& INSPIRED DESIGN
Color in a New Light ◆ How Color Impacts Pattern and Mood ◆ Reflections from the Kaleidoscope Project Showhouse ◆ Applying Color Theory to Marketing
VOLUME 43, ISSUE 5 SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021
2021 Winner Showcase
WHO IS THE MODERN-DAY EMPLOYEE? What Do They Need from a Company?
NATURAL WOVEN SHADES Bringing the Outdoors In
WINDOW COVERING SAFETY UPDATE
N AT U R E C O N C E P T roller shade fabric collection
Discover the collection and order samples
V ISION |
W I N D OW T RE AT ME N TS
& INSP IR E D DE SIGN
W IND OW FASHION V ISION MAG A ZINE President | Grace McNamara email@example.com
V IS I ON W
Editor-in-Chief | Sophia Bennett firstname.lastname@example.org Vice President | Ania McNamara email@example.com
DESIG NERS IN T HIS ISSUE Rydhima Brar, Brandi and Samantha Day, Leslie Excell, Darin Filhaber, Elizabeth Gerdes, Rasheeda Gray, Laura Nelson, Olga Polyanskaya, Virginia Toledo
WORKROOM COMPETITION 2021 Winner Showcase
VOLUME 43, ISSUE 5 SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER
CONT RIBUT ORS IN T HIS ISSUE Sophia Bennett, Amber De La Garza, Gail Gutsche, Eileen Hahn, Welton Hong, Roger Magalhaes, O’D McKewan, Margie Nance, LuAnn Nigara, Ralph Vasami
◆ How Color Impacts Pattern and Mood ◆ Reflections from the Kaleidoscope Project Showhouse ◆ Applying Color Theory to Marketing
Social Media Coordinator | Corina Buzdugan firstname.lastname@example.org
Editorial Contributor | Gail Gutsche email@example.com
Color in a New Light
Copy Editor | Maude Campbell firstname.lastname@example.org
Accounting | Kim Rick email@example.com
WIND OW TREA TMEN TS & INSP IRED DESI GN
Art Director | Eric Taylor firstname.lastname@example.org
Marketing Coordinator | Hannah Grisack email@example.com
WHO IS THE MODERN-DAY EMPLOYEE? What Do They Need from a Company?
NATURAL WOVEN SHADES Bringing the Outdoors In
WINDOW COVERING SAFETY UPDATE
SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021 VOLUME 43, ISSUE 5
ON THE COVER: The dining room in the home of Rebekah Westover, an interior photographer in Utah. Custom draperies by Park City Blind & Design in Park City, UT. Photo by Rebekah Westover
SUBSCRIPT IONS 877.344.7406 • WFVision@pubservice.com
Go to Facebook.com/wfvisionmagazine for magazine updates Window Fashion Vision magazine makes every attempt to credit each person involved in the process of creating a window covering and will not be responsible for crediting any person whose name, company or participation did not surface during the information-gathering process. Crediting disputes between parties other than Vision magazine are solved at the discretion of those involved. Window Fashion VISION (ISSN 08869669) (USPS 708930) published bi-monthly by AIM Communications LLC, 4707 Hwy 61 N #255, St Paul, MN 55110, Tel 651-330-0574. Visit our website at wf-vision.com. Periodicals postage paid at St Paul, MN and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to Window Fashion VISION, 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 © 2021 by AIM Communications, LLC. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission prohibited. Canadian Publications Agreement Number: #40036514. Canadian Return Address: Station A, PO Box 54, Windsor, ONT N9A 6J5. SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021, Volume 43, Issue 5.
Keep up with all the news @WFVMagazine
Follow us and re-pin at Pinterest.com/wfvisionmagexpo
Follow us on Instagram @wf_visionmag
V ISION |
contents : volume 43, issue 5
in this issue INSIGHT 20
How do you know which motorization devices will talk to each other and how? We provide some insights. by O’D McKewan
Looking toward the long-term sustainability of your business will actually help you create a stronger company now. by LuAnn Nigara
The Language of Motorization
Succession Planning: The Benefits of Creating Your Business with the End in Mind
Using Color and Color Theory in Marketing
Considerations such as color choice and contrast can greatly affect the effectiveness of your marketing. by Welton Hong
The 2 Business Boundaries You’d Be Wise to Enforce Setting up time and space boundaries will help you work more productively and happily. by Amber De La Garza
8 | SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021
Steps installers can take to keep themselves, their businesses and their clients safer. by Roger Magalhaes
Characteristics, values and needs of the workforce of 2021 and beyond. by Eileen Hahn
7 Ways to Put Safety First in Your Window Covering Business
Who Is the Modern-Day Employee and What Do They Want from a Company?
Honoring National Window Covering Safety Month
Safe Window Coverings for Children & Pets
Cord Free Shade Systems Eliminate free-hanging cords with Easy Spring Ultra Skyline, Easy Spring Ultra, Easy Spring Wand, Easy Spring Plus, or the Aero Dual shading systems featuring innovative auto-rise technology for a simple and easy-to-operate cord free solution.
Motorized Control with Automate™ Modernize a home with motorized window coverings for intuitive and convenient cord free shading solutions controlled via stylish handheld controllers, a feature-rich app, or popular voice assistants and home automation platforms.
Follow us on social media:
Healthier Indoor Air Quality Certified by Greenguard Gold and Oeko-Tex 100, Texstyle offers a range of specialty designer fabric collections that are free from harmful chemicals contributing to cleaner air within the home.
C H I L D
Learn more about Rollease Acmeda child & pet safe solutions at: rolleaseacmeda.com/us/child-safety V ISION |
contents : volume 43, issue 5
in this issue INDUSTRY
Lessons in Leadership
An interview with Rachel Gregersen, owner of Beyond Shades in Oakbrook Terrace, IL. by Sophia Bennett
Wilson Fabrics: Passionate About People, Planet and Craft The Australian company reflects on its recent GREENGUARD Certification and its goal to “Bring Theatre to Your Life.”
The pros and cons of working for a family business, plus considerations for passing a company from one generation to the next. by Sophia Bennett
American and Canadian Safety Update
Important reminders about the American standard, plus major changes coming to the Canadian one. by Ralph Vasami
Woven Woods on the Rise
How these versatile window treatments are helping bring the outdoors in. by Gail Gutsche
48 I N S P I R AT I O N
Reflecting on the Kaleidoscope Project Participants in this year’s showhouse, which featured only designers of color, share their thoughts on color trends, equity and inclusion, and more. by Sophia Bennett
The Power of Color
How to talk to clients about color and color harmony. by Margie Nance
The future looks bright in the hands of this year’s VISION 20 Under 40 Awards recipients. by Sophia Bennett
10 | SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021
Photo by Frank Frances Studio
We show off the recipients of this year’s VISION Workroom Competition Awards. by Gail Gutsche
contents : volume 43, issue 5
in this issue FIXTURES
Grace Note A word from our publisher.
Letter from the Editor
People make all the difference.
New or Noteworthy
Editor and reader picks for top products.
We pull back the curtain on our next issue.
Photo by Lauren Pressy
SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021 | wf-vision.com
welcome : grace note
’ve always loved color—and lots of it! I recall a decorator friend telling me when I moved into my home three years ago that I should stay with neutrals “to be safe.” I never want to be safe when it comes to decorating my home. I want to be happy, and color makes me very happy. When I was advised that I should not paint my sunroom a different color than the great room it is attached to, I ignored it and painted the sunroom a whisper lavender (my new favorite color). Everyone that enters my home comments on what a lovely, soft contrast it is and what a great idea that was.
How fun that bold colors are back, at least as accents. For those of us who like an adventurous, out-ofthe box feeling, we go for bold walls and larger-scale furnishings (my sofa is a raspberry chenille). Enjoy our color selections in this issue and let me know what your color style is. On an important note, we want to remind you about the seriousness of safety at the window with updates from the Window Covering Manufacturers Association on page 42. In our next issue, we’ll take a deep dive into cordless solutions, addressing products that are available and best practices for keeping people and pets safe.
Photo by Frank Frances Studio
As you all know, I’m so excited about being able to produce the International Window Coverings Expo again next April in Fort Lauderdale. We’re working on developing the best educational program ever. Thank you to all those who completed our survey about what topics are most interesting and useful for you. We hear you and are incorporating these ideas. It is timely to discuss succession and family businesses, and to look to the next generation that will lead this industry, because we are also congratulating our VISION 20 Under 40 Awards winners in this issue (page 66). We’re counting on you to lead us into the future. And, of course, a big round of applause for our Workroom Competition award winners. You can see the work of the creative geniuses that make our homes so beautiful on page 56. Warm regards,
Grace McNamara Publisher firstname.lastname@example.org
14 | SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021
The SheerWeave app is available for free download to all mobile devices.
The office has never looked so good.
welcome : letter from the editor
eople are what make all the difference in our lives. Although this is technically our color and safety issue, it definitely feels like a people issue too. I’m thrilled to showcase the incredible projects from the workroom category of this year’s VISION Design + Workroom Competition Awards (page 56). It’s also a treat to show off our VISION 20 Under 40 Awards winners for 2021. When we started this program last year, we realized we were one of few entities recognizing young people in the interior design industry—which is amazing given the importance of supporting our up-and-coming leaders. Learn about this year’s group of impressive professionals on page 66. If you’re looking to do more to recruit and retain a younger workforce, you can’t miss our piece by Eileen Hahn on page 32. She takes a deep dive into the needs and priorities of modern-day employees and offers insights into how to help them. If you’re in a family business and are beginning to think about handing it down to the younger generation in your family—or are a young person trying to navigate struggles with the older generation—we hope you’ll enjoy the piece on family businesses on page 38.
EDITOR ’ S LETTER
Another group that we must do more to support in the design industry is people of color, LBGTQIA+ professionals and others whose backgrounds and life experiences may be different from ours. I’m grateful that three people who participated in this year’s Kaleidoscope Project, the first-ever showhouse for BIPOC-only designers, shared their thoughts on increasing equity and inclusion in the industry, as well as their insights into current color trends (page 48).
Photo by Rebekah Westover
Color and window treatment safety—as well as topics like management, marketing, fabrication techniques and new products—will be front and center at next year’s International Window Coverings Expo from April 5 to 7. Is it on your calendar already? If not, add it! You won’t want to miss the chance to reunite with your window covering family. Given the focus on family and relationships in this issue, I feel like I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this magazine is managed by a family team. I’m grateful that our own dynamic mother-daughter duo, Grace and Ania McNamara, managed to steer Window Fashion VISION so successfully through the tumultuous last year and a half. It hasn’t been easy, but their leadership and dedication has been an inspiration to me and made all the difference in bringing us to place where we can bring you great content and great experiences on a regular basis. Alas, this will be my last time delivering Window Fashion VISION to your mailbox or inbox. My tenure at the magazine started with the color issue, and it seems only appropriate that it end with another color issue. I’m grateful to have worked with many of you over the past three years. As I move on to new adventures, I will always remember my time here fondly. I wish all of you the best, this fall and always.
Sophia Bennett Editor-in-Chief email@example.com
16 | SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021
welcome : new or noteworthy
NEW OR NOTEWORTHY
EDITOR AND READER PICKS FOR TOP PRODUCTS
Are you aware of a product that’s premiering soon? Do you have a favorite product you’d like to tell others about? Let us know! Email New or Noteworthy submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
18 | SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021
ORNAMENTAL IRON, INC.
Orion is Your One Stop Resource for Drapery Motorization
4. 1. Two Companies Receive Prestigious Red Dot Award
Two window covering companies were recently honored at the annual Red Dot Design Awards in Germany. Forest Drapery Hardware received an award for its DS-XL LED track, a motorized drapery track system that combines a stylish design with a unique lighting system. BlocBlinds was lauded for its BlocOut blackout blinds, which provide complete light exclusion and reduce drafts and heat loss through the window by up to 43 percent. Red-Dot.org
2. Shh! PowerShades Launches New, Quieter Motors
PowerShades’ Power over Ethernet (PoE) and RF automated shades now feature new motors with quieter performance. Previously, the company’s standard motor offerings were 55dB. They are now 42dB, which, according to the American Academy of Audiology, is just above the sound of a quiet library. PowerShades.com
3. Arhaus Releases New Sustainable Fabric Collection
Arhaus’s new Seaqual Initiative upholstery fabrics are made from upcycled marine plastic. Available in 16 ocean-inspired colors, the fabric has a soft hand as well as a great green message. The fabrics were created in partnership with a nonprofit called the Seaqual Initiative, which is a community of individuals, organizations and companies working together to help clean up oceans, raise awareness about marine litter and highlight those helping to fight it. Arhaus.com/landing-pages/seaqual
Credit: Joona Fab
No need to specify your drapery automation projects from multiple vendors, Orion is your go-to resource. Take advantage of our full range of drapery motorization for any budget- from entry level to luxury- and for any style – from traditional, eclectic or modern. Our Somfy motor options Movelite 35, Glydea 35e, Glydea 60e and Irismo wirefree motors. We’re in the Know When it Comes to Motorization Orion’s motorized drapery hardware is available in single or double track systems for ripplefolds or pleated headings in 5 powder coated finishes- white, antique bronze, silver, gold and black. Order your hardware with or without rings, your choice of any of our finials and coordinating glides with our ring option. It’s all about the details for us. Our motorized drapery hardware includes finished motor sleeve and end caps, return motor hooks and mitered returns. If your project includes bays, bows or corners- no problem- we can bend your tracks and fascias.
