Christi Adams- sharing lessons from her auto mechanic
in the groove
workroom tool GIVEAWAY
rustic lodge in Minnesota ski country
why your business needs a digital newsletter
the new Buckingham® Collection from KIRSCH
Sherwin Williams COLORMIX® forecast
Browse the slide show to see more photos of this rustic lodge home in the heart of Minnesota ski country.
With the holidays around the corner, we were asked to create a functional and decorative solution to go with the open floor plan and existing decor. The client chose to use organic fabrics from Fabricut and Trend. We created bold cornices, framed with antique brass nail heads to highlight the knotty-pine casing. Cordless roman shades were created to control light and add privacy.
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.
features the work of
Jill Ragan Scully
Time management – one of the most difficult parts of my job. Scheduling. Moving the flow of work through the workroom without losing my mind…..
I’m sure you know what I mean.
What do you do with the question “How far out are you? When can I expect the completed project?”
The work we do is custom – seldom do we do a simple panel. The dilemma – How long will 3 pair of 2 width x 115”, lined and interlined goblet pleat panels with contrast banding, micro cord detail, hand applied trim and covered buttons with attached tassels take to complete? The client also needs 2 hobbled Roman shades with contrast banding and separate valance and 3 shaped cornice boxes of differing sizes.
If you have the Superwoman Complex (like me) you say to yourself – “No problem, my employee and I can kick that out in about a week.” Can you really? Or are you just guessing?
If the answer is guess – you are in big trouble. You will give the client a date of completion and as the work begins that date becomes a monster keeping you up at night and robbing your joy.
How do I know? I’ve lived it.
The solution to a peaceful work environment and a good night’s sleep for me was – Yes – Those dreaded words – Time Studies. In the early days, my Superwoman Complex would tell me “Time studies aren’t necessary. You know how much time that will take. Just add it up in your mind, and you are golden.” But after too many stressful deadlines and all- night-ers I decided to start tracking time.
What an eye opener!
I did it the simple way – I set the timer (now it’s even easier – I use my phone), and began to write the time it took for each step on the back of my work order. I didn’t get too crazy. Panels were timed from start to finish, but if I added banding, cording, trim etc., I would keep track of how much time each detail took. Banding and cording were timed by the yard. Buttons and goblet pleats were by each. Cornices timed by the linear foot. Each new item I fabricated was analyzed. It took a little effort – but it actually became fun. I would estimate how long I thought it would take and see if the actual time was close – helped with the boredom. As I collected the information I made a list of each item in an excel spreadsheet. After several times doing one procedure I was able to get an average. Here is an example of how I started. I would add new items to the list as the need arose.
Now – What should I do with all this info and how would it help me with scheduling?
I took a lesson from my Auto Mechanic. When I take the car into his place for service, he knows how much “Shop Time” is necessary to service my car. Changing an oil pump may require 5 hours. Rotating tires or doing an oil change may take 1 hour each. He knows this because he has a book with all the repair items listed and how many Shop Hours it will require to get it done. “Christi, the repairs will take all day – do you want to wait, or rent a car?” “Rent a car – of course.” I’m happy – he’s happy. Reasonable expectations are accomplished. Life is good.
So I compiled a list of items and assigned Shop Hours to them using the information from the time studies. Now I have a reasonable reference and I’m ready to tackle the schedule and give my client a reasonable expectation.
To organize it all I do a Workorder Item List. I break apart each item to add details such as banding, cording, buttons etc. This only takes a few minutes. This exercise opens my eyes to all the details – and I am able to mathematically figure the time required to get the job done –My 40 hour guess turns into 70 hours actual and I feel confident that I have allowed enough time. Whew – dodged a bullet. Life is good.
Next I take this info to my schedule. I have a simple weekly planner with space to write in upcoming jobs. I note any expected time away for appointments, so I know exactly how many shop hours are available each week. I also note here how many hours my employee will be available.
Now I’m ready to fill in the blanks. If I have a big job with lots of parts and details, I will split it up over several weeks. .I find the next available slot and pencil it in. When fabric and supplies arrive it goes in ink.
