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A Happy (and Green)

NEW YEAR The Latest in UV and Sun-Shading Products

VOLUME 42, ISSUE 1 JANUARY + FEBRUARY 2021

New Certification Program Links Window Treatments and Energy Savings

LESSONS IN LEADERSHIP

AN INTERVIEW WITH DERICK MARSH OF ROLLEASE ACMEDA

NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP

DESIGNING WINDOW COVERINGS FOR CHILDREN’S ROOMS

TIME-MANAGEMENT TIPS FOR SOLOPRENEURS CONTRACT REVIEW

TUNE UP YOUR LEGAL DOCUMENTS FOR 2021


V ISION |

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BE INSPIRED

40 SCREEN ESSENTIAL 3000 Series

Discover more

coulisse.com


W IND OW FASHION V ISION MAG A ZINE President | Grace McNamara grace@wf-vision.com Editor-in-Chief | Sophia Bennett sophia@wf-vision.com Creative Director | Nichole Day nichole@wf-vision.com

A Happy (and Green)

NEW YEAR

The Latest in UV and Sun-Shading Products New certification program links window treatments and energy savings

VP Marketing & Sales | Ania McNamara ania@mcnamaramarketing.com

Copy Editor | Maude Campbell maudedotycampbell@gmail.com Social Media Lead | Corina-Elena Buzdugan corina-elena@mcnamaramarketing.com

CONT RIBUT ORS IN T HIS ISSUE Sophia Bennett, Amber De La Garza, Welton Hong, Jamie Lieberman, Roger Magalhaes, O’D McKewan, Deborah Moss, LuAnn Nigara

DESIG NERS IN T HIS ISSUE Jeanne K. Chung, Jamie Gage, Jennifer Jones, Becky Lane, Gloribell Lebron, Nicole Lorber, Rachel Moriarty, Laura Muller, Christian Roehl, Marni Sugerman, Sheree Vincent

VOLUME 42, ISSUE 1 JANUARY + FEBRUARY 2021

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

AN INTERVIEW WITH DERICK MARSH OF ROLLEASE ACMEDA

NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP

DESIGNING WINDOW COVERING S FOR CHILDREN’S ROOMS

TIME-MANAGEMENT TIPS FOR SOLOPRENEURS CONTRACT REVIEW TUNE UP YOUR LEGAL DOCUMENTS FOR 2021

JANUARY + FEBRUARY 2021 VOLUME 42, ISSUE 1

ON THE COVER: This room features Alta Window Fashions’ new Bliss Automation system on a roller shade made with 5 percent Sheerweave 2390 fabric in Charcoal/Gray.

SUBSCRIPT IONS 877.344.7406 • WFVision@pubservice.com

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, 3159 Hidden Lake Pointe Drive, St. Paul, MN 55110; Tel 651/330-0574; Fax 651/756-8141. Visit our website at wf-vision.com. Periodicals postage paid at St Paul, MN and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to Window Fashion VISION, PO Box 15698, North Hollywood, CA 91615-5698. Allow 60 days for address change. Subscription rates: $22/yr. U.S. and possessions; $29/yr. Canada; $90/yr. Foreign (includes airmail postage). Single copies/back issues $6 each, except for special issues, which are individually priced. (Payment must accompany order.) Copyright © 2020 by AIM Communications, LLC. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission prohibited. Canadian Publications Agreement Number: #40036514. Canadian Return Address: Station A, PO Box 54, Windsor, ONT N9A 6J5. January + February 2021, Volume 42, Issue 1.

6 | JANUARY + FEBRUARY 2021

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contents : volume 42, issue 1

in this issue INSIGHT 18

Time-Management Strategies for Solopreneurs: Part 1

These four tips will help owners of very small businesses stay organized and happy.

by Amber De La Garza

24

20

Sustainability: Not Just for Mother Earth In the new year, think about how you can make your business sustainable over the long term.

by LuAnn Nigara

26

Online Marketing Trends That Will Stick Around for 2021

Start 2021 with a Review of Your Legal Materials

What ideas from 2020 should you keep in your toolbox this year?

The new year is the perfect time to review and revise contracts, vendor agreements and other documents.

by Welton Hong

by Jamie Lieberman

28

Motorization 101: The Basics of Motorized Window Coverings

The first article in our yearlong series examines the four basic items required for selling motorized treatments.

by O’D McKewan

Poufs from V Rugs Miami. Photo by Melissa Galt

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contents : volume 42, issue 1

in this issue INDUSTRY 30

Lessons in Leadership

An interview with Derick Marsh, CEO of Rollease Acmeda. by Sophia Bennett

32

Shining a Light on UV and SunShading Products

Manufacturers share information about products designed to keep interiors cool, safe and green.

by Sophia Bennett

36

Focus on Energy-Saving Window Treatments Helps Retailers, Consumers

A new certification program is educating consumers about the important role window treatments play in saving energy.

by Deborah Moss

38

Design Triumphs and Tribulations Installing motorized bottom-up roller shades in a historic Boston condo. by Roger Magalhaes

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Motorization of Tomorrow, Today Introducing the latest in motorized shading technology – The Next Generation 5V Motor Collection. Featuring Rollease Acmeda’s patent-pending ZERO motor head, delivering a truly wire-free experience and the smallest light gap in the industry. Recharge with a universal 5 Volt micro-USB connection. Or continuously charge with Automate’s Next Generation Solar Panel. Experience leading control through thoughtful touchpoints, the Automate App, or voice and smart home integrations.

Discover the next generation collection at AutomateShades.com Automate Radio Communication

A division of Rollease Acmeda


in this issue

contents : volume 42, issue 1

I N S P I R AT I O N 40

An Eco Education

Minnesota designer Sheree Vincent of Fusion Designed on greenwashing, feng shui, sustainable products and more.

by Sophia Bennett

44

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

Designers share ideas for creating beautiful, healthy and safe children’s bedrooms.

by Sophia Bennett

50

First-Ever Virtual Showhouse Provides a Glimpse of the Future

Designer Rachel Moriarty reflects on her experience with the Seasonal Living Virtual Showhouse.

Photo by Ben Clasen

52

52

If These Walls Could Talk 2021 trends and ideas for wallcoverings

by Sophia Bennett

FIXTURES 12

Grace Note

A word from our publisher

14

Letter from the Editor Looking forward to 2021

56

Product Spotlight

16

58

Editor and reader picks for top products

We pull back the curtain on our next issue

New or Noteworthy

What’s Next

44

Room design by Jamie Gage of Decorating Den Interiors, Olathe, KS. Photo by Jeremy Mason McGraw

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welcome : grace note

T

he highly anticipated new year has arrived, and like so many of you, I’m delighted to ring in 2021 full of gratitude, hope and optimism for what the future holds.

First, let me start by sending my sincere condolences for those affected by COVID-19. I pray your families and friends are safe and your business is adjusting to changes. As we close one chapter and open another, I can’t help but reflect on what the year before has taught me. It’s no secret 2020 brought many challenges

GRACE NOTE

and difficulties, but from these obstacles came some silver linings. A fresh and humble perspective on life is one thing I have reflected on. The resilience of our industry is certainly another. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with several

leaders and I reconnected with many colleagues (virtually, of course). The updates and feedback those people have given me

Don’t miss our fantastic article on sun-shading products on page 32. Photo courtesy of Insolroll

have been the root and inspiration of the new chapter Window

Fashion VISION will embark on. We invite you to join us on this journey.

Product Finder Buyer’s Guide. This will give you access to the best suppliers in the industry through a quick search for a product or

So, what is the future and how is it affecting our businesses and lives? We considered many factors as we planned our content for 2021. For one, connecting online will continue to be prevalent for some time, so we have created the WFCP Academy. It expands

our online learning by offering dozens of 45-minute to one-hour seminars on the business, design and fabrication topics you told us you wanted to learn about. In addition, watch for many online Lunch & Learn webinars featuring new products and

company name. We look forward to the day where we can come together again, safely, as an industry. Meanwhile, thanks to the advancements of modern technology, Window Fashion VISION continues to create a wealth of resources to keep you connected, learning and networking.

“Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.” —Gever Tulley

technology.

Let’s raise a toast to 2021!

Home automation will

Warm regards,

continue to grow, and we’re seeing many great new products being introduced to the market. To help you stay on top of what’s being offered, we are implementing a

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Grace McNamara Publisher grace@wf-vision.com


The office has never looked so good.


welcome : letter from the editor

H

eimtextil in Germany is one of the main places where designers spot new trends and innovations in the textile industry. When I read its forecast for 2021, one word jumped out at me over and over again.

Sustainability was something the organizers discussed in every major point. 2020’s twin disasters of COVID-19 and climaterelated emergencies, which included wildfires in the West and numerous hurricanes in the Southeast and Central America, drove home the point that crisis is a driver of innovation. “In the textile industry, digitalisation and sustainability are currently omnipresent innovation topics. The coronavirus pandemic ensures that both topics are becoming even more important in the home textile industry,” the report shared.

EDITOR ’ S LETTER

Heimtextil’s other top points reflected consumers’ desire to source eco-friendly materials, design spaces with recycled and upcycled products, and create homes that are safer and better for them. People everywhere want to go green, and we need to help them. All of these topics were very much on my mind as we crafted the January + February issue of Window Fashion VISION. We asked designers who shared thoughts about children’s bedrooms (page 44) to comment on how they use eco-friendly or chemical-free products to keep the littlest members of families healthy. We were thrilled that manufacturers who make or sell UV and sunshading products (page 32) focused on how their goods can keep energy costs down and furniture from fading (which helps it last longer), as well as why they look great in indoor and outdoor spaces. We pumped our featured designer, Sheree Vincent of Fusion Designed in Minnesota, for ideas on keeping the planet in mind during a home makeover—and she delivered the goods (page 40).

A building’s interior furnishings can have an equal or greater impact on carbon emissions than its construction if you look at the whole life of the structure. That’s the conclusion from a new study by the Carbon Leadership Forum and Seattle-based LMN Architects. If you haven’t already, read this report or check out the article on it on businessofhome.com. We all need to do our part to keep our planet, not just our clients, healthy and thriving.