4. Infinity Canopy a Flexible Solution for Indoors and Out
Infinity Canopy has reinvented slide-on-wire roman shade canopies from a rigid, unforgiving and non-repairable system into a dynamic, flexible and repairable shade system for outdoors and indoors. Available in a range of colors and patterns, the canopy can be made up to 14 feet wide and uses mesh, solid, blackout and waterproof fabrics. It can be controlled manually with a pole or a pulley-and-rope system, or it can be motorized. InfinityCanopy.com V
email@example.com | www.ironartbyorion.com | 877.476.6278
V ISION |
insight : o’d mckewan
The Language of Motorization How do you know which devices will talk to each other and how they will communicate? We provide some insights BY O’D MCKEWAN
“What language do your motors speak?” That is probably not a question you get asked a lot by your clients when offering them motorized window coverings. You might have been asked the more common question, “Will your motors work with my system?” This is becoming a more difficult question to answer as more and more companies and clients enter the world of automation. In this article, I am going to break down the most common forms of communication (languages) for motorized window coverings and how they communicate with each other. First, let’s start with a brief history of control options for motorized window coverings. In the beginning, we had direct switching. This is where you run a power wire to a wall switch and then the motor. When the switch is moved either up or down, it allows current to flow to the motor and activate it. This is what we typically call a dumb motor now. This option is still used in some commercial applications for safety and reliability purposes. Very little can go wrong with this system when properly installed, as it has the smallest number of components and no real communications are used. Next, we had IR (infrared) control. This is where a hand-held remote (transmitter) sends a light beam from the remote to an
IR eye (receiver) somewhere on or near the motor and activates the motor. The transmitter sends different flashes of light depending on what button is pushed and the receiver sends the corresponding action to the motor to respond. This form of communication is like Morse code with flashlights. The problem is that this requires a line of sight from the transmitter to the receiver. If the IR eye is hidden or the remote is not pointing at the IR eye, the signal will not go through and the motor will not activate. You have to have an unobstructed view from the transmitter to the receiver. This is similar to how most TV remotes work. You have to point the remote at the TV to get it to work. Because IR requires a line of sight to work properly, when multiple shades are in the same area, the reliability to communicate with each shade individually is very poor. Professionals wanted a new method of communication that was more reliable.
ARE YOU TALKING TO ME ?
20 | SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021
That led to the introduction of RF (radio frequency) communication, which is now the standard for our industry. RF uses radio waves that can pass through walls and many other objects, allowing it to be used at greater distances. It is the most popular way to communicate electronically these days. It is used for cellular service, Wi-Fi and many other forms of communications. Some forms of RF, like Wi-Fi, are designed to be universal, meaning they allow multiple manufacturers to use the signal for their own purposes. Radio waves can be produced in a large variety of lengths and sizes. In the window covering industry, each motor manufacturer creates its own proprietary RF signals that only work with its transmitters (remotes) and receivers (motors). Oftentimes, they brand their proprietary signals with names such as RTS by Somfy, Powerview by Hunter Douglas, Clear Connect by Lutron and ARC by Rollease. Sometimes it helps to
You use your choice of control device to send an RF signal to the hub, and then the hub translates that signal to its proprietary signal and sends that signal to the corresponding motors ... many manufacturers require multiple hubs or repeaters to get the signals out properly. think of them as different languages, such as French, German or Chinese. These are all independent RF signals that only communicate with themselves. You cannot use one brand’s remote to control another brand’s motor. There are two newer branded RF signals available now: Zigbee and Z-Wave. They are still RF signals and technically still proprietary signals, but they allow other manufacturers to use them to try and make RF communication more universal. Anything with a Zigbee signal should be able to talk to anything else with a Zigbee signal, no matter who made the item. The same principle applies with Z-Wave. Thus, new languages have been created. Both of these companies are competing to be the standard universal language. For those that remember, this is very similar to the old Betamax versus VHS showdown of the 1980s. Some motor manufacturers are now offering the option of one of these universal signals as well as their proprietary signals. So, what do we do with all these different RF languages, and how do we know what will talk with what? That is the big dilemma we face these days, as everyone wants a piece of the RF market. Until everyone decides to use a universal signal like Wi-Fi, we have to rely on language (signal) interpreters commonly known as hubs, bridges or gateways. Almost every motor manufacturer now offers some form of hub that takes the different RF signals and converts them to their proprietary signals. The most common translation is from Wi-Fi to a proprietary signal. Since Wi-Fi is universal and almost everyone uses it, most motor manufacturers have created their own hub that converts Wi-Fi to their signal. Examples include Somfy myLink, Lutron Caseta and Graber Gateway. Some manufacturers offer multiple hubs to
translate multiple languages (signals) such as Zigbee or Z-Wave to their proprietary signals. Generally, when you get one of these hubs, they are controlled via a mobile app that is downloaded to your phone or tablet. You program the hub with the app using Wi-Fi. Many of these hubs allow other communication devices to activate the programming. These include things like voice assistants (Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home), home automation systems (Crestron, Control 4, etc.) and universal remotes (URC, Harmony, etc.). How do these all work? You use your choice of control device to send an RF signal to the hub, and then the hub translates that signal to its proprietary signal and sends that signal to the corresponding motors. Since these hubs have limited capacity and signal strength to communicate with motors, many manufacturers require multiple hubs or repeaters to get the signals out properly. But here is the kicker: Although each motor manufacturer makes their own hubs, they still will not talk to other motor manufacturers’ hubs. For example, if you have Lutron motors hooked up to the Caseta hub and Somfy motors hooked up to the myLink hub in the same house, even though they both use the same Wi-Fi, they still will not talk to each other. They are competitors, as you know. You would need a third-party (outsidesourced) integration automation hub to be able to use both systems with one device. These automation hubs allow you to integrate and communicate across manufacturers.
So, going back to our original question, “What language do your motors speak?” Now, you should understand it probably speaks some form of RF signal, but which one depends on which manufacturer you use. The real question becomes, “Will it work with my system?” Hopefully, the answer to that question is yes, but it depends on what hubs your manufacturer offers and what forms of communication (languages) they can translate. You need to contact your manufacturer to discuss what options they offer and who they can and cannot communicate with. The more you work with these systems, the more you will recognize what works well with others. The good news is that technology is always evolving and it is getting easier to combine systems. Keep in mind, too, that I limited the bulk of this article to forms of RF communications, as that’s the most popular and prevalent at this time. There are other forms of communications that require custom wiring, such as serial and digital, but those are generally used in very large pre-wired and commercial jobs. We will have to save that for another day. For the last entry in the Motorization Playbook series, we will look at the various options for voice control. V
O’D McKewan, the product coach for Window Covering World, is a master of motorization and a leader in the motorized window covering field. He has over a decade of hands-on experience with motorized window coverings, including fabrication, installation and selling. Interested in learning more about motorization? Sign up for the Window Fashion Certified Professional FastTrack course on motorization at wf-vision.com. WindowCoveringWorld.com
This can be a daunting task, and I do not recommend you get involved with such tasks. Leave that for the automation techs. Just know that there is probably a device out there that will allow it.
V ISION |
insight : luann nigara
Succession Planning: The Benefits of Creating Your Business with the End in Mind Looking toward the long-term sustainability of your business will actually help you create a stronger company now
W BY LUANN NIGARA
e don’t typically go into business planning for the end of that business. For most of us, our business comes from a passion. When we launch a business, we’re bringing fire, energy, spirit and momentum. The furthest thing from our minds is closing the chapter on that same business. But experienced business owners, expert coaches and advisors know that businesses do end. Even if right now you are certain that you will be a window treatment professional or interior designer for the rest of your life, there’s a chance that won’t happen. Life changes, circumstances come up and the unforeseeable happens. And, presumably, most of you will look to retire at some point. This is something we have been talking about at Window Works for the last several years: We need to plan for the end of the era of me, Vin and Billy, even if the end is nowhere in sight. And, as of late, it has been coming up among my colleagues at Exciting Windows! Thinking about how hard we’ve all worked, how much we’ve all put into our businesses and what the future holds beyond our direct involvement is leading us to big questions and tough decisions. One of those big questions, and one you might ask yourself if you haven’t already, is whether you are creating something temporary or building a legacy. For us, at about year 10, we decided we were creating a legacy. Our business matters to us now and it matters to us that it lives on after us. If you are creating a profitable business with a strong legacy, then you must put in the work now to make sure that the business will go on without you.
22 | SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021
Succession planning can seem elusive and a bit overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. Like everything else we do in business, we need to have a go-to expert to help with the nitty-gritty. As we faced this challenge at Window Works, we turned to my cousin, Eileen Hahn, who lists leadership development and continuity among her many skills. When I reached out to Eileen, I expected to get some valuable insight on succession planning. What I didn’t expect to hear was that a big shift is happening in terms of what succession planning even looks like and how to fold it into your business.
What should succession planning look like for small businesses?
The traditional thought process on succession planning is to wait until you need or want to get out. Then, you figure out if you are passing on the business to family or selling, and build an exit plan around that. But according to Eileen, businesses today are evolving their thoughts on succession planning to instead focus on long-term leadership continuity that ensures the health and prosperity of the business. Developing, training, coaching and assessing leaders within the organization is part of the fabric of what high-performing organizations are doing on a continuous basis with an annual review
of leadership talent. They are also actively engaging in leadership continuity activities to continue growing leaders from within the business. In other words, succession planning isn’t just a one-off event. We can take a different, stronger approach to build a team that can take over when we decide to step back or step away. Truthfully, this approach has been much easier to digest mentally. We have learned that this view of succession planning ties more closely into what we do every day, the way we grow and scale our business, and all the decisions we are making along the way. If the need for succession planning feels too far off to you, this could be the answer to being prepared while building a strong business along the way.
What are the best practices for succession planning?
If we’re going to take this more comprehensive approach to succession planning, we need to establish how to do it. Eileen had several ideas for best practices to share. First of all, the process should be led by the CEO and an engaged, committed executive committee. There should be broad communication and transparency with employees regarding what is happening with succession management. Identify key positions in your business—both professional needs and leadership roles that must be filled. Make sure you align your professional and leadership capabilities with your business strategy and goals. Then, clarify what skills and competencies are needed for a given role and create an objective assessment of potential successors based on criteria and assessments. One of the things you will likely find during this process are some gaps in current professional skills and leadership roles. Implement development programs tied to closing those individual succession gaps by providing targeted leadership development activities with follow-up and assessment. Keep in mind that creating a culture of sharing talent, encouraging leadership and empowering people to continuously learn new things can help with this in a more informal way than targeted training.
Establish a measurement strategy so you have a clear, unbiased way of giving people feedback on their progress. Make sure that you hold leaders, not just individuals, accountable for developing people and potential successors. This may seem like a massive undertaking, but when you dive a bit deeper into it, you realize that best practices for succession planning and best practices for running your business have an awful lot in common. Ideas like creating a culture of sharing and leadership and leading by example are things that we should be doing from the moment we bring on the first employee. Beyond that, the best practices here are very similar to best practices for hiring. You determine what needs to be done and create an objective measurement of potential successors. From there, you figure out what needs to be strengthened within your company between now and the time they’ll take over, and you offer professional development to help get your successors there. If we can view succession planning in this light, it feels natural and intuitive. It doesn’t have to be something that gets in the way of your business. It can go hand in hand with helping your business thrive.
What are some common problems that come up in succession planning?
Eileen also walked me through some common issues that pop up in succession planning and how to avoid them. We have experienced some of these firsthand. Like anything worth doing, it is not an easy process and it does take determination and commitment above and beyond what you anticipate you will need.
Problem #1: The principal/ CEO is not fully committed to succession
He/she is not leading and championing the process. Someone else in the organization is pushing this agenda and the principal/ CEO has not fully bought in. Sometimes the principal/CEO says they are bought in, but their actions don’t reflect that. Sometimes, the principal/CEO starts off thinking they want to go in that direction but realizes once V ISION |
insight : luann nigara the process starts they don’t want to sell or stop leading the organization.
I love this idea of creating a succession culture in our company. Succession planning isn’t preparing for one day—it’s building the business up in the direction that we want to go, so that when that one day comes, it’s just a decision we’ve already prepared for.
How to prevent it:
The principal/CEO needs to fully understand what is involved in the succession-planning process and be the champion and owner of the process. Prior to engaging in this process, the principal/CEO needs to reflect on why they want to do this process and the benefits of it. They should fully understand and commit to the succession activities needed to accomplish the goal.
Problem #2: The principal/CEO disengages during the process
The principal/CEO agrees to the successionplanning process and then changes their mind midstream or decides the urgent priorities of the day are more important than succession-planning activities. They’re not willing to take the necessary time and steps needed to work through the succession-planning process.
How to prevent it:
When there is a well-defined successionplanning process with specific activities and milestones identified, and a financial commitment by the principal/CEO up front to use a facilitator to aid in this process, it reduces disengagement. The skilled succession-planning facilitator also helps to coach the principal/CEO when challenges surface inside and outside the business during this process.
Problem #3: The principal/ CEO continues to operate in an autocratic manner
The principal/CEO is reluctant to delegate responsibilities, empower other leaders and share or disclose pertinent financial or organizational information needed to progress in the succession-planning process.
How to prevent it:
Make sure the principal/CEO fully understands what information will need to be shared and the cadence of transitioning responsibilities to other organizational leaders before the process starts. Additionally, it can be highly effective and supportive for the principal/CEO to meet monthly with an executive coach or a succession-planning facilitator to discuss the
24 | SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021
progression of the succession process and troubleshoot challenges along the way.
Problem #4: Poor communication and transparency of the succession process within the organization
Employees don’t understand the process, they feel like it is secretive or they don’t have an opportunity to be involved, or they don’t see a way to grow or develop within the company if it is sold.
How to prevent it:
Be open and honest in your communication with employees about your long-term goal and objective. For example, leadership continuity is important to the long-term health and welfare of the organization. The company will be engaging in a process that supports and develops leaders from within.
