first company offering drapery fabricating machines in the U.S., and all over the world,” said Mary Kollarits, daughter of the Tueskos and operations manager at the company. “We operated a drapery workroom for many years to test and use the machinery in a real operating workroom to provide the best result.”

Creative Machinery now offers a variety of equipment, including the JR cutting machine. Along with the Vertical Tabler, Creative Machinery also offers the Slanted Micro Tablers from 20 feet to 38 feet wide and fabric wholesalers and handlers like the ECONO fabrication inspection machine, up to a 135-inch-wide machine.

“Now, we are developing the simple, horizontal table clamps with an affordable price for smaller workrooms,” Irmi said. “These machines are time-savers, and the investment is recouped in a short amount of time.”

Irmi said the company’s motto is “Tell us what you need, and we will try to make it.”

“The founders Michael and Irmi Tueskoes were the key people who helped the company to grow where it is today, relentlessly putting in time and effort to make it where it is today,” Kollarits said.

The company said they are devoted to their customers and building machines that are reliable and can be used for years. For example, the company received a call from someone in Hawaii whose father used a JR machine for 35 years and he wanted to order one for his own workroom.

COULISSE TURNS 30

Coulisse started 30 years ago in 1992 in an apartment in Enter in the Netherlands. Christiaan Roetgering began the trading company with one computer and the help of his brother, Maurice, and his family. They began trading with 10 employees, which eventually grew to more than 250 employees today.

“We are proud that every single person over the last 30 years has helped to get Coulisse to where they are today,” the Roetgerings said.

Coulisse offers a total solution of collections, advanced systems and MotionBlinds smart technology. This is a concept that can work together or stand -alone to meet the exact needs of their customers and partners around the world.

It also offers textile collections that they claim combine beauty, functionality and sustainability in one. “Our fabrics help to create happy, healthy, inspiring and energyefficient spaces for people to live and work,” the company said.

The company’s engineers develop modular window covering systems that are smart, safe, stylish and user-friendly.

The company sets itself apart from others by embracing technology. “We are ready for Matter, the smart home standard of the future that is currently being developed by Apple, Google, Amazon, SmartThings and many others,” the company said. “When Matter becomes available in late 2022, Eve MotionBlinds motors will be Matter certified and work directly with all leading smart home systems.”

The company has an in-house creative studio, research and development

department, and the Coulisse Academy. “With our passion, creativity and know-how, we give our clients the wings and inspiration to strengthen any vision, strategy, assortment and brand proposition,” the company said.

The company said it strives to be good for the people and plants by creating sustainable products to make the world a beautiful and comfortable place for future generations to enjoy.

Christiaan and Maurice Roetgering said they are proud to celebrate 30 years. “If we think back to starting in our living room in 1992, it’s incredible and truly humbling to be the global leader in innovative and smart window coverings throughout the world,” the Roetgerings said. “As a family business, we are always grateful for the long-standing partnerships with customers and suppliers and the talented people we work with every day. We are excited about the future.”

VISION 47

CRYPTON COMING UP ON 30 YEARS STRONG

In 1993, Craig and Randy Rubin came up with a plan in their home in Michigan. Randy, a marketing executive, and Craig, who worked in the fabrics industry, imagined a fabric that could stand up to life’s messes and still be touchable and beautiful, and one that would change the way designers could use fabric in commercial and public spaces.

They co-founded Crypton. Randy was chairman and oversaw the marketing and brand strategy. She was responsible for collaborations with artists, designers and architects, including the firm’s famous line with fine art photographer William Wegman and architect Michael Graves. Craig handled the operations. The couple eventually sold the business to Berkley Capital in 2017, but Craig remains on the Crypton Board of Directors.

“At the time, they likely could not have envisioned that they would ultimately create the fabrics that launched a global design trend of white sofas and that have added ease and beauty to the lives of millions,” the company said.

Crypton CEO Lance Keziah has been with the company for 20 years. Due to his efforts, the world’s first performance fabrics made with 50% to 70% recycled cotton fibers were introduced to the furniture market in 2020. Crypton performance cottons are now featured in retail stores across the country including at luxury furniture retailer Arhaus.

