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THE COLOR ISSUE

HOTTEST PREDICTIONS FOR 2021 VOLUME 41, ISSUE 6 NOVEMBER + DECEMBER 2020

CRUCIAL CONVERSATIONS

HOW TO DEAL WITH DIFFICULT CUSTOMERS

IT TAKES A TEAM

SOFT SPOT FOR HARDWARE

RODS, FINIALS AND MORE FOR PERFECT PROJECTS

MANAGING A CHALLENGING ROMAN SHADE INSTALLATION

HOLIDAY DECORATING IDEAS TO GET YOU IN THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT


the timeless look of linen Introducing new STYLE 7800 / 7850 Blackout and light-filtering roller shade fabrics


contents : volume 41, issue 6

in this issue INSIGHT 16

18

Apply the principles of the 5S management philosophy to online marketing.

Consumers’ renewed focus on home is a plus for window treatment professionals.

Your Virtual Online Marketing Workroom Guide

by Welton Hong

Strong Home Remodeling Market Means a Promising 2021

by Kathy Wall

24

20

Diary of a Small Business Owner in 2020 A boom and bust cycle in a short period of time spins off many lessons.

by LuAnn Nigara

26

Make Time Off During the Holidays Low-Stress

5 Tips for Curating Your Brand

Take time to celebrate without the worry of returning to a crushing workload.

How creating a cohesive brand message and product collection is similar to curating a fine art exhibit.

by Amber De La Garza

by Claudia Clobes Yudis

28

Creating Safety, Managing Your Inner Dialogue During Crucial Conversations Remember these tactics to make difficult conversations with clients easier and more productive.

by Kathryn Dillon

V ISION |

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contents : volume 41, issue 6

in this issue INDUSTRY 30

Soft Spot for Hardware

What you need to know about today’s decorative and functional hardware, including motorized products. by Sophia Bennett

36

Success Despite Hardships Pushes Alpha to Be a `Company with a Soul’ How Alpha Tubular Motors uses its charitable programs to advance the company’s goals.

by Sophia Bennett

38

Design Triumphs and Tribulations

Tennessee designer Anna Davis took a team approach to mounting a sheer roman shade on an arched window.

by Sophia Bennett

I N S P I R AT I O N 40

Hot Hues, Cool Colors

Designers, color consultants and other professionals share what’s in and what’s out for 2021.

by Sophia Bennett

48

Digging into Color DNA

How a high-tech device can make color selection easier for consumers— and more profitable for professionals.

by Sophia Bennett

V ISION |

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contents : volume 41, issue 6

in this issue

I N S P I R AT I O N 50

Found at High Point: 2021 Trends

What will consumers be looking for next year? Here are some macro home design trends.

by Melissa Galt

52

’Tis the Season

Turn holiday decorating into a profit center for your business.

by JoAnne Lenart-Weary

FIXTURES 12

Grace Note

A word from our publisher.

14

Letter from the Editor Looking forward to 2021

56

Product Showcase

58

What’s Next

We pull back the curtain on our next issue. Poufs from V Rugs Miami. Photo by Melissa Galt

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

the timeless look of linen Introducing new STYLE 7800 / 7850 Blackout and light-filtering roller shade fabrics


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

THE COLOR ISSUE

HOTTEST PREDICTIONS FOR 2021

Industry Liaison Editor | Gail Gutsche gail@wf-vision.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, Claudia Clobes Yudis, Amber De La Garza, Kathryn Dillon, Melissa Galt, Welton Hong, JoAnne Lenart-Weary, LuAnn Nigara, Kathy Wall

DESIG NERS IN T HIS ISSUE Carol Bass, Anna Davis, Beverly Ferguson, Luciana Fragali, Camille Lai, Melissa Lee, Michelle Marceny, Carrie Oesmann, Sandra Racz, Het Wase Woonhuis

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, 321 Stillwater Road, Willernie MN 55090.; 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. November + December 2020, Volume 41, Issue 6.

VOLUME 41, ISSUE 6 NOVEMBER + DECEMBER

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

CRUCIAL CONVERSATIONS

2020

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

HOW TO DEAL WITH DIFFICULT CUSTOMERS

SOFT SPOT FOR HARDWARE

RODS, FINIALS AND MORE FOR PERFECT PROJECTS

IT TAKES A TEAM

MANAGING A CHALLENGING ROMAN SHADE INSTALLATION

HOLIDAY DECORATING IDEAS TO GET YOU IN THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT

NOVEMBER + DECEMBER 2020 VOLUME 41, ISSUE 6 ON THE COVER: Carrie Oesmann, owner of BailiwickInteriorDesign.com, a fullservice, online interior design company based in Bethlehem, PA, designed and specified these dramatic drapes for the front parlor of a circa-1890 property. The room functions as a sitting room and home office and provides a stylish yet timeless space for the homeowner. Window treatments fabricated by Hamilton Home. Photo by Marisa Pellegrini. Upper panel fabric on window coverings: Fabricut. Pattern: Okello Tangerine. Bottom banding: William Morris. Pattern: Antique Honeysuckle Floral. Trim: Fabricut. Pattern: Ornament. Color: Apricot. Hardware: Orion Ornamental Iron. Swing arm rod with custom bird finish in New Nickel.

Correction from the September + October 2020 issue: Designer Jennifer Linds with Lyn’s Drapery, a winner in this year’s VISION Workroom Competition Awards, was accidentally listed as Jennifer Lind. We apologize for the error.

Go to Facebook.com/wfvisionmagazine for magazine updates

Keep up with all the news @WFVMagazine

Follow us and re-pin Pinterest.com/wfvisionmagexpo

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NOVEMBER + DECEMBER 2020 | wf-vision.com


CELEBRATING 25 YEARS


welcome : grace note

I

t’s been challenging to write a year-end editorial for 2020. There have been years in the past that we all wished would come to an end due to business or personal hardships, but 2020 takes the prize. None of us have been untouched by the sweeping pandemic in

some way.

It leaves us to reflect on 2020 and ask ourselves, how did this affect us, what did we do and, most importantly, what did we learn about ourselves and the world? Despite the hardships,

GRACE NOTE

there’s always a silver lining in some aspect of our lives. Consider the initiatives and bravery demonstrated by those in our industry: from Sandra VanSickle founding the Facebook group Mask America, where dozens of

industry professionals made and donated masks to those in need, to Polar Shades producing PPE, gowns and masks for health care professionals and first responders. So many people in our industry stepped up to the plate to help. In many cases, it brought out the best in us.

Don't miss our fantastic article on hardware trends on page 30. Photo featuring Merrill Y. Landis's floating drapery panel rods provided by Shrawder Restorations/Sheffield Furniture.

Window Fashion Certified Professional (WFCP) program and

The stay-at-home mandates also created an opportunity for our industry, as people have had the chance to really pay attention to their home environments and spend their discretionary income on home improvement versus things like travel and transportation. Did it force us to do business differently? Yes, in many ways, but it also made us look carefully at how we run our companies, giving us the opportunity to change and streamline operations and look for new avenues. At Window Fashion

creating the WFCP Academy. The Academy will offer many new one-hour seminars and educational opportunities in business, marketing, fabrication and motorization in a convenient, ondemand format. With motorization interest growing exponentially, we will be including a series of “Motorization Initiatives” in the magazine and online. In addition, watch for many virtual opportunities.

We’re here for you, so let us know what you need. Wishing you all the best holiday season possible!

VISION, it has helped us expand our mission to be the communication and education vehicle for the window covering industry. Hearing from many of you, we know that there is an even greater need for education and learning, so we are expanding our

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Grace McNamara Publisher grace@wf-vision.com


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welcome : letter from the editor

W

hen our team first started working on this issue, we talked about providing a look back at 2020 in one of the articles. We quickly decided that no one wanted to relive this year. Instead, we wanted to focus on looking forward. Here are a few thoughts about what to watch for next year. It’s my great hope that 2021 will be a year with more color— more colorful lives for those of us who have been stuck at home for months on end, and more colorful spaces that remind us of how joyous life can be. In our article on color trends on page 40, designers and other industry professionals make their predictions for what people will want. From muted but bold shades of blue and black to the warm browns and greens that bring the outdoors in, there’s a lot to look forward to color-wise. 2021 will be a big year for home automation. I was really struck by something Gil Breef, owner of Shades by Design and one of our Window Fashion VISION 20 Under 40 Awards recipients, said on a recent episode of VISION Seat, our Facebook Live show. He believes we need to transition from focusing on motorized window treatments as a stand-alone product to becoming part of the bigger conversation around home automation. To paraphrase his comment: “Motors are motors. There’s nothing sophisticated about something that turns around and makes your shades go down and up. The question is, how do you automate your home and make your life easier? Integration of window treatments into home automation systems is the key.”