You wouldn’t just wing it when designing a home, right? You wouldn’t plan for the now and hope that everything you created fits your client’s future. Instead, you would factor in everything, including longevity, long-term plans, durability and the adaptability of the designs. You would do everything in your power to make sure that your design stands the test of time. So, why not be that thoughtful with your business? If you can start now, you can build a future for your business that gives you options, brings you a reward for your life’s work and lets you make a decision based not on fear or panic, but on power. If you want to build a successful succession plan into your company, you need to start with a decision. Decide that this is worth it. Decide to be open and honest with yourself, your partners (if you have them) and your employees. And, my strong advice, decide to bring in a professional. The guidance, advice and strategies imparted by a professional are worth every dime. Promise. V
Problem #5: Lack of objective evaluation of potential succession candidates
Favoritism, nepotism or bias can sometimes cloud the evaluation, selection or development of leaders within an organization.
How to prevent it:
Utilize an objective evaluation process to select, evaluate and develop internal talent who will move into key positions in the organization. Bring in an outside party to assist in the talent identification, assessment and development process.
Where to go from here?
The insights in the above section are so powerful. Like so many elements of business, succession planning comes down to three things: communication, clarity and commitment.
LuAnn Nigara is an award-winning window treatment specialist, co-owner of Window Works in Livingston, NJ, and a board member of WCAA. Her highly successful podcast “A WellDesigned Business” debuted in February 2016. She has since recorded more than 600 episodes. WindowWorks-NJ.com/podcasts Facebook: WindowWorksNJ Twitter: WindowWorks_NJ Instagram: WindowWorks
Become a Dealer Today. Full Line of Plantation Shutters.
Any Shape, Any Size, Any Window. Free Hidden Tilt Option. Poly, Hybrid, and Wood Options. Complete Training Program.
www.oneworldshutters.com 877-539-9487 firstname.lastname@example.org NATIONAL SUPPLIER TO THE TRADE ONLY
insight : welton hong
Using Color and Color Theory in Marketing Color choices and contrast can greatly affect the effectiveness of your online and offline marketing
W BY WELTON HONG
indow fashion professionals know that color is important. The colors and patterns you choose for window coverings or other elements in a room’s décor set a mood for that space. But did you know the same thing holds true for marketing?
Color really does impact marketing performance because color plays a critical role in the visual experience people have with your advertising and marketing. Studies indicate that 90 percent of people make purchase decisions based at least in part on visuals, making the visual aesthetic of your webpages, social media posts and advertisements important.
Do specific colors make people feel certain ways? You’ve probably heard that various colors elicit certain responses from people. Red, for example, is known as the color of passion or boldness. Blue, on the other hand, is known as a calm color. This is true to some extent, so it’s important to be aware of what emotions various colors tend to evoke in people. Some of the most common thoughts on this topic are summarized in the list below. Red: passion, boldness, youth, excitement
Orange: confidence, boldness, professionalism, friendly Yellow: cheerful, warm, optimistic
Green: growth, money, healing, peace
Blue: calm, trust, dependable, strong, peaceful
26 | SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021
Purple: imagination, wisdom, creativity, powerful Gray: neutral, calm, professional
However, it’s not quite this simple. Colors come in an unlimited number of shades and tones, changing how they impact people. And every person is unique and has a different internal response to colors and other visuals. You can’t simply put curtains of a certain color in your ads or make the background of all your social media posts blue and call it a day. To put the power of color theory to work in marketing, it’s important to have some understanding of the technical design ideas behind color, as well as the preferences and needs of your target audience.
Some basics of color theory for marketing First, you must decide if you’re going to include color at all. While black-and-white or grayscale visuals do offer potential elegance, they’re not usually the most powerful option for marketing. Marketing and advertisements that include color are more likely to capture someone’s attention. In fact, ads that include color are read 42 percent more often than black-and-white ads. After deciding to include color in a piece of marketing content, you need to decide which colors and in what combinations. It’s often a good idea to start with your brand colors, especially when you’re creating images for social or infographics. Having your brand colors show up in those images can help people begin to identify your content with your window fashion business—and be more likely to remember your business later.
You don’t have to include brand colors in overt ways in every image, though. Imagine if your brand colors were yellow and blue and your entire curtain image gallery was filled with drapes in those colors. You’d obviously limit your audience and sales unnecessarily. Instead, use brand colors when it’s appropriate or as accents, such as in the border around social images. Next, consider the contrast of colors in your marketing. This can actually be more important or as important as which colors you use. High-contrast designs draw the eye to the most important information, such as your call to action or offer. Here’s where it can get tricky, because you can’t always rely on an untrained eye to determine if colors are contrasting. Certain shades of blue and green, for example, may appear to contrast when they’re actually very close and might be hard to view or read when stacked on top of each other. The best way to know if you’ve chosen truly contrasting colors is to put them next to each other and convert them to grayscale. Grayscale lets you see how light or dark each color actually is and whether they’re actually contrasting or very close in tone.
Getting the best use of colors and visuals You can get a lot done on your own when it comes to basic visuals for your social media pages or blog posts. Even if you aren’t sure how to manage colors for the best marketing impact, templates in tools such as Canva have done a lot of work for you and make it easy to create professional, beautiful color designs. However, if you’re creating a complex design or starting from scratch with your window fashion website, you might want to bring in a professional. Graphic designers are educated about color theory and many other design tools, and they can help you craft images and pages that connect with your audience. V Welton Hong is the founder of Ring Ring Marketing and the author of “Making Your Phone Ring with Internet Marketing for Window Covering Companies.” RingRingMarketing.com Facebook: RingRingMarketing
If you’re not sure where to start picking contrasting colors, begin with color opposites: blue and orange, red and green, yellow and purple. You can have more than two contrasting main colors in your marketing, but it’s usually a good idea to keep things simple. An entire rainbow of color confuses the eye and makes your message more different to read, understand and remember. A study from the University of Toronto indicates that most people prefer simple color schemes with two to three dominant colors. That doesn’t mean you only have three colors in every image. That would get boring fast. It means that the colors that dominate your images—the ones that are most prevalent or noticeable—are limited to a few. You might try choosing one main color, one or two contrasting colors and a neutral color, for example. When using contrasting colors, do ensure one wins out. If you have half blue and half orange, one color doesn’t win out and the eye doesn’t have any cues on what to rest on or what’s meant to be different (and thus important). This can cause your curtains, calls to action or other important content to fade into the background. Remember that some people are red/green color-blind. If you use red/green to contrast in your designs, individuals with red/ green color blindness won’t be able to discern your entire message or image. Also, some people struggle with color or other visuals. Always pair your marketing images with captions that can be read or processed through screen readers to ensure a wider audience for your message.
V ISION |
insight : amber de la garza
“The only people who get upset about you setting boundaries are the ones who were benefiting from you having none.”
The 2 Business Boundaries You’d Be Wise to Enforce
BY AMBER DE LA GARZA
rowing your business often demands great sacrifices, but you can’t just shut the door on your family, friends, hobbies, and passions and be holed up in your office all the time. You must achieve a balance that works for both your personal and professional life, which requires creating and enforcing business boundaries. This can be especially difficult for business owners whose line between work and personal life is ultra fine—but if you stay committed, it’s definitely possible.
28 | SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021
The types of business boundaries you can implement are endless, but there are two that will have the greatest immediate impact if you want to run a thriving business.
1. Time boundaries As a business owner, you are blessed with not having a set schedule. The downside to that is nine-to-fivers tend to think you’re available all the time. If you do not set specific boundaries with the people in your life, they can overtake your time. If you set the precedent that you can watch your friend’s kid during a workday even once, she’ll likely ask you to do it again. If you take nonurgent personal calls during your workday, you’ll keep receiving them at inconvenient times. Alternatively, if you don’t enforce a strict off-the-clock schedule with clients, they will think you’re available all the time and attempt to contact you late into the evening and on weekends. A good rule of thumb is to proactively communicate the following with your clients: ■ Your days off ■ How and when you can be contacted ■ How quickly you respond to emails and voicemails
■ What they can expect to gain from your services ■ What they will not receive ■ How and when you get paid ■ The consequences of showing up late or doing a no-call, no-show By clearly communicating your time boundaries to your clients, they will be less likely to contact you outside of normal business hours and otherwise disrespect you and your time. Don’t forget to set time boundaries with yourself as well. Constantly working late and on weekends and failing to take breaks or vacations risks burnout. Make time to indulge in self-care for yourself and your health to ensure your happiness and sustainability. It’s important to create time blocks to complete specific, focused work and honor those time commitments to yourself, but it is also important to schedule breaks in between your work sessions to recharge and refuel so you can refocus. Create time blocks for other areas of your life, too, such as working out, social media and reading, so when you are working you can be more productive and not feel distracted.
2. Physical boundaries Unless you thrive in a disorganized environment, your workspace needs to be organized, free of clutter and used solely for work. Otherwise, you’ll have a difficult time staying focused and preventing visual distractions from disrupting your concentration. Whether you realize it or not, physical clutter acts as chatter happening all around you, pulling your focus. Keep sticky notes, paper piles and leisurely reading materials away from your desk. Define your workspace and keep it free from everything else. Whenever you’re in your physical office and desire focused, private work time, whether that’s at your home, in an executive suite or at a gigantic building with your name on it, let everyone—from your family and roommates to your colleagues and coworkers—know that you intend to work
privately and wish not to be interrupted. You can also let them know when they can expect you to be available. These conversations will improve your relationships because you won’t be blurring the lines between work and personal life. It also increases the respect of others. If lines are blurred—kids are playing in your office, you’re laboring at the kitchen table during dinner or you’re working in bed—it’s nearly impossible to be present and connected with your work or with those around you. Enforcing physical boundaries will enable you to create an environment that supports your productivity. While creating boundaries is somewhat easy, enforcing them consistently can be much more difficult. Boundaries are not meant to be fluid in nature. If they are, they’re likely to be abused and beget negative consequences. But they aren’t meant to be shackles holding you back from making spontaneous decisions that could benefit your business either. When used effectively, boundaries should be freeing in the sense that they free up your mind, time, energy and finances to invest in the areas of your life that matter most. Enforcing your carefully constructed business boundaries will ultimately help you take control of your life, thus also minimizing your stress and preserving your health and sanity. Why not give it a try? V
Amber De La Garza, aka The Productivity Specialist, is a sought-after coach, trainer, speaker, writer, host of the “Productivity Straight Talk” podcast and creator of the S.T.O.P. Leverage Formula. She helps small business owners improve their time management and elevate their productivity to maximize profits, reduce stress and make time for what matters most. TheProductivitySpecialist.com Facebook: TheProductivitySpecialist Instagram: Amber_DeLaGarza
V ISION |
insight : roger magalhaes
7 Ways to Put Safety First in Your Window Covering Business From properly loading your van to recommending cordless treatments, installers can do a lot to keep themselves and others safer BY ROGER MAGALHAES
ccording to Wikipedia, safety is “the state of being safe, the condition of being protected from harm or other danger. Safety can also refer to the control of recognized hazards in order to achieve an acceptable level of risk.” With National Window Covering Safety Month coming up in October, below I offer seven “safety first” suggestions to keep you and your company protected from harm or other undesirable outcomes.
Protect the dimensions
Our businesses are based on numbers—more precisely, custom dimensions to fabricate window treatments. We all know how expensive it is to replace a product that did not fit (never mind the aggravation with the client and extra cost of a second trip). Take time to measure the windows and walls without rushing. Request that the client leave you alone so you don’t get distracted while taking notes. Pay an installer to confirm the dimensions as a way to avoid a bad surprise.
30 | SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021
Measure twice and pay once
It is not uncommon to cut rods on-site or drill through a fabric valance or cornice board before mounting it or even placing a bracket on the wall. Even though it can seem like extra work, double- and triple-checking that your math is correct will help you avoid a much bigger headache by cutting or drilling in the wrong spot.
Buy enough insurance
As professionals, we are constantly working in people’s properties that can be worth hundreds of thousands or even
millions of dollars. A simple mishap, such as a chip on the bathtub caused by a tool that fell from your ladder, can cost you thousands of dollars out of pocket in repairs if you don’t have the proper insurance coverage. This is one of the areas where I absolutely don’t cut corners.
Protect yourself with the appropriate personal protective equipment The constant noise produced by drilling near your ears while installing may result in permanent hearing loss. The use of earplugs may reduce
such risk. When using a chop saw or table saw, make sure to wear protective eyewear. Remember, your body is the primary and most priceless tool in your toolbox. You must protect it at all costs.
Protect the little ones (part 1)
Every time I am going to buy a new vehicle, I consult with my mechanic first to make sure the make and model I have in mind is a good choice and won’t give me aggravation down the road. Installers also have influence on buying decisions when it comes to window coverings. Every time you have an opportunity, suggest a product that can either be cordless or automated. By eliminating cord controls, you are automatically increasing the sale, which translates into better margins for the dealer. But most important, you are making the home or commercial site safer for infants, children, pets and even elderly people.
Protect the little ones (part 2)
As an installer, you may not be able to suggest products at the initial consultation with the client. Therefore, when you show up for the installation, you may find products with cord controls. Make sure to secure every single window covering. Sometimes, the homeowner does not have small children or pets and may not want to see safety devices attached to their woodwork. However, as
a professional installer, it is your responsibility to educate them about the importance of a safety product. Also, explain that they may still be liable for accidents when they sell their property to a new homeowner with small children.
