Allied Drapery Celebrates Small Business Saturday 11/26/16

The Small Business Saturday Story

  • 2010 – Day One –  The first-ever Small Business Saturday took place on Nov 27.  It encouraged people across the country to support small, local businesses.
  • 2011 – The Day Became Official – The United States Senate unanimously passed a resolution of support for Small Business Saturday.
  • 2012 – EVERY STATE IN THE UNION – From Washington D.C., to Washington State, governors, mayors, and even President Obama championed Small Business Saturday.
  • 2013 – Neighborhoods Celebrated The Day – The day continued to grow, with more individuals and local organizations pledging to support the day as Neighborhood Champions.
  • 2014 – SMALL BUSINESSES OWNED THE DAY – American Express encouraged small business owners to take charge of the day, helping them promote their businesses with free personalized ads, which appeared millions of times across the web.
  • 2015 – ONE FOR THE BOOKS – Shoppers supported their neighborhood businesses like never before, continuing to embrace the day as a holiday shopping tradition.

Small businesses create nearly seven out of every ten new private sector jobs and employ half the private sector work force. They represent 99.7% of all U.S. businesses with employees and have created 63% of the net new jobs over the last 20 years. ~ Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) ~ Forbes

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Blinds 301 – Smart Gizmo: High Tech, Low Cost & Self-Adjusting

Are you more of a “function first” vs. a form kind of person? If so, you may not be inclined to do cartwheels over this window coverings oriented discovery…but you may find it pretty ingenious.  It’s basically a retrofit for your existing normal window blinds…that converts them to a smarter kind of window covering that adjust automatically based on time of day, temperature or degree of light settngs that you control.

It’s named FlipFlic…and is a small, simple, small device that clicks onto the blinds’ existing tilt mechanism, enabling it to be remotely and automatically controlled by a smartphone app.   Built into the design is a “green energy” option that allows the device to be recharged by a small solar panel that mouns directly to the window. But if you’re a bit old fashioned…it can be manually plugged into a mini-USB cord and re-charged every month or so.

Invented by Ksenia Vinogradova of Estonia (now San Francisco) and her company Jalousier, Inc….she tells us that the idea came into being by her own frustrations of constantly needing to adjust blinds at home and at the office.  Two years later…Jalousier just launched a $50,000 crowd funding campaign on Kickstarter to breathe life into FlipFlic and begin production.  Supporting the new invention can be done in two ways:  1) $60 gets an early release device, or… 2) $85 buys a later model with the solar panel included.


Some Key FlipFlic Features:

  1. Automatic Control – FlipFlic has built in sensors that automatically responds to changing temperature & light.
  2. Both Verticle & Horizontal Blinds – two versions of FlipFlic to fit both blind types.
  3. Solar Powered – built in battery is constantly recharges with a solar panel…or can be manually plugged into a mini-USB cord and re-charged every month or so.
  4. Smart Home Integration – FlipFlic integrates with both BLE and ZigBee hubs


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2016 Window Treatment Trends

Home decorating trends come, go and evolve…like so many other fashion oriented trends.  2016 is projected by home design experts to favor window treatments that will lean heavily toward the natural, organic, green and luxurious side of decorating.  Instead of acting as an accessory that adds to an overall flavor…windows will become the focal points in the design of the living area, as described by HGTV:

…let’s face it: If you neglect your windows in favor of a different design focus, you’ll be left with a bare view…Nothing says elegance like floor-to-ceiling window treatments in a neutral tone. [HGTV]

Organic materials like bamboo and matchsticks will be a favorite this coming new year. Smith+Noble’s product development manager Cindy O’Reilly shares that this type of window covering will allow light to enter homes but will offer considerable privacy, making home owners enjoy a balance in the two different environments.

Victorian SF Home - Traditional Drapery

Natural colors will also be a trend this 2016, paired with bold and dramatic colors like black and navy. Bright and beautiful colors will highlight the windows a home. Old World Interiors believes that bright and contrasting colors will play a big role in creating a statement for homes.

Fashionable fabrics and luxurious materials for window curtains will also return on the spotlight of home design this 2016. Fur, leather, silk, suede and velvet will be among the favorite materials for curtains and coverings. Simplicity will remain to be the main keyword for home designs this year, but a little luxury and intricate choices for accessories in homes will go a long way as well.

Promise of an even more stunning and visually appealing windows can be expected in the coming years…beginning with industry adaptations to technology and other new market offerings for 2016. Bold dramatic colors, green materials and even cutting edge technology will be the highlights of the coming year for window coverings.

