"There's nothing typical
about Artisan Weekend!"
it's SHOW time
what your KIDS think of your BIZ
best COUNTERTOPS in the market
real workroom TOUR: jm custom creations
getting comfortable with OVERSIZE
window fashion ARTISAN project
five tips for TRAVELING
busFIRST AID in the workroom
The Best Countertops in the Market Today
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As a designer, I am often asked about the durability and pricing of different countertop products. While lifestyles and tolerance for upkeep differ for everyone, I put together quick and concise guide listing the average pricing as well as pros and cons of some of the most popular types of countertops on the market today. I hope you find this useful for your next project.
Price range $85- $150 per sq/ft.
Manmade product made up of quartz, glass, and porcelain held together by the physics of heat and pressure.
Pros: High UV and ice and thawing resistance (great for indoor or outdoor applications); Highly scratch resistant; Stain resistant; Fire and heat resistant (you can place hot pans on it with no issues); Scratch-resistant (you can use as a flooring product without scratching); Virtually no water absorption.
Cons: A newer product to the market; therefore, there are not a lot of colors and patterns from which to choose.
(Engineered stone. DuPont Zodiac, LG Viatera, Cambria, Hanstone, Silestone)
Price range $75-$125 per sq/ft.
Manmade product made up of 93% quartz stone particles mixed with resin.
Pros: Easy care, requires less maintenance than natural stone; Non-porous/Stain resistant; Bacteria resistant; No sealing required; Won’t chip or crack under most circumstances.
Cons: Cannot place hot pots directly on the surface; Seams may be noticeable with lighter colors; Lighter colors can discolor in direct sunlight over time.
(Natural stone. Polished or honed).
Price range $60-$100 per sq/ft.
Made from a naturally occurring composite of quartz, mica, and feldspar.
Pros: Resistant to scratches; Resistant to stains if sealer applied regularly.
Cons: Need to be treated with a sealer on a regular basis; Difficult to repair chips; Variations in colors and patterns from slab to slab.
(Formica, Nevamar, and Wilsonart).
Price range $10-$40 per sq/ft.
Made up of several layers of Kraft paper covered by a resin applied with high heat and pressure, impregnated with almost infinite colors and patterns.
Pros: Does not need any special sealers or cleaners and is stain resistant.
Cons: This product cracks, scratches, and scotches quite easily.
Price range $45-$100 per sq/ft.
Made up of hardwoods like maple or oak.
Pros: Green, sustainable option; Can be sanded and resealed to renew finish.
Cons: Can be damaged by water and stains over time; Scratches must be oiled and sealed to prevent further damage; Needs to be resealed about every six months to prevent mold and bacteria growth.
Price range $70-$150 per sq/ft.
A naturally occurring stone.
Pros: Waterproof. Heatproof.
Cons: Constant maintenance; Porous/Easily stains; Can scratch; May need resealing every few years; Chips easily.
(stainless steel, zinc, and copper)
Price range $65-$150 per sq/ft., depending on the metal.
Pros: Heat resistant; Seamless.
Cons: Noisy; Can dent.
(recycled from beer bottles, traffic lights, and windshields)
Price range from $60-$160 per sq/ft.
Crushed glass can be set in either acrylic or cement.
Pros: Chip-resistant; Scratch resistant; Stain resistant; Burn resistant; Non-porous (no sealing required); Does not fade over time.
Cons: Corners are weak; Acidic foods can wear away the acrylic if not wiped up quickly.
Price range from $100-$150 per sq/ft.
Pros: Poured onsite and can be molded to unusual shapes; Heat resistant; Scratch resistant.
Cons: Can crack; Porous but can be sealed; Requires regular resealing.
Price range from $80-$100 per sq/ft.
Made from a gray or black stone that has a “soapy” feel.
Pros: Somewhat stain resistant.
Cons: Requires regular maintenance with mineral oil; Can crack/chip; May darken over time.
Price range from $40-$100 per sq/ft. (Avonite, Corian, and Swanstone).
A fusion of acrylics, polyester resins, and marble dust crafted to look like natural stone.
Pros: Seamless; Stain resistant; Non-porous; Does not need to be sealed; Scratches can be easily sanded out
Cons: Cannot withstand heat; Stains easily; Scratches easily
Jill Ragan Scully
Working as an interior designer, drapery workroom, and upholsterer for over 20 years, Jill has a strong passion for the soft furnishings industry. This diverse skill set is apparent in each room she designs for her clients. Recognizing a need for increased accessibility to a wider variety of products and services for her colleagues, Jill recently founded My Designer Concierge, a virtual design showroom and social media management company to the trade.