Now I can peacefully say to my client. “If your fabric arrives on ___ as expected I can begin the week of___ and it will be completed on ______. We can install the week of_______.” Reasonable expectations are given and received. Nothing ever goes exactly as planned in the workroom, so I try to be careful not to fill up every available hour with production. When I follow my own rules, I am so much more relaxed and enjoy the work I love so much. I know I have set reasonable expectations and can relax and make beautiful art for my clients’ homes. There is time to enjoy my work and still enjoy time with my husband, kids, grandsons and friends. Life is Good!!
Try Time Studies – it is worth the effort.
Christi Adams is the owner of Christi’s Windows LLC in Chandler, Arizona. She works with designers in the Phoenix area, and also with select retail clients. She is passionate about creating the extraordinary. Working closely with designers with like passions has pushed her past the “fear” barrier and on to creating some amazing “works of art” for windows.
Christi started her business in 1986 in a room in her home. It has grown to a 1300 square foot building behind the house with 2 part time employees.
Christi feels blessed to be part of an industry where we can learn from each other and celebrate success together. She served several terms as President of her local WCAA chapter. She is also past president of the Phoenix Association of Workroom Professionals. She is a WFCP Expert level professional, and was awarded 2016 Window Fashions Workroom of the Year.
Time Management in the Workroom
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Get in the GROOVE!
Annie Davis shares how she simplified the challenge of custom banding on upholstered cornices. Enjoy a special guest appearance by Zona Tiller who hosted this Method Share in her workroom as well as shared some tips.
Join Annie for a 3-day HANDS-ON training program at Workroom TECH in Tryon, North Carolina.
CORNICE BOARD CONSTRUCTION- Level I
October 19-21, 2017
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE!
Annie Davis is the owner of ALDesigns, She provides window treatments, bedding, and other soft goods for interior designers. Annie is a cornice instructor for Workroom TECH.
Gratitude and Giving Back
blog post from Scarlet Thread Consulting
I am so very thankful for all that I have. You are too, I am sure. We are told in scripture to give thanks in all things. Recently I heard the commencement speech by Sheryl Sandberg given at The University California, Berkeley on how gratitude in the face of losing her husband replaced a bit of her grief. Gratitude and giving are a big deal to us and those around us.
Thinking outward and giving back to others can be as beneficial for you as for those you are serving. First, it keeps us from focusing too much on ourselves and our issues, problems, and concerns. Giving allows us to focus on those around us, their pain, difficulty, strife. It binds us together.
Giving also helps us forge new relationships with people, groups and companies. It creates broader connections and allows for work to be done on a larger scale than what might be accomplished alone. Being thankful for what we have and recognizing the gifts with which we have been entrusted to take care of ourselves and our community is a great way to start and end the day. Imagine if our day was book-ended in thankfulness to God for all that we have. What change to our own mindset would that kind of thinking provide?
Here is the cool thing – giving can be done on all scales. You may say you don’t have money to give – but you do your normal shopping on Amazon. Try out Amazon Smiles. You can select a charity of your choice to have a percentage of your normal shopping dollars allocated to. smile.amazon.com Give of your time to someone – answer a question, go to lunch or coffee, listen to their story. Engage with people IN REAL LIFE if you can – not just through technology. Give someone the gift of really “seeing them”.
If you want to give on a larger scale with profits from your company – that would mean you need to have profits to allocate. Following a Profit First methodology of money management will allow for those dollars to be set aside, saved and then allocated as you wish. If you want help creating a profit account for giving – check out the Passion for Profit course that will walk you through the process.
Start with gratitude – and give. The world will be better off – and so will you.
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.
Sheryl Sandberg speaks from the heart at UC Berkeley Commencement
Photo by Maarten Deckers on Unsplash
"Giving helps us forge new relationships. It binds us together."
Browse the slide show to view 2018 Colormix palettes.