This is our third sustainability issue, and I’m always excited to take this topic and make it seem new again. But we also have some features for you that are truly fresh. I hope you’ll check out O’D McKewan’s new column on motorization (page 28). This article is the first in a series of six throughout the year. We’ve added a legal and financial column for 2021. Our first entry, from Jamie Lieberman of Hashtag Legal, discusses why now is the perfect time to review contracts and other important documents (page 26). In each issue this year, we’ll also be tackling a non-window covering product that we know many of you specify. We start off with a look at trends and ideas for wallcoverings (page 52). Finally, our New or Noteworthy section (page 16) will premiere window covering products you need to know about and discuss existing products that are worth investigating. Some of these recommendations will come from the Window Fashion VISION team, but we’d like to take your suggestions as well. Let me know what products you’re loving right now. The other thing we’re actively seeking is high-resolution, high-quality photos of window treatments to include on the magazine’s cover. If you’d like to see your work featured, please reach out. I’d love to see your best pictures—and hear your top ideas for how we can improve the magazine.

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

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welcome : new or noteworthy

Frame your bare mirror Have a client with a plain bathroom mirror that’s functional but no longer fits with the look of the room? Jazz it up instantly with MirrorMate, which offers over 65 styles of custom frames made specifically for use in bathrooms.

mirrormate.com

New OR Noteworthy EDITOR AND READER PICKS FOR TOP PRODUCTS

Create your dream design The Graber Visualizer allows consumers to upload a photo of their home or office and preview how thousands of possible window treatments and combinations will look in the intended space. The free online tool gives shoppers confidence in their purchasing decisions before they buy. graberblinds.com/visualization

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ORION

ORNAMENTAL IRON, INC.

Who Doesn’t Love a Little Sparkle?

Bohemia Collection

Stylish shades install in minutes J Geiger has launched a secondary roller shade brand. Inception Shades feature premium aluminum hardware, versatile automation options and a sleek profile without visible wires or screws. Shades take less than a few minutes to install thanks to a quick-locking mounting plate. inceptionshades.com

Clear Vue Acrylic Collection

The Bohemia collection is a thoughtful and inspired assemblage of shapes. From sleek modern to traditional, the designs are simple, yet beautiful and original. The hand crafted faceted crystal finials pair beautifully with our Iron Art™, Italian, and Wood Art™ finishes. They fit ¾”,1”, and 1-1/4” iron round or square hollow rods, 1-3/8” wood poles or our 1-1/2” traversing systems. The finishing touch all are shipped in custom lined boxes.

Orion Ornamental Iron is launching its long-awaited Clear Vue acrylic collection in early 2021. The collection consists of 35mm poles (both hollow and solid), five finial styles and an end cap. There will be four finishes: burnished brass, satin brass, chrome and satin nickel. There will also be three ring styles: metal, acrylic and passing. ironartbyorion.com

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 sophia@wf-vision.com.

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

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insight : amber de la garza

Time-Management Strategies for Solopreneurs: Part 1 These four tips will help owners of very small businesses stay organized and happy

W

BY AMBER DE LA GARZA hen you’re a one-person show, you have a great amount of juggling to do. Figuring out which high-value tasks and projects need your attention and how much time you should devote to them among all the tedious bills, emails, voicemails and paperwork required of business owners can be incredibly difficult. A lot can fall through the cracks (including your potential profits) when your plate is overloaded. Missing out on opportunities and income—and getting stuck on a plateau of exhaustion and indecision—is not where you want to be. Managing your time well can help tremendously. Start implementing these time-management strategies that work for solopreneurs to reduce stress, maximize time, regain control and increase profits.

1

PRIORITIZE REVENUE-GENERATING ACTIVITIES

First and foremost, if you want to stay in business, your business needs to be making money. Your No. 1 priority should be doing the high-value activities that generate revenue or directly lead to generating revenue. As a solopreneur, these activities include marketing/visibility, sales and servicing your clients. Before filling up your calendar with lunch dates, conferences and

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networking events that are social in nature, block out time on your calendar to work on your high-value activities. Then, hold those dates with yourself sacred. Otherwise, you won’t be gaining visibility in your niche and doing the necessary marketing to get the sales and attract the clients you want.

2

GET ORGANIZED

You could work on your high-value activities all day long and see your profits soar, but those menial administrative tasks will still need to get done, so staying organized is key. According to a survey by The Pixel Lost & Found, the average American spends two and a half days a year looking for misplaced items. Imagine how much more you get could done if you didn’t have to dig through emails and piles of papers to find needed documents and contact information. Do an organizational overhaul by creating an environment that enables your utmost efficiency. Detox your electronic filing system of no-longer-needed files and create a “work in progress” folder to house all the project documents you’re in and out of frequently. Create a paper filing system that reduces desk clutter and keeps documents organized—then use it! Also, execute a “rapid-fire power hour” at the end of each week to complete all simple, outstanding tasks that only take a few minutes.


3

EXECUTE A WEEKLY REVIEW

As all business owners know, a lot of unforeseen things happen throughout your week that prevent you from getting done all that you planned. A vendor can’t make the delivery. Your computer crashes. An important meeting gets canceled. Adaptability is key, and scheduling a weekly review at the end of each week can help you make the shifts you need to get back on track. It will also help you show up on Monday fully prepared to tie up loose ends and fill all the holes remaining from the previous week. Look back through the notes you took (hopefully in your project management system and not on sticky notes, napkins and random pieces of paper) and process them, determining what needs your attention and when. Review the outstanding tasks on your list and look ahead at what is coming up. Schedule time blocks to work on your incomplete tasks and projects in priority order. Finally, review what you could have done better so you can adjust and have a more productive week.

4

FOCUS ON YOUR MINDSET

No matter how great your time-management skills are, if your selftalk is not on point, there’s no way your business can be. You must have a healthy mindset to run a healthy, sustainable business. Everything in your company flows from the top down, and your mind is right there at the top. So what is it saying? Are you letting belittling self-talk influence your actions? Perhaps you have thoughts like, “You don’t deserve this. There’s no way this is going to work. They are so much better than me. I can’t possibly learn that. I don’t have enough time.” If so, you have some mindset work to do. Start with learning how to recognize negative thoughts and drown them out with positive affirmations, which are simply positive beliefs you want to hold about yourself and your business. Repeat your affirmations daily and take the appropriate actions to transform your thinking, build your confidence, and acquire new skills and experience. Over time, your affirmations will no longer be just positive thoughts but matter-of-fact truths. An unhealthy mindset can only sabotage your success. Focus on improving your mindset so you can boldly pursue your goals. V Amber De La Garza, aka The Productivity Specialist, is a sought-after coach, trainer, speaker, writer, host of the “Productivity Straight Talk” podcast and creator of the S.T.O.P. Leverage Formula. She helps small business owners improve their time management and elevate their productivity to maximize profits, reduce stress and make time for what matters most. TheProductivitySpecialist.com Facebook: TheProductivitySpecialist Instagram: Amber_DeLaGarza

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insight : luann nigara

Sustainability: Not Just for Mother Earth In the new year, think about how you can make your business sustainable over the long term BY LUANN NIGARA

Hello 2021! You sure took your time getting here. My word for 2020 was “intense.” In hindsight, I think I could have been more mindful when selecting my word of the year. In fact, 2020 was so intense that by November, I had sworn off selecting a new word for 2021. I am rethinking this now. I have had my holiday break and enjoyed time with the Vin Man, our kids, grandkids, family and friends. I am feeling more hopeful, so I am taking a shot at picking a word.

Let’s try this: sustainability. The quality of not being harmful to the environment, thereby supporting long-term ecological balance. Somehow it feels gentle, genial, generous even. (Hint, hint 2021.)

20 | JANUARY + FEBRUARY 2021

I am all for sustaining, supporting and saving our dear Mother Earth, the caretaker of us all. However, with my sincere apologies to you, my fellow global citizens, in regard to sustainability, my thoughts are a bit more egocentric. I am thinking, “Are we doing the activities that contribute to the sustainability of our business? Are our employees able to sustain the level of responsibility placed on them while feeling happy, optimistic and accomplished? Am I personally doing the activities that contribute to the sustainability of my health, both physical and mental, so I can sustain my business?” Just as our dear Mother Earth must be sustained in order to provide for all of us, we, as business owners, need to support the long-term ecological balance of our companies. And this means we are personally responsible for the sustainability

| wf-vision.com

of the business, the humans we employ and the CEO (aka ourselves). During the pandemic, we have grown our combined team at Window Works and the “A Well-Designed Business” podcast to 16. As I write this, we are actively pursuing two new hires. So, questions and concerns regarding sustainability of our environment are tippy top of mind for me.

We are asking ourselves these questions and I encourage you to do the same: •

Can we create enough leads to sustain the number of people on our sales team?

Can our sales team sustain the pace of the leads we generate?

Can we generate enough sales to sustain our entire installation team


over the winter months? Can our installation team sustain the work in our pipeline? (By the way, if you read my last column, you already know the answer to this is a resounding no.)

Can we, employees and owners, sustain this pace and not burn out?

Can we sustain our cash flow through the slower winter months?

Can we sustain our cash flow if there is another wave of COVID-19 and we get locked down again?

Can we sustain our visibility in our community as our company “ages” and young families move in?

Can we do more to retain our existing customers and encourage even more referrals?

are also making additional plans for the unthinkable: a resurgence of the pandemic. Just as a small warning, your cash on hand is a very different thing than your cash flow. If you don’t understand the difference, do not be embarrassed. Ask for help. Speak with a mentor or your accountant. It is imperative to learn how to evaluate and project your cash flow.

ALWAYS BE MARKETING

Marketing is critical to sustaining your business. It can and will look different for each business depending on your gross sales, years in business, target clients and business goals. But even if you think you have no available money for marketing, you can be and should be marketing.

Here are things you can do for free: •

Create a Facebook Live show to educate and speak to potential consumers.

Create an email newsletter. This keeps you top of mind with your hottest lead source: people who have already bought from you.

Can we sustain the number of balls in the air and be effective leaders?

These are tough questions. The answers aren’t easy and aren’t always clear. This is exactly why I am grateful for my network of colleagues at Exciting Windows! In our monthly Zoom meetings, we brainstorm and support each other. We know we are not alone in the challenges we face as business owners. In 2020, with the exception of April and May, each one of us experienced record sales. And, as grateful as we are, we all agree that it has been incredibly difficult. It’s difficult to sustain the pace, manage the customer expectations, manage the pressure and lead the team to help them avoid burnout. Our businesses require care, just like Mother Earth. Crazy busy or not, it is our responsibility to keep the future in mind. The actions we take today will affect our businesses in the future.