Real Workroom Tour:
JM Custom Creations
This Real Workroom tour features Jayna Manzelli, owner of JM Custom Creations, and her beautiful barn workroom in Bedford, Massachusetts. Jayna explains her processes beginning in the cozy, downstairs showroom all the way through fabrication and packaging in the spacious, upstairs work area. It’s great to have high ceilings in a workroom - wait until you see Jayna’s time-saving method of pre-hanging drapery panels before they’re hemmed!
Jayna Manzelli is the owner of JM Custom Creations LLC, a drapery and soft goods fabrication workroom serving designers and their clients throughout the Boston area and beyond. A graduate of Brandeis University with a BS in Biology, Jayna pursued a career in Biopharmaceuticals as a Quality Control professional. Jayna leveraged her business skills to form JMCC in 2004.
Staying abreast of the latest in fabrication techniques, technology, and regulations in the window treatment industry, Jayna designed and built her 1400 square foot workroom for peak efficiency for her staff and her clients. Jayna regularly hosts workroom seminars in her workroom and has presented many educational workshops herself. A bit of a mechanical tinkerer, Jayna is an avid collector of sewing machines with nine machines in her workroom. An active member of WCAA since 2010, Jayna has been President of the Eastern MA Chapter since January 2018.
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Custom Sheer Program with NEW Sample Swatch Set
Our MYL Custom Sheer program features ten stock 118” wide Batistes & Voiles and, includes the cost of the Sheer Fabric + Labor.
Many styles are offered in this easy-to-price program including Pinch Pleat, Rod Pocket, Tack Top Pleat, Cartridge Pleat, Ripplefold, Sunburst, and others. Please view the program on our website under Workroom-Custom Sheers for pricing (after log-in) or in your Custom Classics binder.
Pictured is our moving workroom table that allows the sewing machine to stay stationary while the clamped-down fabric is kept stable on the table allowing the operator to maintain control of the fabric while the table guides the fabric effortlessly through the machine!
Our NEW 8”x8” sample deck is available for PRE-ORDER and will make it easier than ever to make fabric selections with ten neutral colorways. These fabrics are always in stock at our workroom making specifying sheers quick and easy.
NEW Sample Swatch Set – Item #MS $12
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In 2015, my husband Rodger and I embarked on a professional path filled with ambitious goals, a lot of excitement, and for our small business a considerable amount of risk. The result – Custom Workroom Conference! Now in our third year, CWC is stronger than ever because of the support of business owners and suppliers who value quality education, and the opportunity to build long-term relationships.
One of the reasons we decided to produce an industry conference is my own experience as a workroom owner and educator and the benefits that I gained by attending industry events throughout my career. I attended my very first event in 2002, and in the years since I have participated as an attendee, instructor, and exhibitor. I know there is no better way to grow, learn, and to become connected and inspired.
Attending a large trade show can be intimidating, especially if you are starting out, or if you have never participated in an industry event before. You may have never traveled alone, or you may feel nervous about meeting new people. You might not believe that your small business will be valued and respected by other attendees and vendors you meet. I understand those fears because I felt the same way many years ago! But the reality is that if you can find the courage to go – you will return home with more confidence, helpful resources and business support, new friends and a feeling of value and worth.
The following article by Kitty Stein (next page) has excellent tips for making the most of trade shows and educational events. If you follow her advice, you will be prepared and organized, and have a better experience.
Yes, trade shows are about building your business, seeing tools and methods that will make you more efficient and profitable, and keeping up with the latest trends, but it’s also about building relationships, mentoring new people, meeting like-minded entrepreneurs and being part of a community. The experience can be life changing!
I look forward to seeing you at CWC 2018! If you have any questions after reading Kitty’s article about attending an industry event – or anything else about CWC – join the Custom Workroom Conference & Marketplace conversation at the Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library.
Making the Most of an Industry Event
by Susan Woodcock
Register today! Visit the Custom Workroom Conference website for more information, and follow us:
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The Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library recently received the full collection of articles by industry icon Kitty Stein, originally published in Drapery and Window Coverings Magazine. Below is our first re-publication of her highly respected content. Visit the Library booth at CWC to learn how to access to the complete set!
It’s spring, and seeing your calendar marked with opportunities to improve business by attending trade shows, conferences, and seminars, is as sure a sign of spring as seeing your first robin.
I still have fond memories of attending the first trade show that D&WC sponsored. It was the first time I had ever flown in a commercial plane, and it was the farthest from home I had been as an adult. At that time, it was awesome for me to be considered a “real” business owner and to be taken seriously by the industry.