Secure the load
If you own a commercial vehicle, I highly recommend that a working van partition (a metal divider that separates the cabin from the load area) be installed. That serves two purposes: It will protect the driver from being hit by the cargo in case of a sudden stop and it creates a climate area in the cabin to trap heat or air conditioning. Additionally, when loading the boxes and treatments for the day, load the first installs last (while still being mindful of heavier boxes that can potentially crush light treatments if not organized properly). When transporting soft treatments, keep them on top of other products to avoid creating additional wrinkles. As a professional, you should never cut corners doing your job. Doing things the right way may add a few minutes to the task or seem counterproductive; however, it is always better to be safe than sorry. The reputation that took you years to build should not be ruined by refusing to spare a few minutes to do things right. V
Roger Magalhaes is the founder of Trading Up Consulting, which provides installation training for window fashion professionals. Magalhaes draws on 15 years as a professional window treatment installer in the Boston area, where he received over 600 5-star reviews from satisfied clients. He is the installation instructor for the Window Fashion Certified Professional FastTrack program, serves on the board of directors of the Window Coverings Association of America and recently founded the Facebook group Window Treatment Installers by Trading Up Consulting. TradingUpConsulting.com
Installation Training For Window Treatment Professionals
We offer extensive installation training that provides confidence to help installers THRIVE! Roger Magalhaes Founder & Chief Owl Installer
Visit Our Free Resources at
www.TradingUpConsulting.com V ISION |
insight : eileen hahn
Who Is the Modern-Day Employee and What Do They Want from a Company?
Characteristics, values and needs of the workforce of 2021 and beyond
T BY EILEEN HAHN
here’s been a significant shift in the workforce and workplace over the past 30 years. Today’s employees have high expectations of working for a company with a positive culture, one that cares about the employee experience and is environmentally and socially responsible. Employees value the freedom to show up as their authentic selves, use their unique talents in an environment they enjoy and make a positive contribution to the community and the world at large. Employees want their personal values to align with their company and work. So, who is the modern-day employee? What do these employees want from a job, a boss and an employer? Where are employers missing the mark? And how do organizations retain exceptional people?
Let’s first address the lead question: Who is the modern-day employee? Today’s workforce is 2 percent Silent/ Traditionalists (born in 1945 or earlier), 25 percent baby boomers, 33 percent Generation X, 35 percent millennials and 5 percent Generation Z (just now entering our workforce). As you can see by these percentages, the vast majority of our workforce is millennials and Generation X. And, more significantly, these two generations will make up approximately 75 percent of our global workforce by the year 2025. While other generations remain in our workforce at varying numbers across different industries, it’s important to understand the common characteristics and values of the two predominant generations, as they have the most profound impact on our workforce today. There are six key
32 | SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021
attributes of the modern-day employee that I feel are most compelling and representative of who they are, what they value and how they work.
1. Tech savvy
The modern-day employee is extremely tech savvy. They are comfortable using multiple devices, often at the same time. They understand and are familiar with technology—not only the devices themselves, but also skills such as coding and using various software programs and interfaces.
2. Independent and resourceful Modern-day employees look to get their own answers. They seek out solutions in a proactive and often highly independent manner online. Whether it’s tying a tie,
putting on makeup, changing the oil in their car or learning a new skill (like a new computer program), they seek to teach themselves. If they run into a problem, they simply broaden their search to find a solution.
3. Wants to have a positive impact on the world
The modern-day employee, more than any other generation of employee, seeks to have a positive impact on the world—whether this is through personal recycling efforts, volunteering in their local community or branching out in a more global effort. In a study commissioned by Microsoft with more than 1,000 U.S. respondents between the ages of 18 and 34, 94 percent said they want to benefit a cause, 89 percent expect
employers to provide hands-on activities related to environmental responsibilities in the workplace, 83 percent wish their employers would provide volunteer opportunities that they could do with their families and friends, and 76 percent consider their company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work. These characteristics are different than those of employees 20 or 30 years ago. And the reason is simply that younger people were raised this way. Once this segment of our workforce entered grade school, social and environmental efforts— contests to bring in the most aluminum cans, volunteering trips to pick up trash, science projects that focused on climate change and its effects on our oceans— were the norm.
4. Looks to make a meaningful contribution at work
The modern-day employee wants to know how what they are doing in their work positively impacts the business and contributes to the mission and values. They want to do great work and to feel it’s meaningful, not just to them personally but to the company.
An environment of change (and the need to adapt to that change) is familiar to the modern-day employee. They are comfortable with company restructures, reorganizations, system upgrades and software changes. Unlike 20 years ago, when changemanagement classes were the norm to bridge the divides created by change, today’s employee is highly adaptable and capable of making whatever strides are necessary to reset, regroup and succeed.
What does the modern-day employee want? Awareness of these six characteristics is critical to organizations, but it’s just the first step. Knowing how to adapt to and manage these employees is important to reduce employee turnover. Here are a few things you can do to better serve and retain younger staff. 1. Positive culture
Millennials and Gen Xers count a positive company culture as their most sought-after quality in an employer. They look for a place that cares about its employees and their experiences, that solicits employees’ input, and listens and implements employees’ ideas. They seek an atmosphere of collaboration and respect.
2. Clear goals and expectations
The modern-day employee wants to know what specific goals are outlined for their position, as well as for the company, and what specific expectations there are for achieving these goals. They use this information as their guideline to fully understand their path. They also want challenging work that stretches them and best utilizes their technical and interpersonal skills. They enjoy meaningful challenge, equating it to a greater opportunity for growth and personal development.
3. Professional development In order to grow and develop, the modern-day employee—especially the less-seasoned employee— needs professional development
opportunities. They highly value opportunities to interact with the leaders of their company. Mentorship programs, where senior managers work one-on-one with junior employees to guide their job growth and progress and share their knowledge, can be especially effective.
4. Flexible schedules and other benefits
Last, the modern-day employee looks for policies and perks that exemplify progressive thinking: flexible start and end times, the ability to adjust hours to accommodate specific activities and events, the ability to work remotely, etc. Other perks, like gym memberships, tuition reimbursement and gourmet coffee machines, are also valued. However, it’s important to note that it’s not the perks that will retain an organization’s top talent—it’s how the organization treats its top talent. Treat your talent well, give them the tools they want and need to succeed, and you will be in a much better position to keep them and watch them continue to grow.
6. Values work-life balance
The ideal balance for the modern-day employee is to be part of a winning organization while still having the time to be involved in the community. They highly value family and friends, life experiences and travel. They seek a full life, not just a work life. V
Eileen Hahn is a leadership consultant who partners with organizations to assist them in hiring and leading exceptional people. Using tested and proven methods, she helps them achieve high levels of performance, financial results, teamwork, employee work passion and joy. EileenBHahn.com Instagram: Eileen_Hahn LinkedIn: Eileen_Hahn
V ISION |
industry : lessons in leadership
Lessons in Leadership:
Rachel Gregersen, Beyond Shades
BY SOPHIA BENNETT
achel Gregersen’s love of art led her to the window covering industry, although not in the way one might expect. The summer after she received a BFA in design at Stephens College, she took a job selling window coverings in St. Louis at Habitat Wallpaper & Blinds. She refers to the then-owner of Habitat as “one of the most brilliant business minds I’ve ever worked for.” She did well and continued to be promoted over the next 15 years, first to a management position at Habitat, then to executive positions for two national chains. “Seven years ago, with a 5-month- and a 5-year-old child and a supportive husband, I started Beyond Shades,” Gregersen says. The boutique window fashion store, located in the suburban Chicago community of Oakbrook Terrace, IL, has done extremely well. So has its owner: She was recently named to Forbes’ The Next 1000 list. In a recent interview, Gregersen shared her thoughts on what retailers need to do to stay successful in the coming years, some of her favorite (and unexpected) places to go for business assistance and what keeps her going through tough times.
What are some of the top things window treatment retailers can or should do to be successful in the coming years? Be flexible and ready to pivot and react. If 2020 taught us nothing else, I hope it taught us that. We reinvented some part of ourselves many times during the early days of COVID-19. We decided early that 1) retail would snap back and 2) we would be ready when it did. Fortunately, our industry has not suffered in terms of buyers wanting our products. As many small businesses continue to launch and succeed, it will be important to partner, grow, mentor and learn from each other. The industry is very generous in terms of small businesspeople who like to help each other. I try to give as much as I take. We have a tremendous amount of success working with other small businesses. At the end of the day, everything is about building a presence in the spaces where your clients are. Know who your ideal clients are and get in front of them in as many ways and on as many platforms as possible.
Try to wear fewer hats. Hire employees or contractors who can help your company be stronger. Having come from corporate America, I was used to working with a team of talent specializing in lifting the entire company to greatness. I did not want to lose that on my own. So, I work with a business consultant. When we realized how high our marketing spend was, we hired an outside marketing company. We’ve used them for over three years now. We are currently working with talent to properly document all our processes and procedures and build a top-tier company SOP manual. Don’t be afraid of the financial commitment. It pays off and we just cannot do it all. Ask yourself: Who and what does my company look like in five, 10 or 15 years? Once you are able to answer that question, that is what you must be working on today.
What does being a good leader mean to you? I have two clients, both equally important: those who purchase from
SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021 | wf-vision.com
Beyond Shades and those who work for Beyond Shades. It is my goal to give one the best buying experience and the other the best working experience. I’m as committed to both.
What motivates you? Setting goals, busting right through them and then setting higher ones. I’m a goal-buster. My children and my future (way in the future) grandchildren motivate me. Being a living, breathing example of the American dream motivates me. Every year brings a new challenge. I’ve had some interesting ones to overcome. In times when I face a new goal, I say to myself, “If it can be done, I can do it.” And then we go for it.
Where do you look for inspiration? We look to our clients’, designers’ and builders’ final experience with us. Everything about Beyond Shades is built around it. We do not look sideways or backward, only ahead at how to create the best buying experience for every
Ask yourself: Who and what does my company look like in five, 10 or 15 years? Once you are able to answer that question, that is what you must be working on today. client. We work hard to treat every client like a VIP. We believe it’s possible, so we make it happen—every client, every time. I believe with the proper operations and procedures in place, you can scale up and still maintain customer service at a VIP level.
I was most afraid of what I did not know. I took an SBA class called Scale Up. It was wonderful and just what I needed. I learned about resources that I still use to this day.
Do you have favorite books, podcasts or other resources for learning more about leadership and management?
Hands-down family. No question. My husband of just over 15 years, our 12-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son are the great joys of my life. They keep all semblance of balance in my life. If I need to break away, there only needs to be a dance recital or soccer game to make me step away for a moment with a clear head and enjoy my time with them.
The “E-Myth” series by Michael E. Gerber is a favorite. “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” by Don Miguel Ruiz is a beautiful, quick read. I probably listen to it at least once a year. Some other excellent books I’ve learned from are “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t” by Jim Collins, “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek and “The Reluctant Entrepreneur: Turning Dreams into Profits” by Michael Masterson.
What are you most grateful for at this moment in your life?
Podcasts are rich in information as well. Social Media Marketing with Michael Stelzner was a favorite when I started seven years ago. We drive so much when we do in-home sales, I definitely use this time to learn. I think a best-kept secret is the Small Business Administration. When I went from corporate manager to entrepreneur,
Give me a quote that inspires you. “Karma never loses an address.” But not in the way most might think. I am a believer that if you do good, good will follow you. It’s a reminder that it’s the kindness that you put out that will pave your road ahead. V
Zebra Zebra Shades offer cordless options for beautiful simplicity. Zebra sheer horizontal shades are known for their dual-layered, overlapping, fabrics. Wide bands of woven polyester ensure adequate privacy when the shades are closed. They also allow natural daylight to flow into the room when the mesh is exposed. These sheer shades have 3” fabric bands and 2” woven sheer mesh vanes and are available in a multitude of colors. Zebra Shades are also available in motorized and continuous cord styles.
WINDOW FASHIONS Envisioning Elegance
V ISION |
advertorial : wilson fabrics: passionate about people, planet and craft
PASSIONATE ABOUT PEOPLE, PLANET AND CRAFT BY SOPHIA BENNETT
ince its founding in 1926, Wilson Fabrics has maintained a passion for creating high-quality textiles that creatives can count on. The fully Australian-owned company prides itself on making products that are as good for people as they are for the planet. Between launching a new fabric line and securing GREENGUARD Certification for the first time, Wilson Fabrics has had a busy year. Peta Fitzgibbon, General Manager, shares a few insights into what’s new—and what will never change—at Wilson Fabrics.
36 | SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021
You received GREENGUARD Certification earlier this year, which is very exciting. What do you see as the value of this certification? Recognized and referenced by more than 400 codes, rating systems and procurement policies worldwide, GREENGUARD Certification requires products to meet some of the world’s most rigorous standards for low emissions of volatile organic compounds in indoor
environments. When a product bears the GREENGUARD Certification, it has been tested for over 10,000 chemicals and will not emit those chemicals into your environment. These products are greatly beneficial for designers and clients looking to decrease indoor air pollution. What was the process of being certified like? Why was it important for Wilson Fabrics to apply for certification? Wilson Fabrics’ products had to meet field-validated and performancebased standards and demonstrate low chemical and particle emissions for indoor materials to qualify. Additionally, to maintain GREENGUARD Certification, all products have to be retested annually. Once we initiated the GREENGUARD Certification process, we were very impressed with the stringent
requirements. We knew we already upheld the requirements, but it was important to be officially endorsed and recognized because it gives our customers assurance that our products meet world-class standards for safety and health. How important are environmentally friendly products and production to the company? Environmentally sustainable development has always been a part of our processes and brand DNA at Wilson Fabrics. It ensures that we
can keep our carbon footprint to a minimum while still ensuring our products are made to last. Eco-friendly products are not only great for the environment, they are also beneficial for human health. By providing our customers with products that are good for both them and the planet, we allow them to make choices that result in a better lifestyle without compromising their health or values. What differentiates Wilson Fabrics from its competitors? Our passion for fabrics makes us who we are. All of our fabrics are made at our own fully vertically integrated mill in Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia, which gives us total control over the production process. This is the key driving force behind our ability to consistently and reliably deliver the products our customers have come to depend on. We also have a fully stocked warehouse in St. Louis, so we can service our customers with much shorter lead times. We work hard to earn our customers’ trust, so it’s very important to us that we meet their deadlines. What determined the “Bring Theatre to Your Life” motto and what does it mean to Wilson Fabrics customers? Our customers are artists who believe in working collaboratively and telling stories about their lives and the lives of others. These are qualities you find in any good theatre performance. “Bring Theatre to Your Life” represents our customers’ desire to use fabric to express themselves. It also speaks to our ability to provide creatives with what they need by seeking out new opportunities, embracing new technologies, championing new designs and being adaptable, flexible and creative. We bring richness into everyday living and help our clients do the same. V
V ISION |
industry : family businesses
BY SOPHIA BENNETT
n the window treatment industry, work time is often family time. Kids follow their parents into small retail and manufacturing businesses. Daughters and sons, inspired by a parent who transforms homes through the power of design, become designers themselves and carry on the family tradition.