EDITOR'S LETTER

Our profile of Alpha Tubular Motors makes reference to this on page 36. Starting with our next issue, we’ll be digging into topics around motorization and home automation regularly with a new column from O’D McKewan. Watch for it in the January +

February magazine. Hardware is essential to making motorized products work, and we’re excited to take an in-depth look at both functional and decorative hardware on page 30. And I’m sure you’ll enjoy our story of a designer who used some of that hardware to complete a very tricky install on page 38. The coming year will continue to bring challenges, of that I’m positive. We’re not out of the woods on the pandemic by any means. Climate change threatens to bring an even bigger wave of disaster right on its heels—something that’s very much on my mind as the catastrophic wildfires in my home state of Oregon continue to smolder. We will be forced to work through many issues, both in our world and our businesses. We’re happy to offer some ways to help you do the latter. Improve your ability to navigate challenging conversations with some advice from Kathryn Dillon on page 28. Bone up on marketing thanks to some timely advice from columnist Welton Hong (page 16) and Window Fashion Influencer Claudia Clobes Yudis (page 26). To help you recover from the year that was and prepare for the year to come, take Amber De La Garza’s great advice for how to make time off during the holidays low-stress on page 24. As much as I want to pretend 2020 never happened, I hope you’ll take any positive lessons you found and apply them going forward. I know I’ve learned a thing or two about the importance of building resilience, the power of family and community, and the value of slowing down every now and then. During your holiday downtime, take a minute or two to jot down your insights from this year. Think about how you can incorporate them into your life. As a “glass half full” kind of person, I’d like to think that something good will come from a year that wasn’t.

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

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ORION

ORNAMENTAL IRON, INC.

Traversing Systems

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


insight : welton hong

Your Virtual Online Marketing Workroom Guide

How a Japanese business methodology can be used to shine up your online marketing efforts

BY WELTON HONG

I

n the middle of the 20th century, leaders at Toyota Industries in Japan developed a series of efficiency and quality methodologies that would later become popular in a wide range of industries. They were the root of popular methods such as Six Sigma and Lean Process Management, which help businesses of all types and sizes do more with less, increase customer satisfaction and decrease error rates.

1

One of the methodologies developed by Toyota was 5S. In English, the Ss stand for Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain. It’s a visual management concept that focuses on organizing, cleaning and maximizing efficiency within any type of work space. You might be using it in your workrooms, warehouses or office spaces—or even leaning on some of the fundamentals without being aware they come from 5S.

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The principles of 5S apply to virtual work spaces and processes as well. Anytime you’re involved in a virtual process—such as online marketing—that involves disparate resources, people and workflows, it can be a good idea to use 5S to streamline things and ensure everyone has what they need to get the job done. Here’s what 5S might look like in your online marketing process.

SORT

In a physical situation, sort involves going through all the inventory, supplies or tools in the space, keeping only the ones you need to get the job related to that space done. In an online marketing situation, sort can take on several meanings: •

Reviewing all the pages on your site to find ones that are no longer relevant or performing. Do you have a landing page for a product you no longer offer? Is one of your blog posts drawing little or no traffic? Identifying these pages helps you know where work is needed on your website.


Researching keywords and trends. Are the keywords you use in your content and ads still what people are looking for? If not, you probably aren’t showing up for people when they search for home improvement products online.

Auditing your marketing channels. How much time and money are you spending on website and content marketing, ads, SEO, social marketing and other channels? Are you putting in time that isn’t driving ROI? Those channels may need to be abandoned or rethought.

2

SET IN ORDER

In a workroom, this step involves organizing all tools and resources so they’re easy for anyone to find when needed. In online marketing, set in order can refer to using the right project management and communication tools to ensure everyone knows what needs to be done and you and your marketing partners have oversight over the process.

Online marketing benefits from standardization, too, especially when it comes to consistency. Many people ask how often they should post new blog content on their website, send out email newsletters or make posts on social media. But how often is less important than following through. If people get used to hearing from you via email once a month or via blog once a week and you suddenly go missing, they aren’t likely to come looking for you. They are, however, more likely to forget about you when it comes time to make a purchase, which means they could choose the competition instead.

5

At the very least, your online marketing “workroom” should have an editorial calendar that lets people see what type of content you want to publish and when. You should also have a way to assign various aspects of that content creation to different members of your team or freelancers. If you work with an online marketing firm, chances are they have tools to set things in order for you and help you stay up to date on progress.

3

SHINE

Here’s where physical spaces and tools get polished up with a good scrub or sweep. Cleaning and maintenance are the mainstays of shine, and that’s true physically or virtually.

Sometimes, you shine your online marketing by taking items identified in sort that aren’t performing well and making them better. But this step can also refer to the ongoing generation of high-quality content, advertising and social posts that keep your business fresh in the minds of potential clients and help them find you online.

SUSTAIN

Once you do all the work to set up an effi efficient environment, you have to ensure everyone works to keep it that way. And once you start seeing success with home improvement marketing, you want to maintain that success and reach for more. You can sustain and even gain results in online marketing through continuous testing. Never assume, for example, that the ad campaign that worked well last week will work again exactly the same way, or that your content can’t be improved upon. Continue to tweak things and test them to see if you can get more traffic, higher conversion rates and increased revenues. 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

Another area that you might need to “shine” is your business’s online reputation. Online reviews are an important resource for many consumers, who are much more likely to trust what others say about your business than what you say about it. You can’t afford to ignore negative reviews; instead, shine them by reaching out to the unhappy client to see if you can resolve the issue and convert the review to a positive one. If that’s not possible, respond to the review honestly and tactfully to ensure potential clients see your side of the story.

4

STANDARDIZE

This one’s pretty self-explanatory in a physical environment. It’s where you create rules about how the workroom is kept organized and clean—such as the hammers hang from certain hooks or the nails go in certain drawers.

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insight : kathy wall

Strong Home Remodeling Market Means a Promising 2021 Consumers’ renewed focus on home is a plus for window treatment professionals

H BY KATHY WALL

as there ever been a year that people were more ready to say goodbye to than 2020? But that’s not all bad. Rarely has a year held more promise than 2021—and it’s certainly much more than just the empty promise of wishful thinking. Months of quarantining, working from home and spending time in our own spaces has made it abundantly clear how important our homes are. And even when travel bans lift, the significance of home will still remain. Home has taken on a new meaning.

“People have been self-isolating and have had a chance to really look at their homes and all the improvements they’ve been meaning to make,” says the latest quarterly report from the National Kitchen & Bath Association. “People being stuck in their homes … has brought remodeling and renovating to a level of desire we haven’t seen in years.”

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A report from the Home Improvement Research Institute concurs.

“Being forced to stay at home is leading homeowners to finally take on some of the projects they’ve intended to do.” Furnishing and design firms are seeing the impact of this time at home in rising interest from clients.

Not only are people spending more time at home, but they’re using their residences differently. Working from

home has become the norm for many people and has resulted in a demand for stylish and functional home office spaces. And this is more than a temporary trend. Workers are finding great productivity at home, and many companies, including Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Twitter, are planning for a future where full-time remote work will still be possible after stay-at-home restrictions are lifted.

Interest in dedicated home fitness spaces also continues to rise as people work out at home rather than at the gym. Likewise, people who were forced to cook more at home have discovered they love it—and that’s resulting in an increase in kitchen renovations and


upgrades to dining spaces, where family members regularly gather around a table. Similarly, having the kids at home has sparked the creation of dedicated spaces for youngsters to play and study. The functionality of homes is shifting, and industries across a wide range of categories now have an opportunity to pivot to the homebody consumer. So now is the time, home and design industry. Smart marketers will hone their messaging to support the satisfaction that comes with home improvement— productivity, comfort and the ability to make treasured memories with family and friends. Many forward-looking designers used the slowdown during the early months of the pandemic to refocus their businesses. Proactive steps included eDesign and video consultation, website improvements, podcasts and webinars to engage clients. But there is more they can do.

This is the moment for businesses to invest in great photography, copywriting and getting their message in front of people, wherever those prospective clients go for information, be it online, print, direct mail or other platforms. An eager audience is waiting. Because while the nation is experiencing high levels of unemployment, the Home Improvement Research Institute has found that much of the brunt is being borne by renters rather than homeowners, and unemployment rates haven’t deterred homeowners from working on their homes. Encouragingly, this includes both mature homeowners and the younger set. Research shows that Gen Z and millennials, who have long had homebody tendencies, now see home as even more of a shelter from the storm. They’re focused on making their current spaces more comfortable and comforting, spending more than $45 billion on their homes since the pandemic began.

With that bright outlook for the home industry in 2021, business owners can take heart and invest in efforts to boost their future bottom line as they help homeowners create their dream spaces. V Kathy Wall is president and ringleader of The Media Matters, an agency in the Triad area of North Carolina offering marketing, advertising and brand strategy to a roster of international clients. Kathy has shared her talents with the home furnishing industry for over three decades and formed her own business 18 years ago. Her motto? “We don’t work with jerks.” TheMediaMatters.com Facebook: TheMediaMatters Twitter: TheMediaMatters Instagram: Tmm.Agency

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insight : luann nigara

Diary of a Small Business Owner in 2020 A boom and bust cycle in a short period of time spins off many lessons BY LUANN NIGARA

JANUARY 1, 2020

Dear Diary: It is 2020 and we have big

goals. I cannot wait for this year to get underway! Cool number, 2020. Sort of reminds me of Y2K, except that was all about uncertainty and weird predictions. This is all about hope and possibility. Somehow the word “intense” keeps bubbling up in me. I suspect that will be my defining word for the year.