There was a group of us from our company that went. We all took different seminars, but I honestly do not recall much about those seminars except that they had nothing for soft window coverings fabricators—that’s how long ago my first show was! I do know that the only discussions we had among ourselves about what we learned in the seminars were very vague. In other words, we took home more souvenirs of a good time than information.
So, what did I learn at that first show? I learned I could have fun at the show after hours! Well, there was one more thing. I came away with confidence I had never had before. For the first time, I stepped outside the box and did (most of the time) what a serious businessperson would do. I invested in education beyond the boundaries of my home. And you know what? That was the beginning of many educational trips to trade shows and beyond. I’ve also learned that the more I put into planning, the greater will be the education I gain from the show.
From these past experiences, I’ve been able to put together a list of things I should do to get the most out of each show I attend. Yes, I’ll share that list with you.
ONE MONTH BEFORE THE SHOW
• Make appointments to see people you need to see. Plan lunch dates in the show hall. It’s convenient, and it saves time. Always make time to see those friends whom you only see at trade shows.
• Enlarge the show floor plan on a copier so you can read it. Fold it up so it will fit in your pocket or bag.
• Read the list of vendors and the vendor ads. Highlight the booths on the floor plan you want to see. Write the vendor names close to the booth, so you know who you are looking for.
If you need to, color-code the highlighting. These booths should be your priority. See them first and then stroll the hall to see what else might be of interest. This prioritizing is so important, especially if you are taking seminars and your show floor time is limited.
• Plan a budget for purchasing at the show. I know this is difficult for those of us who are book collectors!
• Write down the primary goal of what you want to achieve at this show.
PACK AND PREPARE
• Wear comfortable shoes. You have to be kind to your body, or you won’t be able to party after hours!
• Take lots of business cards. Be sure your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address are on them! Use labels if you have to, but this information is necessary, and you don’t want to have to keep writing that info on your cards.
• Take a camera with batteries, recharger, film, etc. Be considerate and ask permission to take pictures.
• You might want to take a mini tape recorder to make voice notes as you walk the hall. Only do this if you have the discipline to transcribe the notes later. Otherwise, make notes in a small notebook.
• Having a bag on wheels is a must! I use what is called a catalog case that has many compartments. Pack your bag with large envelopes to separate some of your collected information and business cards, a notepad and pens/pencils, a small stapler, highlighter, etc. You also might want to include plastic to go over that bag in case of rain.
• Plan to wear clothes or jackets with pockets. It’s so convenient to slip business cards and other small things into your pockets.
• Develop a system for filing information: business cards of those you need to contact immediately, seminar handouts, etc. I always have an envelope just for expense receipts, and I write non-receipt items, such as tips, on the outside.
• Address labels to use instead of filling out order forms by hand.
• PDA for tracking appointments and seminars or have this info in a small enough format to fit into your pocket or in your name badge holder.
DURING THE SHOW
• Every day, before you go to the convention center or leave your room, remind yourself why you are there and what your goal is for the show.
• Talk to everybody you can at the show and get their business cards. Networking is one of the prime reasons to attend a show. You never can tell when a casual conversation at a show will later lead you to a resource that could be invaluable.
• Pass your business cards out to everyone you speak to. Keep cards handy by slipping them behind your name badge in its holder.
• After each seminar, make a note of the one most valuable thing you learned. If you are excited about more than one topic, be sure they are all written down! Mark these ideas with big stars or highlighters. This is why you are attending the show!
• Always take a lunch break and go sit down in the food court of the show hall to rest your body. Lunch is an excellent time to plan to meet someone you need to talk to. Even if you are not meeting someone, sit at a table where other people are sitting—especially if someone is sitting alone. Ask permission to sit at their table. Strike up a conversation with anyone else sitting at your table. It’s an excellent opportunity for networking because these are likely to be people you would not ordinarily meet. There could be lots of pleasant surprises in your conversation.
• As you talk with people, ask them what they've seen at the show that is important. Many times I have found this to be an invaluable resource for me.
• Ask vendors to send you information instead of carrying it with you. Get their cards and note on them that they will send you the info. If they don’t, then you can call to remind them. Requests for information at busy shows sometimes get lost in the shuffle.
• Voice concerns/recommendations/needs and praise to the vendors and show staff. Putting on a show or exhibiting as a vendor is expensive, and it's hard work! Please let vendors know that you appreciate their presence and help. Thank the show sponsors for making this opportunity possible.
• Thank your seminar instructors. A seminar presentation is only a very small part of the extensive preparation a speaker goes through to bring you valuable information.
