Friday, May 14, 2010

Super Infonars by Gillian Wendel

Imagineering our window fashions was the focus of Gillian's first seminar of the day. She wowed us with photos of beautiful window fashions that illustrated the Seven Basic Principles of Design. Gillian showed examples of designs taken to a whole new height by using hardware in non-conventional ways and thinking outside of the box. She encouraged us to incorporate ideas from the home furnishings, fashion industry, all kinds of catalogs in our window fashion designs. One particularly inspiring idea was Susan Kostelecky's pink tulle slip-covered chair for a girls' bedroom that was inspired by bridal fashions, detailed with lacing.

We moved into an infonar on Design and Proportion, which had us thinking mathematically using the Proportional Scale wheel and the Golden Ruler, measurements based on phi and extensively found in nature. Think of the beauty of the nautilus shell as a perfect example. Thanks to Anne Lubner I had my Starbucks espresso so I could be mentally alert for this one!  Gillian had us thinking about designing in a way that is pleasing to the eye and the math behind it.

I have learned so much this morning again! The International Window Coverings Expo truly is giving me a vision for the coming year.

Jackie von Tobel - Building your Brand with Social Media

Jackie dynamically dealt with the question: Is social media optional if you want to succeed in business today? Her feeling is: Participate or die!
The main focus should be on getting more business and making more money. Everything radiates out from your website and drives people back to the website.
She encouraged us to develop a New Media Plan by:
- researching the platforms
- participating consistently
- analyzing the competition
- formulating your strategy
- developing and implementing plan
- starting slowly and building consistently
- sticking to it and being consistent
 Be engaging in sharing and interacting with others for we are our business.
Another informative and helpful infonar from a very energetic  speaker!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Innovative new idea: Safe-T-Shade

Stevenson Vestal's rep (booth 1050) briefly demonstrated the Safe-T-Shade, a soft shade combined with a spring roller. This shade has no exposed cords and meets current safety criteria. The back side is a traditional shade in a variety of fabrics. this shade has no tracking problems due to a patent-pending J-clip and is comparably priced to a Rollease shade. Maximum shade width is approximately 60 inches; the shade can pick up a maximum of 18 pounds of fabric. Right now the mechanism is available only through SV but will be available shortly across the country.

Innovative design and safety - a winning combination!

Window Illusions - Tips and Tricks

Jeanelle Dech gave the design professionals present a real treat this morning. Using illustrations from her own workroom, she showed us beautiful examples of window illusions. The window transformations were stunning, combining fabrics, trims, textures, color and designs.
Key is listening to the client and creating the window fashions they desire, even if it is not your first choice. However, occasionally we goof - then we need to assure the client that we will make it right and do whatever it takes. Jeanelle encouraged us to visualize the big picture before we get to the details.
Her hints and tips were very helpful; her completed projects inspirational. Another great seminar from another talented industry professional!

IWCE Day 2 Infonar 1 - Cloud Computing with Debbie Green of Minutes Matter

The International Window Coverings Expo, held in Atlanta May 12-15 this year, is a treasure trove of information, seminars and products from leaders in the window coverings industry and beyond.

Debbie Green of Minutes Matter shared her knowledge on Cloud Computing, introducing many of us to GoogleApps, its functionality and capabilities. We were wowed by the possibilities of Google Docs. Presentations can be done from your computer to clients almost like a webinar via a link sent to them. Definite bonuses of cloud computing are saving money and updating instantly. The info saved here is secure as well.

A wealth of information shared by a very knowledgeable instructor!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Susan Kostelnecky's Latest and Greatest Things - Design and Trend Showcase

Susan started today's last seminar with a bang, showing us beautiful and functional drapery hardware from a wide variety of manufacturers. I was really impressed with Iron Art's Clip-A-Crown and want to get a close look at it in their booth

Some of the supplies featured: Somfy's motorized shade is a show special - I want to get my hands on that one! Wavy Drape is a two part tape which creates perfect spacing. Ialso want a Tape Measure Grip and Grid Line Tape supplied by Rowley, (Booth 1539).

Jackie Von Tobel's new fabric line is stunning ! Carlette Cormier, Savannah Fabrics, has a line of fabrics and products with historical motifs. Creative Fabrics has plenty of interesting buttons. Decorative onlays which can be painted or stained are provided by Decorator's Supply Company. Diamond Head Upholstery Tacks are interchangeable decorative tacks in a wide variety of colors. Joanna Braxton's pelmet, covered with embroidery and trim, is gorgeous! English Home has pretty ready-made embroidery panels and sheers.

When I walk the show floor, I'm going to have a closer look at Stewart Filmscreen's acoustic motorized blackout (soundproof) shades (Booth 1416) and the Camily Wand, handy for getting rid of bugs in Silhouette type shades.

Lots of great products to explore once I get out on the show floor tomorrow! Thanks, Susan, for the great introduction to these innovative items!

Infonar 2 - Consultations that Lead to Sales by Michele Williams

Michele ( led us through her journey to the window fashions industry and detailed her start in the industry -with one sewing machine, one table and one iron.
Using the phone tree she employs, Michele discussed the initial phone screening of a client and stressed that not everyone is our client. What questions should we ask at the initial screening and what do we do with this informations so we are prepared when we walk into the home?
Michele told us: After an appointment is set, send out an appointment letter or email. Define the process for the client and set expectations. Have the invoice, contract, terms and conditions prepared and spelled out. Know what you want to accomplish and always be mindful of your first impressioin. Be on time to appointments, manage your time at the appointment, and leave when you say you will. Follow up with a letter or email. And always be timely in your response.
Again a great infonar led by a dynamic speaker!

Day 1 IWCE - Infonars Abound

I'm sitting in my first class, FutureVision: Interior Design in the Year 2020 taught by Susan Schultz. What an apt way to begin Vision 10! I'm so intent on her ideas that I just startled the person sitting ahead of my by knocking my water over and splashing her. Oops! Susan's outlining changing trends, forcing us to face up to the reality that as design professionals we need to change as well. She led us through IT changes, changing demographics, changing user values, changing values toward money. She illustrated her points with photos, graphs and a design hierarchy of needs. The pyramidical hierarchy flows from wellbeing to ergonomics to origins to pleasure to other needs such as emotional needs, self-fulfillment, spirituality and connection to others. We are facilitating experiential purchasing because it represents money better spent and greater happiness for the purchasers and for others. These purchases produce more happiness regardless of the amount spent or the income of the consumer, and lead to greater long-term satisfaction.

My head's spinning with facts and figures and pondering how to apply this to my own window coverings company. Great food for thought! .

"It's a whole new world and you ignore it at your own risk" Paige Rense

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Atlanta IWCE Excitement!

Well, we made it to Atlanta despite nearly missing our flight! And from the notifications flooding my inbox, it seems as if everyone is about to leave, is leaving, or has left, if they're not here already!

My hubby and I walked the floor already this morning - he was staggering under the load of material for the trueIMAGE Publishing booth. It was a hum of activity; people bustling about, containers being unloaded, front end loaders roaring around. There was a definite air of excitement in the vendors I spoke with.

And with the show-goers! We're excited to attend the wide variety of seminars being presented by some of the best, and to see the new and exciting products on the show floor.

Don't forget to stop by booth #1651 and say hi to my hubby Bob. Have a look at what a beautiful personalized calendar can do to promote your business year round. New for this year is the gorgeous Window Fashions Calendar, as well as a stunning Patriotic Calendar and many more titles. Enter your name in the drawing for 50 free personalized calendars!

See you there!