JANUARY 21

It’s a great day at Window Works! We just

had a company retreat with our succession and organizational coach, Eileen Hahn. We did team analysis and team building exercises. We rewrote our mission and vision statement. Together, we wrote our 2020 company and individual goals. It was invigorating, inspiring and satisfying to see our team work and laugh together over two days.

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FEBRUARY 1

Great news.

We are planning to bring our entire team to the International Window Coverings Expo in Charlotte. This is big for us. This has been a goal of ours for years, and this year we are going to make it happen. I cannot wait for all of our employees to be in the seminars and meet our colleagues from Exciting Windows and WCAA. We’re all really looking forward to this.

MARCH 13

High Point Market postponed because of coronavirus? Whaaat?

MARCH 15

International Window Coverings Expo postponed because of coronavirus?! Yikes.

MARCH 21

New Jersey residents in quarantine for 14

NOVEMBER + DECEMBER 2020 | wf-vision.com

days? How will we do this? How will we install window treatments and awnings? How will we make new sales? Restaurants are closed too? How will Vin and I eat?

MARCH 22

We need a partner meeting, stat. Top concerns: making decisions on how to run remotely for two weeks, marketing, maintaining sales, cutting expenses and communicating with employees and customers. We also need to schedule team Zoom meetings every day for two weeks. Objectives: help employees stay connected and be productive, drum up creative ways to continue to do business over the quarantine and develop a game plan for handling customer communication and order flow process as we work remotely.


APRIL 7

New Jersey quarantine order extended 30 more days. OMG. We decided our partner meetings will continue every Saturday for the foreseeable future. The meetings go on for three to four hours. Strategizing to handle this crisis is insane.

is looking like it will be installed late. Like, really late.

Sales projection for April, as of today: We are more than $200,000 off the goal number. OMG.

Since customers are home, they are ordering like crazy and calling for their order status like crazy. The factories are overrun. Their customer service teams are working remotely, so their efficiency is, let’s just say, outside voice, “compromised and doing their best.” But seriously, inside voice, “nearly nonexistent and driving us up a tree!”

MAY 15

The world is still crazy and I haven’t seen my kids and grandkids. OMG.

APRIL 18

Dear Diary:

At our team retreat in January, we scheduled this day for a team lunch/happy hour event. But our showroom coordinator quit two weeks ago. So instead, on this exact day, we had a Zoom send-off for her. How will we manage a team of 10 working remotely without her? She is called coordinator because she coordinates us. Ugh.

AUGUST 15

So sorry Diary,

I have been a bit busy. We went from hemorrhaging money, scared out of our wits that we would have to lay off employees and panicked we would lose our business, to handling an increase in sales of more than 40 percent over the last three months. We have been so busy. Our salespeople are doing five and six appointments a day and are stretched to their limits. Our installers are working 12-hour days in 90-degree and higher heat with 85 percent and higher humidity. We have been going at this pace for eight weeks. We are all literally existing on fumes. Everyone is exhausted and cranky and there is no end in sight. Oh, and our lead awning installer fell off a ladder last Monday, broke his ankle, needs surgery and will be out for 12 weeks. We are relieved, though, because despite what this means to him and to us, it could have been so much worse. August sales are projected to be $200,000 over any previous August. It is so hard to believe that four months ago we thought we might lose the business we built over 40 years because of lack of sales. Now we are in jeopardy because every single order

2020, you challenged us to stay on our game with months of plummeting sales followed by months of record-breaking sales. With leadership, teamwork, a positive outlook and lots of red wine, we made it. The holiday vacation could not be more anticipated or needed. Thank you for another lesson. I will appreciate this week off even more this year. You know, when I looked back at the first entry of 2020, I see my word for 2020 was “intense.” Diary, don’t mind me, but I have decided not to pick a word for 2021.

I keep saying to myself, LuAnn, you cannot complain. No whining. You need your big girl panties like never before.

NOVEMBER 16

Another couple of months have passed, so I’d better catch you up. We have hired three new people since the “spring of COVID.” We are on track to hit our original 2020 sales goal. We have survived the grueling installation pace of July, August and September. Our lead installer is back and we are thrilled to have him on a truck, good as new.

So, what are my lessons?

1

To do: • • • •

Schedule marketing budget meeting for next year. Schedule employee reviews for January. Meet with sales team and set sales goals for next year. Review new truck and other capital purchases at next owner’s meeting.

2

DECEMBER 1

Dear Diary: Thank you, 2020, for all of your lessons. LOL.

The most significant: A huge surge in business is every bit as stressful as a huge downturn in business. Vin, Bill and I agree on this: Too much business is, in hindsight, the more stressful of the two. We experienced the frustration of disappointing so many customers, seeing our installers exhausted for weeks on end and having our salespeople running a mile a minute. It came with the same sleepless nights for us as the downturn did.

Here are five strategies we used to manage both of these crises. WEEKLY OWNER AND LEADERSHIP MEETINGS

In normal times, we have weekly team meetings and monthly owner meetings. When things get back to “normal,” we can go back to normal monthly owner meetings. Until then, if you have business partners, it is key to be on the same page. If you do not have a business partner, find a mentor or peer or hire a coach. Now more than ever, you need someone to bounce ideas off of, someone to see the angles you don’t, someone to simply support you mentally.

EVALUATE YOUR TEAM

If you have poor performers, now is the time to rehab them or cut them loose. Six months ago, during the worst of the crisis, it became clear how important it is for every employee to be productive, positive and part of the solution. The same is true during this massive surge in home decor sales. Everyone needs to be an A Team player. Without a crystal ball for how long this crisis will last or what trajectory it will take, having an A Team will ensure you are prepared for whatever comes your way, feast or famine.

3

COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS

Have the hard conversations. Do not avoid them. In the last month, the number of times I have called a customer to

V ISION |

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insight : luann nigara

schedule an install that is three or four weeks overdue is, frankly, unimaginable. It is difficult, it is stressful and it can make your stomach turn. My best tips for the hard conversations

are these: • • • • • •

4

Be the one to call. Be calm, kind and patient. Be empathetic. They have spent hard-earned money with you. Respect that. Be truthful regarding expectations. Be prepared to be yelled at. Be mindful of your reputation. Conduct yourself as if every word you say will be splattered on a billboard in your town. The truth is, with social media, it just might. Be optimistic. This will pass.

DO SOMETHING NICE FOR YOUR TEAM

Like you, they have gone from scared as heck to working nights, weekends and all the hours in between. So, do plenty of nice things to thank them for sticking with you. Stock the fridge with water and Gatorade. Bring bagels and fruit in the morning.

Thank them as a group. Acknowledge their work ethic and their commitment to the company and to your customers, then take time to look each individual in their eyes and ask them how they are doing. Tell them you see them and you appreciate them. Treat them with gift cards for takeout or something else to show appreciation.

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TAKE A BREATH AND DON’T ABANDON SOUND BUSINESS PRACTICES

It can be hard to keep your head on straight during crazy times like these. But that’s what you have to do as a business owner and leader. As you can, take a pause, take a breath and take stock of what you can do to improve your personal performance as well as the performance of your team. Revise your financial projections, creating various revenue scenarios. Keep your eye on your cash flow. Now and over the next few months, replenish that three-month expense cushion if you dipped into it. Be diligent with operating expenses. Hire or fire if you need to.

And keep marketing. This is constant in good times, bad times, all the times. Here’s to 2021, which can’t come soon enough. 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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insight : amber de la garza

Making Time Off During the Holidays Low-Stress These simple strategies make it easier to take time off without the worry of returning to a crushing workload

BY AMBER DE LA GARZA

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duties pile up.

or many people, the holidays are synonymous with family gatherings and traditions, decorating, shopping for gifts, baking cookies and, of course, delicious feasts. For busy business owners, the upcoming holidays may also bring thoughts of increased stress as the invitations, expectations and

Surely you want to take time off to enjoy some festivities with your loved ones, but perhaps you are hesitant to do so because you dread the resulting state of your business. You fear the impending doom of being overwhelmed by hundreds of new emails and voicemails needing attention upon your return. You ask yourself, is taking time off even worth all the added stress? Returning to work after enjoying the holidays does not have to feel like getting run over by a herd of reindeer. Take advantage of these simple strategies to ensure a stress-free return from the holidays so you can put your mind at ease and actually enjoy your time off.

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Set Expectations and Abide by Them

Set clear expectations with your staff and clients that you are taking time off—and do not break your own rules. If you tell everyone you will not be able to return emails and phone calls until you are back in the office, stick to it. If you return even one call while you are away or reply to just one email, you are asking for trouble because it establishes the precedent that you will do it again. Holiday break over.

Change Your Voicemail

Let callers know you are out of the office and provide a date of return, after which you will be able to connect with them. Include instructions on who can assist them while you are away and how to get ahold of that person. Furthermore, delegate some of your responsibilities for while you are away to reduce the amount of calls you must return and tasks you must complete once you’re back in the office. Less work to return to means less overwhelm and stress.


Create a Holiday Break Folder and Email Rules

Set up a new folder within your email account named *Review Upon Return. Then, create an automatic rule to forward all incoming emails to that folder during your time off. The temptation to open emails in your inbox can be difficult to ignore. Eliminate the urge to read work emails while away by using this awesome trick.