• Make it a point to be prompt for seminars. It’s a much-appreciated courtesy by the attendees and the speaker.
• Drink a lot of fluids. Although water is commonly known to be better than soft drinks, sports drinks that contain electrolytes are even better.
When you get tired at a show, it is not just from the walking and standing. Some of that fatigue comes from lost electrical energy. The construction of a convention hall floor pulls electrical energy from your body. Carpeting is no protection from this. Sports drinks help to replenish this lost energy. This tip comes from someone who used to set up trade show booths for Fortune 500 companies.
• Turn your cell phone off during seminars and other events where a ringing phone could be disruptive.
• As you watch samples being made, consider if you really do think the product would be valuable to you. If so, ask to take the samples with you.
• Be sure to have the show floor plan with you at all times. If you did not enlarge the floor plan, tear it out of the program and fold it to pocket size for easy access. Mark off the booths that you have seen.
• If you are a member of a group (friends, associates from home or industry friends), make it a point to split up and meet new people. Even have meals with new friends you have just met. I can’t stress this enough. It wasn’t until I was attending a show alone for the first time that I realized how valuable new contacts were.
• If in a group, all should exchange cell phone numbers so you can communicate during the show.
• If you are a store owner, observe the show displays so you can get ideas for your store.
• Do not purchase impulsively. See what you need to see first and then go to other booths if there is time. Then decide what would be the best investment for your goals and your budget!
• If you do not see a sign for a show special, ask if there is one. If you are interested in display items, make an offer. Many times the vendor is glad to reduce his or her packing time.
AFTER SHOW HOURS
• Make time to have fun with old friends or new friends.
• Find time to relax. For many, a nice bubble bath is a perfect solution!
AFTER THE SHOW
• Go over your information within the first week back home. The longer you wait, the colder it gets, and the less you will remember. Do it while you are still on a high from the show.
• Schedule time on your calendar to follow up with vendors that you want to work with.
• Add a reminder about a month out to be sure you have received the information you requested or items you ordered from the show.
• Go over your seminar notes and determine what you can utilize and when. Put these things on your calendar to implement.
Attending a trade show should be fun, but that is not the primary goal. Aside from your specific needs, it’s a time for enormous educational opportunities. It offers a unique opportunity for diversity within your industry. In other words, you, as a workroom, have the chance to see the hardware, fabrics, and trims your designer clients will be using.
Designers and decorators can see the newest workroom tools and techniques that can inspire them to incorporate these new ideas into their designs. Your designer-clients also can see and understand better why your prices are higher if you attend the shows and if you use the latest technology. In other words, you can go home and raise your prices!
Kitty Stein’s extraordinary career of 30 years earned her deep respect and admiration for her many contributions to the window covering industry.
Workroom owner, fabricator, and designer. Her work was showcased in designer show houses and national magazines
Author of more than 200 monthly columns for two trade magazine and publisher of five business books for the industry, including Price Your Work With Confidence
Instructor for numerous trade conferences
Development assistant and educator for original custom workroom school
Business consultant for the industry
Recipient of the 2009 CHF Academy Lifetime Educator Award
It's Show Time!
by Kitty Stein
Grant Trick presenting at CWC-17!
We create custom websites for $750
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How are we different from other buying groups? We have opened up our entire interior design showroom to YOU, virtually. NO opening minimums, NO yearly dealer buy-in programs. My Designer Concierge is great for small businesses that wish to gain a competitive buying advantage without the financial investment.
How many vendors do we work with? Over 100 brands and companies, available for you to purchase from, 24 hours a day.
Do we offer discounts off wholesale? Yes. Our discounts are based on member purchase volume so they change from year to year. 25% of our vendors offer additional discounts of 2-20% off wholesale pricing.
How much does it cost to join? $75.00 per year.
Additionally, we offer business services such as premium digital newsletters and website design to help you cultivate and increase your client base. It is our goal to help you grow your business without adding additional staff. We are here to help you succeed, just “call the concierge!”
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Check out our August Instagram finds!
It's so fun to look at all of your beautiful photos, and SO hard to pick out just a few to include! Help make our job easier and include our hashtag on your post - #csfrl - make sure to stand out in the crowd!
Photo credits and Instagram links:
Amber Sachetta: @madisonlaneinteriors
Donna Hovis: @dbhovis
Kelly McGrory: @coveredandstitched
Kathy Geffen: @kathygeffendesign
Lisa Salvatore: @thefinishingroom
Patti Ayers: @pillowsandpleats
Alejandra Canales: @acdraperystudio
Sheri Stouffer: @sheristouffers
Rose Mary LeBlanc @rmlcustomhome
(Note: using #csfrl implies permission, so we may use in the Digital Digest - with photo credit and Instagram link, of course - without contacting you.)