From vivid blue and digital green, to high-def yellow and rusty auburn, the Sherwin-Williams 2018 Colormix® Color Forecast exhibits three unique color palettes that draw from emerging global trends. The collection predicts the colors that will drive conversation and inspiration for the coming year, offering new perspectives on societal influences and their impact on color and design trends.
The Sherwin-Williams Color Forecast team, led by Sue Wadden, director of color marketing, identified 36 colors drawing from fashion, nature, pop culture and global design, to create the Colormix palettes Sincerity, Unity and Connectivity.
“Like blue meeting yellow to make green, every color in the Color Forecast is a collision of influences with every palette bringing a new chance at community,” said Wadden. “The connection to experiences, thoughts or moments in time is an important facet to life which deeply influenced the color trends that are primed to take hold next year. We eagerly await to see how these trends will unfold in the creation of unique new spaces.
Color Exploration and Selection
Explore the Color Forecast and beyond with ColorSnap, an integrated system of colors and tools designed to help consumers and professionals make confident and efficient paint color selections. Download the ColorSnap Visualizer app to view the forecast on your iPad.
Discover more about Sherwin-Williams 2018 Colormix Color Forecast and other color selection resources at www.swcolormix.com.
Sherwin-Williams Annual Color Trend Report Reveals Three Distinct Palettes Representing A Global Collision of Influences
“Like blue meeting yellow to make green, every color in the Color Forecast is a collision of influences with every palette bringing a new chance at community.”
With over 40 years of combined interior design, workroom and industry education experience, My Designer Concierge offers unique and engaging digital newsletters and social media management exclusively to the soft-furnishings trade. If you would like more information email email@example.com or call 651-480-2161.
Why Your Business Needs a Digital Newsletter
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Social media is in a constant state of change with frequent updates to enhance user experience and new platforms from which to choose. Therefore managing your accounts can become quite frustrating if you are trying to juggle several platforms at once. Good news, there has been one constant effective marketing tool over the years, the digital newsletter. According to Priit Kallas, the founder, and CEO of DreamGrow Digital, in 2017 emails are four times more effective than Facebook in reaching your target audience.
Your subscribers have given you permission to market to them (this is gold). They want to read your newsletter and are more apt to do so every time they see it within their inbox. Growing this list is key to a low cost, highly effective personal marketing program within your business. You are likely to get more engagement and response from the persons on this list contrary to the limited response you would receive by those followers that may see your post within their social media newsfeed.
Most programs available in the market today are free or inexpensive, averaging around $10 per month. With a little effort, you can make that $120 per year investment work wonders for your business. My suggestions to try would be Constant Contact, iContact, MailChimp, Mad Mimi, Active Campaign, AWeber, Infusionsoft, Zoho, Emma or Stampready.
Set up is easy. Many programs use “drag and drop” method for drafting newsletters. You simply take the section you would like to use and drop it into the body of your email draft, fill in your information, links and photos and you are done. Yes, it’s that simple!
You can also track the digital newsletter engagement of your readers easily with trackable open rates (most averaging 20%+), click rates (averaging 2-4%) and bounces. An ExactTarget study from 2017 found that more than 77% of people surveyed responded that email is their preferred channel for permission based promotional messages, while 4% of respondents said that about Facebook and Twitter 1%.
Jill Ragan Scully
founder of My Designer Concierge
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!
Scroll down to learn more about the latest additions to the Buckingham Collection
We just love to give away free stuff, and this month is certainly no exception. Up for grabs is a 36" flexible measuring curve donated from the generous folks at Home Sewing Depot. Be sure to visit their beautiful new website.
Scroll down and click the button below to enter to win this flexible tool that bends to create any curve and keeps its shape so you can draw a line easily. It measures in both inches and millimeters and is made with a lead core, completely enclosed in plastic.
The September 2017 GIVEAWAY is provided by The Home Sewing Depot in conjunction with My Designer Concierge. No purchase necessary to enter or win.
September 2017 photo credits
Jill Ragan Scully, Impressive Windows
Annie Davis, ALDesigns
Liz Kelly, The Workroom Channel
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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.
To contribute or advertise in an upcoming issue reach out to:
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My Designer Concierge
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