Don’t Schedule Meetings the Day Before You Leave or the Day You Return

Meetings and appointments have a funny way of giving rise to new tasks to complete, projects to design and people to reach out to. The last thing you want is a mind full of new tasks demanding your attention right before departing. Use this day for catching up only. Close open loops on tasks and projects so you can leave with a clear head, t’s crossed and i’s dotted. Don’t schedule meetings for your first day back either. Use that day strictly for returning important emails and voicemails and catching up on current tasks and projects. Otherwise, you could be playing catch-up for weeks.

Turn on Your Out of Office Auto-Reply the Day Before You Leave

It is nearly impossible to reply to all the emails that flood your inbox right before you leave. Create an auto-reply the day before your real departure that notifies senders you are away to set the expectation that you will not reply to their email until your return. If you wait until the actual day you leave to turn the auto-reply on, you could find yourself responding to emails right up until the last

minute just so you can feel like you tied up loose ends and can now relax. This also eliminates ghosting people with no explanation as to why you have not responded, which could cause undue stress as well.

No matter how much you love running your business, all work and no play is harmful to the soul. Taking time off occasionally is key to improving your productivity, fostering renewed focus and decreasing burnout. Don’t

turn down joining in on holiday merriment for fear of the ensuing chaos upon your return to work. Enjoy some time off this holiday season knowing you have fully prepared yourself for a stress-free return to work. 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


insight : claudia clobes yudis

5 Tips for Curating Your Brand The skills needed to create a beautiful art exhibit are similar to those required to craft a strong brand message BY CLAUDIA CLOBES YUDIS

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e all know that your brand should have an identity and a voice that is cohesive and consistent across all your channels. Your clients hire you because they trust you and need your guidance, so make it easy for them to connect, engage and make an investment. It is more important now than ever to make your company shine so you are poised to weather the challenges our industry and the world are facing. When I was in college, I completed a museum curatorship program. I quickly discovered that many of the skills I learned in those classes can be adapted to any business. You and the products you offer should resonate on an emotional level with your client base and define their experience. You should also curate a product collection

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for your firm much like an art historian curates an art exhibition. This is a key step in creating a strong brand story and driving sales.

for you: products that were modern, mid to high end and fashionable. You don’t have to live in an urban center or in a loft to get the idea.

Define Your Brand Personality

Invest in a Great Website and Professional Photography

You can’t curate a collection if you don’t know who you are or which segment of the population you are targeting. Who is your client? Who are you? How can you best serve your clients? In my case, I decided on a brand identity before hiring professionals to design my logo and build my website. I wanted to serve the luxury home space and, more specifically, women and men between the ages of 40 and 65 who share a similar lifestyle and aesthetic to mine. I selected my company name, Urban Loft Window Treatments, to communicate that whether your style is traditional, transitional or contemporary, I was offering something

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An art collection is based on having beautiful things to show off. You need the same thing in a modern design business. That’s why this is nonnegotiable. Your website and virtually everything you do has to speak to your prospective client. I hired a graphic designer who was one of my previous clients. We shared a similar aesthetic, so I knew she would understand my goals and purpose. Then, I hired a web designer who only develops sites for interior designers, window treatment professionals and real estate stagers. Because her company messaging was so clear and curated, I knew I would be in good hands. I


chose my photographer because she created lifestyle looks in her work that resonated with me. I loved how her photography made me feel, and I connected to the people or products in the photos. Do you see a pattern here?

Align Your Company with Other Brands That Speak Your Language

Assembling an art exhibit or a collection takes a team. The curator needs help finding and acquiring the best pieces. They need someone to help them display the artwork beautifully and safely. In the case of a museum show, they need someone to help them spread the word about how great the exhibit will be. Small business owners need a team—and they need to curate it with care. As a window treatment professional, my goal was to provide services directly to consumers and to interior designers, architects and builders. I started networking and attending design events in my area. I made coffee dates with designers and other professionals I admired and felt were a good fit with my brand. I am a big believer in building relationships. No one likes a hard sell out of nowhere for no reason. People hire people they like, so building good, authentic relationships is key. You aren’t going to connect with everyone. It takes time. Organically, the designers who connected with me and my brand and needed the services I was offering started calling. I’m sure that before they made that call, they visited my website and social media channels to get a sense of who I was. This is why a polished website is so important. Think of your website as the heart of your business, much like we think of the kitchen as the heart of our home.

Marketing and Storytelling

An art collection or art exhibit has to tell a story. But no one will experience that story if they don’t know it exists. That’s why you have to tell your story—and tell it often and consistently—through good marketing. Back in the day, before the internet and social media, I co-owned a brick-and-mortar lifestyle boutique. Word of mouth, direct mail and print were our main marketing and advertising outlets. They all still play an important role, but today, Facebook and

Instagram have taken center stage and have become game changers. It’s like the sky opened up and out dropped this incredible gift. The speed in which you can reach your targeted client is mind-blowing. To get the most from social media, make each post count. For me, my brand is an extension of who I am. I make sure every post tells a story about what I like to do, where I like to travel and dine, where I like to shop—in other words, something about my brand. Your like-minded prospective clients will enjoy your posts and it will help them connect to you in a genuine way. Be yourself. Also, share all your collaborations with other design professionals on social media (with their permission). That creates a sense of community. Promoting and supporting one another creates an amazing buzz that I believe helps everyone grow together. “Collaboration Over Competition” is my motto.

Curate a Cohesive Collection

When I founded Urban Loft, I wanted to create a collection that was me, curated with products from different vendors that tell a very clear and cohesive story about Urban Loft. I am a boutique company, so offering a curated collection that clearly communicates my brand to my targeted niche is how I connect with my clients. What exactly is curating? It’s not just picking things. It’s the art of selecting with intention for an intended purpose. In the world of art exhibitions, one of the curator’s main roles is to develop a theme for an exhibition by selecting, organizing and presenting artworks. More importantly, the curator has to determine who the audience will be and how the selections and the exhibition as a whole will communicate the intended “story” or portray the perspective. For example, my client base falls into two pretty distinct categories: preppy modern traditional and modern bohemian, sort of like a California cool vibe. These styles each reflect parts of who I am, so I make it my business to research and tailor my “line” of products to fit into these two distinct categories. It has as much to do with sociology and demographics as it does with fabrics, colors and window treatment styles.

Each season, I decide what our “look” is going to be and then I focus on a few vendors. I buy tight and deep within their lines, which makes quoting and ordering easier—and means I don’t have to carry as much in my car on any given day. I sell tons of white and natural linens, so I develop options in all kinds of linen weights, weaves and price points. Woven wood romans are popular right now, so I search high and low for the best woven wood shades with the best operating mechanisms at the best price and quality. We all have our favorite go-to lines, of course, but mix in some independent lines and build a collection that is always evolving within the parameters you have set for your company. As designers, we are tastemakers and our clients rely on us to guide them. Every season, introduce new fabric collections that you curate from your favorite fabric houses. Try a private label program. Source unique shades from Europe and on-trend hardware options. This keeps things fresh, will engage your clients emotionally and will help drive your company’s image.

Tell your story by being mindful of everything that you offer through your company. It’s a very personal and instinctive exercise since each of us is unique in what we have to offer. You will connect with your target audience and your clients will trust you and follow your lead. V Claudia Clobes Yudis is the owner of the Philadelphia-area firm Urban Loft Window Treatments. A lover of art history with an eye for timeless and beautiful design, she is also a natural-born connector. Yudis is one of Window Fashion VISION’s Window Fashion Influencers. ClaudiaClobes.com Facebook: UrbanLoftWindowTreatments Twitter: UrbanLoftWT Instagram: UrbanLoftWT Pinterest: UrbanLoftWindowTreatments

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insight : kathryn dillon

Creating Safety, Managing Your Inner Dialogue During Crucial Conversations Remember these tactics to make difficult conversations with clients easier and more productive BY KATHRYN DILLON

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will never forget a comment from a client the day we delivered and installed drapery, shades, bedding, bed skirts and pillows for several rooms in her home. When we arrived, she said she could hardly sleep the night before because she was giddy with excitement. She said she felt like it was Christmas for her home.

However, before the drapes are fabricated or the mood board is presented to the client, there are numerous supporting tasks to be coordinated and completed. Our clients place a lot of trust in our ability to create and deliver quality products while, many times, helping them discover exactly what design style they prefer. As a business owner, having excellent communication skills is one of the keys to ensuring a positive and memorable experience for yourself as well as your clients and team.

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Even though we want every client to have a Christmas-morning experience, unfortunately, at times, this does not happen and how we respond is crucial. When conversations matter the most, many times we are caught by surprise and respond emotionally rather than effectively. Our adrenal glands kick in, activating the “fight or flight” reflex, and we naturally say or do things we would never say or do under normal circumstances. In “Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes Are High,” authors Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler define a crucial conversation as “a discussion between two or more people where the stakes are high, opinions vary and emotions run strong.” In stressful situations, we naturally tend to either withdraw and become quiet or become controlling and aggressive.

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The book discusses several different strategies for how to effectively communicate during these types of surprising and stressful situations. For the sake of brevity, I am going to discuss two of them: the need to create an atmosphere for safe, open communication and the need to manage our own internal dialogue.

