I thought I couldn't be RACIST
THREE STORY blocked drapery panels
make your TRANSITION & RESTART plan
create a STAND-OUT design submission
masks with SOFT EAR LOOPS step-by-step
CHANNEL BACK upholstery technique
NUA addresses RACIAL JUSTICE
Keely discusses her eye for detail and VISION Awards. Click to listen!
scroll to read full article
How to Create a Stand-Out VISION Design Awards Submission
By Taryn Pearce
As a first-time entrant to the International VISION Design & Workroom awards this year, Keely Hersh, owner of Right at Home Interiors in Placerville, CA, submitted her designs into three categories - and won in all three. She took home first place in the Decorative Hardware & Trims category, and second place in both the Curtains & Draperies and Top Treatments categories.
Scroll through the slideshow to see Keely's winning designs!
There were many beautiful entries to the competition, so what helped set Hersh apart? Her answer: The submission process itself.
Keely took a detailed approach to her submissions, ensuring that her final applications in each category showed her designs in the best possible light. Here, Hersh shares her best tips to help first-time and returning VISION Design Awards entrants create stunning competition applications that can help their designs stand out.
1. Make Sure You Have Professional Photos
“The professional photos were really what gave me the freedom to enter this year. I had thought about entering in different years but whenever I’d think about it I’d say, “I don't have professional photos. I can't do this without professional photos - it says it right in the rules.”
In 2019, however, I started getting professional photos done in order to put better pictures on my website. So, then I had the photos I needed to enter the competition. My photographer even helped me to submit the photos as digital images in the right sizes according to VISION’s specifications.”
2. Match Each Project to the Right Category
“They actually say in the instructions to really think about what you're entering in each category. So, I read the individual descriptions for each category very closely so that I had the best chance of matching my projects to the correct category.”
3. Read the Guidelines Carefully
“The guidelines talk a lot about how to prepare your stories – they had words like “inspiration,” “client needs” “details,” and “fabrics,” all these words…I highlighted them all, so as I was working on the written portion of the application, I could look back to see if I was answering the questions of what they wanted for each room description.
There’s even a section in there that says, “how the judges judge.” That section lays out exactly what the judges will be judging you on, so it’s important to pay attention to that.”
4. Use a Professional Writer
“I asked my regular content writer to help me put together and polish the pieces. We worked together to make sure we had all the components in each written piece that the judges would be looking for. Having my writer there to work with me on the applications helped me to tell a better story about my designs.”
5. Keep Good Records
“You’ll have to be able to list all your source information, and that takes some work. I don't think I had all the names for everything in each client's project folder, so I’d have to go to another folder to find the receipts and match them up to the right project. That part takes a little bit of running through your files, but I did it and all designers out there can, too.”
A Final Piece of Advice
“Give it your best shot. Really, just go for it, and remember that what you put together for your submission will also become marketing materials that you can use on your blog, website, Instagram, and all kinds of other places. I'm still using mine over and over again to this day and will continue to do so.
Whether or not you win, if you create a truly beautiful submission, it’s still useful, and you should be proud of it.”
Right at Home Interiors has proudly been in business for over 25 years. Owner and designer Keely Hersh views fabric as a main feature in home décor and manufactures your custom window coverings, bedding and room décor accessories at her in-house custom drapery workroom.
As Keely says, “Excellent customer service involves taking care of my client’s project to the final detail.
I thought I couldn't be racist
by Jeanelle Dech
I sometimes visualize the ongoing cycle of racism as a moving walkway at the airport. Active racist behavior is equivalent to walking fast on the conveyor belt…Passive racist behavior is equivalent to standing still on the walkway. No overt effort is being made, but the conveyor belt moves the bystanders along to the same destination as those who are actively walking. Some of the bystanders may feel the motion of the conveyor belt, see the active racists ahead of them, and choose to turn around…But unless they are walking actively in the opposite direction at a speed faster than the conveyor belt – unless they are actively anti-racist – they will find themselves carried along with the others.