He was also a part of the world’s first and only bio-responsive woven residential upholstery fabrics made with Celliant yarns that reflect human body heat back as healing infrared energy with clinically proven wellness benefits, including

improved circulation, cellular oxygenation, faster recovery and better sleep. Introduced to the residential design trade in June 2022 exclusively at Kravet, these fabrics are at the forefront of an industry-wide, designfor-wellness movement.

The company also created the world’s first and only U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-listed disinfectable fabrics. Crypton barrier fabrics for contract used along with its fabric cleaner are a two-part system recognized by the EPA as disinfectable fabrics.

In 2018, Keziah helped the company expand into Europe. He also organized the 2019 acquisition of the former Abercrombie Textiles mill, now the Crypton Mills at Broad River, North Carolina, where the new recycled cottons and Wellness Textures fabrics were developed and made.

Another key individual at Crypton is Senior Vice President Jack Eger. He is responsible for creating a market for Crypton’s Home brand, which in its short, eight-year history has become a leading indoor residential performance fabric.

In addition to the first-to-market innovations, Crypton Home’s best-selling fabric, Nomad Snow, a white, linen-like textured upholstery fabric, is widely considered to be the material that facilitated a nationwide trend: the white sofa, according to the company. “Before Nomad Snow, and Crypton’s marketing showing all sorts of outrageous spills wiping cleanly off of its soft, sophisticated surface, nobody would have dreamed of having a white sofa,” the company said.

Over the years, Crypton kas kept its focus on what it’s known for: indoor performance fabrics.

The company has also focused on corporate responsibility in sustainability. The company launched Crypton’s PFAS-free technology and created a brand-wide PFAS-free policy for all Crypton fabrics, commercial and residential, and all Crypton fabrics are GREENGUARD Gold certified.

“Crypton was founded on a premise of making people’s lives easier, more comfortable and creating healthier and more beautiful environments for people,” the company said. “Crypton has accomplished this for 30 years through a persistent commitment to innovation— looking beyond what exists, discovering what’s possible and making it happen.”

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WINDOW FASHION VISION AND IWCE CELEBRATE 35 YEARS

Founder and President Grace McNamara purchased Window Fashion Vision magazine in October 1986 from the Industrial Fabrics Association International. Within the first year of the acquisition, McNamara quickly recognized the need for training and education in the industry and developed a traveling two-day conference specifically for window treatment retailers and designers. The conference was the foundation for the Window Fashions Certified Professionals Program, today the leading training program in the industry, offering courses online and live at the annual International Window Coverings Expo (IWCE).

In 1991, the company produced the first Window Fashions Expo in Chicago, Illinois, with Mario Buatta as a keynote speaker. The first Design & Workroom Competition awards were also introduced at this conference, evolving into the most

prestigious awards recognizing excellence in design and fabrication of custom window treatments.

In 1997, McNamara and her team launched IWCE in Atlanta, Georgia, competing with the World of Windows show. With superior education and customer service, McNamara said her show was favored by the industry. After a brief partnership with the competition, she eventually purchased the event.

In between these business milestones, McNamara adopted four daughters from Poland in 1993: Paulina, Magdalena, Bogusia and Ania. Following in her footsteps, today, youngest daughter Ania is a business partner and vice president of the company. McNamara said Ania’s dedication and love of the industry will help continue the vision and goals of the company well into the future.

LONGTIME STACEY’S HOME DÉCOR OWNER CELEBRATES 52 YEARS

After 52 years, Stacey Home Décor Owner Vincent Lozzi Jr. has retired. He carried on the family legacy of the company after taking it over from the original owner, Leon Stacey. He decided to keep the name because it had become a household name in the community. Four generations of Lozzi’s family have now been a part of the business.

In 1915, Stacey started Stacey’s Shade and Screen in Lynn, Massachusetts. It became a staple of the community and helped out during World War II by providing shades to those in the community. During that time, Stacey invented many items with materials he had from custom shades and screens, including a mobile baby playpen.

Later, Lozzi joined the company as a 17-year-old junior in high school. He learned all about window treatments and to how to make the shades and rollers by hand from the original owner. Later, Stacey’s son, Frank took over the business and changed the name to Stacey’s Shade Shop. Lozzi worked alongside him until purchasing the company in 1986 and changed the name to Stacey’s Window Fashions.

“Generations of families have come to Stacey’s,” Lozzi said. “It’s just a nice feeling.”

Lozzi still continues to make custom wood roller shades and uses the same machine Leon and Frank Stacey used.