Creating Safety

One of the most important foundations in creating safety is to assume both parties are working toward a common outcome in the conversation and care about the goals of the other party, not just their own. It is a good practice to examine your own motives by asking these questions honestly: • • •

What do I want for me? What do I want for the others involved? What do I want for the relationship?


Another key factor for creating safety is making sure the interactions remain respectful. When either party feels disrespected, the conversation will immediately change from its original purpose to defending dignity. A telltale sign that someone feels disrespected is their emotions turn from fear to anger. To counteract these feelings, look for ways to empathize with the other person. Take a moment to see their perspective and acknowledge their disappointment. Apologize for what you can and then work toward a solution that works for both parties.

Master Your Internal Dialogue

Remember the definition of a crucial conversation is “a discussion between two or more people where the stakes are high, opinions vary and emotions run strong.” An exchange occurs, we tell ourselves a story about that exchange and then we have an emotional response. This storytelling can occur in a split second before we realize the story has been told and we are dealing with the emotional response and exchange.

What exactly is a story or inner dialogue? A story is the intermediate step just after we observe what someone else has said or done where we add meaning and assign a motive to the action. We also add judgment. Is it good or bad? Fair or unfair? Then, based on these rapid thoughts and decisions, our emotions respond accordingly. The wonderful thing is since we are in

control of our internal dialogue and are the only ones telling our story, we can take back control of our emotions by changing our internal dialogue. Stories help us to interpret the facts and explain what we see and hear. They are theories that answer the who, what and how questions we ask when an interaction goes south. By slowing down and doing a bit of mental gymnastics, we can stop what we are doing and get in touch with the drivers behind our responses. Again, stop to ask yourself these three questions: • • •

What do I want for me? What do I want for the others involved? What do I want for the relationship?

In order to meet the demands of clients in a creative industry, learning to dialogue well under stress is important. Oftentimes, if we take the time to retrace troubling interactions, we will learn where the discussion went awry. It is worth it when we find a way to create an atmosphere of safety and learn to change our internal dialogue, because then we can do well in crucial conversations. V Kathryn Dillon owns and operates Kathryn Dillon Drapery & Design, LLC, a full-service window treatment and soft goods design and fabrication business based in Marietta, GA. Over the past 26 years, she has created lasting relationships with repeat clients and those that value attention to detail throughout the design and fabrication process. In addition, she travels to other workrooms to provide an extra set of hands or creates customized education to workrooms to fill a knowledge gap. Kathryn has been a local and national WCAA member since 2005 and she currently serves as the WCAA Virtual Chapter President. TheDraperyDesigner.com Facebook: Kathryn Dillon Drapery & Design Instagram: TheDraperyDesigner

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industry : soft spot for hardware

Photo courtesy of Kirsch Drapery Hardware

Photo courtesy of

Photos above and below courtesy of Orion Ornamental Iron

Photo courtesy of Kirsch Drapery Hardware

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Photo courtesy of JF Fabrics

Soft Spot for Hardware BY SOPHIA BENNETT

f Orion Ornamental Iron

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aving the right hardware can make or break a window covering project. But beyond just the physical hanging of window treatments, hardware can add elegance, convenience and uniqueness to a space. It’s no wonder that plenty of people have a soft spot for this category. Heading into the new year, we examine trending looks, products and materials.

Photo courtesy of Kirsch Drapery Hardware

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industry : soft spot for hardware

Simple and Refined

As is true of window treatments themselves, modern consumers seem to prefer simple hardware. “Smaller, more refined styles are trending,” says Sarah Frost, brand manager for Kirsch Drapery Hardware, a division of Turnils North America. “Generations across the board are looking for simpler designs and more neutral colors to complement their decor. Simple styles allow for more versatility.” Kirsch’s classic Designer Metals Collection continues to grow in popularity year after year, which reflects this desire. “Our clients seem to be leaning toward clean and simple,” says Larry Kaufman with Morgik Metal Designs. “The older, ornate wrought iron designs are not very popular right now.” The minimalist movement isn’t completely dominating the U.S. According to Lisa Nicholl, senior vice president of sales and marketing for JF Fabrics, the farmhouse, vintage and modern classic genres are pushing some people to consider more ornate, standout hardware made with less traditional materials such as acrylic rods mixed with metal or “aged” wood rods with postindustrial metal finials. And there are still some parts of the country where people insist on larger, more traditional rods and highly decorative finials. But in cities and with younger people, simple and streamlined is definitely in. “Our Italian Collection is very popular in urban and metro areas,” says Sunil Patel, CEO of Orion Ornamental Iron. “Younger populations like the clean, simplistic look for hardware. There is a trend toward transitional and contemporary.”

Photo courtesy of Orion Ornamental Iron

Rods Versus Tracks

In general, rods are becoming less popular as people move away from stationary panels and toward more modern looks. “It seems that traversing systems are what we are selling most often,” says Cali Cochran, national account manager with Forest Drapery Hardware. “The benefit to the traversing decorative metal rods is that you can have extremely long, heavy-duty rods but can still bypass though the brackets.” Track systems, too, are seeing much higher sales as more people request motorized window treatments. Rods are still selling, but when they are used, they tend to be smaller. “Our bestselling rod sizes are 1 inch, 1¼ inch and 1½ inch,” says Patel. “Note the smaller diameters than the traditional 1⅜inch and 2-inch diameter.” Rods are getting wider as windows grow in size, but they’re also getting smaller in diameter, says Glen Tyson, products division supervisor at Merrill Y. Landis. “I’m hearing customers really don’t like the look of a big bulky rod. They want to see as little as possible of the pole hardware.” To that end, the company has developed a side panel rod that staff also refer to as a floating panel rod. “It’s the greatest illusion in drapery side panels,” Tyson quips. “We make simple rods for just side panels that, when you hang pleated drapes, you don’t see any hardware. This is great because you don’t have to decide on any hardware that is going to distract from the beauty of your drapes. You only see the drapes. Hence, the appearance the panels are floating in midair.”

Photo courtesy of Morgik Metal Designs

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“Architectural influences are leading to new shapes in rods, rings and finials, including squares, thin H rails, rectangular and square rings, and cubist-shaped finials,” says Patel. “Round and square poles are popular for us.” Also selling well is the Modern Barn Rail Track. Inspired by sliding barn door hardware, the traversing mechanism sits on a rail pulley, allowing the rings to traverse with minimum effort.


Finials or French Returns

The move toward less ornate designs is reflected in finials too. “Our bestsellers are the simple finials and rods,” says Kaufman. “Our custom disc finials and balls are always popular.” Kirsch’s bestselling finials are the classic ball styles or simple shapes, according to Frost. Orion’s customers want crystal products, those with simple, clean shapes, and components with architecturally inspired designs. “Trending finials seem to be contemporary and simplistic. Many customers will go with an end cap, leaving a clean end,” says Cochran. “Another trend is replacing a finial with a French return. Everyone loves the French returns.” Thomas Berry, CEO of Helser Brothers, agrees. “More and more designers and consumers are opting out of finials altogether and gravitating toward beautiful French poles. Traversing French poles are one of the hardest items for us to keep on the shelves.” Aside from the look, consumers seem drawn to the ability to traverse around the bend and have the drapes fully cover the windows.

Photo courtesy of Kirsch Drapery Hardware

Ona Drapery’s ArtGlass finials

Bring on the Color!

While metal and clear acrylic may be the most popular hardware offerings, there are some fun options for people who want a pop of color with their hardware. Earlier this year, Kirsch launched the newest fascia for its Estate Traverse Rod collection (left). “Varia is a revolutionary eco-resin that offers a burst of color, but also incredible textures unlike anyone has seen before,” says Sarah Frost with Kirsch Drapery Hardware. “Kirsch selected a range of 12 options that bring a whole new set of possibilities to the traversing drapery rod world.” Ona Drapery offers colorful ArtGlass finials. “They are a fun and unique way to add a boho pop of color or make the design unique to the customer’s home,” says Karl S. Keishold with Ona Drapery. Ona Drapery’s ArtGlass “Purple Fan” finial

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industry : soft spot for hardware

Photo courtesy of Kirsch Drapery Hardware

Material Questions

When it comes to hardware, clearly acrylic is a winner. “Acrylic collections and crystal finials play to the whole transparency trend in consumer behavior,” says Patel. Consumers want clear answers to questions such as where products come from and how they’re made. That mindset has a literal and figurative impact on their design purchases. Acrylic fixtures with metal or metal-colored rings, finials and other components are a big hit right now. As acrylics become more common, watch for them to come with pieces painted with colorful metallics or lacquered with steel blues, reds and warm neutrals instead of the more traditional metal finishes. Metal hardware is also in high demand. “Decorative metal is our bestseller for decorative hardware,” says Cochran. “Darker finishes such as oil-rubbed bronze, graphite and black are flying off the shelves.” “We continue to see steady demand for our iron products,” says Karl S. Keishold, president of Ona Drapery. “Soft silver, warm gold, minimal gray, as well as the old standby, black, are all very popular right now.” Morgik is seeing the greatest demand for its black steel and hand-finished polished and tarnished brass hardware.