YOUR SOURCE for industrial sewing machines, parts & accessories!
New, Used, and Rebuilt Sewing Machines
138 Klein Drive, Salem, NH 03079
Five Tips for Traveling
by Beth Hodges
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I have learned to be a traveler. I was in my 20’s before I ever got on a plane: my family members were Charleston beachgoers, not European visitors. But among my many interests is an abiding love of history: Medieval history. Early and pre-medieval history. And I have sought it out in my adult travels. It started with a trip to England in the early 80’s with a girlfriend who grew up in England and Scotland, and I was hooked. It isn’t just European travel that fascinates me (although one trip to Europe a year is a good thing, in my opinion) but travel everywhere. I have been teaching fabrication and installation in our “drapery” world for almost 30 years now. I started with “The Traveling School” and continued both alone and with other professionals to try and bring knowledge everywhere that I could go. Along the way, I have learned to be a good traveler and a good packer, and I’d like to pass along some things that I have learned along the way in hopes that it encourages you to…well…maybe attend a drapery show or two!
Look for plane tickets on Tuesday. I check with those large groups that sell cheap tickets, but in many cases, I have found it more advantageous to book directly with the airline. I want a direct flight (less likely to have your luggage lost) that lands at a convenient time (for example, NOT at 5 PM in Atlanta.) I have an airline charge card and using it allows me to have a checked bag at no charge. Buy your tickets early as the price goes up closer to the departure date, and check into Pre-Check and Open. If you fly a lot, these might get you through the security lines more quickly. When you purchase your tickets two or three weeks ahead, they will often push you up to pre-check at no charge.
Speaking of Security, dress simply. You need slip-on shoes. I put all liquids and creams into my checked luggage, so I never have to fool with that. Keep jewelry that you are wearing to a minimum and make sure you don’t have “sparkly” places on your shirt. Also, note that high heels set off the alarm as there is metal in the heel. Ask me how I know. I try not to wear a belt. I hate to see people in their pajamas in line, and I try to dress well, but simple is the rule. Smile at the security people. They are there for your safety, and they put up with people who don’t attempt to follow the rules every day. Every airport seems to have a personality…sometimes kind and sometimes not. It is only a few minutes. Listen to what they say as you get into line and follow instructions. Just deal. It's five minutes.
Here’s a little more about clothing. I take just what I will need. For a two-night trip (typical for me) I will have two outfits: one to teach in the following day, and one for the flight home. (Keep the same rules about flight clothes that I spoke of earlier). One pair of PJs. I have a bag of “necessities” that I keep packed all the time. I refill it after every trip as soon as I get home, so it’s always ready. There are also a few other things that I purchased an extra one to keep in the suitcase: an umbrella, a magnifying mirror (mine has a suction cup to mount temporarily on another mirror), chargers for my phone and my IPad. I carry any jewelry in my carry- on along with my iPod, iPad and an extra charging cord. I always purchase snack bars before I get to the airport to stash in the carry-on, but I buy a drink in the airport after I pass security. It goes on the plane with me. I see a lot of folks emptying water bottles before security and then re-filling them afterward. I prefer a sweet drink because I can throw the bottle away when I’m done. Don’t overload your purse or carry on. Believe me when I tell you that your shoulders WILL get worn out hauling something heavy around. It might not be a bad idea to have a carry on with wheels if you travel a lot. You are allowed two items, a purse and a carry-on bag 22” or smaller. I prefer not to do because I don’t want to wrestle with it. You THINK it won’t be a problem, but I promise you that you will be exhausted by the end of the trip. If you are lucky enough to take a two-week trip…say to the South of France…you might need that extra carry-on for extra luggage. If you do, make sure that what you put in that bag will pass security.
To pack my clothing, I use “packing cubes” for each outfit. Since I stay in other people’s homes, (and the same may apply to a stay in Europe), the bathroom may not be directly attached to the bedroom. In my cube, I put my entire outfit for the day - underwear and outerwear - allowing me to go to the bathroom with everything I need to get dressed. It also makes for efficient space management in your suitcase. There are clothing lines that specialize in things that will hold up to suitcase wear.