“As a kid, I would go to yard sales with my dad and he would always buy old, junky Singer sewing machines and I never knew why,” said Tony Lozzi, Vincent’s son and now owner of the business. “Because they were so rare, anytime he found one, even if it was broken, he would buy it and store it in the basement just in case he needed a part.”

Lozzi, along with his then-employee David Carpinella, invented and developed the first wood slat vertical blind.

“My father told me in the early 1980s he was given a business card and it was made of wood—a very thin piece of wood,” Tony said. “So, he thought this would be a great idea for a vertical blind.”

Eventually, Lozzi changed the name to Stacey’s Home Décor, but today the company still offers the same exceptional customer service and quality products—even while dealing with a recession, pandemic and possible closure over the years.

“My father has always been a resilient person, and [Stacey’s Home Décor] was his pride and

joy besides his wife and children,” Tony said.

Lozzi recalls a customer who came into the store in the ’80s looking to have about eight shades replaced, but the price point was just too high for her. So, Lozzi utilized the same shade and simply turned it over, saving her a large amount of money. Twenty years later, this same customer called to have Stacey’s install window shades on all 52 windows in her house.

“She said, ‘I never forgot the day you did that for me,’” Lozzi said. “You do those little things for people because you’re not like the box stores.”

Those little things are remembered and keep people coming back. It’s what has sustained Stacey’s for so long. “We were here in 1915 and we’re here now in 2022,” he said.

Although he is now technically retired, Lozzi said he still goes to work, offering up his consulting services. Although, he is looking forward to taking longer than a weeklong vacation with his wife in his retirement and possibly even buying a home in Florida to venture to during the winter. V

VISION 49
Vincent Lozzi Jr.

Making your home smart and secure has never been easier.

Revolve and SilenTrac drapery systems are Wi-Fi enabled.

You don’t need a ZigBee bridge to control draperies. With Wi-Fi and a standard 2.4GHz-compatible router, our Current Luxury App will run Wi-Fi devices and set groups, scenes, or schedules for your draperies. There is also a “random” setting, which makes it more difficult f or observers to know if you’re home.

New features for households with multiple app users include automatic synchronization among the app users and the ability to personalize and pre-set controls, favorite devices, and groups. Visit currentluxury.com to learn more.

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Goal Setting Helps Susan Day Build Her Business From $27,000 to Over $700,000

In the mid-2000s, Susan Day had a basement drapery business selling $27,000 per year. She wanted college funds for her daughter, Maggie, and son, Spencer, and realized her business could be the answer. But how could she do it? It started with goal setting. She learned that monitoring three essential numbers could help her business grow: monthly appointments, closing rates and average sales. With a goal and planning, she topped $100,000 her first year after sales training. As years rolled by, she reached higher levels and has now topped $700,000 the last two years.

She wanted to work from home only four days a week and about 42 weeks a year to have a balanced lifestyle. With guidance from successful colleagues and Exciting Windows! executives, she exceeded her goals. In fact, she set an example as one of the highestperforming home businesses anywhere. Here are some tips from her experience that others can use.

Creating a Selling System

Like most in the industry, Day served customers with kindness and respect. She gave them what they asked for but did not control the selling process. However, she had no system to inspire customers to buy from her instead of a competitor and no method to upsell creative ideas. So, in 2005, Day attended the “Make a Friend: 7 Steps to Success”

sales class. It was a major investment of $2,000 and required travel to Baltimore, but she knew if she wanted to grow, she needed sales and business education.

“During the course, I had a light-bulb, aha moment,” she said. “Not only was I learning new sales skills, I discovered the power of numbers and goal setting to plan for what I wanted. With my confidence raised, I felt ready to build a better business. It became clear that by managing correctly, I could control my time and how much money I would make during the year.”

Day’s first day in class taught her that three appointments a week could result in sales as little as $112,000 a year to more than $480,000. She learned the closing rate and average size of a

customer sale were essential to control. She learned a system to do it. Steadily, her selling skills inspired the best homeowners in Springfield, Illinois, to buy from her. She guided them to invest in creative window designs, not just functional blinds and shades.

Setting Goals to Create Life Balance

Day wanted to balance business with family and personal time. She developed a mantra of “four and 20.” That meant she planned four appointments a week, about 17 a month, which would ensure sales of $20,000. It was a simple way to focus daily on her goal to sell $240,000 a year—in manageable “bites.” This allowed her the lifestyle she wanted. With four appointments a week, she had time for family and customers.