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Consumers can also “have it all” thanks to the continuing interest in mixed-media hardware sets. Patel lists a few popular examples: matte black poles with gold rings and finials; satin brass with chrome; wood poles with crystal finials and brass collars; or unfinished wood poles with blackened steel brackets and finials, which is a nod to the ongoing popularity of the industrial look. Wood hardware remains a steady or even slightly declining category. “More and more orders are coming in requesting metal, whereas wood used to be very popular,” says Tyson. When modern-day consumers request wood, Nicholl says they want material that is weathered and rustic rather than smooth and refined. In terms of color, “earthy browns and caramels are moving up the trend curve with French oak and blonde and washed woods,” says Patel. Interestingly, Berry notes that Helser Brothers hasn’t seen much of a difference between sales of metal and wood hardware. “I attribute that to the finishes we use because there are some wood finishes that you would be hard-pressed to tell it wasn’t metal, except for the warmth of the wood and the weight.” Products with flecks of other colors and materials are selling well, as well as those with earthen finishes. Photo courtesy of Libeco

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Tips for Using Custom Hardware Modern consumers want one-of-a-kind products that provide a personal touch to their homes. Many manufacturers can craft custom drapery hardware, and three provided us with a few tips for making the most of it. “Invest in sample chips. Color and finishes can translate differently with every substrate, so it is a great advantage to purchase sample chips in the color paint/ finish before placing any custom drapery hardware order. Also, it’s never a good idea to match the hardware with the wall color, as it is the contrast that shows the intricate details of the hardware itself, adding value to your investment.” —Lisa Nicholl, JF Fabrics “My tip to designers using custom drapery hardware is to address the details of the installation beforehand with the installer. Many window treatments can be heavy and may require special bracketry. It is important that the proper hardware is selected and measured so that brackets can be securely mounted. Using a stud finder beforehand to get an idea of the wall structure and where the studs are located is always a good idea to ensure the final installation goes off without a hitch and provides a beautiful result.” —Karl S. Keishold, Ona Drapery “I have a background in carpentry, and the best tip I can pass on from that profession is ‘measure twice, cut once,’ as my dad taught me. It’s important that designers measure twice before we make any cuts so that they don’t get to their install and have a rod that is too big or too small. Also, give as many extra measurements as possible. A lot of the time we get the length, splice points and maybe one or two other measurements. Knowing the return, projection, diameter, distance from X or between Y, weight of the drapes and anything else can help us make informed decisions for our customers.” —Thomas Berry, Helser Brothers

Want more tips for custom drapery hardware? Helser Brothers recently did a blog series on this topic. Find it at helserbrothers.com.

This room designed by ADJ Interiors features hardware by Orion Ornamental Iron.

Motorized Hardware

Motorization is the macro trend that runs through all of this. Companies continue to see high demand for motorized products, and they’re responding with new offerings on a regular basis. In general, brands are seeking to make motorized products more convenient for homeowners and designers and more affordable. “One feature customers love about the motorized rods is the touch-control feature,” says Cochran. “This feature allows you to still operate the draperies if the remote has been lost, as well as if the power goes out.” Forest’s newest motorized system is RMS, which has a recessed motorized system that allows for a clean, finished look by keeping the motorized rod flush with the ceiling. Its FMS basic track and

Dresden decorative metal collections are its bestselling products. “Kirsch launched Briza Motorization in 2019 and continued to improve the designer-friendly track in 2020,” says Frost. This plug-and-play-type product allows designers to install motorized drapery tracks in their clients’ homes very efficiently. They’re also easy for workrooms to work with because draperies are made the same way for the motorized rods as they are for standard cord-traversed drapery rods. Orion, which has a partnership with Somfy to sell its Glydea tracks, recently became the only U.S. source for the Movelite 35 motor. This product is meant to be highly affordable and is available with the track only or with Orion’s decorative fascias. V V ISION |

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industry : alpha tubular motors

Founder David Fezer (left) and North America Managing Director Joseph Astran (right) are key players at Alpha Tubular Motors.

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Success Despite Hardships Pushes Alpha to Be a `Company with a Soul’ BY SOPHIA BENNETT

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very company faces hardships, especially during its startup phase. Nine-year-old Alpha Tubular Motors is no exception. Founder David Fezer started working on the idea during the Great Recession, which was not an easy time to start a business. When the Australian firm was ready to take its products to the U.S. many years later, it struggled to gain a toehold in the crowded market. Fezer nearly died in an accident four years ago, which sapped his energy and made him reflect on he and his company’s place in the world. From all of this, Alpha has emerged more determined to have a positive impact on the world. In addition to being passionate about delivering the best products possible, the company is heavily involved in charitable giving, helping others have a better shot at succeeding in life and who need assistance finding shelter.

Fezer is a serial entrepreneur who has founded several window treatment manufacturing, distribution and retail companies in Australia. By 2008, he was keenly aware of the need for a competitively priced, high-quality tubular motor for interior and exterior roller blinds, shutters, awnings and similar products. It took a few years of searching, but he found a partner that could make the product he had in mind. He launched Alpha in 2011. The Alpha motor was a big hit in Australia. “We strive to stay on the cutting edge of technology in the tubular motor market,” says Joseph Astran, North America managing director. “We match that with exceptional services and support for our partners and end users.” But the company faced real setbacks when it tried to enter the American market in 2018. Most providers already had preferred vendors. They were accustomed to working with European firms and were skeptical about this new entry from Down Under. Astran describes the first year as a boot camp for his team, one that gave them sleepless nights and left them scarred and hungry for success. And, slowly, it did begin to arrive. The quality and affordability offered by Alpha made motorized window treatments available to many customers who wouldn’t have considered more expensive options. Once companies tried the products and saw how

well they worked, they were eager to add them to the product mix. Alpha was well on its way to gaining a firm footing on American soil. The company hasn’t been alone in facing hardships. Fezer was unintentionally poisoned in 2016. He came jarringly close to dying. “When he made it through, he felt convinced he had to do more for the world,” says Astran. “He always reminds his team that time is valuable and we can’t take anything with us when our time is done.” Alpha began a robust charitable giving program in 2018. It provided support to the Kirsten Jade Rescue Centre orphanage in Thailand when it was on the brink of financial collapse. It also supports Fusion Ministries in San Bernardino, CA, which helps people experiencing homelessness get back on their feet. “We are always on the lookout for those doing amazing work to care for the world,” says Astran. “Our goal is to be a company with a soul.” 2020 was a hard year for everyone, but Astran has found plenty to be optimistic about. People continue to provide rave reviews of the company’s products and services. “Our motor competes at every level,” he says. “We have a mix of interior and exterior products. You can have peace and quiet inside and have amazing strength outside for any project. Our smart-home automation continues to grow in offerings. We now have the ability to work with Alexa, Google, Siri, Control4 and Savant.” Alpha recently added a new obstacle detection motor and manual override electronic limit motor to its offerings. And Astran shares: “We are also bringing an Australian favorite, our drapery motor, to the U.S. in 2021!” He definitely sees home automation—not just motorizing treatments, but integrating them into a larger smart-home system— as the wave of the future. “Everyone wants to do one action and have all the blinds close, the lights turn to a preferred setting, the TV turns on and the doors lock,” he says. “We are at that point as

a market. It is vital to show that window furnishings are not a distant cousin, but an immediate family member who can optimize HVAC, security, aesthetics and so on. Alpha is excited for what is next and we intend to be a part of it.” V V ISION |

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industry : design triumphs & tribulations

Design Triumphs & Tribulations THE PROBLEM: Hanging Sheer Roman Shades in an Arched Window BY SOPHIA BENNETT

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. Anna Davis with Anna’s Custom Design in White House, TN, had a project that seemed simple on its face: Create self-lined roman shades for arched windows that looked into a courtyard. But the execution of this project proved so difficult that it took a team of people to come up with a way to craft and install the treatments. When Davis’s client first approached her, she requested sheer roman shades that would eliminate side gaps and provide total privacy. While the resulting shades were beautiful, the self-lined fabric had no body and provided no support between the rings that would raise and lower the shades on these relatively narrow windows. To counter that problem, Davis moved the side rings in 4 inches so they would fit better within the width of the woodwork. In the beginning, fiberglass ribs were floated between the layers above the rings. When that didn’t provide the body she needed, Davis pressed ⅜-inch Bortenfix tape from Döfix onto each rib and placed the ribs between the fabric layers above the rings, which helped hold the two sheer layers together. The next challenge was to come up with a lift system that would fit into the 1½-inch clearance of the window. Davis’s husband John, who is also her installer, planned to face-mount the shades using chipboard. The frame was made by outlining and matching the decorative woodwork around the window. The new piece fit just