What practices do we need to institute to sustain our businesses?

START WITH YOUR CASH FLOW

Cash flow must be responsibly managed to sustain your business. After nearly four decades in the window treatment business, we know we must stockpile cash in Q3 and Q4 in order to sustain our business through Q1. This year we

Create a habit of asking every customer for a Google review. This increases your search ranking and your credibility with new-to-you customers.

Here are things you can do with just $10 a month: •

Send handwritten cards to previous customers.

Invite business owners who have companion businesses to yours (real estate agents, builders, architects) to coffee to discuss collaboration ideas and trade referrals.

REVIEW YOUR PROJECT PIPELINE

Consistently review two things: Is your current pipeline enough work to sustain your current employee roster, and can your current employee roster sustain the current and projected pipeline? These are very different things. Both can be difficult to manage, especially when the answer to either question is no. We look ahead at each quarter, with an even closer look at the next month, and review our actual sales and sales forecast. Then we compare that to our available man/woman power. Do we need to double down on marketing efforts to reach our numbers and keep our sales team busy, engaged and productive? How about the installation pipeline? Do we need to ask for some Saturday install time over the next few weeks or months? Conversely, when the installation pipeline isn’t full, we plan and schedule time to address our inhouse property maintenance projects that typically go undone during busy times.

EMPLOYEE HAPPINESS

Our most important resource as business owners is the people who work for us. Sustaining this most precious resource takes attention and care. Bonuses, health benefits and paid time off are valued and should be part of the employment package for your employees to the level you are capable. However, never overlook the simplest of ways to invest in the sustainability of your team. Studies show over and over that the happiest and most productive employees are ones who feel seen and genuinely appreciated by their direct supervisor. For

Do as much as you can, whatever that is. There are always things you can do to sustain a top-notch marketing campaign. No excuses. In truth, you should have put aside at minimum 5 to 10 percent of your yearly gross revenue for marketing. If you are new and growing, definitely shoot for that 10 percent range. If you didn’t do that in 2020, do it now for 2021.

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insight : luann nigara

many small businesses, this supervisor is us, the owner. Basic human kindness is critical in the sustainability of your staff.

Here are a few ways to show your team you care: •

Each week, find five or 10 minutes to talk one-on-one with each employee. Ask how their day was and if there is anything they need from you to do their job better or more enjoyably.

When a team member gets a compliment or a fabulous review, share it in front of your entire staff and celebrate it.

Surprise everyone now and again with treats at your weekly meeting.

Plan time for your team to get away from the business and plan, bond, laugh and dream about what’s next for everyone in your company.

If we aren’t conscientious caretakers of our company, we put it and everyone connected to it at risk. The decisions we make daily affect its long-term survival and the sustainability of our livelihood. I hope you will join me in the crusade of sustainability in every form it takes. V LuAnn Nigara is an award-winning window treatment specialist, a board member of WCAA and co-owner of Window Works in Livingston, NJ. Her highly successful podcast “A Well-Designed Business” debuted in February 2016. She has since recorded more than 600 episodes. WindowWorks-NJ.com/podcasts Facebook: WindowWorksNJ Twitter: WindowWorks_NJ Instagram: WindowWorks

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Welcome to our newly certified professionals! I NSTA L L AT I ON Chris Branam, Install Services, LLC

Robert Alley, Integrity Blinds and Shutters

DESIG N

Make 2021 your

Best Year Ever with WFCP in-depth certification courses!

Daniel Sogin, Gotcha Covered of Historic St. Paul Terry-Anne Heffe, Design Options Limited Suelyn Chase, Cottages To Castles

Christine Setola, JUST CUSHIONS

Sandra Avila, Stitches sewing studio Jennifer Young, Mr. K’s Fabric Shop

Set yourself apart as the Window Fashion Certified Professional in your market!

Magaly Ramirez, Magy Interiors, LLC

Ladonna Winters, Creative Window Designs Ruth Campbell, Premier Window Coverings Rhonda Butcher

Maureen Balawich, Gigglebaby

Cindy Young, Good Measure Interiors

COLO R

Michelle Hagerbaumer, Mr. K’s Fabric Shop

Specialize in: WINDOW FASHION DESIGN MOTORIZATION COLOR INSTALLATION

MOTOR IZ ATI ON Ron Charping, Integrity Blinds and Shutters

Sandra Avilas, Stitches Draperies workroom

Daniel Sogin, Gotcha Covered of Historic St. Paul

WF-VISION.COM/FASTTRACK-CERTIFICATION


insight : welton hong

Online Marketing Trends That Will Stick Around for 2021 You might have heard there’s nothing new under the sun, but that doesn’t mean you can’t revitalize old ideas to ensure your online marketing shines BY WELTON HONG

A

s each year closes and another opens, marketing experts flock to websites and industry magazines to opine on what’s new for the coming year. What will businesses need to change to remain competitive, and what’s the next big thing that might shake up the online marketing world?

That’s not what this article is about. Because the truth is that the more marketing changes, the more it stays the same. I’m not saying innovation doesn’t exist and that you shouldn’t be looking into it. If you sell goods and services online and aren’t already investing in automated chat box options, for example, you’re behind the curve and might be losing clients to the competition. But I am saying that the heart of online marketing rests in some

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foundational elements that are important regardless of algorithm changes or new technology. Those foundational elements ensure that many of the “trends” of 2020 will remain in 2021. Here are two things you should have been doing last year and should continue doing this year.

COMPREHENSIVE SEO

SEO is certainly nothing new; the term “search engine optimization” dates back to around 1997. Early on, all you had

to do was shove a couple of keywords on a page enough times and you could rocket to the top. Search engines—and human internet users—are more sophisticated now. Your SEO game has to be much more comprehensive.


Relevance was an enormous factor in 2020, and that remains true in 2021. So, take time to ensure that the keywords you’re choosing aren’t just popular with searchers. They must be relevant to the intent of your pages. If your blog post is about choosing the right color for window blinds, targeting the keywords “window repair” or “window installation” won’t get you anything but a lot of disappointed traffic and a demotion in the page ranks. Semantic completeness also remains important. That just means that if you cover a topic, you do so completely with an eye toward relevance for the primary search terms and intent of the user. For example, if you have a landing page selling vertical blinds, the old-school content method would be to include a couple of related keywords and a lot of sales content to push the reader further into the funnel—perhaps onto your product category pages. But semantic completeness involves answering as many questions the user might have about the topic as possible, providing solid educational content as well as sales content. Do you have to give away everything on the landing page? No. You can pose the questions and topics, provide high-level overviews and link to deeper pages on your site. When you’re reaching for comprehensive SEO, gather information before you create content, so you know what types of information to include. Start with keyword research. Choose a primary phrase and a couple of secondary options. Then gather semantic keywords—phrases people would use naturally when talking about the topic. A page on curtains might naturally include words such as window, windowsill, floor, ceiling, rod, tieback, installation and color. Including as many of these words as possible naturally signals to the search engine that your page really is about curtains.

Begin with short video spots for your social pages. You can use Instagram Reels to publish 15-second how-to videos or product highlights and address followers with videos in Stories on Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat. If you have longer content, such as full how-to videos for designing the ideal window dressing or installing specialty curtains, publish it on YouTube or Instagram TV. Then embed the content on relevant pages on your site to increase visual appeal, engagement and behavioral metrics—which, in turn, can have a positive impact on your SEO. Whether you planned ahead or are just getting started with online marketing strategies in 2021, these two tips from 2020 remain powerful this year. And they’re easy to put into action at any time. V Welton Hong is the founder of Ring Ring Marketing and a leading expert in creating case generation from online to the phone line. He is the author of “Making Your Phone Ring with Internet Marketing for Window Covering Companies.” RingRingMarketing.com Facebook: RingRingMarketing

Google the primary keyword yourself and look at what’s ranking. What’s included on those pages that you can include in a better way on yours? What questions are shown under the “People also ask” box that you can answer?

These steps will help you create comprehensive content that’s more likely to perform in search engines in 2021.

VIDEO MARKETING

It’s not all about text content, though. Video marketing continues to grow. In 2018 around 63 percent of people regularly watched videos online. In 2019, that number jumped to 81 percent. And video consumption on mobile devices regularly sees an annual jump of 100 percent. Some experts believe video will account for more than 80 percent of internet traffic by 2022, so if you’re not already taking advantage of this media format for marketing, 2021 is the year to jump on the wagon. You don’t have to invest a ton of money at first. You can start small with videos you make on your smartphone. Consider investing in a tripod to keep the image stable—no one’s going to see your window coverings if they’re dizzy from a shaky video—and a decent microphone so people can hear your message.

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25


insight : jamie lieberman

Start 2021 with a Review of Your Legal Materials

The new year is the perfect time to review contracts, employment agreements and compliance with online privacy laws BY JAMIE LIEBERMAN

B

usiness owners, designers and retailers have all been riding the 2020 roller coaster. Perhaps you’ve pivoted, incorporated work-arounds and responded to swift changes within the industry at the drop of a hat. Because of that, it’s very important to be on top of the parts of your business that keep you protected, which often includes your legal documents. The new year is a great time for revisiting, shifting and changing these documents. Where should you begin? Your first step is to take an inventory of all of the legal documents and issues you encountered in the past year. I also recommend creating a wish list of legal issues you’d like to tackle but have put off or need to budget for.

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Next, dig in and start reviewing! Pull all of your legal documents, including client, vendor and subcontractor agreements; employment documents; and website policies. Set aside an afternoon to take a critical eye to those documents and consider what is working and what is not. If this is an afternoon activity that makes you cringe, I recommend setting up a session with your attorney, who can help guide you through the process. After that review, you may want to edit those contracts to reflect the changes from the past year. Not only will this process put your clients and customers more at ease, it will help you gain clarity in your business operations and offer you a blank slate as a new season begins.

| wf-vision.com

Here a few specific issues to consider as you review your documents.

PANDEMIC-RELATED CONCERNS

For your client and subcontractor agreements, you may wish to consider adding information about your company’s response to COVID-19, the policies you have implemented for any in-person meetings and the internal policies you have created to maintain a safe working environment for your employees. In your client agreement, you may also wish to add information about the possibility for vendor delays due to a slowdown in the supply chain to protect yourself from an unhappy client if deadlines are not met due to circumstances outside of your control. If you are just getting back to in-person client meetings and on-site visits, perhaps now is a great time to set up written policies to ensure you are complying with any state or federal requirements.