There are pros and cons to working in any business, but given that a lifetime of emotion lurks just below the surface of many interactions in a family business, the highs and lows can feel even more acute. How can professionals enjoy the good times, weather the bad and tackle tricky questions around passing a business from one generation to another? Professionals shared their top insights into succeeding in a tight-knit family business.
Behind the Design, Chicago Family members must be treated like employees. One of the advantages to most family businesses is that family members tend to be more committed to the longterm health and success of the company. They have a connection to the people and company that goes way beyond a paycheck. However, that doesn’t mean that people—especially members of the younger generation in the business—shouldn’t be treated like employees. “Family members tend to be the catchall because you don’t have the same trust or reliability in employees,” says Harling, who worked in her family’s custom window treatment business for many years before starting the consulting firm Behind the Design. “It becomes, ‘They can do anything because I trust them, so I can throw all kinds of projects at them even if it doesn’t relate to their job.’ That leads to them feeling like they’re being taken advantage of.” Although the connections that family members have to each other are one of the things that
make these businesses special, it’s also easy for conversations and interactions to become too casual. More than once, Harling has observed family members ask personal questions that would traditionally be inappropriate for the workplace in front of other employees. Harling’s advice to family businesses where a member is struggling? “Don’t wait until it’s too late. They do have the ability to leave you, so don’t take for granted it’s a forever deal. It’s still a relationship that needs to be worked at. Always keep in mind that communication is your greatest tool to get through the toughest times together.” Provide training, education and clear roles. For young people especially, support their need for a formal education if they want one. It can help the company too. “A lot of times, because family businesses were either started from an entrepreneurial mindset or passed down from generation to generation, there isn’t always someone going to school for business,” Harling says. “That
SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021 | wf-vision.com
means they’re learning from within, and that doesn’t always mean it’s best business practices. It’s just the way it’s always been.” Encouraging someone to get a college degree or even a job elsewhere for a while will let them learn and grow and— eventually—bring fresh ideas to the company. All employees need regular reviews so they can discuss the pros and cons of their work, training specific to their job and clearly defined roles. That can also be helpful if a family member isn’t performing up to par. “Sometimes family doesn’t want to fire family,” Harling points out. “If the roles are defined really clearly, you have a better parameter where you can go back to the family member and say, ‘You’re not doing XYZ in the job.’ Otherwise, it feels too personal when your mom or dad goes back and says you’re doing it wrong.” To younger generations: Learn the numbers. For young people who come into the company with big ideas but feel like they aren’t being listened to, Harling advises
them to learn the numbers. If they can demonstrate that the idea will help the company make money, leaders will be much more likely to listen. To older generations: Start succession planning early. “Over the course of five to 10 years is when you should be grooming the next generation,” says Harling. “It will take five years at least for them to get an understanding and practice in all of the roles. It’s too much information to take in in a year or two.” By putting a succession plan in place early, and giving the younger generation the incentive of a fully running business should they meet the goals within the plan, they will have a clear reason to work hard. Make sure the transition plan builds in training and educational opportunities for the next generation and clear benchmarks they need to meet to succeed. That way, everyone will have confidence that when it’s time for them to take over, they’ll be ready.
BRING THE OUTDOORS IN WITH innovative DRAPERY & SHADE SOLUTIONS
Cordless Shades bit.ly/custom-shade-solutions
Baton Draw Drapery Hardware bit.ly/baton-draw
Gain the competitive edge through R-TEC Automation® education & training. Discover step-by-step fabrication guides, learn how to use R-TEC Automation® products and so much more with our R-TEC Automation® Education Library.
bit.ly/r-tec-automation-education © 2021 Rowley® Company. All rights reserved. R-TEC Automation® is a registered trademark of the Rowley® Company, LLC.
industry : family businesses
Bazaar Home Decorating and Inspired Closets, Milwaukee One rule: Business comes first. It can be challenging not to bring family issues to work when you’re around your parents, siblings or in-laws every day. “When you’re at work, you have to be focused on the business and not on anything going on in your personal life," says Anheuser (shown above with his wife, Katy). “You might have had differences with a family member in the past about XYZ, but if you’re going to make the business work, you have to be there to work and be in a professional environment, especially if you want to grow that business.” Get outside help when planning for succession. Seven years before Anheuser’s parents were ready to retire, they brought in an outside consultant who specialized in helping small businesses transition. The family owned three businesses at the time: a retail business, a wholesale furniture company and a to-the-trade furniture showroom. Anheuser’s brotherin-law was involved in the business, and while his sister hadn’t been, she wanted to come back into the company. “One of the things my parents wanted was to not have any issues about who owns what,” Anheuser says. “The goal was to have a plan very well laid out and written out so there
40 | SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021
were no family issues over the business.” The consultant sat down with each family member and interviewed them about their role in the business, where they saw the business going and how they wanted to grow. They also talked through more personal issues, such as who they were as a person and what their leadership style was. From there, the consultant made a recommendation about the best way for the business to succeed. “The process enabled everyone to get on the same page and make a decision and move forward,” Anheuser says. “If we didn’t agree with something, we talked about it until everyone felt comfortable.” When passing on a business, start sooner rather than later. It’s never too early to start succession planning. “By the time you want to get out, there may be other factors in the world,” says Anheuser, pointing to the COVID-19 pandemic as an example. “For a lot of people, selling their business is their retirement fund.” Don’t delay preparing for that for too long. Lend a hand. Even though Anheuser no longer owns two of the companies his parents helped build, “We still help each other between the businesses,” he says. After all, that’s what family is for.
Darin Filhaber and Lorri Dwoskin Marquis Design Group, Inc., West Palm Beach, FL Don’t expect to start at the top. When young people enter a family business, they often expect to do so in an executive role. That’s not always a realistic expectation, says Dwoskin, the mom in the mother-daughter team running Marquis Design Group, Inc. A spot at the top comes with years of experience and respect from employees, installers, sales reps and designers. Filhaber had to learn many tasks that seemed menial in the beginning. She also had to come up with her own ways to build relationships with other employees to get questions answered. “I’d asked anyone who could spare some time how to figure yardage, railroad 118-inch fabric and know which hardware to order,” she says. “Accompanying our installers, steaming, pinning and unwrapping boxes gave me on-the-job training.” Looking back, she’s glad things worked out the way they did. “I really do have a lot of respect for my mom,” she says. “I have
to remind myself that this is her business, and if she asks me to do something, I need to do it, even if I might not be thrilled about it.” Outside employment can bring new skills into the business. When Filhaber graduated from college, “I thought about coming to work for my mom, which she quickly vetoed. She said, ‘You have to work at least one year in your field.’ I think she wanted me to have more life and work experience.” Filhaber spent seven years in human resources at Marriott before returning to Marquis. That knowledge has greatly improved operations at the company. “She’s taken us to a whole new level,” Dwoskin says. Trust is vital. Even though Filhaber had no experience in the design industry, she did bring an important value. “Who else can you give passcodes and banking information to on day one?” Dwoskin says. V V ISION |
industry : safety update
American and Canadian Safety Update BY RALPH VASAMI
The ANSI/WCMA window covering safety standard, which went into effect in December 2018, impacts every manufacturer, retailer, distributor, salesperson and designer working in our industry. The Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA) continues to promote and educate on the ANSI/WCMA A100.1-2018 standard, which requires all stock products sold in stores and online—which accounts for the majority of all window covering products sold in the U.S. and Canada—to be cordless or have inaccessible cords. As a reminder, the safety standard segments the market between stock and custom-made products because U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) data shows that requiring stock products to be cordless or have inaccessible cords will have the most immediate, significant impact on reducing the strangulation risk to young children from certain window covering cords. The common feature of all stock products is that the products are produced in advance of any consumer order or request for that product. Cut-down programs in retail stores typically adjust the width of a stock product, so it is still considered a stock product despite the in-store adjustment. It does not matter if that cut-down adjustment is made on the floor of a retail store or in a manufacturer’s or distributor’s plant. To be compliant with the standard, that product must be cordless or have inaccessible cords. Corded window coverings are only available on custom-order products. The standard imposes new restrictions on these custom-order products, such as requiring operating cords to have a default length of 40 percent of the blind height and a default to a tilt wand instead of a tilt cord. The safety standard continues to require warning labels and warning tags that more graphically depict the strangulation hazard. It’s important to understand that all products manufactured after December 15, 2018, must comply with the standard. Equally important to note is that all companies that manufacture, distribute or sell window coverings in the U.S. must comply with the voluntary safety standard or face enforcement action by the CPSC and/or be open to legal action if noncompliant products are sold. “Voluntary” simply signifies that the industry worked cooperatively with the CPSC, safety experts and others under the auspices of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop the standard. ANSI mandates an open and balanced process with public review opportunities.
42 | SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021
ANSI also requires that a standard be reviewed for possible revision every five years. WCMA has already notified the CPSC that the standard revision process will begin in late 2021 so that any potential revisions can be incorporated. A new standard will be published well before the five-year deadline.
New Canadian Regulations New Canadian window covering regulations came into effect on May 1, 2021. In the past, the U.S. ANSI standard would form the basis of the Canadian regulation; however, Health Canada took a different approach this time and abandoned the voluntary standard development process. It issued these regulations solely on the department’s input. The result ignored much of the collaborative efforts among industry stakeholders that produced the 2018 ANSI standard.
While the enforcement delay is appreciated, it does not address the underlying flaws with the regulation. In March 2021, the WCMA and its Canadian Window Covering Council, together with several major retailers, requested that Health Canada amend its regulation by adopting four revisions: 1. Electrical cords should not be considered cords for the purpose of the regulation. 2. Motorized products that have no other cords should not have to be labeled as hazardous. 3. Standard test methods should be adopted so that labs can provide consistent results to manufacturers and retailers. 4. Replace the new flawed pull force requirement with the time-proven hazardous loop test and restore the 5-pound force required to form the loop.
Finally, to help prevent the disruptive impacts that this new regulation will have on the industry, WCMA requested an additional year of enforcement forbearance to give some certainty to manufacturers and retailers that current compliant product will remain compliant while the industry continues Consumers can to look for ways to make continue to look for the “Best for Kids” this regulation workable for certification label manufacturers. To date, the to identify cordless window covering industry has received no reply options. WCMA created to its repeated requests that the program in 2015 Health Canada reform the to make it easier for consumers shopping regulations or meet with the for window coverings industry to discuss alternative to identify cordless solutions. V products.
The regulation includes a restriction on cord length; a requirement that electrical cords, power cords and antennae used on motorized products be considered “cords” for the purpose of the regulation and, therefore, are subject to labeling as a corded product; the abandonment of the hazardous loop test in favor of a pull force test that renders current products noncompliant; and no standard test procedures so that manufacturers and labs could produce consistent results when testing their products.
The industry in Canada and the U.S. has repeatedly submitted comments to Health Canada on the flaws of the new regulation and the disruption it will cause in the marketplace. Estimates are that 88 percent of current compliant product would be deemed noncompliant under this new regulation. In recognition of the negative and confusing impacts of the new regulation, Health Canada issued a letter that stated it would not enforce the regulation until May 1, 2022.
As a reminder, the ANSI standard and the new Canadian regulations apply to new product production, but there obviously are many window coverings in the marketplace that were produced well in advance of these standards. In recognition of that issue, it is the responsibility of every member of our industry to have a discussion with every client and customer about the potential strangulation hazards associated with certain corded products so that we can increase consumer awareness on this critically important issue.
e t a d FORT LAUDERDALE, FL • APRIL 5- 7
GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE/ BROWARD COUNTY CONVENTION CENTER, FLORIDA APRIL 5 (SEMINARS ONLY) APRIL 6-7 (SEMINARS & SHOWFLOOR)
IWCE-VISION.COM America’s largest business networking and educational event for window treatment professionals is back and we’ve missed you!
industry : woven woods
Woven Woods on the Rise
D BY GAIL GUTSCHE
uring the past two years, as people have been shut in and the world locked down, soothing interior surroundings and décor have taken on new importance. As millions of people have worked, recreated and socialized within the confines and safety of their homes, they’ve wanted spaces that brought them comfort, joy and a connection to the outside world. The movement in interior design to go natural, already on the uptick a few years ago, may have been strengthened by the pandemic.
Photo courtesy of Pro Design LLC
Woven wood window treatments— natural, eco-friendly, warm and inviting—are a perfect match for these changing, challenging times.
SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021 | wf-vision.com
“In our new world where we spend more time in our homes, consumers are looking for ways to bring the outdoors in,” says Rebekah Segraves, marketing director of Pro Design LLC. “With textures that incorporate nature in their design, natural shades are an appealing way to incorporate the beauty of nature into your space.” “Natural woven shades are a perfect complement to the live plants and succulents that are dominating many décors,” says Gina Chi, senior product manager at Alta Window Fashions, who notes that interest in the product category is rapidly increasing. Jennifer Ismail, director of product management at Graber, concurs: Upward of 60 percent of Graber dealers experienced an increase in woven and natural wood sales in the past year.
Woven woods’ versatility a selling point
Natural materials woven into intricate and distinctive patterns give each shade an individualized look, tying into consumers’ desire for bespoke products. “Enhanced patterns and palettes allow natural shades to bring texture into any space, providing warmth and comfort for casual luxury, a highly desired trend,” Ismail says. Woven shades are easy to dress up with a formal top treatment or elegant stationary side panels. “Natural shades make a great under treatment for drapery panels,” says Segraves. “Opt for a basic woven pattern in muted tones to provide privacy and light control and allow your drapery panels to really pop.” Unlined woven shades act as a natural sunscreen to block UV rays and provide an unbridled view to the outdoors. Privacy levels can be adjusted via a variety of liners from blackout to unlined. Installers, take note: Woven wood treatments work well in windows with arches and angled tops. They are easy to install and can be mounted on a narrow headrail for windows with shallow depth. “They are also a great solution for really any room, including bathrooms and kitchens, as they can withstand high-humidity areas with ease,” says Spa.
New products and old favorites in woven wood Graber’s top-selling products are standard roman shades with standard cord or cordless lift control. Shades can be upgraded with liners for increased light and privacy, or with personalized touches like edge banding. “We also offer natural drape and sliding panels, which are great options for wide windows and patio doors—or as room dividers for a total home/room solution,” says Ismail. Pro Design LLC’s Walden Select Collection features its most popular shade fabrics. Designers can also take advantage of the brand’s good-better-best model for woven wood shades. “Natural shades have a range of price points depending on the fabric style, material content and weaving time,” says Segraves. “You will find traditional bamboo and woven wood patterns at a lower price point, woven jutes at a mid-range price point and soft, natural fabrics woven with materials like flax and ramie at a higher price point.” In addition to these favorites, numerous product innovations add exciting and fresh fare for customers. On the automation front, Alta introduced BLISS Automation in January. It operates a shade with the tap of a remote or via voice control. Horizons Window Fashions offers an independently operated privacy or blackout lining that makes it easy to darken or lighten the room. “It can be raised or lowered behind
Photo courtesy of Alta Window Fashions
There are many reasons for the increase in interest in woven woods beyond helping people feel connected to nature. Near the top of the list is their versatility, says Stefanie Spa, senior product manager,
Natural Shades at Horizons Window Fashions. “Natural shades are adaptable to any décor style, whether that leans toward elegant and clean, or modern and textural.”
Photo courtesy of Horizons Window Fashions
Recently, Window Fashion VISION queried four visionary companies in woven woods to learn about design trends, new product introductions, and sales opportunities. Growth in woven woods has exploded, as consumers yearn to weave natural elements into daily living.
V ISION |
industry : woven woods natural woven shades,” says Spa. “Raise the lining to see the sun and reveal the view; lower it for privacy and room-darkening effects.”
Photo courtesy of Graber
Horizons has also brought back the option to motorize its very popular Averté Natural Fold, a side-panel window treatment made with the same materials as its roman and other shades. This product is the perfect solution for wide windows and patio doors, Spa notes.
Tighter, softer weaves and a lighter, neutral palette punctuated by subtle pops of color or metallic accents are in the offing at Graber.
Focus on outside-in, eco-friendly trends to increase sales Retailers, designers and decorators who embrace the outdoors-moving-in trend that is sweeping the nation can increase sales by showcasing woven woods in their stores and design rooms.
then woven as if a soft textile,” says Chi. “Grass Weaves features amazing blends that include papyrus or cotton with polyester (to) make for more consistent patterns.” Whether your customer is looking for traditional roller shades, classic roman shades or sliding side panels, woven woods have them covered. V
Photo courtesy of Graber
Photo courtesy of Pro Design LLC
The fact that many woven shades are ecofriendly and sustainably produced is a big selling point for environmentally conscious customers. “All of our natural shade collections are created using sustainable materials and processes,” says Segraves. “Our Natural Roller Shade Collection that will launch this fall incorporates materials harvested from fastgrowing conifers from regeneration forests in countries including Chile, New Zealand and Canada.”
Grasses, jute and bamboo headline the renewable materials in both the Horizons and Graber woven wood collections. Alta offers three distinctive categories within the Natural Woven Wood program. These materials are part of Alta’s Woven Woods line, but the line delves into other materials as well. The Select Weaves product line uses “organic yarns drawn from sustainable seagrass, reeds or fine jute,
Photo courtesy of Graber
Photo courtesy of Pro Design LLC
Pro Design LLC plans a fall launch of its new Natural Roller Shade Collection, pairing the simplicity of a roller shade with the beauty of woven texture for an updated take on a traditional product. “With an expanded color palette that incorporates trending color tones and soft fabric weaves for minimalistic design, Natural Shades are reimagined for today’s modern world,” says Segraves.
SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021 | wf-vision.com
“ V ISION |
inspiration : the kaleidoscope project
Reflecting on the Kaleidoscope Project BY SOPHIA BENNETT
aunched earlier this year, the Kaleidoscope Project is a designer showhouse created to show off the talents of designers from a diverse range of backgrounds. Besides being the first showhouse exclusively designed by BIPOC professionals, it is unusual in that it is a permanent showhouse. The 21 participants did a full renovation of 18 rooms at the Cornell Inn, a bed and breakfast in Lenox, MA.
48 | SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021
Working within three preselected color themes—Rest (neutral colors), Reflection (cool greens and blues) and Rejuvenate (warm pinks, reds and ambers)—designers specified window treatments, furniture, paint and other materials to give the property’s Main House and Carriage House a totally new look. The Kaleidoscope Project is also a fundraiser that supports organizations that provide scholarships to people in the BIPOC community interested in careers in the arts and design industry.
Window Fashion VISION interviewed three participants to get their take on the showhouse experience, color trends and how the design industry can become a more welcoming place for designers of color.
Photo by Frank Frances Studio
Rydhima Brar R/terior Studio, Valencia, CA What made you interested in participating in the Kaleidoscope Project? I was intrigued and excited about the premise, the amazing opportunity it presented for an emerging designer like myself and, most importantly, what it stands for. It empowers designers of various color/ethnicities to represent their heritage and provides an equitable opportunity for designers to showcase their creativity. It also gave me the chance to present my own background. I was born and raised in Kuwait, where I was surrounded with opulence and some of the world’s best designs. I’m also of Indian heritage. Monuments such as the Taj Mahal and Charminar still stand tall with their unique architecture and were part of my global education in design. How do you use color in your designs, especially window treatments? Drapes, rugs and art are my favorite places to bring in color. Drapes always make the biggest impact (as you can see in my room at the Kaleidoscope Project). They have the ability to frame the room and anchor it in a beautiful way. Rugs and art are where I like to get experimental with my clients. It is a fun way to introduce them to bold color and patterns without it being a “permanent” fixture. What do you see as the top color trend right now? Bright and bold colors. Many of my clients are moving away from the neutral colors and are asking for more vibrancy and colors in their surroundings. They are not afraid to paint or wallpaper their rooms in bright colors
like corals and blues and are asking for drapes with patterns to add more texture to their spaces. The past year has made everyone embrace their spaces and made them want to add more interest with color, art and texture. How do you get a sense of a new client’s color preferences? When I start my design process with a client, one of the questions I love to ask them is to name a few places with interiors they absolutely love: a restaurant, bar, museum, an Airbnb they stayed at. I want my design to trigger the emotion they felt when they were in that space. Based on their answers, the first things I draw from those spaces are the colors and textures. When I am able to create that environment in their space, not only does it evoke that same feeling they had, but it makes them want to enjoy that space even more. How can the interior design industry become a more welcoming place for designers of color? The Kaleidoscope Project was an amazing way to introduce designers of color to the broader design industry. Our work brings so much color (pun intended) to spaces, but it also allows us to show our heritage and backgrounds with unique stories. Events of this nature make it a bit easier for us to publish our work and our stories. So does including us in important panels and events where we can speak more on this topic. Having industry vendors partner with us on their collections and collaborations is another way to welcome us and be more inclusive.
V ISION |
inspiration : the kaleidoscope project
Photo by Scott Gabriel Morris
Rasheeda Gray Gray Space Interiors, Jenkintown, PA Tell me about your room at the Kaleidoscope Project. The Rasheeda Room is a reflection of who I am and an inspiration to others, especially BIPOC designers and creatives, to boldly be who you are. For the guests of the room at the Cornell Inn, I want to encourage bold authenticity, as well as provide an opportunity to rejuvenate, reset and rediscover. What did participating in the showhouse mean to you? Participating in the showhouse gives a voice to the oftenunderrepresented BIPOC designer. It also gives opportunity to the BIPOC student who often isn't exposed to an education in the arts. For me, it's personal. Design is a second career for me. As a student many years ago, I didn't know that a career in interior design was possible. If I’d had exposure to the arts in school, perhaps I would have found design sooner. I’m sure this organization and others that provide funding for arts education will make a big difference in the lives of young people. I love that you call window treatments the “icing on the cake” in any room. How do you determine what type of window treatments to use? I allow the design plan, the clients and how they live, as well as the environment, to dictate the window treatments. Since they’re custom, there are lots of options—it’s almost like paint color. Questions like, “Is this a very casual space or is it super formal?” and “What is the level of sun or the level of privacy in the space?” inform our decisions. What do you see as the top color trend right now, both in general and in your specific area? Coming out of the pandemic, we are all gravitating toward color and life. We’re moving away
50 | SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021
from our more neutral base that I think we’ve all seen over the last decade. I’m seeing more red—terra-cotta, burgundy, red as a neutral background. In the early 2000s, there were lots of warm browns and burgundies. It’s almost as if it’s coming back but it’s been modified. I’ve seen a trend around black being used more in cities. It’s not just on the furniture but on accent walls or in things like draperies that have a big visual presence. People aren’t afraid about it closing off the space. They see it as a color of comfort. How can the interior design industry become a more welcoming place for designers of color? In order to make change, the entire design industry must be intentional and purposeful about inclusion. I know many of my peers have experienced not feeling welcome, or like they didn’t receive the same warm welcome, at markets and showrooms. Manufacturers need to make sure their sales reps and other staff have proper training to ensure there isn’t a conscious or unconscious bias. If you’re doing a showhouse and you’re looking at designers to include, does that roster include BIPOC designers? Does it represent the right proportion of BIPOC designers for your community? It’s a time to become familiar with BIPOC designers, even if that’s as simple as following them on Instagram. If you’re someone who has influence in our industry, take a look at who’s a part of the conversation. Make sure you’ve inviting everyone to the table. Diversity is important and we need to treat it that way.
Photo by Frank Frances Studio
Virginia Toledo Toledo Geller Luxurious Interiors, Franklin Lakes, NJ Tell me about your room at the Kaleidoscope Project. The springboard was the wallpaper, which was one of the first things I found. It had that red, white and blue but it was a more exotic pattern. It was in line with the concept for the Kaleidoscope Project, that you had designers that had a variety of backgrounds and heritages, but we’re all under this umbrella of America. From there, it stemmed from what I was hoping would be the eventual use of the space. In this area in the Berkshires, a visitor to the inn could be a lone traveler who wants to get away and connect with themselves, or you could have women on a girls trip. I wanted to create an area where it was alright to sit next to someone and strike up a conversation and make a lifelong friend, or a cozy corner where it was OK to sit alone. The window treatments in your space are terrific. What can you tell me about them? The drapery is really what makes this room. I was able to use the drapery as a means of diffusing an eyesore in the space and partitioning the room to define a new space, as well as on the windows. As a firm, we use a lot of woven wood shades. We tend to pair them with drapery because we like that layering effect. Woven wood shades tend to be chameleons—we can use them in modern rooms as well as more traditional spaces. Another thing we love about them is we have the ability to line them differently. Where we don’t need blackout, we can let them shine on their own. If we need blackout, we have that flexibility.
Hardware is another important part of the story. This room has two types of hardware. In one area, we wanted something very architectural, so we have a track that disappears into the wall’s casing. On another wall that was more a feature wall, we brought in a very rustic wood that paired well with the beams in the space. Generally, how do you use color in your designs? At our firm, we don’t shy away from color. Our spaces are very cheerful. We also rely a lot on the architecture and the location. If we have a project where we have floor-to-ceiling windows and there’s a lot of greenery we can see beyond the window, we’re going to create an interior that’s an extension of the world beyond. If you had to pick one on-trend color for the moment, what would it be? Yellow. People want happy colors. Yellow is sunny and imbues some optimism after what we’ve all been through. How can the interior design industry become a more welcoming place for designers of color? We need to have conversations about it, and make a point to research and highlight designers of color and people from various backgrounds. People who think there isn’t a lack of diversity in the design industry have not taken a look at the faces we see in magazines and at these showhouses. I think things like this showhouse are a steppingstone into sharing with the world that there is talent in the BIPOC community. This was one of the best showhouses I’d ever taken part in in terms of the design level. It was nice that all of these people were given a platform. V
V ISION |
inspiration : the power of color
The Power of Color
W BY MARGIE NANCE
hen selecting paint, fabrics and upholstery for a room, there are three main factors that can influence a decision: color (red, yellow, blue, etc.), pattern (floral, stripe, geometric, etc.) and texture (nubby, smooth, silky, etc.).
