New YEAR - New BUSINESS
the workroom miracle SILICONE SPRAY
NAILED IT! reuse your edge protectors
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make your INSTALLERS happy
I love the start of a new year. Usually, mine begins after a week of holiday celebrations, getting some rest, cleaning out and organizing as well as planning. So the new year feels like a fresh start (almost like that going back to school feeling as a child!)
With the new year, new beginnings, fresh start I always ask myself - who do I want to be this year? What does Scarlet Thread Consulting want to be this year? What impact do I want to make in the world and my industry?
These questions lead me to work with intentionality. Not sure if I just made that word up or not - but it means to be intentional with all things. I am striving in 2018 to be intentional in my teaching, in my relationships that are business and personal, intentional in my conversations and time spent with others, intentional in financial management, intentional in marketing.
Why so much intention? This is because I choose to be in control (as much as I can) of my life and business. We have choices all day every day - and being thoughtful and intentional in my selections allows me to be closer to the life and business I desire. Things will go wrong - let me say that again - things will go wrong even with the best of intentions. But when they do I can have confidence that I thought about and made the best decision I could at that point. I chose and continue to choose to own my decisions and the resulting outcomes.
For me, this is freeing. I don't feel like a victim. I feel like a victor. Errors, mishaps, mistakes, failures - they all work to teach me a lesson, and because I thought about what I was doing, I can learn from them. Even with skinned knees and bloody palms from the fall, I can decide to try again.
Join me this year in being intentional about your business, your success, your choices, your profits. I promise it will be more empowering than you can imagine!
Start your business off right in2018 with these three tips
Review your WHY. Take time to review why you do what you do. Recommit to it and share it with your team. Print your why and keep it in front of you.
Make a financial plan for the year. Set clear targets for income, profit, expenses, cogs. Commit to monitoring your goals each month and adjusting as needed.
Create 1-2 BIG goals for the year and put all of your resources towards making these happen. There is no problem with having additional small goals, but having only 1-2 big ones a year with full buy-in from you and your staff, will see better success. Your focus is key.
Tell someone what you have committed to do and have them hold you accountable. Your success rate goes up astronomically when you do this.
Do you have a WORD that means a lot to you that is staying top of mind this year? If so, put it on my Facebook page. I would love to hear about it.
Michele is the owner of The Scarlet Thread, LLC and is a strategic business coach focusing on profitability for her clients. She is the past president of the national WCAA and a member of the Atlanta and Virtual chapters of WCAA. Michele is also a member of WFCP, Design Collective, and Designers’ Workroom Council. Michele is fiercely committed to guiding creative business owners in the understanding of complex business concepts and processes in a simplified way. She strives to help them be profitable which allows for a healthier work-life balance.
From February 19th -22nd, I will be at the Custom Workroom Technical Center in Tryon, NC, teaching Pricing Without Emotion and Create Your Brand and Engage Your Tribe. Click here to learn more.
On March 27th, I will be teaching Flat Fees That Work at IWCE in Tampa, FL. Make sure you register to attend. There will be a lot of great educational opportunities as well as an exciting vendor hall to meet new vendors and see new product offerings. Click here to register.
New Year - New Business
Photo by Martins Zemlickis on Unsplash
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M'Fay Fabrication Support at the Library
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Join the Curtain & Soft Furnishings Resource Library as a free-DIY or PRO member for 24/7 access to the M'Fay Pattern Support Forum. Post your questions and search related topics. From yardage calculation to board mounting techniques, you will be invited to learn and share sewing techniques to help you complete your M'Fay projects.
Learn how döfix can help you make the perfect waves. Beth Hodges, döfix educator, shows you how fusible döfix Flexiwave will simplify your next ripplefold drapery project. Purchase at www.dofix.com
Beth Hodges Soft Furnishings offers wholesale custom window treatments to discriminating interior designers across the country. Our twenty-five years of experience ensures that each window treatment that we fabricate is made to the highest of industry standards. We take great care to engineer every item that we produce in order to achieve the most beautiful and functional soft furnishings available in the market anywhere in the world.
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Custom Workroom Technical Center (AKA Workroom Tech) provides professional training courses led by experienced industry professionals. Visit www.WorkroomTech.com for the complete class schedule, and to plan your 2018 education investment.