Speaking of suitcases, I have found that it is better to have one that opens from the top or side, rather than the middle, which allows me to set it on the bed or stand and open it without it taking up so much space. The cubes, of course, keeps me from having to “dig” into my suitcase. Every cube that I grab is a complete outfit which keeps my suitcase less messy. And, speaking of “outfits,” I highly advise you to check out the clothing that you are taking with you. Make sure that zippers zip and buttons button, and that it fits! It just takes up space if you can’t wear it. I usually try on the things that I take. It is time-consuming, but it gives me one less thing to worry about.
I hope that you can use these tips to help you have a fun, happy, and stress-free trip, where ever you go!
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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If you listened to Episode 6 of the Sew Much More podcast's Opportunity Thinking series, you had the opportunity to hear Ceil DiGuglielmo talk about business growth with industry colleagues Christina Price, Jen Assetto, and Jeanelle Dech. Well, what was going on in the background was Jeanelle's son Casey interviewing Jen and Christina's kids, Bella, Charlotte, Natalia, and Elena, for a bonus podcast!
Enjoy this video preview of the bonus podcast and learn the kids' perspectives on such burning questions as:
Does your mom have a boss?
Do you think your moms like their jobs?
What is the most important thing your mom does?
And so much more!
Click here to listen to the full bonus podcast, and click here to listen the Mom's original podcast.
Iron Drapery Hardware
From finials, rods and brackets, to rings, batons and tiebacks, Orion has the hardware and accessories to complete your drapery designs. Every order is made to your specifications right here in the USA. Each one a custom piece of art for your customers.
firstname.lastname@example.org | www.ironartbyorion.com | 877.476.6278
The Window Fashions Artisan Project
An Interview with Terri Booser
by Jill Ragan Scully
2019 CONTEST ENTRY GUIDELINES
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1. What is WFAP?
The Window Fashion Artisan Project is not only a highlight of IWCE Vision; as its director/creator, it is one of the highlights of my year. It was created for a dual purpose. First, it's a way to adorn the Construction Zone with beautiful, innovative treatments, and second, a way to bring often isolated fabricators together for a weekend of collaborating and networking. I like to think of it as a sort of “Project Runway” of the drapery world.
The project starts with a design contest where fabricators are charged with designing an over the top window treatment surrounding the given theme. The contest doesn't set out to create the everyday run of the mill window treatment. It is meant to be more “out of the box” fantasy treatments, or a “dream” treatment. The designers might, and hopefully, include a fabrication or design concept they have been contemplating and would otherwise not have the opportunity to try. It’s the time to let the imagination soar and a chance to fabricate beside industry peers.
Once the designs are judged and the top six surface, the plans jump into high gear! I work with the six winners to make fabric selections from the sponsoring vendors, while they also make their travel arrangements, all in anticipation of the February Fabrication Weekend.
2. Tell me what happens in a typical Artisan weekend? After the weekend? Days leading up to IWCE?
There’s nothing typical about an Artisan Weekend. LOL. It is a three-day work frenzy on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, that starts with a kick-off meet and greet party at an Air Bnb house we rent for the weekend. We always have a webinar before the weekend so all the artisans can see the designs, which are kept under wraps from everyone else until their unveiling at IWCE. The pre-meeting allows us to jump into high gear on Friday morning to start work. We generally arrange for every artisan to have a dedicated helper, as well as having what I like to call the “sous sewer.” This person is usually tasked with all the prep work for the artisan, whether it be making 100 yards of cord and ruffles, or covering boards for valances. The designs are usually very detailed and take lots of hands to complete them in the short weekend. We sew for 8 to 10 hours each day, breaking for lunch of course. We started a new practice last year that was so well received we have implemented it as a new tradition, hiring a chef for the meals. Vanessa Vincent prepared all our meals so we can relax after the long day of work and enjoy each other’s’ company in a peaceful setting of the rented home (of course wine and cocktails are involved with side-splitting laughter.) On Sunday we wrap up the treatments and store them for the journey to IWCE. Paint colors are selected for the display walls, and I verify all information to be engraved on the trophy to be awarded at IWCE.
Since we handled most everything during the fabrication weekend, there is not much to do after other than to wait until IWCE and finally see the creations come to life.
3. What do you like most about Artisan weekend?
What I like most about the artisan weekend is the comradery, the sharing and the lasting friendships created during our time together. Through these years I have had the fantastic opportunity to meet and interact with wonderful people in the industry which has always led to lasting relationships.
4. What is the most challenging thing about Artisan weekend (your perspective, the attendees or both)?
The most challenging thing, as director, during the actual weekend is juggling six very different projects and fabricators at one time; keeping everyone on task (and happy), and not letting anyone slip through the cracks and get behind. Luckily I have marvelous help in this task. Rachel, who I actually got to know because she is a three-time winner of the contest, became my business partner. She the one now in charge of keeping me grounded and on task. And she does a heck of a job. Not sure how I did it without her the first three years!