EMPLOYEES

If you have hired employees, we recommend that you review your employment policies to confirm no laws have changed and to account for any updates in your business practices because of the pandemic. If you have moved to a virtual workforce, or employ individuals in multiple states, you should look to each state where the employee is located to ascertain the relevant employment laws. Talk to your employees about their needs and how you can work together to create a work environment that is conducive to everyone’s success.

ONLINE PRESENCE

If you have moved your services online, you will want to review your website and product terms and conditions to account for these new additions. If you launched a new product or service, we also recommend confirming that the name does not infringe on an existing trademark. Privacy laws are constantly changing, and any online business that collects data through its website must have a privacy policy. Your company’s web presence is a great area to

address with an attorney to make sure you are properly protected.

TRADEMARKS

Take a look at names you use in connection with your goods and services to determine whether you should consider trademark registration. Not all brand names will be eligible, so it is a great idea to meet with an experienced trademark attorney to determine whether seeking trademark registration is right for your business. Now that you know where you’d like to make changes, you can set up a plan with your attorney to implement these changes and discuss any new projects you’d like to tackle. Design has always been future-focused and rooted in identifying better solutions for people’s lives. The beginning of the year is a good time to look at what is working in your business, what needs to change and what you need to do to implement new clauses in your contracts. It can feel overwhelming, but with the right support and an afternoon dedicated to it, I know you will be set up for success. V

Jamie Lieberman, owner and founder of Hashtag Legal, has been a practicing lawyer for nearly 15 years. As an experienced entrepreneur, she understands the unique needs of business owners at different stages in their organization’s growth. Today, she partners with clients across verticals, including interior design, creative services and ecommerce. She has a deep commitment to making legal accessible and regularly speaks about legal matters, the art of negotiation and entrepreneurial topics at leading industry events such as Alt Summit, Podcast Movement and FinCon. She is an expert source for media like Digiday and Forbes. You can also catch her as a co-host on “The FearLess Business Podcast.” Hashtag-Legal.com Facebook: HashtagLegalLc Twitter: HashtagLegalLLC Instagram: Hashtag_Legal

Installation Training & Business Coaching

W

e offer installation training and business coaching for people in the window treatment industry, as well as newcomers looking for an edge to succeed. • Bi-weekly articles • Monthly webinars • Online classes • Group training • Coaching services

Contact me today for a Free 30 min consultation!

Installation is a s, lucrative busines let me help you grow!

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roger@tradingupconsulting.com www.TradingUpConsulting.com

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27


insight : motorization playbook, part 1

Motorization 101: The Basics of Motorized Window Coverings The first article in our yearlong series examines the four basic items required for selling motorized treatments BY O’D MCKEWAN

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generally begin all of my motorization courses by explaining that there are four basic items required for selling motorized window coverings. The first is a window covering. I know it seems obvious, but it should be the first thing you try to determine with your clients. Since almost all window coverings can be motorized, it is much easier to determine the window covering type and then build a motorization system around it. Trying to specify power supplies and wiring and control types without knowing what kind of window coverings you are going to use can cause you a lot of stress, waste a lot of time, and leave you and your client with undesired results.

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The second item for a motorized window covering is a motor type. Again, this seems obvious, and most dealers rely on their manufacturer to determine the motor types. But the more advanced you get with motorization, the more you can customize your project by specifying the type and size of the motor that will work best for your specific needs. I like to break motor types into four simple categories.

1

TUBULAR MOTORS (the most

versatile): They turn tubes that can be used to lift and lower multiple types of window coverings, including roller shades, sheer shades, roman shades, cellular shades, blinds and awnings.

JANUARY + FEBRUARY 2021 | wf-vision.com

2 3 4

TRACK MOTORS: They move

carriers back and forth for draperies and panel tracks.

HORIZONTAL MOTORS: They rotate tilt bars in the headrails of horizontal blinds.

CELLULAR MOTORS: They turn

the shafts in cellular headrails to lift and lower cords for cellular shades and roman shades.

Once the window covering and motor type have been selected, the next determination is the power supply needed for the motor. We will take a much deeper dive into power supplies later on in the series, but to start


off, you will need to know if the motor you are using is low voltage (9v to 36v) or line voltage (120v). If you have a line-voltage motor, it will have to be plugged into an outlet or connected by an electrician in a junction box (J-Box). If you have a low-voltage motor, you generally have a choice of some form of battery power or using a plug-in power supply. This is also where the discussion of where wiring comes into play. I often get asked which is better: batterypowered or hard-wired. The answer is hard-wired if you have the opportunity to do so. Although battery-powered is often the easiest and least expensive option up front, it also requires consistent maintenance and future costs. While investing in the wiring does cost more in the beginning, it almost always requires less maintenance and a better return on investment in the long term. Lastly, you will need to determine how to control the motors. The most common option these days is a handheld remote. Hand-held remotes use a form of radio frequency (RF) to communicate with the motors (much like a garage door opener). There are also wall switches and certain sensors that use RF to communicate with the motors. Most motor manufacturers use proprietary RF signals so that you can only use their remotes and sensors for their motors. A newer universal RF signal is being used by some manufacturers, which allows for more options for controls, but we will discuss that later this year. Another option for controlling the motors is via an automation system. There are many kinds of automation systems, including whole-home automation, building control systems, Wi-Fi/mobile app control systems and even voice control systems. As technology evolves, our options are ever-changing. So are your clients. I look forward to elaborating on motorization technology in upcoming articles. V

Become a Motorization Expert! The WFCP MOTORIZATION SPECIALIST courses give you the knowledge and power to confidently specify motors for your client’s homes. Get up to speed with the fastest growing trend in window treatments and home automation!

THIS PROGRAM WILL TEACH YOU: √ Correct terminology, types of motors and controls. √ How to identify and suggest the proper power supplies. √ Specific installation techniques to minimize your costs and increase your profits. √ The latest technologies including voice control. √ How to integrate with other components including AV, HVAC and lighting.

SET YOURSELF APART – BECOME A WFCP MOTORIZATION SPECIALIST

The next edition of Motorization Playbook will focus on power options, including batterypowered and hard-wired motors. 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

Motorization courses and certification now available online. Sign up today! WF-VISION.COM/FASTTRACK-CERTIFICATION V ISION |

29


industry : rollease acmeda

Lessons in Leadership with Derick Marsh of Rollease Acmeda BY SOPHIA BENNETT

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erick Marsh, CEO of the multinational window covering component manufacturer and distributor Rollease Acmeda, is no stranger to international business. A child of a parent in the U.S. Foreign Service, he grew up in Germany. Intent on making a life in that country, he earned bachelor’s degrees in international relations and economics at Georgetown University with the goal of working abroad. Instead, he moved to Chicago after law school at George Washington University and focused on advising foreign companies making investments in the U.S. His final deal was helping a U.K.-based private equity firm acquire what was then Rollease. “Private equity was still a pretty new concept in those days and very exciting to me, so much to the distress of my mother, I stopped being ‘my son the lawyer’ and became something that to this day she cannot really explain to her friends,” he says. He’s been at the helm of Rollease Acmeda since 2005. Given the company’s size and importance and Marsh’s experience, we asked him to share some insights into where he sees the window covering industry heading. He also offered advice on how heads of companies big and small can lead their teams to success.

What did you do to prepare yourself to take on the role of CEO of a multinational company? While I had zero experience actually running the day-to-day operations of a manufacturing business, as a corporate lawyer and private equity investor, I saw the

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inner workings of senior leadership decisionmaking in hundreds of companies involved in dozens of different markets. I felt I came into the role with strong training in strategic thinking and project management and very quickly picked up incredible direct customer insights to give context to our business initiatives. The hard part initially was getting my arms around that day-to-day grind that is required to make any business turn. That is where good people come into play. You’ll hear this theme a lot from me: Companies are just empty legal constructs until you fill them with people. You can’t run a company alone, and you can’t be an expert in everything and be everywhere.

equity or extremely large, well-capitalized companies new to our industry are buying their way in. The traditional “big boys” in our industry all of a sudden look pretty small. An early impact we are seeing is more vertically integrated businesses, with retail, fabrication, and even component and fabric supply being under one umbrella. This obviously allows for more control over the entire supply and sales chain, which permits greater product differentiation and pricing flexibility. That, together with significant marketing resources, makes it very difficult for single-store specialty retailers to compete. The U.S. also has a highly developed online retail channel when compared to other countries, and I do not see that segment slowing. COVID accelerated lots of trends, including online shopping and home improvement. It is clear Americans are and will stay comfortable buying window coverings online. Once again, this puts pressure on smaller specialty retailers. It also puts pressure on our core customer base, the fabricator, as online stores and larger retail chains with buying power can exert significant pricing pressure on fabricators.

What are the most pressing issues facing the window covering industry today?

What do people and companies need to do to adapt to these challenges?

In 1997, when I first got involved in the industry, the U.S. fabricator landscape was highly fragmented. Fast forward and you now have a relatively small group of dominant fabricators, but two new factors have emerged that are changing the landscape. Retailers are getting bigger and influencing the supply chain more. In addition, private

We have to be proactive and embrace these fundamental shifts in our industry in a way that allows us to grow. We cannot altogether avoid the inevitable discussion about price, but if we give our customers differentiated products that allow them to sell at a decent margin, we take away the incentive to focus on price.

JANUARY + FEBRUARY 2021 | wf-vision.com


That means we have to innovate, which requires significant investment. Our most ambitious recent investments revolve around strengthening our expertise and depth in performance fabrics, motorization and automation. We also are developing strategic partnerships in pretty much every part of the supply and sales channel. We can’t be experts in everything, but neither can anyone else. So, we identify like-minded partners that we think will benefit as much or, ideally, even more than we do to put innovative mutual support structures in place that leverage our respective capabilities. An easy example is our partnership with the Rowley Company, which is very adept at quickly fulfilling smaller orders and has a major presence in drapery hardware. Rowley now handles many of our smaller orders so we can still offer MOQs (minimum order quantities) that would otherwise not make business sense for us. We also co-developed a drapery motor and track system that will change the game in this segment, a feat neither of us could have accomplished on our own.