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inside the woodwork so it was hidden from view in the house. Before the installation took place, the team mounted a Rollease Easy Spring Plus lift system directly onto the window’s woodwork using a metal track. Ceiling-mount brackets were used on the sides so the track would fit seamlessly into the window frame. They also added Velcro to the chipboard piece and window to help them stay connected during the install. The treatment was taken to the client’s home on an upside-down board shaped like a T. John and an assistant used a level to mark the window frame at the mullions to ensure the correct placement of the chipboard on each side of the window. This would make the treatment perfectly square and keep the fabric grain level. The shade was then attached to the chipboard arch. While one person held it, a second person worked on connecting the lift system. The arch had to be held out from the window in order to clip onto the metal brackets that were already on the window. Once the lift system was installed, the chipboard arch was then attached to the window frame. While this provided a functional solution for the shades, the lift system could be seen from the outside courtyard. The next challenge was to cover the hardware from outside view. Velcro was attached to the metal rail and a 5-inch rear cover was adhered to hide the chipboard piece. “This was a very challenging install that took planning from start to finish, but in the end had perfect results,” says Davis. The client was thrilled, and the shades looked and functioned perfectly. V


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inspiration : hot hues, cool colors

Hot Hues

Cool Colors

BY SOPHIA BENNETT

Designers, color consultants and other professionals share what’s in and what’s out for 2021

Plant-inspired greens

“Green has so many ranges. It can be more read as a neutral or really loud and bold. Either way, it makes such a beautiful statement in a room. Our 100 percent linen draperies in Agave really bring this crisp white room to life.” —Haley Weidenbaum, founder, Everhem, Los Angeles

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Photos by Mariana Orsi

High-contrast colorways “I often find my clients steering toward neutral/safe colors and tones. However, lately there has been a spike in demand for bold colors, especially black and white, as the two contrast significantly. Moderation is key—so an accent chair in black fabric, a black rug or even a luxurious black wallpaper can add endless character to any room.” —Luciana Fragali, owner, Design Solutions, Miami

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inspiration : hot hues, cool colors Room design by Het Wase Woonhuis. Photo by Claude Smekens

Warmer, richer tones

“Since up is now down and left is right, the one thing clients are reaching out for is the comfort of familiarity. The trend will be away from the long-lived icy and sterile gray palette. It will morph into one which is defined by the comfortable presence of natural materials. You will see gray replaced by its warmer cousins, taupe and dusty rose-brown. Inspiration will come from reference to stone, wood, brick and moss. Colors will not be high intensity but will be rich tones mimicking those found in nature. The strongest color you might see will be a dusty plum or red madder, but these will be quite muted. A low-contrast use of color, nothing jarring, will be the approach taken to decorating.” —Beverly Ferguson, ASID Allied Member, designer/principal, The Reflective Designer, Stow, MA

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Bring the outdoors in

“We are using a lot more green in our projects lately: emerald green, hunter green, sage green. With this new trend toward bringing the outdoors in by mixing natural elements in interior spaces, greenery and fabrics in any shade of green work so well. At New South Home, we are traditionally huge fans of any shade of blue, but green is our 2021 favorite!” —Melissa Lee, principal designer and CEO, New South Home, Charlotte, NC

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Photo by Laura Sumrak

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inspiration : hot hues, cool colors

Happy, modern hues

“The theme of this year’s ColorMix Forecast celebrates the ‘Rhythm of Color.’ It focuses on bringing balance after a tumultuous year. For many people, 2020 brought out a desire for creative expression. That was the top influence in our Tapestry palette. The happy and modern hues are meant to signal joy and layer together to tell a story through texture and pattern. Additional influences, such as security, reinvented classics and sensory exploration, can be found in standout, vibrant colors like Jaipur Pink SW 6577, Alexandrite SW 0060 and Perfect Periwinkle SW 9065.” —Sue Wadden, director of color marketing, Sherwin-Williams, Cleveland

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Photo courtesy of Sherwin-Williams


“With the world feeling more uncertain and tumultuous by the day, people are turning to vibrant shades pulled from nature to uplift and ground their homes. We’ll see a move toward brighter colors that make our homes feel happy. Blue’d Up is a spellbinding, violet-blue hue that pairs well with a variety of other colors and has an almost chameleonlike effect. It can sway the vibe from tranquil to cheery depending on the light and furniture in your space.” —Nicole Gibbons, founder, Clare, New York Room design and photograph by Camille Lai, House of Lais

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inspiration : hot hues, cool colors

Cozy country chic

“Italian Lab’s Fall 2021 Heritage theme romanticizes the rural for a comfortable, cozy aesthetic. Dreaming of our cabin in the woods as autumn arrives: long, unhurried walks on leafy paths; foraged foods to prepare at home; traditional tweeds patched and repaired; and brushed flannel throws in front of the fire. This craving for a visceral experience in a virtual world ushers in a new family of tactile textiles for home: nubby, slubby, boiled, brushed and bouclé. And everywhere botanical prints—loads of layered vintage florals, leafy repeats and photo-realistic nature.” —Nicki Gondell, principal and research lead, Trend House, New York

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Cottagecore

“Cottagecore is a design style inspired by nostalgia for a simpler, agrarian lifestyle. We have seen its growth during the COVID epidemic as so many people are quarantined in their homes. This style builds on farmhouse decor, with white as a foundation color and splashes of earthy neutrals and colors such as greens, tans and browns— anything you would see in nature, which is pretty colorful. In the last couple of months, we have frequently seen the word `cottage’ in our customer visions for their color consults. Homeowners are looking for serene, warm and comfortable decor since they are stuck at home.” —Michelle Marceny, founder, The Color Concierge, Denver

Get more of Gondell and Italian Lab’s color recommendations on the

Window Fashion VISION blog at wf-vision.com. V

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inspiration : digging into color DNA

Digging into Color DNA Lori Sawaya with The Land of Color describes how a high-tech device can make color selection easier for consumers—and more profitable for professionals BY SOPHIA BENNETT

Lori Sawaya’s Recommended Color Measurement Tools

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Color Muse or Spectro 1 Pro from Variable, Inc.

ColorReader from Datacolor

Nix CQ or Nix Pro 2 from Nix


F

or the average person, choosing and coordinating colors can be one of the most stressful parts of a home project. While designers have a better framework for understanding color, the process of translating that information to consumers can be time-consuming and frustrating.

But as with many things today, there’s a piece of technology designed to make that process easier. Hand-held color measuring devices—which employ the same technology paint stores use for color matching—are a powerful tool for anyone looking to provide better, faster service to their clients. They can also be a great resource for professionals looking for a more sophisticated, science-based method for navigating color in their own business. As the name implies, color measuring devices measure the color in nearly any object by reading its spectral reflectance curve. It sends that information to an app, which translates the data into what are called “notations.” The most commonly used notation is the one that identifies hue, value and chroma, or L*C*h (lightness, chroma and hue). Once the device has captured the color data values, the app searches a database of paint colors from major paint brands to find the closest match.

Ice Wine, for example. However, “it’s important to know there’s a lot more you can do with these devices than have the app scan a color and match paint colors,” says Sawaya. Users can use the device to determine important color characteristics like hue family and avoid the confusing visual gymnastics of trying to guess a color’s undertone. The device can be used for quality control by setting a color standard and measuring all products with that color to ensure they pass. The ability to provide these services and more gives designers and independent paint stores interested in adding color consulting to their business a good way to differentiate themselves from many of their competitors.

Lori Sawaya, owner of The Land of Color and creator of Camp Chroma, an online education program, has been teaching designers to use these devices since 2016. She emphasizes that they have their own light source, which means they can be used at any time of day or in any setting. They also measure color in the same way as the human eye, which means the color matches they identify align with how our vision works.

These high-tech tools can also save consultants a tremendous amount of time. “Getting out the fan decks and paint chips can be a lot of fun, but when you have 10 to 15 clients on your schedule, flipping through those fan decks isn’t as much fun,” says Sawaya. “Plus, every time you pull a paint chip, someone has to put it away. If you leave a paint chip with a client, someone has to reorder it. This technology is part of how we can streamline our services.”

Most individuals who have tried a color measuring device have used it to match a shade to a paint color. The app has access to data from many of the world’s top paint and color companies, including Pantone, Benjamin Moore, SherwinWilliams and Rodda. That makes it easy for a homeowner to tell if that purple curtain or bedspread they love is Concord Grape or

Even designers who don’t consider color consulting a major part of their business can benefit from using a color matching tool. That’s because they can help professionals work past consumers’ common misconceptions about picking and matching paint, fabric and other home products. One is the discussion about undertones, which is trendy topic on the

internet and social media but one that’s very misleading. “Undertones are subjective. It’s someone’s objective opinion of what a color looks like under a particular light source and in a certain context,” Sawaya says. “When you try to assign a static label to color, you’re going to get disagreement because color perception varies person to person and not everybody is using the same light source to evaluate the color. Undertones aren’t factual. These devices will tell you the factual color data.” Another common misconception is that the paint colors on a paint strip are all from the same color family. “Fan decks are a tool to organize color collections in one place, but they’re not strategically arranged to help you find colors that go together,” says Sawaya. “One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is they pick all colors from one strip, and then the harmony isn’t quite right. But when we can look at the color DNA and see how these colors technically relate, we can make better decisions.” As these cylindrical- or diamond-shaped pieces of tech get more affordable (prices range from $60 for entry-level devices to $300 for professional-grade ones), more consumers will bring them up during consultations. “One lady made the comment that there’s going to come a day when everyone has one of these devices in their junk drawer, like that tape measure they got at a home show,” says Sawaya. “If you’re out there designing and selling any product in the home space, chances are increasing that whoever you’re working with has heard of these devices or owns one.” It’s important to know what they are and how they work so you can answer questions about them. But beyond that, this small technology solution can provide big advantages to designers. “When you’re able to quantify color and digitize color, then you’re able to manage color, because you can’t manage it unless you measure it,” Sawaya says. As with science, the ability to gather information and make fact-based decisions can make all the difference. V

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inspiration : found at high point

Photo courtesy of Amity Home

Bringing the World Home

Photo by Melissa Galt

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Since travel is off the table, but our wanderlust hasn’t disappeared, we’re bringing treasures from afar into our homes: carpets from Morocco, vibrant textiles from India, basketry and horn lighting from Africa. We’re adding not just accents, but lifestyles from other cultures. The Nikki daybed from Artesia looks like a place to escape uncertainty and dream of past and future explorations.