Out of those three factors, color usually takes the lead in making the final selection. Rooms can have a wide variety of patterns and textures that work well together, but color is usually limited based on traditional harmonies such as complementary, analogous, monochromatic and triad.
Characteristics of color Color is actually a general term for what we see. It has three characteristics:
Hue is the classification of color and the family it belongs to. Hue families are commonly called red, red orange, orange, yellow orange, yellow, yellow green, green, blue green, blue, blue violet, violet and red violet.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Value is the range of a hue from lightest to darkest. Higher values are nearly white in color and reflect light, while low values are nearly black and absorb light.
Chroma is the amount of pure pigment in a hue. A high chroma has a lot of pigment and is vivid and strong, while low chroma is grayish with a touch of pigment. Hue, value and chroma play a major role in how we feel when we are in the room. It triggers feelings, associations and memories, both good and bad. Have you ever heard someone say, “This room is so peaceful” or “This room makes me feel cold”? Color created a feeling and response to that environment.
52 | SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021
Every successful job should start with an understanding of how your customer responds to color. Make sure you talk to each client and ask them what colors make them happy and what colors to stay away from. It’s best to know this up front because we can never predict how someone will react to color.
Color and harmony The way colors are combined can also make a big impact on how your customer feels about the room. Below are four combinations that use blue as the main color but create different emotions by using various color schemes.
A helpful color tool
Monochromatic is based on one hue but ranges in value and chroma. This is a simple harmony and creates a very cohesive color scheme.
Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel. This is a highcontrast scheme. Value and chroma are very important to keep in mind, as vibrant colors can be overwhelming for some customers.
Analogous colors are very close to each other on the color wheel. They are often found in nature (think sunsets and greenery in the woods). Be sure to use the colors in different proportions, such as a main color, an accent and a small pop.
Triad colors are spaced evenly across the color wheel. This scheme can also be very bold, so it’s important to choose one main color and use the other two as accents.
As you can see, color is impacted by what surrounds it. That’s why it’s important to spend time understanding what colors your customer likes, what they don’t like and how they like those colors used. It gives you a starting framework and sets an expectation of what your focus will be as you begin to design their room.
If you’re looking for a way to visually communicate color options to your customer, the Ultimate 3-in-1 Color Tool from C&T Publishing is a helpful resource. Please note that this is not a technical tool and should be used only for basic reference. The color tool is printed on coated cardstock and comes with 24 different color cards. Spread the deck open and ask your customer to select the colors (hues) they don’t like. Sometimes it’s easier to select what doesn’t appeal first to reduce options. Hide these cards on the bottom, then have them select a favorite from the remaining cards. Once chosen, ask them to pick their favorite value and chroma off that color from the face of the card. This will become the base for selecting a color scheme. On the back of the cards are harmonies for that color. Select the cards for each combination and get their opinion on which harmony is most appealing. Sometimes customers don’t want to follow the standards of color harmony, so having this information at the beginning of your relationship will help with giving them the best advice and options for that job. V
Margie Nance retired from the drapery workroom industry in 2012 and now works in digital design. She is a Canva Community Ambassador for the U.S. and trains members on how to be successful template designers. She is also an illustrator and a surface pattern designer. MNanceDesigns.com
V ISION |
S E P T E M BER + OCTOBER 2021
Product Spotlight One World’s Hybrid Shutters
Surewin Quality components at competitive pricing from our Florida warehouse. Custom sourcing available. Plastic bead chain in rolls or continuous loops; numerous colors in all lengths, nickel plated and stainless chain in rolls and continuous loops in all lengths, stop balls, connectors, safety devices, c-clips, alligator clips, tassels, lift cord, vertical components, cord locks, and the easy-tofabricate, low-profile Sure-Lift® Roman Headrail System for shades up to 50 lbs. Learn more at: Surewin@optonline.net or call 239-362-3342
For the finest custom curtain hardware, look no further than Morgik Metal Designs. Serving the trade for 40 years, we manufacture custom curtain hardware to meet the needs of interior designers, decorators, fabrics workrooms, and architects. Choose from a selection of flat or round rods with bent or mitered return. Discover more at: bit.ly/MorgikRods or call 212-463-0304
54 | SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021
One World’s Hybrid Shutters are engineered with the insulation value of solid poly with the diversity and beauty of wood. Any shape, any size, any window. Free hidden tilt and large single panels provides clean sophisticated lines to the home. In addition to create move value, One World’s industry leading Shutter Shield protects the investment by covering accidental damage. Learn more at: OneWorldShutters.com or call 877-539-9487 Email: email@example.com
Take control with the new Automate Push15 remote control where modern design is loaded with function! Available in gloss white and matte black, the Push15 Remote features precise leveling control, a large LCD screen, and 15 channels with 5 dedicated group channels to easily pair rooms or shade types together. This handheld or wall-mounted controller provides convenient up/down and channel selection operation of Automate motorized shade systems. Learn more at: bit.ly/AutomateShades
Ona Drapery Hardware Company
Sheerview Shades by Lantex USA In a display of elegance, our Sheerview Shades consist of lightweight vanes positioned between dual layers of sheer fabric, allowing them to open and close with ease. Learn more at: www.lantexwindowfashions.com or call us at 302-294-6552
Ona Drapery Hardware Company is your source for custom made drapery hardware. From contemporary to traditional, we offer an extensive selection of styles and finishes. We manufacture every rod set to order using only premium heavy gauge steel, wrought iron, crystal and more. Custom curving is available for all rod profiles. Be sure to look at our new Acrylic Rods, Art Glass finials and Polished Chrome finishes in addition to our popular French Rods and ONAVERSE™ Iron Cord Traverse Rods. We pride ourselves on quality workmanship, timely delivery and customer satisfaction. Select Ona Drapery Hardware and order with confidence. For a free catalog please call 800-231-4025 or visit our website at www.onadrapery.com
Döfix Pl-easy system The Pl-easy system is a cordless shade on tension wires. The tension wires (stainless steel or transparent nylon) are mounted with brackets to the wall or ceiling. The shades can be operated as bottom up or top-down shades for maximum privacy and flexibility. Since there are no cords, they are 100% safe for children. Learn more at: www.döfix.com
Movelite 35TM from Orion Offer the Smart Home experience with a drapery motor that can be controlled with the touch of a button, simple voice commands, and third-party devices. Add Orion’s Iron Art, Wood Art or Design Art drapery hardware fascia options for the finishing touch. Movelite 35TM means connected solutions at an affordable price with quiet performance and a 5-year warranty. Learn more at: bit.ly/movelite
2 New QUIET Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Motor Options from Insolroll! 3 Somfy motor systems now available to provide solutions in all applications. Insolroll’s family of quiet, rechargeable shade motors is growing with the launch of 2 new Somfy battery shade motors in June. This follows the May launch of the new BAT-L2-R motor and brings more sizes and finishing options to Insolroll motorized shade offerings. Learn more at: bit.ly/insolrollmotors V ISION |
inspiration : workroom competition awards
SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021 | wf-vision.com
WAYS WORKROOM COMPETITION
BY GAIL GUTSCHE
he annual VISION Design + Workroom Competition Awards honor the work of talented window treatment designers and fabricators. In this issue, Window Fashion VISION is delighted to showcase the winners of the Workroom Competition. (Did you miss the Design Competition winners? Check out the July + August magazine.)
V ISION |
COMBINATION TREATMENTS | FIRST PLACE Laura Nelson Sew Nice West Lafayette, IN 1ST PLACE
58 | SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021
A variety of mounting heights, a balcony overhang and a second-floor view that offers a firsthand look into the workings of the window treatments made this design and installation tricky. Nelson’s solution was to ensure all motorized roman shades move simultaneously and remain level at the same distance from the floor during operation, even though they are hung from differing heights. She extended the drapery-panel face fabric in the header and returns to cover the lining and attached the shade to the back of the mount board, which creates a waterfall effect. Careful configuring of grommet settings and offset spacing assures the panels clear the raised shade without tipping forward.
COMBINATION TREATMENTS | SECOND PLACE Samantha and Brandi Day
Day Designs LLC Fort Worth, TX
Natural, neutral colors complement the wood floors and rustic dining table in this breakfast nook. Horizon Window Fashions Gateway woven woods in Natural with blackout lining protect the occupants from the blazing Texas sun and heat. The turned headrail with a valance ensures that the shades closely hug the door, allowing minimal light to enter the room. Three-finger pinch-pleated drapery panels fabricated from Phoenix in Oyster by LA Fred’s hang from black 1-inch wrought iron rods and rings from Design Elements. The metal side chairs, shiplap accent wall and black hardware add emphasis and contrast.
V ISION |
CURTAINS AND DRAPERIES | FIRST PLACE Elizabeth Gerdes Stitch Above the Rest Woodstock, GA
The historic 134-year-old Davenport House in Norcross, GA, sports the original wallpaper, fireplace, woodwork, crown molding and ceiling border. Only the most elegant-period draperies would do. Gerdes painstakingly planned every detail, from the fabric repeat to the tricky installation. The swags and cascades, made from Stout Fabrics Volcano 2 in Cayenne, are mounted to a custom cutout cornice board upholstered in the face fabric. Swags overlapped at the center were the only option due to the fabric repeat. The swag peaks are mounted on wooden rods with carved finials from United Supply Company. Luscious beaded trim and tassel holdbacks from Trim Depot tie it all together.
CURTAINS AND DRAPERIES | SECOND PLACE Olga Polyanskaya Drapery Expressions and Blinds Colorado Springs, CO 2ND PLACE
These stunning stationary draperies had to be finished in time for the clients’ wedding anniversary. With no time to wait for back-ordered fabric, Polyanskaya stretched her imagination as well as the fabric to make the six-fold panels. The 49-inch-wide fabric was 2 inches shy of what was needed to make six panels. She extended the width of each panel with 2 inches of lining fabric, plus custommade ripplefold snap tape, all of which is visible only on the back side of the draperies. The panels are blackout lined to give volume to the lightweight fabric and pair perfectly with the existing cellular shades.
SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021 | wf-vision.com
INGENIOUS INSTALLATION | FIRST PLACE Samantha and Brandi Day Day Design LLC Fort Worth, TX 1ST PLACE
Covering the existing motorized roller shades while preserving the view through the upper-paned windows was the design challenge for the Days. Four banded apron-shaped banners separated by tucked pleats cover the face of the window, with a separate banner on each of the side flanking windows. The mullions between the windows were not all the same distance apart, so the Days had to adjust the treatment as they installed it to ensure each pleat fell precisely on a mullion. The banners were board-mounted above the roller shades and the pleats were hand-tacked to the banners. Floor-to-ceiling panel draperies cover the light gaps on the sides and draw the eye upward.
INGENIOUS INSTALLATION | SECOND PLACE Leslie Excell Excell In Design Group Margate, FL
Swinging chairs suspended from the ceiling, lush pillows and sublime window fashions create an ambiance conducive to meditating and napping in this relaxation room in a Miami spa. The treatment, constructed from Magitex Décor fabric in pattern Imagine, color Ivory, was installed to a soffit that housed recessed lighting and required advance templating to determine exactly where the draperies would fall in relationship to the lighting. The complexity of the design—the curved cornice combined with the sweeping draperies—required the full focus from two installers working in tandem. The sublime draperies provide blissful cocoons for the lounging beds. V ISION |
SPECIALTY WINDOW FASHIONS | FIRST PLACE Leslie Excell Excell In Design Group Margate, FL
The clients wanted a soft frame for their spectacular intracoastal view. To create a more romantic look, Excell layered up soft, flowing fabric from Duralee. Sheered panels take the sharp edge off existing wood blinds and complement the sweeping curve of the bay window and the prominent coffered ceiling. A matching swag and jabot on each window adds depth and texture and is caught up by crystal medallions from Paris Texas Hardware.
SPECIALTY WINDOW FASHIONS | SECOND PLACE Samantha and Brandi Day Day Design LLC Fort Worth, TX 2ND PLACE
The 18-foot cornice board in this living room, covered in a medallion print from Kasmir Fabrics, is punctuated with swags made with fabric from William & Wesley Co. on either end. The board had to be hinged in the middle so it would fit in the delivery truck. The 6-inch ruched cornice band and jabots, lavishly trimmed in beads and tassels from Rose-Lace, add depth. Drapery panels fabricated from sheer fabric from Carole Fabrics (pattern Girls Night Out, color Onyx) balance the huge expanse of the cornice. The coup de grâce is the “crazy heavy” centerpiece, a resin scroll from Reynolds Advanced Materials, which was hefted into place by three workmen.
SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021 | wf-vision.com
TOP TREATMENTS | FIRST PLACE Olga Polyanskaya Drapery Expressions and Blinds Colorado Springs, CO 1ST PLACE
Inspired by the art in this dining room, Polyanskaya chose coordinating drapery-panel fabric in pattern Hellidor from Fabricut. Perfectly matched silk organza fabrics from Osborne & Little cover the clean-lined cornice. For definition, Polyanskaya added self-welt Silky Smooth fabric from Maxwell Fabrics on the top and bottom and between the colors. The piece is finished in decorative nails from Rowley Company. She railroaded the cornice fabric to eliminate vertical seams and interlined the borders with Skirtex stiffener to ensure the seam allowance and cardboard tack strip did not show through the fabric. Hunter Douglas Silhouette shades provide light control and privacy.
TOP TREATMENTS | SECOND PLACE Elizabeth Gerdes Stitch Above the Rest Woodstock, GA
To unify windows of differing sizes in the parlor of the historic Davenport House, Gerdes mounted pleated top treatments constructed of damask fabric from Unique Fine Fabrics at the same height. The solid red piping accentuates the center cutout. The striped accent fabric in the center of the top treatment coordinates with the fireplace bricks. The beaded trim comes from Fabric & Fringe Warehouse. Matching stationary ripplefold drapery panels with a custom holdback from the Imperial II Collection from Trim Depot complete the look.