What does it take to be a good leader today, especially in the face of the challenges posed by COVID-19, climate change and other big problems? What our COVID experience demonstrated very clearly is that leadership is not about one person using brute force to get through a crisis. I don’t care how smart or hardworking you are—you have to start with a strong foundation of people and not skimp on infrastructure and systems. We had severe lockdowns in our Italian and Australian operations, and virtually all office staff has been working from home in the U.S. since March, and yet our business is thriving. That doesn’t happen because I am so great. It happens because, collectively, our managers and people stepped up and showed they had the training and fortitude to work remotely and deliver some of their best work ever. We spend a lot of time and money thinking about our existing and needed talent and how to develop our leaders. A big part of my role is to make sure that this focus is relentless, that our people are clear on strategic direction and their role in making that

< Derick Marsh

strategy happen, and that our structure allows them to perform to their potential. I see so many resource-starved companies in our industry that are much too reliant on a small handful of people. It may save money and ego today, but long-term, it starves the business of growth and profits. The other critical thing a leader needs to bring to the table is a clear sense of company culture. We boil our basic company behaviors down into four themes: Be actionoriented, customer-oriented, innovative and passionate. If we don’t keep it simple, it gets too hard to remember. We hire people based on these behaviors. Our performance reviews always address these values, and we work hard to move out anyone who can’t get on board with these values or who can’t do it politely and with respect for others.

Visit wf-vision.com for an expanded version of this article and a list of leadership books recommended by Derick Marsh. V V ISION |

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industry : shining a light on uv

Unless otherwise noted, photos provided by Phifer

Photo courtesy of Alta Window Fashions

Did you know?

Solar fabrics come with different levels of â&#x20AC;&#x153;opennessâ&#x20AC;? that describe what percentage of UV rays they block. For example, Kim Newby with Insolroll shares that fabric with 1 percent openness blocks 99 percent of UV rays. Fabric with 3 percent openness blocks 97 percent. Common openness percentages include 1, 3, 5 and 10.

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JANUARY + FEBRUARY 2021 | wf-vision.com


Shining a Light on UV and Sun-Shading Products BY SOPHIA BENNETT

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arge windows in a home or office can provide plenty of natural light and beautiful views. But all that sunlight can make it hard to sleep, cause furniture and other home products to fade, and lead to other less-than-desirable consequences.

Enter UV and sun-shading window treatments, which can be an owner’s best friend. “UV products provide protection from the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays, or ultraviolet radiation,” says Kim Newby, marketing lead at Insolroll. “UV is the part of the sun’s spectrum that causes skin and eye damage, as well as fading and degradation of home finishes, artwork and decor.” To prevent this, “solar screen fabrics are woven to precise openness standards to block a specified amount of the total UV radiation while maintaining a great deal of the view and connection with the outside environment.”

UV-blocking window treatments are often associated with parts of the country subject to extreme heat or sunlight. However, people in cooler regions are finding advantages from solar shades as well. “A good example is the uncomfortable glare from the diffused light of high clouds in the Pacific Northwest,” says Newby. “Solar shades tame that glare without blocking the view or too much of the available light. People living in areas with lots of snow also wrestle with glare that can be severe, and solar shades provide relief without blocking the view.” There’s no doubt that consumption of sun-shading products is growing. “While the environmental benefits of solar shading have been recognized for many years by architects and designers developing commercial spaces, through experience and education, homeowners represent the next frontier in growth as individuals make more informed choices in how they can contribute to sustainability goals for themselves and their communities,” says Strickland.

Sun-shading products have some other plusses, such as reducing glare for improved eye comfort and use of electronic devices, says Bill Strickland, senior national market manager of sun control products at Phifer. In addition, they have some meaningful benefits for people concerned about their impact on the

Newby notes that Insolroll has seen significant growth in the multiple dwelling unit market. In addition, “as we see more effects of climate change, the pursuit of energy efficiency in new and existing construction becomes more urgent,” she says.

environment.

“More cities and states are requiring higher, quantifiable levels

“Modern design means big windows and light, but anyone with

commercial buildings, and that puts solar shades in high demand.”

of efficiency and sustainability in the design of new homes and

large windows knows that they can also make interior spaces uncomfortably hot and bright,” says Newby. Solar shades lessen the burden on cooling systems—and the cost that goes with

Here’s what you need to know to sell more of these products to eager buyers.

it. They also decrease the need for artificial lighting, further decreasing a building’s energy consumption. Photo courtesy of Kirsch Drapery Hardware

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industry : shining a light on uv

Products to watch for Solar screens are ideal candidates for motorization, and companies are responding with new technology. The new BLISS Automation system from Alta allows customers to program shades to raise and lower as needed to block intense rays. The company also has a new roller shade program with a wide range of new fabrics. “Insolroll is excited to unveil new solar and rechargeable battery motor options in early 2021, along with a fast-connect radio motor wiring solution,” says Newby. “We’ll introduce new energy-efficient solar screen, FR textured blackout and translucent roller shade fabrics to our curated fabric collections, as well as new premium patio shade fabrics.” While solar fabrics offer great performance, “in the past, homeowners looking for solar screens were often faced with making concessions—function or style?” says Claire Nelson, vice president of marketing for Alta Window Fashions. “Many of our Alta screen fabrics meet both demands with hardworking fabrics that beautifully enhance nearly every decor. Alta offers dozens of different styles, including basket weaves, jacquards, decorative and blackout.” For designers and homeowners who prefer a more textile look, Serge Ferrari recently introduced a new product called Soltis Touch. “This is an indoor material with interesting colors and weaves for designed spaces, and with all the great performance expected from Serge Ferrari,” says Elfriede Willson, marketing and communications manager. An added benefit is that it offers excellent acoustic performance. While not new, Phifer’s SheerWeave Style 5000 fabrics address the same complaint about solar shade fabric being less designfriendly. “(This line) meets all of the standards and benefits of our traditional solar-shading fabrics with an added level of design and sophistication,” says Strickland. “Offered in 36 unique jacquard patterns such as linen, chenille, jute and bamboo, Style 5000 fabrics are as beautiful as they are functional. Though these fabrics have a softer and more textured hand, they are no less durable and easy to maintain.”

Spotlight on eco-friendly benefits “Sustainability is an important part of Serge Ferrari’s DNA, from manufacturing to end of life,” says Willson. “We have, for decades, recycled our own materials with a system called Texyloop. Serge Ferrari is in many markets where this is important. For example, we supplied material for many of the buildings built for the London Olympics, and we took back that fabric and recycled it when those buildings were dismantled after the Olympics.” The recycling program is currently in transition; more details should be available later this year. Phifer, too, has materials that speak to people’s desire for green and healthy homes. “Products with unique features such as biobased ingredients found in the SheerWeave 4000 series with Dow Ecolibrium, antimicrobial benefits found in products that include Microban and recyclable fabrics such as Phifer’s Infinity2 and Style 8000 options can all play a part in sustainability efforts,” Strickland says. “Our continued expansion into products and features that have a positive environmental impact reflect this growing interest.”

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| wf-vision.com


Advice for retailers and designers Manufacturers provided some tips for retailers and designers interested in selling more UV products. “We’ve all invested a lot in our homes, from hardwood floors to furnishings, artwork and paint finishes,” says Newby. “Controlling UV extends the life and beauty of all of the layers of our design, protecting our investment. And that pales in comparison to protecting your skin and eyesight. Making the UV protection of solar shades part of your home is a wise investment that goes beyond a shade in the window.” Convey to customers that sun-shading products provide the perfect solution to maximize personal and property protection while maintaining beloved views. “Highlight the broad range of added benefits that consumers may not be aware of,” says Strickland. “Beyond managing solar heat and glare, solar shades can protect against the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew to maintain cleaner shades, incorporate sustainability features such as bio-based ingredients and recyclability, protect interior surfaces from damaging UV while allowing outward views, and provide a level of durability and an ease of maintenance rarely found in window treatments.” Gain at least a basic understanding of how solar fabrics work so you can offer some recommendations to clients based on the direction of their windows, their desire for privacy and other considerations. “Light colors, such as white, reflect solar energy away from interior spaces and transmit diffused natural light toward the interior,” says Nelson. “Due to high reflectivity, light colors will limit outward views. Dark colors, such as black, absorb solar heat and light for significant glare reduction and excellent outward views. Solar heat gain is not as significant with dark colors.”

Keep in mind that solar fabrics can provide a solution to people looking for exterior window coverings as well. “One of the great benefits of Soltis screens is they can be used both indoor and outdoor for a cohesive look throughout the building,” says Willson. Whether inside or out, “today’s shade fabrics can be elegant and decorative and an essential part of interior design,” says Strickland. They can be an element in a layered window treatment or create standout coverings all on their own. Look for ways to get creative and use these products to craft applause-worthy designs. Owners, their furniture and everything else in the house will thank you. V

The Link Between Motorized Shades and Plant Health Indoor plants have a variety of health benefits. A study by NASA discovered that houseplants can purify your air by removing up to 87 percent of air toxins. Houseplants improve concentration and productivity by as much as 15 percent and can even make you more relaxed. But how do you keep those plants alive? That’s the tricky part for people who love houseplants but lack a green thumb. Plants need the right amount and type of light, and it turns out that motorized shades are one way to help them get it. Here are some tips for using motorized window treatments. Use them yourself or pass them along to clients who love living things. Choose the Right Shades for Your Plants Just like people, every plant has a story. Do your plants love full light, or do they thrive in shady settings? Keep that in mind as you select window coverings. For example, you might not want to choose a blackout shade for the room where you keep plants that need a lot of light. You also might want to consider getting lightfiltering shades so sunlight will filter into your room even if you forget to raise the shades in the morning. Automate Natural Light Speaking of which, what if you didn’t have to remember to open your shades to give your plants light? What if your shades opened by themselves? This is possible thanks to motorization apps such as the Somfy myLink app, which allows homeowners to create schedules to raise and lower shades. The app also allows you to control your smart shades from anywhere, which is great if you have indoor plants in a vacation home or routinely forget to open the shades before leaving for work. —Morgan Glennan

Want more advice on how motorized shades can help keep houseplants healthy? Check out the Somfy website for the full article.