Found at High Point: 2021 Trends

High Point Market is a great place to find new home products, but it’s also an ideal spot to identify larger trends. Here are three from this year’s fall market. An expanded version of this article is available at wf-vision.com. BY MELISSA GALT

Healthy Homes

With the pandemic has come an overwhelming desire to find safety at home, and that means a healthy home. Whether it’s about being allergen-free or using natural fibers, such as this 100 percent cotton bedding from Amity Home, many of today’s homeowners are on a mission to make their home a place of wellness. This also addresses the desire for sustainable furnishings that are created with minimal environmental impact.

New Priority for Outdoor Living

While you may not be traveling, you can create an outdoor oasis at home. Whether it’s a cozy balcony or spacious backyard patio with a kitchen and living space, we yearn for the peace the outdoors brings. Outdoor textiles, including rich chenilles and cozy loop fabrics, have come a long way in the last decade, and now the outside can look more and more like the indoors. With the wider availability of outdoor rugs, lighting, drapery, art and furniture (like these pieces from Summer Classics), our yards are the not-so-new design frontier.

Photo by Melissa Galt

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inspiration : 'tis the season Photos by Sandra Racz

’Tis the Season BY JOANNE LENART-WEARY I think we can all agree that 2020 has been crazy. You may be thinking, who would bother with holiday decorating this year? In fact, some have told me they are considering cutting way back on decorating and entertaining. My question is, why? Your gatherings might be smaller and the amount of food served might be less bountiful, but the bottom line is, we need the comfort of traditions and celebrating with those we love. Pockets of visual beauty make everything more special. For this article, I’ve focused on three ideas to get you in a holiday mood. One is my predictions for seasonal decorating trends. For those of you who are looking for new moneymaking ideas (and, really, who isn’t?), I have suggestions for working with clients to help them make their homes feel more special around the holidays. I also share ideas for selling seasonal products in your community.

Trends: vintage, all-natural, jewel tones 2020’s seasonal decorating trends revolve around creating spaces that make you feel nurtured and home—that Hallmark movie kind of home. Whether you love glam or farmhouse style, add some of these elements. Vintage traditional: Remember those ceramic Christmas trees your mom or grandma made in a ceramics class? They are back, along with other vintage elements like holiday china and classic Santas. Even if you like a more glamorous look, add some vintage elements for character and a remembrance of any year that wasn’t 2020. Nature inspired: In line with today’s overall decorating themes, expect to see many holiday decorating trends inspired by the outdoors and the use of natural materials. Jewel tones and deep values: Again, holiday decorating will mimic current design trends with the use of deep blues, greens, wines and teals.

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Get merry with The DSA’s seasonal decorating class The Decorating and Staging Academy offers a seasonal decorating class taught by Sandra Racz and Carol Bass. Get more details at the-dsa. com/seasonal-decorating.

Photos by Carol Bass

Help clients with seasonal decorating The last quarter of a year allows you many opportunities to generate income. You may be surprised how many of your clients would also love to take advantage of your talent and expertise for special events and seasonal decorating. If you are reading this article soon after it was published, it is not too late to start offering seasonal decorating services. Begin right now by sharing tips and tricks online to establish yourself as an expert. Normally, I would suggest you do some holiday decorating seminars around your city. This year, turn to YouTube or Facebook or Instagram Live. Turn on your phone, hit record and make a one- to three-minute video that educates and entertains. Demonstrate how to make a bow, set a beautiful table, craft a wreath or create a fabric ornament. Be sure to mention your services and that you have openings for a few clients in every video. Once you get paying clients, use the same pricing model you use in your business. Your time is your time. Then follow these steps to provide them with excellent service and great results.

Establish the client’s seasonal decorating style: Most people will fall into one of these categories: •

The Traditionalist: One who re-creates the same thing every year, and every item they use has a story.

The Transitionalist: Starts the process with a core concept for autumn and then adds and deletes to transition to the next holiday.

The Minimalist: Less is more. This person often likes nontraditional color palettes.

The Maximalist: If there is a surface, they want it decorated. They love the look of mixing and matching patterns and colors.

Pick the preferred color palette: Don’t worry about matching the existing color story. You can coordinate, complement or walk a color path they love but might not want to live with year-round. Be sure to repeat the color story in multiple places and at multiple heights.

HOT TIP: Choose one key metallic to use throughout for continuity.

Make it personal: What does your client love or do for a living that you can spin? As an example for all the textile-loving people reading this article, make your own ornaments by mixing and matching all those beautiful scraps from your workroom. Use things in different ways: A stairway garland can be used low instead of high for an interesting twist. Something as simple as a round Christmas ornament can become a bud vase by gluing ribbons to form a cradle around the ornament. Remove the top, then add some water and a touch of bleach. Now add long-lasting miniature carnations and hang the ball from the tree, chandeliers or door frames. This is the time to get creative and have fun. Help them create small gifts for guests: One year, I rolled up message scrolls made with parchment paper. I burned the edges; tied them with ribbon that was color coded to indicate children, male and female; and hung them on a tree. My guests were encouraged to choose one when they came through the door. They were redeemable for things like a home-cooked meal, movie tickets, a night of babysitting and even simple hugs. Everyone likes to give and get gifts around the holidays. This will help your clients create celebrations that are memorable in a very positive way. V ISION |

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inspiration : 'tis the season

Photos courtesy of Frontgate.

Trade in holiday products Depending on where you live, Mother Nature delivers a cornucopia of color opportunities from September to December. Re-creating those beautiful color stories inside gets easier every year with the wealth of products at your fingertips. If you’re looking for another new source of income, consider selling season products locally or through your website. Here are a few of my favorite seasonal wholesale vendors:

Want more on holiday color and decorating trends? We interviewed experts from Pindler and Frontgate to get their thoughts about what Americans will be clamoring for this year. Get their perspectives on the Window Fashion VISION blog at wf-vision.com.

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A&B Floral, abfloralonline.com

Bethany Lowe Designs Inc., bethanylowe.com

Creative Co-op, creativecoop.com

K & K Interiors, kkinteriors.com

Katherine’s Collection, katherinescollection.com

RAZ Imports, razimports.com

Once you have accounts set up with these or other trade-only vendors, do some quick ordering and set up an online pop-up shop using Facebook or Instagram Live. Do not make the process complicated; do it QVC style. Show a product, quote the price and pop up a payment link online. Limited quantities will encourage people to buy. If you need extra helpers, use a temp agency or reach out to your peers and see if they might like to collaborate with you. Don’t have time to launch this service this year? January is a key month for the unveiling of the next year’s trends. Consider selling seasonal products for future holidays, including Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. V


Welcome to our newly-certified professionals! I NS TA L L ATI ON Chris Branam, Install Services, LLC

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Product Showcase 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

Tuscany II, by Wilson Fabrics, features a crosshatch 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. wilsonfabrics.com

The Modern Barn Rail Track marries function and fashion that complements any décor. The solid flat iron 1-1/2” track accommodates hand drawn one way or split draw pinch pleat draperies up to 18 feet wide. Rectangular forged “C” rings seamlessly slide over concealed wall mounted brackets. The track is available in 35 hand crafted finishes or specialty chrome and nickel metal plating. sales@ironartbyorion.com | www.ironartbyorion.com 877.476.6278

Surewin – Quality components at competitive pricing from our Florida warehouse. Custom sourcing available. Plastic bead chain in rolls or continuous loops; numerous colors in all lengths, nickel plated and stainless chain in rolls and continuous loops in all lengths, stop balls, connectors, safety devices, c-clips, alligator clips, tassels, lift cord, vertical components, cord locks, and the easy-to-fabricate, lowprofile Sure-Lift® Roman Headrail System for shades up to 50 lbs. Get our new catalog! Contact: Surewin@optonline.net, tel: 239/362-3342, fax: 239/362-1383

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Installation Training & Business Coaching

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In Our Next Issue… The January + February issue of Window Fashion VISION will focus on sustainability. We’ll look at UV window products and what designers and manufacturers are doing to green their businesses. What legal issues do window treatment companies need to consider in 2021? Our new business and finance column will provide details about what to watch for in the coming year. And don’t miss our new motorization column by O’D McKewan, motorization instructor for the Window Fashion Certified Professional program. We will also take a look at best practices for designing nurseries and children’s rooms (like this one from Marni Sugerman) and the latest trends in wallcoverings.

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