I feel the biggest challenge of the artisans is the uncertainty and angst of fabricating in front of their peers. I heard over and over how scared they were that they wouldn’t be good enough, or that they were afraid they would feel inadequate. I believe we put that to rest early in the weekend. And I am pretty confident I can say that everyone who has participated leaves with an affirmation of their abilities as well as an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.
5. How does one enter the WFAP contest? What types of people should enter? What is the commitment?
To enter the contest, follow the link to the guidelines on Facebook. It describes the parameters, requirements, and benefits. ANYONE who has an idea of an innovative treatment can enter. Last year we had an artisan who was brand new in the business, and one who was retiring from the industry. It’s for the person who wants to learn, receive some excellent public relations, network with industry peers, experiment with fabrication concepts, and receive accolades and exposure along the way. I want to mention that Rachel who has won this contest three times and is unable to enter due to our joint business venture, has offered to sketch for anyone who has an idea but may not have that ability. Email Rachel@1sugar1spice.com to inquire about sketching assistance. Email email@example.com with questions or entries.
Thinking about entering the WFAP contest this year? Here are some reflections from previous winners:
"After being a helper, I decided to enter with a design. It was very rewarding to be acknowledged for my work after doing it for so many years. I also enjoyed meeting so many wonderful, skilled people in our industry. Thank you for the opportunity."
Sande Ober Dori
"The Artisan Project was definitely a highlight of my 32-year career. Making new drapery friends and the camaraderie in the workroom was absolutely the best. We learned so much from each other. Working in the super-efficient Sugar & Spice workroom was so much fun, and it was helpful to see how another workroom is set up and to get new ideas for my own space. Finally, the attention our projects received at IWCE was truly validating and encouraging to me professionally."
The artisan project was a great time for connecting with like-minded people: people that LOVE fabrics, design, and new-to-them techniques! The people that choose to be a part of the process are so willing to share ideas, share knowledge, and share their skills. In the end, you leave with a great sense of accomplishment, pride, a wealth of memories, and best of all, new friendships. I would love to be a part of the process again, knowing that each time you will leave with more than you came with!
Terri Booser has been in the custom soft furnishings industry for 26 years. From 1990 to 2012 she owned An Interior Stitch, a custom workroom in Wattsburg, PA, catering to long distance design accounts across the country. Terri was very active with the Custom Home Furnishings Academy since 2005 as a conference speaker, Career Professional Instructor, Curriculum Director, and Executive Director; as well as a past partial owner of the CHF Academy, LLC. Terri met Rachel Barrera in 2013, and the two began collaborating and sharing work shortly after. They combined their businesses to form Sugar & Spice Draperies and Shades, LLC. With their extensive knowledge, experience, and talents, they've created a dynamic duo for design and fabrication of unique and highly crafted window treatments throughout the Metropolitan Houston area.
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Circle Time at the Library:
Need More Time?
Be a Time Multiplier!
Tuesday, August 21st
12:00 p.m. EDT
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The Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library presents Jeanelle Dech for this CIRCLE TIME broadcast: Need More Time? Become a Time Multiplier! Watch one of Jeanelle's favorite Ted Talks, How to Multiply Your Time by Rory Vaden, then join her for a discussion about practical applications of Rory's strategies in our industry.
Join today as a PRO Member to attend this, and future, CIRCLE TIME events. Already a PRO Member? Check your email for an invitation or go to the Library's events calendar to register.
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All CIRCLE TIME broadcasts are recorded for on-demand viewing by PRO-Level Members.
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This article first appeared in Deb's blog, which you can read here.
When my designer friend Liz began furnishing her Florida home, she asked me to fabricate her 14' long draperies in my NY workroom and ship them to her.
First, we mocked up the pleats to determine the pattern layout. This fabric lent itself beautifully to an inverted pleat.
The embroidery was irregular, so I worried a little about the geometric shapes not aligning perfectly. But at a height of 168", the small variation is not at all noticeable!
The family room panels are pleated to pattern with a two-finger pinch pleat and 5" buckram.
Most of the panels in this home were 1.5 widths, but this corner required a 3-width panel.
I've made plenty of oversize shades, so that experience was helpful in managing the fabric volume. It also helped to have taken Ann Johnson's excellent "Super-Size Me!" class on how to handle all kinds of oversize treatments.