Workroom Tech is owned and operated by Susan Woodcock and Rodger Walker, owners of Home Dec Gal and producers of Custom Workroom Conference. Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Tryon, NC, Workroom Tech is at the center of a charming town, within easy walking distance of restaurants, shops and galleries. Contact Susan Woodcock for more information at 828-859-2854 or Susan@WorkroomTech.com.
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Chat with Penny on the Library Forum
Wednesdays from 2-4pm EST
That's 7-9pm in the UK!
Would you like to know how to make fabulous soft furnishings using traditional English Hand-Sewing techniques?
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Just ask Penny over the pond!
We couldn't be more thrilled with the latest addition for PRO-level members of the Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library.
Denton Drapes is a custom workroom located in Bedfordshire, England in the United Kingdom who specialise in creating luxurious bespoke curtains, blinds and soft furnishings designed and handsewn to the highest quality. Penny Bruce established the business in 1998 and has grown it into a highly regarded industry brand serving the luxury residential market. Penny is a Director and Fellow of the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers and is a champion of traditional hand sewing techniques providing inspiration and advice to workroom professionals through hands-on training and on social media. Penny is a contributing partner of the Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library.
over the pond
Beth Dober Runkel
Beth Dober Runkel
Beth began Empire Interiors in 2012 and is located in Union, KY. Empire Interiors is a full service workroom for retail and wholesale as well as offering various hard treatment solutions.She has a true passion to sew and loves new challenges.When not constructing window treatments, she is spending time with her husband and two kids who all know more about window treatments than they care to admit.
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I have been noticing a huge uptick in customers and designers requesting cornices lately, which is great because I really like making them. Cornices can be simple or fancy but adding nail heads gives them just the right amount of “bling.”
I make all of my cornices out of Firmaflex from Rowley Company. It keeps the cornice nice and easy and LIGHT for my weak arms to install. The only problem is Firmaflex is 3/8 inch thick; nail heads tend to have a 5/8 inch shaft. . . Enter edge protectors!
I get a ton of stuff sent to me and they all have these dense cardboard things on the edges and corners. My hoarding senses started to tingle and I started saving those off of every box I received. Instead of snipping each and every nail head down, I strip the edge protectors down with my table saw and staple those to the back of the Firmaflex.
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It makes just the bottom two inches a little thicker causing the nail heads to not stick out and creates a great edge that gives you a guideline of how much fabric to wrap around the back. Then cover the back with lining and gimp to hide all the ugly unfinished edges. I also think it is way easier to put nail heads into Firmaflex and get them in a straight line. I sometimes use a one inch wide aluminum bar (1/16 in thick) to get those in a straight line and push them in using just my hands.Then take out the bar and finish whacking them in with my rubber hammer. Nothing sticking out in the back, all a straight line in the front, light weight. Easy Peasy!
at the Library
The Library presents Cynthia Bleskachek of The Funky Little Chair in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Tuesday, January 16th at noon EST
PRO-level members check your inbox for the webinar invite.
This inaugural Library CIRCLE TIME broadcast is inspired by the Neil Gaiman quote to the right.
Cynthia talks about finding the inherent value in your own story. Join us for a discussion on finding your unique voice and using it to create a brand that is wonderfully and authentically YOU!
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Click on the card above to join the Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library as a PRO and view the live and recorded CIRCLE TIME broadcasts.
Cynthia Bleskachek has been doing upholstery professionally since 2001 – before that, she grew up making buttons and pulling staples in her mom’s home upholstery shop. Her journey has cultivated a deep love, and appreciation for the character, and quality of older furniture – in a market overwhelmed by disposable options, re-upholstery provides a viable alternative.
The Funky Little Chair began as a Facebook blog of sorts, sharing bits of education from whatever project was on the “horses” in the upholstery shop. Now in St. Paul, MN, Cynthia provides upholstery services, as well as hands-on education for students of every level.
Cynthia is an instructor at Workroom Tech in Tryon, NC and has an online class available through Craftsy.com, and was a featured presenter at the 2015 Minneapolis Junk Bonanza, with TV appearances on Kare 11 and Fox 9. She is a member of the Professional Upholstery Association of Minnesota and currently serves as chair of their education committee.