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Colors & Patterns – Your Home Decor Decision Tree

Two huge challenges for many who are starting a decorating endeavor hinge on the fundamental choices of colors and patterns. Like any other lasting and potentially costly decisions…many people are afraid of making mistakes.

Sometimes taking what seems like large looming decisions…and breaking them down into smaller bite sized decisions can help you eat the elephant one bite at a time.  Determining more generalized color and pattern preferences as a first step…can lead you onward through the decision tree path more quickly. Here are five (5) questions to ask yourself that will keep you focused and moving along.

1. Desired Feeling?

This is probably the most important concept to clarify for yourself…and the best way to start is by choosing three key feeling words that describe how you want the room in question to feel most of the time.

2. From Color Wheel to Your Personal Color Palette. Hot, Cold or both?

Determining your areas of preference with a broad spectrum of colors…through a color wheel tool. Thinking of colors in terms of temperature can create a helpful perspective.


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New Energy Rating System for Window Coverings & Attachments Industry

The idea of energy efficiency continues to grow in importance and popularity. Consumers like choices, and well designed rating systems that help them make prudent choices are well received and highly utilized.  In the realm of consumer appliances, ENERGY STAR and EnergyGuide are great examples of widely recognized labels…tools that assist consumers with comparing the most efficient models to make an ultimate choice.  Until recently, no rating mechanism has existed to rate window attachments (aka window treatments, window coverings) and products.

win·dow treat·ment – noun 

  1. interior decoration for a window or window frame.

Many types of window attachments (both interior and exterior), such as blinds, drapery, shutters, solar shades and awnings…are often used for what’s normally considered aesthetic purposes and controlling the direct and ambient light entering a room. However, many Americans aren’t aware that cost effective, energy conserving window covering strategies indeed exist for both residential homes and commercial buildings.  The Department of Energy estimates potential nationwide energy savings of 800 Trillion British Thermal Units (tBTU).

The Window Coverings Manufacturers Association (WCMA) is developing a certification and rating program for residential and commercial fenestration attachment products. In conjunction with U.S Department of Energy funding…the Attachments Energy Ratings Council (AERC) was created April 2015…with their member organizations first meeting at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, CA. The AERC’s mission is to provide the technical tools necessary to transform the attachments market by providing a useful resource for consumers to make informed energy decisions…specifically:

  • Create a consistent set of third-party energy performance-based rating and certification standards and program procedures
  • Oversee the implementation of rating, certification, labeling, and performance verification procedures
  • Develop and maintain a publicly available, searchable electronic database of fenestration attachment product performance.

window attachments on front of San Jose State University Library

The AERC defines fenestration attachments as “non-integral products attached to an installed fenestration or attached to or near the perimeter of the inner or outer wall surrounding the fenestration. Attachments may be fixed or operable, manual or automated.”

fen·es·tra·tion  – /fenəˈstrāSHən/ – noun – ARCHITECTURE

  1. the arrangement, proportioning, and design of windows and doors in a building
  2. an opening in a surface (as a wall or membrane)

 

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A Healthy View on Window Coverings

Allergy sufferers have been growing at alarming rates in recent years, and while global warming has been given much credit for at least part of the growth…our homes and workplaces are often blamed for their fair share too.  Vigilant home and building owners are seeking out alternative construction materials and other available products that help mitigate the number of toxins and irritating substances… potentially impacting allergy issues to any positive extent.  It’s synergistic with other large trends toward energy efficiency, sustainability and carbon neutrality.

Floor coverings, paint and other decorative furnishings have also been changing over the years in direct response to consumer demands for low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) products and carbon friendly alternatives. The window coverings industry  has also participated in this trend…with recent innovative technological advancements producing some progressive products that have helped satisfy these newer public demands.

softness of custom drapery fabric & natural wood blinds

Oekotex is an internationally acknowledged green certification entity that evolved out of the public outcry against toxic and other harmful chemicals utilized in the textile manufacturing process. Fabrics and other materials used to produce drapery, blinds and window shades are subjected to rigorous independent testing to ensure the absence of any potentially harmful, legally regulated or even bonafide  illegal substances…in addition to other health related standards.  Indeed, passing products must actually minimize overall impact on the environment…as well as improve air quality indoors and generally aid in energy conservation.

The Oekotex certification process must not only be passed for the products themselves…but the manufacturing process as well.  Finally, the manufacturing process for the fabrics must use renewable non-polluting energy.