LET’S MAKE A DEAL VISION 51

Adding Helpers

As business grew, Day hired a contract installer, then an accountant, and later a part-time administrative assistant. She helped a local Benjamin Moore paint store staff sell blinds and shades in the store and they referred customer leads to her. Then, she contracted with the paint store to receive and check her orders. This gave Day the personal time she wanted—and an exceptional income as she built on her experience selling with the “7 Steps System.”

Building a Better Business

A few months after the course, Day said she decided she wanted a serious business and she became one of the first Exciting Windows! licensees. “There were other members selling a lot more,” she said. “Just the kind of business owners I wanted to associate with to learn their secrets.”

She went from selling $27,000 a year to almost $350,000 in a few years. “I put two kids through college and gave a wonderful wedding for Maggie—all with money from the business and without borrowing,” she said.

Marketing to Better Customers

“One of the first things I learned with Exciting Windows! was the importance of moving up from broad-market customers to focus on selling to upscale and luxury customers,” she said. “They had money and could afford what they wanted.”

She said her drapery experience was a big help. “Then as iPads advanced, I used simple software and more than 100 photos to show customers treatment designs they never thought of,” she said. “They appreciated my ideas and the unique, personal look they would enjoy for years.”

Not an Easy Transition

It was a gradual transition from doing everything herself to hiring others to help. “That was the hardest part,” Day said. “I was, and still am, superpicky about craftsmanship and high standards. But, as I found helpers, I kept my eye on the numbers and sales goals. It’s tough for any specialist to become a manager, but growing requires change and I wanted that.”

What’s Next?

“I’m very excited,” she said. “I feel that I’ve worked past that ‘critical’ point and now am in a ‘sweet spot’ of profitability versus extended efforts.”

She said her reputation is solid and she plans to grow more through a “partnership alliance” with local businesses, including a paint store, furniture store and lighting/electrical distributor.

“Most recently, I even found a person to train as my first consultant/ salesperson,” she said. “Without years of encouragement and watching my Exciting Windows! friends, I never would have considered this big step toward my company’s future. I can’t sit still—new opportunities are always catching my attention.”

Advice for Others

“I would say, ‘Think about what you want from your business and personal life. Are you willing to change in order to grow? Are you willing to accept the help that’s out there?’ There’s lots of it. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are plenty of successful business owners who can help you use a proven system.

“Most of all, if you’re serious about the transition to grow, your first step is to hire a housekeeper. Unless you have a partner who loves housecleaning, this must be your first employee.

“Really, if you want to grow, you can do it. It’s truly a great life,” Day said. V

Steven C. Bursten, with more than 60 years in the window treatment business, is co-founder and partner in Exciting Windows!, a national network of more than 40 independent window fashions retailers and 100 decorating consultants. Bursten is the originator of the graphic sample van for Shop At Home sales, co-founder of the Window Coverings University specializing in sales and profit management education and co-founder of the International Window Coverings Exchange for high-volume retailers.

LET’S MAKE A DEAL NOVEMBER + D ECEMBER 2022 | wf-vision.com52
» ExcitingWindows.biz
VISION 53 One exciting fabric collection for Draperies, Roman & Roller Shades One amazing custom print solution for Rollers One fast, high quality made-to-measure service One inspiring new opportunity for your portfolio Take a look We’d love to hear from you.
NOVEMBER + D ECEMBER 2022 | wf-vision.com54 AMP 2 color logo: PMS Cool Gray 2 & PMS 306 Blue www.lantexusa.com We have many styles and colors to choose from, what will you pick? We offer Fabric Blinds, Honeycomb Shades (Cellular), Sheerview Shades, Vertical Fabric Blinds, Caslan Shades (Roman) and Zebra Shades (Dual). All blinds have cordless and motoroized options.
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The First 90 Days

Congratulations. After a wonderful courtship, you decided to take the next big step in your relationship and made an offer of employment to your exciting new candidate. It’s a big day for both of you when deciding to make a long-term commitment that’s going to be a roller coaster of success and challenges. You feel confident in both of your abilities to get through it together and want to tell the world about your choice.