Photo courtesy of Insolroll

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35


industry : energy-saving window treatments

Focus on Energy-Saving Window Treatments Helps Retailers, Consumers A new certification program is educating people about the important role window treatments play in saving energy

D

BY DEBORAH MOSS uring the energy crisis of the 1970s, the ENERGY STAR program was founded by the nation’s Environmental Protection Agency to advance energy conservation in homes and buildings. Since then, ENERGY STAR initiatives have helped families and businesses reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2.8 billion metric tons and save $430 billion on energy bills by adopting energy-efficient lighting, appliances, HVAC systems and building technologies. A new program in the spirit of ENERGY STAR is focusing attention on the energy-saving potential of window treatments, especially when they are automated and connected to a smart home platform. One organization accelerating this progress is the Attachments Energy Rating Council (AERC). The AERC started as a project of the Window Covering Manufacturers Association. Its members include a consortium of manufacturers, component suppliers, national energy-efficiency research labs, utility companies and industry associations. Its mission is to rate, label and certify the energy performance of window attachments to help the public make informed decisions when it comes to buying window treatment products. The work is funded by multiple stakeholders, including the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The council grew out of a comprehensive energy modeling study sponsored by the DOE at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 2013. The study examined how different window attachments such as shades, blinds, storm windows and window films improve energy efficiency in different climate zones. The DOE studies also revealed that, on average, 75 percent of window coverings remain in the same position day in and day out, stranding potential energy savings. With this information in hand, manufacturers knew they needed a way to provide consumers with accurate, credible and comparable information about which window treatments can help them reduce energy consumption and save money in the region of the country where they live. They also needed to educate them so they understood that in order to realize that energy savings, they needed to operate them effectively—something that has become much easier thanks to home-automation systems.

36 | JANUARY + FEBRUARY 2021

From there, the AERC was born. In February 2018, the AERC launched a certification program following the ENERGY STAR model. It provides third-party validation of the energy-savings potential of various kinds of window attachment products. Each certified window covering undergoes sophisticated material testing and window thermodynamic modeling to complete the certification process. Increasingly, the AERC advocates that motorized window treatments be coupled with smart home technology systems and programmed to optimize energy savings. AERC research has demonstrated that energy saving kicks into high gear when energyefficient window treatments are automated, connected to a smart hub and programmed to level heating and cooling loads. According to Paul Hager, marketing director at the AERC, homeowners can cut their energy consumption by up to 50 percent when smart home technology that includes energyefficient lighting, responsive HVAC systems and automated window treatments scheduled to manage passive solar heat gain are connected. 2020 was a benchmark year for the AERC. In January, the Hunter Douglas lines of cellular shades and cellular roller shades were awarded the very first energy performance rating for window coverings. In February, the AERC became a sponsor of one of the leading competitions for smart home technologies, the Lighting & Homes for Tomorrow competition (LHFT). Founded by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency, the competition has expanded from its original focus on energy-efficient lighting to include a range of connected high-tech systems, including heating and cooling, window attachments and appliances. AERC members Somfy, Phifer, heroal USA, Hunter Douglas and Renson are spearheading the partnership and participating in the competition’s steering committee. The LHFT “2020 Connected Windows and Window Attachments Entrant Guide” focused on the residential, hospitality and assisted living window treatment sectors. Categories included roman shades, awnings, cellular shades, blinds, pleated shades, louvered shutters, roller shutters, and window films and glazing.

| wf-vision.com

To be eligible, the products had to be readily available for consumer purchase. In cases where an entry submission involved components from more than one manufacturer, LHFT encouraged the companies to collaborate during the application process. Winners and finalists of the competition in the window treatment category were announced at the AERC’s fall meeting. The award went to Hunter Douglas for the Duette Architella Calypso Shade with PowerView Motorization. Finalists Somfy and Renson were also recognized. Collaboration among diverse stakeholders is evident in yet another AERC 2020 initiative. Rollease Acmeda and Illinois Window Shades are participating in the Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) Smart Shade Pilot program. The goal of this field test program is to gauge the energy savings that customers can realize from automated window shades. Select BGE customers will have roller shades featuring Rollease Acmeda’s Automate motorization system installed free of charge by Illinois Window Shades. The shades will be programmed to allow for maximum energy savings using the AERC operation schedule, which will serve as the guiding force behind the program so that participating customers may maximize the energy-savings opportunity of the shades in their homes. Hunter Douglas is also providing motorized cellular shades and cellular roller shades for field testing. Innovation is in high gear at the AERC to advance energy savings through motorized window attachments. As the cost of smart window treatments comes down and new motorization systems make installation easier than ever before, smart window treatments are increasingly being deployed as part of smart home systems. Our living spaces are being outfitted for energy efficiency, an essential step in creating a sustainable lifestyle to protect our climate. V Deborah Moss, founder of Fairfield County, CT-based Windowful Interiors, has been designing and installing window treatments for decades. A global entrepreneur in technology innovation and environmental stewardship, she offers a unique perspective on sustainable window treatment design and technology. windowful.com Facebook: WindowfulInteriors Instagram: WindowfullyDone Photo courtesy of Libeco


AERC’s Energy Improvement Label

Climate Zones

The energy savings afforded by different window attachment styles has been calculated by Climate Zone.

Energy Improvement Label (Update Due Early This Year)

Energy Improvement Rating Explained: The large number indicates the product’s energy rating and the smaller number is the maximum energy rating possible for that product category. The closer the product’s energy rating is to the maximum energy rating in your climate, the greater your energy savings!

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industry : design triumphs & tribulations

Design Triumphs & Tribulations

THE PROBLEM: Installing Bottom-Up Shades in a Historic Home BY ROGER MAGALHAES

This is part of our ongoing series describing how design professionals have overcome a business challenge or created the perfect treatment for a difficult window. Do you have a story to share? Send an email to sophia@wf-vision.com. I was invited to collaborate on an installation project at a magnificent $7 million condo unit in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston. The real estate agent had a big challenge: providing privacy shades to the potential buyers while avoiding an obtrusive valance. The buyers’ concern was that a valance would interrupt not only the view of the outside, but the stunningly beautiful, Italian-imported, 10-foot arched windows. She reached out to my colleague, Christian Roehl from InCommand Systems in the Boston area, for help. He is an integrator with a lot of experience in connecting lighting, shades and security systems. He found an elegant solution from partner Kastlebridge: bottom-up roller shades integrated with a pulley system to allow the shades to be drawn to any position. The system would utilize a constanttension spring box recessed into the sill and pulleys installed behind the existing capital molding. An additional benefit was that the shade cords would be essentially invisible—just millimeters from each wall. In the closed position, the shades would be nearly invisible thanks to some slight modifications to the woodwork. Roehl asked me to measure and install the project. Unfortunately, due to a traveling conflict, I was not able to participate in the installation portion. Luckily, the real estate agent’s husband was a general contractor and came to the rescue, executing an outstanding job under Roehl’s supervision. The installer created pockets in the window by chiseling out the foundation of the 1917 building—a task that required working around existing plumbing and heating. In this close-up of the sill, you can see the pocket for the fabric, motor and spring box and the 2-inch-by-2inch wood block that can be removed to access the motor’s charging port/programming button.

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Once the pockets were created, the pulleys where installed by removing the existing capital molding and drilling two holes in each side, securing the pulleys to the walls, threading in the lift line through the holes and around the pulleys, then replacing the capital molding to hide the pulleys. With those tasks done, the team mounted the shades and hooked up the motorization system. We used a battery-powered Somfy Sonesse ULTRA 30 WireFree RTS LI-ion to power the shades, which were made with 1 percent openness Arctic white fabric. Eleven shades on the main level can be controlled in groups or independently. The shades are on a timer, so they automatically close at sunset and open 30 minutes after sunrise. They are voice controlled with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The owner can say many commands, including “Close all shades,” “Give me privacy” or “Open dining room.” The shades are integrated with the rest of the home-automation system via Lutron RadioRA 2 keypads. The Goodbye button will turn off all lights and close all shades. Dedicated wall keypad buttons allow control of specific areas or all shades without the need for a phone. The shade motors are controlled via a Z-Wave controller and ZRTSI interface. They can also be controlled by popular control systems such as Elan, URC and Control4. V

Roger Magalhaes is the owner and founder of Shades In Place and Trading Up Consulting in the Boston area. He started in the window treatment industry in 2006 as an independent installer and holds certifications from leading companies such as Hunter Douglas, Somfy, Norman Shutters and Lutron. He is the founder of the Facebook group Free Speech Window Covering Pros and the installation instructor for the Window Fashion Certified Professional FastTRACK program. Magalhaes also serves on the board of WCAA.


Bottom-up designer screen shades are recessed into window sills, with pulleys hidden in the capital molding. In the closed position, the shades are nearly invisible.

Eleven shades on the main level can be controlled in groups or independently. Seven shades are shown here.

Pulleys are recessed/ integrated into the capital molding to preclude the need for an obtrusive valance.

Close-up of sill, which has a pocket for the fabric, motor and spring box. A 2-inch-by-2-inch wood block has been removed to provide access to the motorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s charging port/programming button. V ISION |

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inspiration : an eco education

An Eco Education

BY SOPHIA BENNETT As a child, Sheree Vincent’s family moved a lot. “What it did for me is it gave me a sense of what the word ‘home’ means,” she says. “It gave me a sense of space and place and taught me how important it is that no matter where you’re living, it feels like home and it suits you.”

health and welfare. But we can’t do it if they don’t know what we’re bringing into their homes,” Vincent says. Curtains, blinds, furniture, paint, flooring and most other home products can contain toxins that are detrimental to human health.

A growing number of people see their home as a place that should reflect their values around health, wellness, connecting to nature and treading lightly on the planet. The good news is that meshes perfectly with Vincent’s ethos. The Minneapolis-area designer and owner of Fusion Designed has been focused on green design since she discovered the concept more than 12 years ago. Since then, she has chaired the green committee for her local ASID chapter, completed the Sustainable Furnishings Council’s GREENleaders program, trained as a feng shui practitioner and instituted a sustainable design course at Century College, where she’s been an adjunct instructor for the past 13 years.

Home products may also be manufactured in conditions where workers aren’t being treated with respect, or in places that create lots of wasted materials and energy. “People are more aware and asking more questions about what things are made of,” Vincent says. “Climate change is no longer just a question—it is happening. People are more conscious of what’s happening in the world and what’s coming into their homes.”

“Green design became a passion of mine because we as designers want to do everything for our clients that promotes clean living,

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How can designers do a better job of serving that growing part of the population? Vincent has several suggestions, including several goto products and companies whose products can help contribute to a healthy, green home.