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Window Treatment Trends

You may not think window coverings and treatments to be on the hot list of Google Trends, but you might be surprised at the variety of perspectives that have a genuine keen interest in the latest developments around what many consider to be a purely aesthetic endeavor.  Whether you’re an interior designer, a high rise office building facilities manager, a vintage clothing boutique owner…or an everyday homeowner that’s finally ready to make constructive energy efficiency changes…the window coverings industry is alive with new developments

Even though they are beautiful, the inherent value of window treatments is function, which addresses some of our most basic needs such as privacy, energy efficiency, UV-light protection and light control. 

~ Kim Kiner, VP – Hunter Douglas Alustra Collection and Design Studio

Ultimately, it’s “personal taste…should dictate the final results regardless of what is trending” says Doris Gagel, long time window coverings business owner in Canada.  She poses her three decades of industry experience as a question to her customers:  “Is this something you want to replace in three to four years or can you live with it for 20 years?’ Given the cost, it’s usually better to do something you know will still be nice for years to come.”

Here are snipits from a range of perspectives on what’s current in the genre of window treatments.

Designer Window Treatments – HouseBeautiful

Whether you’re looking for elegant draperies, Roman shades, or a simple swath of fabric, [there are] window treatment ideas that will complement every room in the house. [read more]

Window Coverings Make or Break Room – MapleRidgeNews

If you’re looking to add panache to your home, window coverings should be right at the top of the to-do list.

Window coverings have the potential to really make or break the ambiance, comfort, warmth and personality of a room or a whole house… [read more]

What’s Trending in Window Coverings – WaynesvilleDailyGuide

Add a window treatment like shades, shutters or blinds to add style, warmth and privacy.

“Window treatments set the tone for the rest of the room. They offer more than just a way to pull things together,” said Rona Spiegel, owner of New Jersey’s Lifestyle Interior Designs. “Window treatments give homeowners privacy and protection from harmful UV rays of the sun that can damage their furnishings. Window treatments also provide sound baffling in a space, absorbing noise and getting rid of the echo in a room. Diffused light coming in through the windows is also a mood elevator, especially in the middle of the winter when the sun is at a different angle.”

[Read more]

Alustra Screen Shades - Hunter Douglas

French Drapery Dynasty is Window Decor Amour

Houlès – French family design company selling full spectrum fabrics, window treatments and foot-long tassels

Founded in 1928, Houlès is a family-owned French Company that has since earned international notoriety extending beyond Paris and Europe to the United States and the rest of the cosmopolitan design hubs around the world.  Originally a wholesaler of upholstery supplies, the family patriarch, Félix and his son André Houlès established the parent company in the heart of Paris known as the Faubourg Saint-Antoine area, the famous mecca for architects, interior designers and upholsterers. Originally named “18 rue Saint-Nicolas”, Houlès has since honed its business to focus on creating and editing trimmings collections…now a well established worldwide industry icon.  Today, Houlès designs, manufactures and sells four main product categories: Fabrics, Trimmings, Curtain Hardware and upholstery supplies. Houlès provides its client base with a complete range of window treatment decoration, wall-covering and furniture upholstery.

Hotel Claridge - Paris France

Claridge Hotel (Paris, France) – the combination of Houlès DRYADE fabric and Houlès trimmings brings elegance .

There’s a segment of international homeowners at the more flamboyant end of the spectrum demanding drapery and window treatments with more than a dash of color and a moderate privacy.  Blatant bling is what they crave… with tremendous tassels, a flair for fringe, curtain rods and finials fit for a palace.  In fact, Houlès trimmings decorate curtains on windows of the Élysée Palace, the official French presidential residence. Also, Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater uses Houlès trimmings on its main stage curtain.

Though the company enjoys a broad network of agents around the world, with growth markets including Russia, the Middle East and even a Manhattan showroom in the the U.S…roughly 80% of the company’s business is residential.  But aside from its Paris storefront, where everyday shoppers are welcome, the company deals exclusively with interior designers and other professionals. Houlès provides the materials for complete drapes, but customers are expected to find local help to assemble and hang them.  A decorator can coordinate an entire room around drapes, including furniture upholstery and wall coverings.  But Houlès focus, however, is on trimmings, such as the decorative edges of curtains, the tiebacks used to keep them open and the handmade tassels that hang on the tiebacks.

As Houlès design manager, Régis Perry creates classic collections of window trimmings.  He consults archives or sometimes visits the Louvre, where he gleans inspiration from Old Master paintings. A more elaborate trimmings collection can take up to a year to develop.  But of all the many trimmings collections he has created, which one did Perry choose for his own home?