Then, the whirlwind planning begins … and you need to prepare for the next phases of your relationship to ensure you both get off on the right foot.

The Proposal

During the offer phase, it’s important to have your ducks in a row on what you’re offering. From compensation and benefits to the responsibilities of the role, the offer should outline all of your expectations during the relationship. You want a commitment from the candidate at this point, so be sure to deliver the news with excitement.

As soon as they accept your offer, it’s important to work quickly to prepare for their first day. The more that’s prepared in advance, the smoother onboarding and training will go, which increases your employee’s success rate. From tools and technology to notifying the team and scheduling training, it’s best to have a checklist to be sure not to forget anything. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page.

The Main Event

The first 30 days after an employee’s start date are the most important of their entire career at your company. This period creates a domino effect for all future interactions with your employee. From how your culture will impact their decisions to setting up an organized workstation, this is a critical period that teaches them discipline, what success looks like and how communication will work among the team.

Today’s generations are unique because they’ve gone to school for longer periods of time compared to those who came before them. They’ve been taught that, with education, they’re capable of doing anything. Then, they get into the working world and are expected to perform (when we all know school doesn’t teach us how to run a window covering business) without adequate education for their tasks in an industry that takes years to learn. Simply provide them the guidance they are craving and are in the habit of receiving.

Regardless if the employee you hired is a seasoned vet or fresh out of college,

daily training is the foundation of setting up your new hire for success in their role. Ninety-five percent of the time, employees leaving or a lack of production can point back to gaps in training.

Inherently, an employee wants to do a good job—there’s a natural incentive for it. If they excel, the expectation is that they’d make more money and grow their expertise, making them more valuable. The incentive for an employer to focus on extensive new-hire training is to keep your costs of errors low and employee retention high. Make sure to provide a road map for your process, products, pricing, paperwork and working with people. Never assume they know it all.

AFTER THE HIRE VISION 55

The Honeymoon

After the 30-day training period, the employee should feel empowered in their new role. If you’ve given them proper training, this phase will seem too good to be true. It’s important to stay in the moment and keep your expectations clear and not assume your graduate will do things perfectly. It’ll be tempting to walk away in this moment, trusting in what you taught them because most will have beginners’ luck. Instead, continue to meet with them and change the frequency from daily to weekly, tracking their milestones each time you meet.

Establishing milestones will be a tangible way to track their results from week to week and see their progression within your company. At the weekly meetings, discuss their upcoming priorities while celebrating wins and troubleshooting their obstacles. At the end of 60 days, they should be ready to switch to a monthly, individual meeting to discuss goal setting and review achievements.

The Reality

Employers often get the timing wrong when it comes to being realistic of where they employee should be at certain milestones. Keeping in mind the custom nature of this industry, your employee will experience new light-bulb moments at 30 days, 90 days, six months and one year.

At 30 days, they just finished their training regimen. This is when they will know the “theory” of how to accomplish tasks. At 90 days, they experience firsthand the examples that were discussed in training and learn how to apply the new knowledge. Expect the most mistakes to be made during this period. Then, one day after they’ve been going through the motions of what they think is correct, it starts to click at six months. This is when examples repeat themselves and they can prevent mistakes from happening. Employers must remain patient until this six-month mark, not feeling stressed over the constant trial and error because that unnecessary pressure will severely affect the culture and the employee’s ability to learn from their mistakes. Finally, at one year, a calm comes over the

employee, shifting from awareness to understanding. At that point, it’s time to celebrate and review the exciting year’s journey you both just took.

You’re just as accountable for a new employee’s success as they are. It’s a partnership when you make a promise to be together and it takes both parties to actively make it work long term. It’s not reasonable to ask anyone to sink or swim, then 30 days later ask, “Why don’t you know certain things by now?” If you take the time in the beginning of the relationship to establish the road map for success and truly care about their well-being, the rewards will exceed your expectations. V

Jessica Harling is a fourth-generation window treatment specialist, the founder of Behind the Design and a leading expert in employee and process development for design organizations. Her specialty in recruiting, training and change management drives innovative and high-producing results while keeping your team inspired.

» GoBehindTheDesign.com

AFTER THE HIRE NOVEMBER + D ECEMBER 2022 | wf-vision.com56
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Selling Luxury Products Must Include a Luxury Experience

Luxury—think about that word. We say it a lot, we throw it around. We say we want luxury clients, we offer luxury products, yet do we ever contemplate what luxury means? The products we sell are high-quality, well-made, innovative and beautiful, so, yes, they are luxury products.