V ISION |
UPHOLSTERY | FIRST PLACE Darin Filhaber Marquis Design Group, Inc. West Palm Beach, FL 1ST PLACE
Design firm Interior Concierges created this living space and envisioned a great ottoman, fondly referred to as a BAO (Big Ass Ottoman), as the centerpiece. That’s where Marquis Design Group, Inc., came in. The workroom manager expertly calculated and crafted the ottoman starting with a scalloped template, from which everything else evolved. The bottom fabric was pillowcased then slid on to cover the scalloped top edge. The top of this magnificent piece is finished with leather from Kravet and approximately 1,000 nailheads.
UPHOLSTERY | SECOND PLACE Elizabeth Gerdes Stitch Above the Rest Woodstock, GA
A newly opened restaurant in Fayetteville, GA, featured hardwood benches and booths that were hard on its customers’ bottoms. Gerdes fashioned seat cushions in highdensity foam and back cushions from medium-density product and covered both with Sunbrella fabric from Fabric Tent. Each cushion was fabricated to a wood bottom off-site. Heavy-duty Velcro strips were applied to the bottom of each wood cushion and to the wood in the booths to ensure the cushions do not shift or move. Because the bench seating was too narrow, Gerdes added additional width by applying cushions to extender boards fitted to the benches.
SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021 | wf-vision.com
BEDDING | FIRST PLACE Samantha and Brandi Day Day Designs LLC Fort Worth, TX 1ST PLACE
A rustic brick wall and two occasional chairs set the stage for this transitional bedding makeover. The bedspread is constructed of two velvets: an embossed velvet from Shannon Fabrics on the top and a lighter velvet from Home Secrets Textile on the bottom. Drapery panels fabricated from Kasmir Fabrics, pattern Takahama, are picked up in the border around the three euro pillows, which feature hair-on-hide from Texas Leather Goods. Topping it all off are two specialty pillows: a shirred velvet with a hair-on-hide center and nailhead trim, and an original design the Days call the “jewelry box,” which features two velvets and is tied with a tassel.
BEDDING | SECOND PLACE Leslie Excell Excell In Design Group Margate, FL
Merging traditional elements with whimsical touches gives this traditional bedroom an update. An intricate outline-quilted coverlet tops this regal bed with pillows galore. The top, quilted side is made from a Lee Jofa fabric in Khamsa Paisley. The back side is fabricated with the same Lee Jofa ikat pattern as the two side lumbar pillows. Excell added 2 extra feet to the quilt so it can be turned over the sleeping pillows. The mitered split corners with green velvet inserts make for a better fit and an eye-catching addition. The bolster leopard-contrasted lumbar, made with fabric from The House of Scalamandré, adds pizzazz. V V ISION |
industry : 20 under 40 awards
Youthful Enthusiasm BY SOPHIA BENNETT
The future looks bright in the hands of this year’s VISION 20 Under 40 Awards recipients. Learn more about these up-and-coming leaders in our industry.
BENTON Daylight Control Systems, Springfield, MO It only took Anson three years to move from office manager to director of operations and lead project manager at BENTON Daylight Control Systems. She oversees a team of estimators, project managers, office staff and installers, and she manages daily operations, installation schedules and high-profile, complicated commercial motorized projects. Her leadership and drive have helped the company earn record revenue every year. In Anson’s spare time, she enjoys coaching and playing soccer.
KATHERINE GIANAKOS Max Hugo Interior Design, Durham, NC Gianakos has become an invaluable member of her family’s interior design business. In the 13 years she’s worked there, she’s overseen the transition to a digital office and spearheaded a major rebranding effort. She looks out for the needs of staff by providing them with appropriate training and is active in marketing efforts and vendor selection. She is also the company’s liaison to the Center for Child & Family Health, a mental health services provider in Durham.
SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021 | wf-vision.com
Galaxy Draperies, Chatsworth, CA
Solana Shades, Port St. Joe, FL
Baker is part of the third generation working at family-owned Galaxy Draperies and has proven himself to be an invaluable asset for the company. He excels at building relationships and delivering quality projects to clients. He is so well thought of locally that he’s helped the firm secure exclusive projects such as the Hollywood mansion nicknamed the “Shark House” and “Selling Sunset” star Jason Oppenheim’s home. He has grown the brand’s social media following tremendously and helped spearhead its involvement in multiple charity events.
Dunaway founded Solana Shades in 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the obvious obstacles he has faced, the company is now one of the fastest-growing window treatment providers in Northwest Florida. It was important to Dunaway that Solana be a mission-driven company. It plants one tree for every unit sold, provides internships and mentoring opportunities for young designers, and offers discounts for military personnel and first responders.
The Home Source Company, DBA Bay Home & Window, Pleasanton, CA Falcon has played a big role in Bay Home & Window’s 100 percent increase in sales over a three-year period. He has implemented multiple systems and provided leadership throughout this rapid growth, which helped the brand weather the COVID-19 crisis and put it in a great position to continue to grow in the future. Falcon is a sought-after professional in the window covering industry, often offering his time and expertise to executives at other companies.
Socialite, Madison, WI
Window Treatment Marketing Pros, Arnold, MO
in2 Window & Door, Russellville, AR
Kate the Socialite, as Greunke is more commonly known, has built a powerhouse company that helps window treatment, interior design and remodeling businesses with marketing. Besides sharing tremendous knowledge and helpful tools with firms, Greunke gives back to the industry through her involvement in the Window Coverings Association of America (WCAA). She is on the national board, leads the marketing committee and regularly provides free education and materials to members.
As Window Treatment Marketing Pros’ lead web developer, Hanke gets involved with each client’s success at the start of every project. In addition to building quality websites, she’s helped numerous window treatment companies run outstanding social media campaigns. Hanke is a mentor to other staff members, often counseling them on the latest design tools and web platforms. In her spare time, she builds websites for veterans’ charities.
Hudson is involved in sales and installation at in2 Window & Door and has done an excellent job with everything he’s been assigned. He has worked on everything from homes to a multimilliondollar installation at the Fayetteville Library in Arkansas. His colleagues respect him for his innovative approach to sales, great attitude and flexibility.
V ISION |
industry : 20 under 40 awards
TYLER D. LEACH
Park City Blind & Design, Park City, UT
ShutterUp.com, Naples, FL
From Jennings’ first day at Park City Blind & Design in 2013, he jumped into his work with a sense of enthusiasm and curiosity. It didn’t take him long to move from a general position into sales. In the past four years, he has grown his sales by an average rate of 30 percent annually. He helps educate new team members and always embraces a challenging product or project with enthusiasm and passion. He is a master with complex and intricate products like motorization and home automation systems, draperies designed for curved and contoured surfaces, and exterior sun-control products able to stand up to the harsh Utah seasons.
Leach started his business while he was 16 and had to balance work with high school and sports. After college, he chose to continue his pursuits with a retail and manufacturing business that focuses on plantation shutters. He has 10 employees on the retail side of the business and 15 employees in the manufacturing facility. He is heavily involved with his church and its youth groups.
Gotcha Covered of Sugar Land, Sugar Land, TX
Leuck spent 15 years as an award-winning event designer before moving to the window covering industry. According to her co-workers, she has a spunky personality, a fresh perspective and an unparalleled ability to transform any room into a glamorous vision of beauty. Although she has just been with the firm for a few months, she has already completed record-breaking sales. A cancer survivor, she brings kindness, care and compassion to every interaction with customers.
Spoken Interior Homes, Franklin, VA
Window Products Inc., Holland, MI
Wovn Home, New York
Manley is the owner of Spoken Interior Homes, which provides blinds, shades, shutters, drapery and hardware to residential and commercial customers. She is a social media maven, turning to sites such as Instagram and YouTube to educate consumers about window treatments with her friendly, relatable and knowledgeable videos and posts. She is a member of WCAA.
Meppelink led an effort to create a partnership between his family’s window treatment manufacturing company and four machine manufacturers. Window Products Inc. is now the North American distributor and service provider for those firms. Meppelink’s background as a mechanic and engineer put him in an excellent position to do this work well. He is a Petty Officer First Class in the U.S. Navy Reserve, a rank he impressively received only five years after enlisting.
Ogilvie has built a popular and reliable e-commerce business that specializes in high-quality custom window treatments and hardware for consumers or direct to the trade. The company highlights the beautiful craft of artisans in North Carolina, where its window treatments are fabricated. She has won praise for not only her products but also her success with digital marketing and the booming field of online sales. She is a consistent supporter of the International Rescue Committee and is a member of WCAA.
SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021 | wf-vision.com
One Stop Decorating, Kansas City, KS
Window Works, Livingston, NJ
Decorating Den Interiors, Springfield, MO
Roellchen started in his family’s window covering business at the age of 14. Now 19, he has rapidly become an indispensable member of the One Stop Decorating team. He is a Hunter Douglas and motorization expert and an excellent salesperson who is on track to do $800,000 in revenue in his first full year of in-home consultations. He is heralded by his peers and respected by the installers. He has also earned high praise from customers, who have complemented his outstanding level of service and knowledge.
In her 12 years at Window Works, Serafim has designed and created hundreds of window treatments that are not only beautiful but solve a myriad of technical problems for designers and homeowners. She is the company’s main liaison for the dozens of designer trade partnerships Window Works has established, and she designed the original fabric collection 38 East, a partnership between Window Works and Comfortex. In addition to her other responsibilities, Serafim oversees, trains and mentors the company’s administrative and sales staff, something she does with great enthusiasm and respect for her colleagues.
Smith is an outstanding and knowledgeable interior designer who has already received numerous design awards, including accolades for her window treatments. The Decorating Den franchise has named her its No. 1 decorator twice in a row. A graduate of Missouri State University, she regularly teaches a class on the basics of home design for people involved in her local Habitat for Humanity.
Budget Blinds of Clearwater & Seminole, Clearwater, FL
Wild Fern Window Fashions, Olympia, WA
Dew Sew Fine, Collegeville, PA
Vitari’s skills as a seamstress have made her an unmatched asset for everyone she works with. Even from a relatively young age, she had an uncanny ability to modify a design in order to compensate for the hand, weight or responsiveness of a fabric. She has an intuitive ease with a range of tools and workroom processes. By combining these qualities and a real talent for design, Vitari is able to produce stunning, high-quality draperies; top treatments; headboards; and other home products that designers and clients love.
The clients who nominated Wilson called her an extremely gifted, talented and visionary seamstress able to dream up custom window treatments and home accessories for every room of the house. She created her own templates to ensure she can deliver precise, beautiful products for every job. She is a hard worker who also cares for her clients— something she demonstrates by sharing her knowledge in layman’s terms and with a friendly manner. She is a member of WCAA and a volunteer sign language instructor in her community. V
Tricoli is described as a committed and patient customer service professional who sees teaching customers about window coverings as a big part of his job. His expertise as a salesman and motorization professional has helped the company see a 200 percent increase in motorized window treatment sales. When he’s not at work, he coaches Little League and helps organize various charitable events for Budget Blinds.
V ISION |
In Our Next Issue… The November + December issue of Window Fashion VISION will focus on soft window treatments. We’ll examine textile trends, drapery ideas and fabrication tips. Readers have expressed a desire to learn more about commercial window treatments. We’re responding with a piece about window fashions at wineries, from luxurious curtains in the recently renovated Jordan Vineyard & Winery suites (pictured here) to sleek motorized shades in ultra-modern tasting rooms. The end of the year is always a good time to get organized, and we have an unusual take on that: We’ll provide information about selling organizational systems for closets, garages and other areas of the home. The last magazine of the year will provide your first look at plans for the 2022 International Window Coverings Expo. Don’t miss details about topics, speakers and events. You’ll also want to catch the final installments in our 2021 series, including Motorization Playbook and Lessons in Leadership.
Room design by Maria Haidamus. Photo by R. Brad Knipstein
SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021 | wf-vision.com
Insolroll You Covered InsolrollHas Has You Covered
desi&deO&utO! ut! InsiIn
Call your next next CallInsolroll Insolroll for for your solar or out! out! solarshade shade project project – – inside inside or Insolroll® Solar Insolroll® SolarShades Shades ® Shades InsolrollElements® Elements Decorative Insolroll Decorative Shades ® ShadesPatio & Retractable Insect Screens Oasis Patio Oasis® Sun Shades
Known for our
5-day Lead Time!* Large in-stock fabric inventory
Large fabric inventory
NEW Li-ion battery motors for every application Curated fabric fabric collections – winners,–not fillers not ﬁllers Curated collections winners, All shades fabricated in Louisville, Colorado, USA NEW! Black exterior hardware Custom printed roller shades – signage, branding, patterns Decorative clutch-operated interior shades Award-winning customer service and tech support All shades made in Louisville, Colorado, USA
Custom roller shades signage, branding, patterns *Get your order printed FAST! 5 working day lead – time on non-contract orders with in-stock fabrics, slightly longer for contract orders and special-order fabrics... call to inquire. Award-winning customer service and tech support
637 S. Pierce Ave., Louisville, CO 80027 TEL 303.665.1207 637 S. Pierce Ave., Louisville, CO 80027 TEL 800 . 447. 5534 www.insolroll.com
ew, inc. s o n x i döf
d n e c s e d o t u a x fi dö semi a
ystem s e d a ic sh u to m at hade,
ed s ke a motoriz li y tl n ta s n o slowly and c Rolls down the motor just without
Gentle tug & down
s m o ot h N operatio
ies or No batter eded wiriNg Ne
form 3 for in 8 9 8 2 6 9 0-
SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2021 | wf-vision.com
e a sy l to iNstal
at i o n www.do