None, he admits. He has velvet curtains, but no tiebacks or tassels. “We have a modern house,” he says. “We do have some trimmings on the sofa, but not a lot.”

Read More – WallStreetJournal

Child Proof Window Coverings? Voluntary Recall

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) work jointly on consumers behalf to raise awareness about older window coverings products  with exposed or dangling cords that can pose a strangulation hazard to infants and young children.  Each year, October is the official National Window Covering Safety Month when the jointly raise awareness by urging parents and caregivers to check their window coverings for exposed or dangling cords that can pose a strangulation hazard to infants and young children, and to retrofit or replace them with today’s safer products.  Only cordless window coverings or those with inaccessible cords be used in homes with young children are recommended by the WCSC and CPSC.  Listed among the top five hidden hazards in American homes, with infants and children dying each year from accidentally strangling…corded window coverings pose a very real and life threatening danger for kids.

 
This week (11/25/13) the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) jointly announced with Health Canada…a voluntary recall on a specific style of corded window blinds and shades called “bottom-up top-down” (BUTD).  Made in various dimensions and colors, most of these products are custom made. The good news is that FREE retrofit kits are available to consumers in both Canada and the United States by visiting WindowCoverings.org or by calling (800) 506-4636. The retrofit kit converts the joined cord device for the intermediate rail operating cord to separate cords, and includes cord cleats to help keep cords out of reach of young children.

These basic window cord-safety precautions are also highly encouraged by the WCSC:

  • Move all furniture, cribs, beds and climbable surfaces away from windows.
  • Keep all window cords well out of the reach of children.
  • Install only cordless window coverings in homes with young children.
  • Make sure tasseled pull cords are adjusted to be as short as possible.
  • Continuous-loop pull cords on draperies and blinds should be pulled tight and anchored to the floor or wall with a tension device.
  • Be sure cord stops are properly installed and adjusted to limit movement on inner cords on blinds and shades.

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Trends in Window Coverings – A Primer

Window coverings present a unique opportunity for a specialist because they’re “the one finishing-off area of the home that most people did not know how to do, clients and designers alike,” says interior designer Christy DeVicente in the San Luis Obispo area.  Following are her insights on the the latest trends,  pros and cons of custom versus premade, and the biggest gotcha’s to beware of.

Current Window Covering Trends

  • Natural Woven Shades – continue as the top trend — but from a new angle.  DeVicente points out that there are “so many new weaves and more refined textures.”  More contemporary and less tropical in feel, the newer weaves fit nicely into today’s clean, contemporary interiors. Woven shades are warm and textural…usually fashioned of natural materials like bamboo, raffia, grass, sticks or jute . They also offer various degrees of opacity for a range of lightblocking and privacy preferances.  Surprisingly versatile…even when opened, they continue to be a unique design element that creates a sort of “folded valance” along the top the window.
  • Classic Roller Shade – Often preferred because of their simplicity and streamlined design… “I have had more calls for roller shades in the past year than in all my 14 years in business,” said DeVicente.  Because they roll up tight, leaving a thin cylinder of around 2-1/2 to 3 inches in diameter, they can mount inside a window frame without detracting from views. Pair a roller shade with a narrow four to six inch valance, and you have a sleek yet functional and stylish window treatment. The basic design of roller shades is not much different from those your grandmother may have used, but the materials and mechanisms have come a long way.  The introduction of woven materials “No longer do you have to settle on the old plastic-like roller shade materials, or the vinyl laminated shades,” said DeVicente.
  • Solar Shades – A specialized roller shade filter out sunlight while maintaining views.  Manufactured from a heavy decorative screen material, they come in varying degrees of filtration, blocking out 86 percent to 97 percent of the sun’s rays. This isn’t just easy on the eyes — it protects furniture and décor from ultraviolet rays, and can help cool the home.  For windows with heavy sun exposure, and privacy is not a big concern…solar shades may be your optimal solution.
  • Motorization – not a new feature…but currently much more affordable.  Hiding all mechanisms within the frame is the latest innovation in motorized shutters. Solar powered motorized shutters with batteries that constantly recharge using a small solar panel located on the bottom rail. “This is great for windows that are up high or for a whole house full of shutters where it would be challenging and expensive to replace batteries every two years,” she said. Motorized shutters use a radio frequency remote, allowing you to open, close or change the angle of the louvers. You can operate one or multiple shutters from up to 120 feet away.

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