Yet, we’re not in the product business. And if you have mistakenly fallen into thinking that, you’re likely struggling, on the daily, with customers negotiating, shopping your prices and, in general, fighting for every sale. We’re not in a commodity business. Instead, it’s critical to understand that, along with our luxury products, we must deliver a luxury experience.

To attract and maintain lifelong relationships with the “luxury client”— those in the upper income bracket with more expendable money available—the luxury experience must accompany the luxury product. They will not accept one without the other. When you deliver one without the other, you’ll always struggle to establish a foothold within the luxury niche of clientele.

Luxury defined: something adding to pleasure or comfort, but not necessary.

It could be argued it’s a necessity to cover the windows in our homes, but this could be done with online stock blinds. Heck, the windows could be covered with bedsheets or craft paper. Covering windows with custom-made, personally selected and designed window treatments is a luxury. By the same logic, a home can be furnished without a designer. Furniture, lighting, rugs and accessories can also be purchased online or at a box store.

NOVEMBER + D ECEMBER 2022 | wf-vision.com58 SHOW ME THE MONEY Best Business Practices

Quite literally, there’s no true necessity for custom window treatments or interior design services. Yes, they both add pleasure and comfort to our customers’ lives, but they are not necessary. Think about that for a moment. Why is this important for you to realize with absolute clarity?

Shifting your perspective to selling a luxury experience combined with luxury products is the only way to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Any two companies with access to the same vendors will deliver the same high-quality products; however, the steps one company takes to create the luxury experience will differ from the steps another company takes.

At our recent Exciting Windows! CEO Conference in Washington, D.C., we had a panel discussion where each business owner shared the ways they provide luxury services to their customers. Each had their own version, their own way of adding special touches the process of working with their customers.

One member, as policy, sends a minimum of six gifts per year to all customers who’ve referred them to friends and family. Another member sends a greeting card every month to her most loyal and best customers, often including cookies or some other thoughtful add-in. Another member calls every single customer after the completed install to ask, “How did we do?” And, on my podcast, “Window Treatments for Profit,” Georgiana Schwandt of Incredible Windows in Wisconsin shared how she hosts her top 100 customers for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at a local winery every fall and spring.

Do you see how these methods can set you apart from others? If we all sell the same brands, same shades, blinds, fabrics, why wouldn’t a customer go from one company to another each time they enter the marketplace for window treatments or design services?

People come back for the experience, not the shades.

You’ll do it your way, your friend and competitor will do it their way. Each of us will attract the customers who resonate and appreciate our particular methods. This is the only way to create a memorable business that gets repeat and referral customers.

An elevated experience is nonnegotiable.

Think about when you’ve invested in a luxury. Maybe it was a special dinner at a fine restaurant. The complete meal is $150 and the food is exceptional. Additionally, the maître d’, the waiter and the sommelier are attentive and professional. You’re thrilled and can’t wait to go again and tell your friends about it. Consider when the meal was exceptional, but the staff was lackadaisical, made mistakes and were generally uninvolved in how you were enjoying your experience. How important is that exceptional meal now?

That meal is your high-end window treatment product or your room design. Suddenly, it’s not worth the money without the experience. This leads to word of mouth that sounds like, “The shades are great, but the service was lousy. I can’t say I recommend them.”

You have served up the same quality products, same innovative technology, same expert advice, but you’ve dropped the ball on the experience. When you don’t deliver on the inherent promise of luxury—which is both quality of product and an elevated experience—you lose the respect and the future business of that customer.

The process of working with you must be enjoyable, reliable and referrable. Every person must feel seen, heard and serviced. From the initial phone call to the first appointment, to the order process, the installation and the follow-up process, it must be worth their time and money to work with you. People will pay for something that’s not a necessity only when the value of the products is combined with the value of the experience.

VISION 59

Luxury does have a price tag and the luxury client is OK with this.

It’s not your job to make custom window treatments or interior design affordable. Bedsheets are affordable, custom is luxury. When you’re the one who “knows” they don’t need custom window treatments, you can be the one, if necessary, to say, “Maybe these are not for you.” When customers say, “These roman shades are expensive,” your job is not to lower the price to make them affordable. Your job is to determine if another custom alternative is better suited for them or if they’re not your customer in the first place.