Window Treatment Trends and Styles Sheree Vincent’s clients typically request clean, tailored window treatments. Passementerie

is the most common request for ornamentation. “Decorative tapes and tassels give some pretty eye candy to the draperies themselves,” she says. “Schumacher and Kravet have beautiful ones. They add so much to a window covering without being so over the top.” People who request patterned draperies are drawn to boho patterns and designs inspired by non-American cultures. Hemp fabric is also becoming more popular.

Colors seem to be more muted and understated. “We’re transitioning into a softer period with color, which seems to happen when we’re under stress,” Vincent says. “We tend to surround ourselves with softer colors because they’re more comforting and soothing.”

The drapes in this dining room are made with 100 percent linen, no-VOC fabric from Mokum by James Dunlop Textiles. Fabrication by Geris Window Coverings in Little Canada, MN. Custom wall plaster by Crista Maree. Chairs are covered in material from Kravet. Photo by Ben Clasen

She’s also specifying more motorized window coverings, especially those with Bluetooth capability that can be operated by a home assistant. Motorization is convenient for people with large windows, windows blocked by furniture or those in hard-to-reach places. They’re also ideal for older homeowners. “More baby boomers are aging in place, and technology like this is allowing us to live in our homes longer,” Vincent says.

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inspiration : an eco education

What is green?

When a potential client tells Vincent they’re interested in green design, the first thing she does is ask questions to determine where their values lie. “There’s no such thing as a completely green product,” she says, so she has to determine what their priorities are. Vincent also does some basic education. High-quality, durable products won’t have to be thrown away as soon. Certain manufacturers are instituting “cradle to grave” programs, which means they’re thinking about the impact of their products from the time they’re created to the day when they need to be disposed of. Once she understands a client’s personal preferences and they understand more about their options, it’s easier for her to begin selecting products and making recommendations.

Corporate policies around people and planet

When looking for sustainable products, it’s important that designers consider a company’s culture and policies as well as their products. “What are they doing for the employees? Are their employees working in a safe environment?” Vincent asks. “What about their own corporate management? What are they doing in terms of resource management and energy efficiency? Are byproducts from manufacturing being reused or being disposed of in a safe manner? It’s not just the product, it’s where is it coming from.”

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Fabrication by Geris Window Coverings. Furniture by Lee Industries. Custom plaster wall finish and custom artwork by Crista Maree. The custom “lily pad” table was designed by Vincent and constructed by Aurora Stone. It is made from taconite tailings, a byproduct of low-grade iron mining done along the shore of Lake Superior. Photo by Ben Clasen

Natural and low-chemical products

In many cases, a green home is a healthier home. Goods such as the foam in sofa cushions, carpet and paint can be loaded with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can contribute to poor indoor air quality. “All the big paint manufacturers have no- or low-VOC products now,” says Vincent, so specify those paints for homes. Look for other low-chemical alternatives, especially for foam, which can be a particularly bad offender. Natural products such as linen, hemp and cotton are much less likely to off-gas and are a greener alternative to fibers made with petroleum byproducts. While there are some earth-friendly benefits to these materials on their own—like the fact that plants help remove carbon from the atmosphere—dig deeper into their origin for the truly sustainability-minded homeowner. Is the material organic? Did the company use natural or artificial dyes? Does it have policies or technologies in place that allow it to consume less water, which is one of the most wasteful aspects of fabric production?


Draperies for this retreat center are a cotton-linen blend. Fabric by Kravet and fabrication by Geris Window Coverings. Solar shades are leadand PVC-free and Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified. Bed skirt is 100 percent cotton. Photo by Ben Clasen

Favorite Green Products Biophilic design

“We have a deep genetic link to nature,” says Vincent. “When we have a connection to it, we feel better.” That relationship has given rise to the biophilic movement within the design community. Biophilia is the belief that humans need to be close to nature to thrive. Biophilic design brings natural elements or pieces that mimic nature into homes to create more nurturing spaces for inhabitants. Even people who don’t think of themselves as eco-conscious may be drawn to biophilic design and its ability to create a healthy-feeling home. Another option for people interested in nature-inspired spaces is feng shui, which also focuses on ways to create connections between people and the planet.

Avoid greenwashing

As consumers’ concern about the environment has increased, more companies have made false or misleading claims about how green their products are. This is called greenwashing. It’s important for designers to do due diligence on these products before recommending them, says Vincent. “We can’t just look at these statements and take them verbatim.” When researching products to make sure they are truly green, designers should look into what certifications the company claims to have and make sure they’re current. The best certifications are those issued by a neutral third party, as opposed to ones given by industry associations and their affiliates. “A third party has nothing to do with the products they’re certifying, so they have no vested interest,” Vincent says. Another good place to look when researching products is the company’s website. See how it talks about its environmental policies. If it takes being green seriously, it will typically mention sustainability on the homepage. It should have a section on sustainability that details what makes both the company and the products green. This investigation will give homeowners and designers peace of mind that they’re making the right decision when they invest in a sustainable home and planet. V

When specifying eco-friendly products, Sheree Vincent’s first stop is the often the Sustainable Furnishings Council’s website (sustainablefurnishings.org). The nonprofit has a third-party certification process that evaluates all kinds of home products. Here are a few go-to manufacturers she turns to on a regular basis: FURNISHINGS: Kravet Lee Industries FABRICS: Kravet Mokum from James Dunlop Textiles Pindler Schumacher PLUMBING: Kohler Toto CABINETRY: Look for locally made options LIGHTING: Seek out LED lights and place them on a dimmer switch to save energy

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inspiration : now i lay me down to sleep

Marni Sugerman, Decorating Den Interiors Photo by Kate Glicksburg


Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep BY SOPHIA BENNETT

Children are the most precious items many homeowners have within their four walls. How can designers put together rooms that are beautiful and safe? And how can they incorporate low- or no-chemical window treatments and furniture to keep harmful products away from delicate skin and little lungs? Four designers provide insights.

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inspiration : now i lay me down to sleep

Nicole Lorber, owner and lead designer Distinctive Interior Designs Marlton, NJ Interview the child

When designing rooms for babies and young children, Lorber pumps parents for their ideas. But if the child is old enough, she asks them to gather pictures of things they like and interviews them. Sometimes their wishes are outlandish: dark colors on the walls or structural changes to the room. “I keep in mind that the parent is paying for it,” says Lorber. “I try to keep the feel of what the kid is looking for in a less permanent way in the space.”

Include blackout lining

When kids are little, there’s nothing parents want more than for them to sleep longer. When kids become teenagers, there’s nothing they want more than to sleep in. “There has to be a blackout layer on the window, even if it’s not seen, to help the kids sleep a little longer,” Lorber says.

Safe hardware

Make sure the hardware for curtains and canopies has a breakaway element, especially if anything will hang near a crib. Also, make sure all hardware is installed securely. That will become vitally important once the child is old enough to grab and pull at the fabric—which can happen sooner than parents expect.

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Photo by Kate Glicksburg

Marni Sugerman, owner and interior decorator Decorating Den Interiors Westchester County, NY Designs that grow with the child

“When designing for a child’s bedroom, I like to select patterns that will grow with them,” says Sugerman. “Selecting an ideal color palette is key, as it sets the stage for years to come. Throw pillows and accessories can always be updated to transform a young child’s bedroom into a space fit for a teen.”

Print-on-demand fabric saves material

Sugerman likes to custom-design and print shades for kids. “I have a background in textile design, so I enjoy creating my own patterns. However, there are so many easy online resources for purchasing digital art,” she says. Digitally printed shades are also an eco-friendly choice because designs can be printed for the exact size and shape needed. There’s also no need to transport and stock inventory that might not get used. Comfortex’s Color Lux products are her favorite choice.

Manage expectations for room darkening

“When my client wants a room-darkening shade, I often suggest adding drapery panels to block the tiny bits of light that peek through the edge of the shade,” Sugerman says. “Managing expectations of roomdarkening window coverings is always important so clients are satisfied with the functionality of the treatment as well as the beauty and design.”

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inspiration : now i lay me down to sleep

Photo by R. Brad Knipstein

Jennifer Jones, principal designer and owner Niche Interiors San Francisco Striking romans stand out

“We love injecting bold color or pattern into a kid’s bedroom with the window treatments,” says Jones. “Flat-fold roman shades are our favorite style. They add softness and provide blackout coverage.”

Avoid vinyl products

“One thing to avoid when specifying window treatments for kids’ spaces are PVC roller shades, which off-gas harmful chemicals into the air,” she adds. “If you opt for roller shades, be sure to check that the material is PVC-free.”

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Photo by Paul Dyer Photography


Room design by Jamie Gage. Photos by Jeremy Mason McGraw, Global Image Creation

Becky Lane, interior decorator and owner Decorating Den Interiors Olathe, KS Design for function

When working on a child’s bedroom, Lane considers the many ways the room will be used. “Will they need a place to study? Will they frequently have friends staying over?” These questions help drive the final design.

Safety first

“Safety is a huge concern in homes with children,” says Lane. “Whenever possible, place a crib or bed on a wall that has no window. Do not have furniture such as a chair near a window that allows access for a small child to become too close to a window and possibly fall out. The Window Covering Safety Council recommends only using cordless window products in homes with young children. These products are so much more readily available in today’s market for this reason.” Look for the council’s Best for Kids label on products.

Consider the sleeping surface

When you lie on a mattress, you breathe in any chemicals or additives it contains. Due to the amount of time children spend sleeping, Lane recommends buying a high-quality mattress made from organic and natural fibers. V V ISION |

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inspiration : virtual showhouse

Rachel Moriarty points to the curtains on a terrace between the pool and ocean as one of the best examples of window treatments in the home. “I love how they make the space feel so elevated and resort-like,” she said. “This showhouse has a 20-foot ceiling height and the window treatments throughout are impressive.” Photo courtesy of Seasonal Living. Design by Laura Muller. Virtual material provided by Fabricut

Photo courtesy of Seasonal Living. Design by Gloribell Lebron. Virtual fabric, trim and hardware provided by Fabricut

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First-Ever Virtual Showhouse Provides a Glimpse of the Future In December, Seasonal Living Magazine created the first-ever 20,000-square-foot tourable and shoppable luxury designer showhouse that was built entirely in the virtual world. This estate home is set on a real plot of land on the Malibu coastline. It features both indoor and outdoor spaces and focuses on sustainable, healthy living. Several rooms are intended to be multifunctional and include unique features that are designed for modern families. The house will stay online indefinitely, and curious observers and serious

shoppers can revisit it as often as they like at bit.ly/TourTheVirtualShowhouse.