First, I worked the bottom 12' of the panel, shifting my way across the three widths, making sure to baste a precise horizontal line so I'd have an accurate reference line for shifting to the top. (You know I love to baste!) Once the bottom 12' of the three widths were finished, I shifted the fabric to fall off the end of the table and worked back across the three widths to complete the tops.
This entire project was intense! I was working so hard that I did not take a single photograph during the fabrication, which I now regret. Next time. Ha.
The master bedroom panels are a mere 126" long, by comparison, a breeze. I don't have good photos of this room yet, so I'll just show the pretty pleats.
The embroidery made the pleat tops flare out too much, so I secured them at the back to control them and make them uniform.
My next oversize project is going to be a hobbled shade 158" wide and 75" long. Always an adventure!
Deborah Cronin, a life-long sewer, has worked in the home decorating industry since 1986. While working in retail sales and management, she was also a part-time workroom, which became full-time in 1999. Leatherwood Design Co fabricates soft furnishings exclusively to the trade. Workroom projects and operations are documented in Deb's blog, leatherwooddesignco.blogspot.com
Recently Deborah has been enjoying sharing more about fabrication with other workroom professionals, teaching at venues such as the Custom Workroom Conference, the Custom Workroom Technical Center, and webinars. Deb also hosts one-on-one or small group classes in her workroom in Croton on Hudson, NY.
You can reach Deb at firstname.lastname@example.org
Getting Comfortable With Oversize
by Deb Cronin
Specializing in workroom equipment by Draw Matic Corp. that increases efficiency for higher profit margins.
Unique Expressions is also your source for :
How to Cut Bias Banding Using the Draw Matic Cutting Guide:
Step 1: Cut Along Bias
Step 2: Fold Point-to-Point
Step 3: Put Fabric on Guide
Step 4: Cut Strip with Scissors in Guide
Step 5: First Cut Complete
Step 6: Position Second Strip
Step 7: Cut Second Strip
Step 8: Second Strip Cut
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Have you heard about the revolutionary new product available from The Workroom Marketplace? Poly Grids are printed on a heavy-weight, 100% polyester artists’ canvas. Premium quality HP latex ink is used to prevent bleed and transfer. They provide a smooth, dimensionally stable, gridded work surface that is ideal for cutting fabric and fabricating roman shades. They can be used on top of a padded work surface or rolled out on any flat surface to make it easier to slide your project around.
Elki Horn had the opportunity to test the Poly Grid surface in her workroom. Did she love it? Watch the video to see her reaction!
Did you participate in last month's Circle Time event on Project Risk Management for the Workroom? We discussed a case study in which Linda Rayburn's workroom's table canvas was ruined when red dye from velvet panels she was fabricating transferred to the canvas. Take a look at what Linda shared in the Library's Conversations & Support section:
Save $20 on
Poly Grids through 8/31 at
The Workroom Marketplace!
Shop now, and enter code
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What's All the Buzz About Poly Grids?
Haven't registered for CWC yet? What are you waiting for! Visit www.customworkroomconference.com and register today!
www.customworkroomconference.com.com and register today!
Don't miss the fun!
This year, at the CWC Marketplace, the folks at The Workroom Channel are stepping up their game. We all know there are multiple methods for completing any workroom task. Experience the fun of light-hearted sparring as industry experts share their techniques. Root for your favorites as they battle it out in the center ring.
Some of the industry 'heavyweights' to look for in the competitions:
Stay tuned for the schedule to be announced soon!
Dueling Demos at CWC
Calculating Stack Back
Still need help or have a question?
Contact us Today!
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Ideally, when draperies are open they should clear the glass of your window. How to you make sure this is going to happen? Figuring stack back.
Stack back is the amount of space needed if open panels are to clear the glass completely. Take the amount of stack back and add it to your window opening, this will give you the proper rod width needed.
See our stack back chart below.
Stacking areas will vary with different weight fabrics.
The table is based on average pleating and medium-weight fabrics.
Allow additional stacking room for heavier fabrics or extra fullness.
*If you have a style that requires more fullness or larger pleats, please do not use this chart.
ANDERSON'S STACK BACK CHART
Don't see your window opening on our chart?
CLICK HERE to see our stack back formulas.
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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August 2018 photo credits
Cover photo : Alejandra Canales, AC Drapery Studio
Jill Ragan Scully, My Designer Concierge
Liz Kelly, The Workroom Channe
Susan Woodcock, Home Dec Gal
Jeanelle Dech, The Workroom Channel
Deborah Cronin, Leatherwood Design Co.
To contribute or advertise in an upcoming issue reach out to:
Jill Ragan Scully
My Designer Concierge
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Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library