If fabric romans are more than they want to spend, you can offer woven roman shades or wood blinds. They decide how much to invest based on their priorities. We are all quite capable of offering quality products with an elevated experience, whether we deliver a $4,000 drape or a $400 roller shade. The customer decides which one makes financial sense to them.

People have their idea of investment ranges and, if that falls into what custom costs, great. But because it’s a luxury product and service, you’re not obligated to make your products and services fit their wallet. And when you understand this, you can take the emotion out of the

transaction and can recommend another product that will suit their needs in their investment range.

In my four decades of selling, I’ve learned the luxury client knows they’ll pay for luxury. They’re perfectly fine paying if we’re delivering on both a quality product and elevated service. They want the top-of-the-line iX BMW because they know not only is the car a high-quality performance machine, they know the dealer is going to service the heck out of them. Oil changes, tune-ups, loaner cars, coffee and internet in the waiting lounge, Saturday service hours, the whole enchilada. A total of $65,000 more for car and service? Yep, that is just fine with them. And for those who don’t get that, well, you can direct them to the box store down the street.

This is a mindset shift.

Terri Taylor, a 20-plus-year interior designer and now business coach to interior designers, has been on my podcast, “A Well-Designed Business,” several times. She said when you know your products and services are worth every penny, because you know you’ll deliver, then you have to say your prices matter of factly. No emotion, no hesitancy, no embarrassment.

She said, “The design fees for this project will be $45,000 and the furnishing budget will be another $150,000 (pass

the salt).” Meaning, easy breezy as if you’re asking someone to pass the salt. She is spot on with this. Own it that a fabric roman shade with drapes and a cornice are three, maybe four times the price of a wood blind. This is a fact, not a concept that you can alter. You don’t have to, can’t and shouldn’t have to manipulate the facts to accommodate someone else’s perception of what they “should” cost.

As I always say, “I’m not your momma.” This means, while I’ll always do my best to educate my customers, I don’t need to change my customer’s mind if they just don’t get it. I want them to understand that custom window treatments and interior design are a luxury that they choose to invest in. But if they keep insisting on luxury at budget prices, ultimately, that’s their dilemma, not mine. They’re free to go from place to place to see if someone else will provide luxury at budget prices, but it’s not with me. I know they’re a luxury.

As far as I’m concerned, they can choose to value luxury products and services or they can choose to forgo luxury. However, if they choose to do business with me, I’ll deliver a high-end, quality product with an unbeatable experience, worthy of the pleasure and comfort my products and services deliver.

Pass the salt. V

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

» LuAnnNigara.com, LuAnnUniversity.com, ExcitingWindows.biz

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VISION 61 learn more at www bondhome io find your tribe Join the WCAA today to level up YOUR business with valuable education, industry resources, and a supportive network of like-minded professionals. TAKE THE NEXT STEPS IN GROWING YOUR BUSINESS WWW.WCAA.ORG become a member today!

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT

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NOVEMBER + D ECEMBER 2022 | wf-vision.com62
FLAIR November + December 2022

This room, designed by Denise Gordon, Tanya Lewis and Marilyn W. LaVergne of the Austin Gray Design Group, is one of several featured in this year’s Kaleidoscope Project. The Kaleidoscope Project is a nonprofit dedicated to providing multi-platform opportunities to designers and artists in the black, indigenous and people of color communities. This year, they transformed a 1906 firehouse in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

The Shade Store collaborated with participating designers to bring handcrafted custom window treatments into each of their spaces. This reimagined firehouse includes roman shades, roller shades, woven wood shades and drapery featuring materials from The Shade Store.

“The window treatments were the game starter for our design, especially our desire to accentuate the more than 10-foothigh ceilings and to channel our creative muse’s passion for art,” Gordon, Lewis and LaVergne said. Inspired by the historical

significance of the Berkshires and the African American cultural experiences in Pittsfield, these designers said they wanted to utilize window treatments to bring their color story to life along with elements of whimsy, ethereal and calm.

The entire project from first floor to the second floor will be featured in the January/February 2023 issue. Be sure to check it out to see the firehouse’s entire face-lift.

V

64 NOVEMBER + D ECEMBER 2022 CURTAIN CALL Last Look
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