How was the experience of participating in a virtual showhouse different from being part of a “real” one?

Do you think virtual showhouses will continue after COVID-19?

We were not constrained by budget or logistics, which gave us the creative freedom to implement our designs using sponsored products. The inaugural sponsors were Robin Baron Design, Cosentino, the Howard Elliott Collection, Fabricut, Global Views, Jaipur Living, Minka Group, Nathan Anthony, Niermann Weeks, Revel Woods, Seasonal Living, SherwinWilliams, Signature Kitchen Suite, Stressless and Universal Furniture. If there was a product that we needed that didn’t exist, the sponsors were more than happy to work with us to custom-design and model the products for our spaces.

What lessons or takeaways do you have from the experience?

Photo courtesy of Seasonal Living. Design by Jeanne K. Chung. Virtual fabric, trim and hardware provided by Fabricut

This was truly a master class in online design deliverables! It was so amazing to see the packages that each of the featured designers—Carla Aston, Robin Baron, Arianne Bellizaire, Jeanne Khoe Chung, Gloribell LeBron, Ariana Afshar Lovato, Laura Muller, Veronica Solomon, Erika Hollinshead Ward, Michelle Jennings Wiebe and myself—turned in to the rendering team. Online interior design gets a bad rap because of the early platforms, but this rendering team used state-of-the-art technology that allows for a lifelike 3D walkaround experience using a computer mouse, with product discovery, augmented reality highlights and virtual reality.

“I think that this is going to be a game changer for the design industry, especially as it adapts to this pandemic environment,” said Rachel Moriarty with Rachel Moriarty Interiors, who was one of the featured design professionals. Moriarty described her experience and why she hopes to see virtual showhouses continue in the future.

I definitely think that they should! It’s a great opportunity for designers to showcase their work and for manufacturers to showcase their products without the logistics of getting them to the showhouse.

What advice do you have for a designer who is interested in participating in one? The designers that were selected for this virtual showhouse were chosen not only for their ability to design spaces, but also for their visibility in the marketplace. All of us are publishers and content creators, and we each engaged our online audiences to join us on this exciting journey via all of our social media channels, private Facebook communities, blogs and YouTube videos. The sponsors shared our content, we shared theirs and we created a lot of buzz as a result. So, my advice to any designer who is interested in participating in a virtual showhouse is to make sure that you are consistently creating content and be ready to market and promote! V

Rachel Moriarty

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inspiration : if these walls could talk

If These Walls Could Talk BY SOPHIA BENNETT

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Do you cover walls as well as windows in your business? If not, it’s a product that’s worth

considering. The wallpaper market is going strong and will continue to get bigger as people dig into home renovations—and as new innovations make wallcoverings easier to use than ever before. “There is definitely an increase in interest among consumers for wallpaper,” says DeAnna Hain, executive director of marketing for York Wallcoverings. “More people are staying home and looking to update their spaces, and people are getting to experience what others do with their (homes) thanks to virtual meetings that put our spaces into full exposure. Because of this, wallpaper has gained a lot of buzz as a quick, easy way to make a big impact to our walls. The variety of patterns and textures combined with the DIY ease of installation makes wallpaper a go-to solution for homeowners and renters alike to switch up their interiors.” Here are some conversation-worthy new products in the wallcovering space, as well as trends that professionals are buzzing about.

Photos courtesy of Stanton Gray

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inspiration : if these walls could talk

Photos this page courtesy of York Wallcoverings

Something to Talk About: Performance, Sustainability

Like high performance fabrics, high performance wallcoverings are hot right now. “Everyone is looking for ways to make their space multipurpose,” says Hain. “Homes now need to include an office, school, playroom, restaurant and everything in between.” Good high performance wallpapers can be scrubbed with cleaners repeatedly without losing their beauty and function. Weitzner is another company with high performance wallpapers. Theirs are made with Clean Vinyl Technology, a product that does not contain phthalates, formaldehyde and other chemicals found in PVC. York Wallcoverings’s QuietWall Acoustical Collection has antimicrobial properties built in, making it very appealing during the COVID-19 era. Its soundproofing ability has made it popular with consumers setting up offices and school desks at home, Hain says. A third benefit is that it is made of 100 percent recycled BPA-free plastic bottles, giving it some eco-friendly cred. That’s in line with the company’s overall green policies, which include using low-VOC materials and

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non-polluting inks and sourcing paper from responsibly managed forests. Sustainable products are popping up in many companies, sometimes in combination with interesting innovations. Last year, Stanton Gray released a wallcovering that gives interiors the look and feel of stone. Using a proprietary process, it adheres pieces of real slate or marble that might otherwise go to waste to flexible sheets that can be attached to walls. “Our substrates are sourced as locally as possible, and we seek substrates that use natural eco-sourced elements,” says Kassandra Gray, Stanton Gray’s founder. “We use every scrap piece of wallpaper either by making swatch books or shredding the paper to be packing material. All of our paper coverings use water-based products, ensuring low or no VOCs.” The products in Weitzner’s Handmade category are made with sustainable materials and by artisan communities. “There are open spaces in these designs so that a designer or homeowner can paint the wall any color and layer these wallcoverings over (the top). It is a

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way to truly personalize a wall,” says Lori Weitzner, the company’s founder and creative director. “The materials are all-natural and inherent to the land from which they are sourced. In this same vein, we developed a series of paper tiles, all made from sustainable pulp from mulberry and abaca.” Silvia Reddman, head of marketing and kommunikation for the German firm Erismann, shares that nonwoven wallcoverings are becoming standard in more countries. And, of course, peel-and-stick wallpaper continues to be huge. This product has made homeowners more comfortable with the idea of using wallcoverings because they can try out trendy looks (such as bold, saturated colors) without the worry of having to scrape away something they don’t like, Hain says.


Photos this page courtesy of Weitzner

The Looks People Are Chattering About

Current trends in wallcoverings hew closely to the larger movements and styles in design. Erismann’s most recent trend forecast highlights mix-and-match pastels, glamorous products with plenty of metallics and deep shades, and nature-inspired looks with organic colors and materials. “We are doing a lot of embroidery on textured wallcoverings,” says Weitzner. “We are also doing a lot with pleating to get as much dimension for the walls as possible.” She also sees new spins on neutrals and colors. Instead of cold grays, she predicts consumers will request more “warm and cool neutrals mixing together. Soft blue grays for a sense of calm. Lots of greens for that feeling of connecting to nature. Pure whites, less yellow whites. Rose and soft pinks.” Biophilia is having a moment, and wallcoverings make it easy to bring the look of the outdoors in. Hain suggests using products made of natural grass cloth or with nature-inspired imagery.

“Your walls contain the largest square footage in any space,” she points out. “Use them as a canvas to wrap and anchor the space in the color, scale and themes that represent you.” Beyond nature-inspired prints, there appears to be some nostalgia for the wallpapers of old—older designs, that is. “We are seeing a turn back to the traditional,” says Hain. “Many people are looking for patterns that offer a classic feel but have been updated with a modern twist. These patterns are easily adaptable and can fit many different design styles, offering a fun look no matter the space.” V


Product Spotlight Orion’s Bohemia Crystal finials are a thoughtful assemblage of shapes.

From sleek modern to traditional, the designs are simple, yet beautiful. The hand crafted faceted finials pair beautifully with our round or square iron rods, wood poles or our traversing systems. Available in our Iron Art™, Italian, and Wood Art™ finishes. sales@ironartbyorion.com

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Surewin – Quality components at competitive

pricing from our Florida warehouse. Custom sourcing available. Plastic bead chain in rolls or continuous loops; numerous colors in all lengths, nickel plated and stainless chain in rolls and continuous loops in all lengths, stop balls, connectors, safety devices, c-clips, alligator clips, tassels, lift cord, vertical components, cord locks, and the easy-to-fabricate, low-profile SureLift® Roman Headrail System for shades up to 50 lbs.

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Tuscany II, by Wilson Fabrics, features a crosshatch

Screen Essential 3000 Series by Coulisse

This unique screen collection offers possibilities to create a custom made interior shading plan, meeting the different light, view and acoustic requirements in one building in the same uniform look and color. The collection offers 8 colors in the same basket weave, each available in an openness factor of 1%, 3%, 5%, and 10%.

textured design that adds sophistication and style, available in blockout and translucent. The translucent option offers elegant light filtering properties, providing privacy whilst letting in natural light.

Tuscany II mimics the style of linens and has the practicality of polyester, making it a long-lasting fabric.

coulisse.com

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wilsonfabrics.com

With 5 different sizes of professional steam irons, döfix offers the ideal solution for any size workroom no matter how large or small. The newest member of the döfix steam iron family is the D50 iL. It features an integrated high-efficiency pump that allows water to be added at any time allowing a continuous uninterrupted workflow. Learn more at bit.ly/döfixD50iL


Automate 5V Wire-Free Li-ion Zero by Rollease

Introducing the new Automate 5V Wire-Free Li-ion Zero motor range. The patent-pending Zero motor head delivers a truly wire-free experience and the smallest light gap in the industry. Recharge with a universal 5 Volt micro-USB connection. Or continuously charge with Automate’s Solar Panel V2. Learn more at AutomateShades.com.

Alpha's WSERD30B 2Nm 31rpm

core-less motor and in-built battery” an industry game-changer. Whisper quote and lasting up to 750 cycles per charge. Test, compare, and see for yourself that anything else is a compromise!

www.alphamotors.us

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 V ISION |

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Room design by Lindsey Putzier. Workroom: Laurel Brook Designs. Photo by Addison Jones

In Our Next Issue… “Make it better” is the theme for the March + April issue of Window Fashion VISION. Are you wondering how to improve your pricing structure? Improve collaborations between designers and workrooms? Use videos to promote your business? Set up your own workroom? We’ll cover all of these topics and more. We’ll chat with Jay Steinfeld, founder of Blinds.com, to get his thoughts on the future of the window covering industry. For those who want to spend a few minutes thinking outside the window, we’ll hit the floor with some perspectives on trends in rugs and floor coverings.

58 |

JANUARY + FEBRUARY 2021 | wf-vision.com


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www.insolroll.com V ISION |

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637 S. Pierce Ave., Louisville, CO 80027 TEL 800.447.5534


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Profile for Window Fashion Vision Magazine

Window Fashion VISION January + February 2021  

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