I love sharing this craft!
The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.
Sometimes it's the small details that make a big difference.
ROSE MARY LEBLANC
MAKE YOUR INSTALLERS HAPPY!
Sometimes it’s the small details that make a big difference. When an installer picked up panels recently, I reminded him that I always write specific information on the inside of the return up at the top. I write the side mark, room, finished length, finished width and return size. The installer was pleasantly surprised and told me that he wished every workroom did that. He said that so many times the information is lost at install. When he said that, a light bulb went off and I thought that this is a good idea to share.
Sometimes I write the information in pencil and sometimes I use a Frixon marker because the Frixon ink vanishes when it is ironed.
I first started doing this several years ago when I fabricated 20 plus pairs of panels all in slubby linen and most were brown. It was an easy way for me to keep track of the panels as I completed each pair. At install it really worked well as panels were brought into the house, packaging pulled off and tags discarded.
Rose Mary LeBlanc
Rose Mary is originally from Louisiana where she began her workroom business in 1992 fabricating slipcovers, window treatments, bedding, pillows and cushions. In 2006 she moved to Charlotte NC where she continued her business, and became active in the WCAA Charlotte Chapter. In 2017 she and Amanda Deal Smith launched Seamless Workroom LLC, an efficiency workroom management system for designers, workrooms and installers.
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My Designer Concierge understands that operating a small business is challenging and we are here to help. Be a part of our buying group with access to over 100 companies, many with discounts. Additionally, we offer several business services such as premium digital newsletters, website set up and maintenance and social media assessment and management to help you cultivate and increase your client base. Email us!
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Services for Workrooms
Ann K. Johnson owns Sew Easy Windows LLC, a wholesale workroom in Ohio, established in 1992. She is the author of The Professional Workroom Handbook of Swags I & II, and publisher of Kitty Stein's Price Your Work With Confidence! Ann offers private workroom training, seminars, and hands-on classes in workroom fabrication, pattern drafting, efficiency and pricing. Her topics are always packed with time saving tips and techniques, delivered in a relaxed and light-hearted style. Find information at Sew Easy Windows. Ann is an instructor for The Workroom Channel and Workroom Tech, a webinar instructor for WCAA & The Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library, and a speaker for CWC. She is a member of the Greater Cleveland Drapery Professionals and WCAA.
The Workroom Miracle-
by Ann K. Johnson
For years I had a can of dry Silicone spray from Rowley Company in my workroom. I knew it was used to improve the function of traversing rods. Sometimes I’d use it to lubricate the top of a wood rod so rings would glide easier. But or the most part, the can sit unused under my worktable.
Then one year at a weekend event with colleagues, I learned that misting a metallic thread cone with silicone spray enabled the thread to pass through the machine tension disks and needle smoothly and without breaking. I began to look at silicone spray in a new light. Since that time, I have discovered so many more uses for silicone spray in my workroom.
All rods. It can be used to clean out old traverse rods. Wet a rag and wipe them down. Spray inside the rod where the carriers slide. Wipe the top of a decorative rod to encourage rings to slide easier.
Drapery pins. If loading a pin setter, lightly mist the rack of pins before inserting. If hand setting drapery pins, lightly mist them in the box.
Cushions. Mist the inside of a cushion cover and the outside of the batting-covered foam to make inserting the foam into the cover much easier.
Hand sewing. Mist the hand needle as often as necessary to keep it lubricated as it passes through the fabrics. This is especially helpful when tacking thick pleats or working with fabric that is hard to pass a needle or pin through. For pleated panels, open the pleat and mist the fabric on the inside of the pleat before tacking by hand or with a machine.
Grommets and press. The larger grommets tend to stick to the press after setting. Mist the grommets and the press to aid in removing the grommet from the press.
Spray adhesives. When using scissors to cut batting that has been sprayed with an adhesive, mist the scissors to easily wipe away the sticky glue and batting.
Thread. If your thread is breaking too often, and you have adjusted the tension and ruled out a bad needle or rough spots on the machine foot, feed dogs or throat plate, mist the cone of thread. It will lubricate older thread that may be drying out. The large plastic domed cones for monofilament thread have a piece of foam in the top that the thread passes through. The foam comes saturated with silicone spray, simply refresh that foam with spray periodically.
Foam saw or electric knife. We purchased an inexpensive foam saw. It tends to get a bit gummed up. Lightly mist the blade and the foam, and it cuts like butter.
Don’t use it on items that need friction or need to be tight. For instance, do not spray the belt on your machine if it is squeaking, or spray the snaps on ripple fold carriers.
WARNING: Silicone spray will dissolve nail polish. If hand sewing or spraying near fingers with nail polish, be very wary of the fact that silicone spray can dissolve nail polish. If by chance, a smear of nail polish gets on the fabric, a rag saturated with silicone spray can be used to gently wipe away the polish.
NOTE: The silicone spray sold by Rowley Company and other drapery supply companies is dry silicone. It is considered safe for fabrics. We have not found that it stains fabrics, but we do a test and are careful when using with fabrics. Do NOT use the wet silicone spray you might find at a DIY store.
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We now keep three cans in the workroom - one in each room - at all times. I use it around the house when I need to lubricate something. If it sticks, drags or squeaks, we mist it with silicone spray. It is truly the miracle tool of any workroom.
How will you use it in your workroom?
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Anderson Fabric Workroom is a leader among COM CUSTOM WORKROOMS. We fabricate bedding, draperies, top treatments, shades, swags & cascades, pillows, cushions and much more! With over 35 years in the industry, we pride ourselves by not limiting your creativity.
Ordering, estimating, information on hardware, Graber blinds, and our complete retail labor catalog are all conveniently available on our website.
Contact us today for more information at 800-328-1791 or email@example.com
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Zona began her business in 1981 after her family moved to the Des Moines metro area from her home town. Before moving to Des Moines she worked in a furniture store workroom for nine months, where she learned how to make custom pleated drapes. A self-taught pattern drafter, Zona later added upholstery and slipcovers to her repertoire.
Her business has evolved over the years, starting out to the trade only, then retail, now back to the trade again. She has had up to three employees working with her and also her husband as an installer, but now it’s just her, which she prefers. Zona’s Drapery House is an award winning workroom. Zona has taught at many of the conferences available for workrooms. She was an instructor at the Custom Home Academy. She is a member of WCAA and served on the board.
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For 110 years, Kirsch has set the standard for style and design in drapery hardware, combining colors and materials to highlight and accentuate any window. The new Buckingham® Collection builds on this tradition and expands the offering to give designers, decorators, and consumers even more choices to make the perfect complement to their soft treatments.
New program highlights include:
New 1 3/8” Finials – 16 new finials at a smaller diameter to better fit medium-sized windows.
Three new 1 3/8” end caps – additional choices for finishing poles in corners or tight spaces.
Two new finishes – Ash and Cottage White. Ash brings out the finer points of the finial with a beautiful taupe glaze, while Cottage White has a gorgeous gray wash to highlight the details in each style. These new colors are available in all Buckingham® products.
Three new 3” finials – new selections in our largest size.
·Three new 3” end caps – to give more options in this very popular style.
The Buckingham® Collection now has a complete line of 1 3/8”, 2”, and 3” finials and end caps. Each size comes with coordinating poles, rings, brackets and accessories. As you may know, the Buckingham® Collection is hand crafted in High Point, North Carolina. Our launch kit pays homage to this heritage as we highlight the effort of American workers to imagine, design, and develop the next generation of this collection. The process starts with skilled professionals hand carving wood models for each individual part. When models are complete and approved, the mold is created and first articles are made. Then the process of hand finishing begins to get the perfect combination of colors to accentuate the details in each piece. We hope you enjoy the new additions to The Buckingham® Collection from Kirsch!
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The Drapery & Design Digital Digest is a collaborative effort between the Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library and My Designer Concierge. Together, our mission is to showcase the outstanding work of custom home furnishings professionals, spotlight quality products, and share educational resources.
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January 2018 photo credits
Cynthia Bleskachek, Funky Little Chair (cover)
Rose Mary LeBlanc, Seamless Workroom,
Beth Dober Runkel, Empire Interiors
Liz Kelly, The Workroom Channel
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