Scroll to read full article.
Growing up with three brothers in a multiracial family (Kevin-adopted at age 12, Greg-biological, and Cody-adopted at 6mo), I’ve always thought that I couldn't possibly be racist. Our parents raised us to appreciate the uniqueness of others, and I proudly shared stories of our colorful family as proof of my own non-racist ideals.
Thirty years later, my husband (white like me) tackled his faculty summer reading list that included the book, White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo. We listened to the audio version together, debated, cried, and reflected on our own biases. By the end of the book our understanding of racism in this country (and our roles in it) had changed forever.
It was a difficult read, as it forced an uncomfortable reflection of how, throughout our lives, we have benefited from our white privilege. To help us truly examine our own biases, DiAngelo encourages the reader to reject the common misconception of racism as a binary:
Racist = Bad Person
Non-racist = Good Person
Instead, she presents racism as a spectrum which all of us (by virtue of being socialized in a systemically racist society) exist on somewhere. Racism in the United States is everywhere and often perpetuated unconsciously by well-meaning individuals.
Before this book, I thought that because of my family upbringing, I could never be racist. I truly love my brothers.
But, could I be one of those well-meaning individuals?
Have I been so comfortable in my white, non-racist vision of myself, that I failed to understand the need for action – the need for anti-racism?
The analogy of the airport moving walkway resonates with me.
As Beverly Daniel Tatum describes in her book Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race,
If you are a 'good' white person just embarking on this journey, please join me in the understanding that, WE ARE NOT COMPLETE. Whatever our current view of ourselves and our roles, we have been socialized in a white racist society and we all have work to do if we truly want to be allies in the fight against racism.
We'll need to embrace being uncomfortable and recognize the discomfort as a sign of growth. We'll need to have those difficult conversations with friends and family. We'll need to help others to see the pervasiveness of racism in our society and model openness when we, ourselves, receive feedback about something said or done that causes pain or perpetuates a stereotype. If you’re wondering ‘What more can we do?’, here is a good article with ideas.
Let's not worry about being perfect – this is a process. We will stumble, but that is better than doing nothing and continuing our ride on the moving walkway.
As Carl Lentz shared as a guest on Emmanuel Acho's video series (linked below), "I would rather have someone explain to their children their messy transformation, than wait till they’re complete, because we are just not going to be complete.”
To my friends and colleagues of color:
I want you to know that I want to be an ally for you. I will continue to listen, learn and speak out, even when uncomfortable. I will stumble, but will press on.
To my white friends and colleagues:
We've got work to do!
Jeanelle Dech is president and co-founder of Adaptive Textiles, an innovative textile printing company in West Chester, PA, employing 24 dedicated and talented full-time workers. She shares more than thirty years of experience in the custom home furnishings industry, and is a dynamic speaker, known for her entrepreneurial spirit, love of natural linen fabric, Fit-Like-a-Glove slipcovers, and workroom profitability training. She is the creative energy behind the popular REAL WORKROOMS series and METHOD SHARE videos on YouTube. In 2015, she acquired the M’Fay Pattern collection and launched The Workroom Marketplace, and The Workroom Channel, which hosts a series of online training programs for sewing professionals.
Want to be featured in a future issue? Use #csfrl to make sure you get noticed.
Jul/Aug 2020 Instagram Contributors:
Theda Hadden - @springwoodupholstery
Rose Mary LeBlanc - @rmlcustomhome
Laura Nelson - @sew_nice
Amanda Smith - @sewunordinarydrapery
Terry Sandlin - @terryswindows
Jessie Lee Miller - @winstonsworkroom
Teal Major - @slipsberkeley
Nancy Letts - @pinehousedrapery
Jennifer Assetto - @inthefringe
Gillian Wendel - @thewendelworksdesignanddrapery
Note: using #csfrl implies permission to use your image in the Drapery & Design Digital Digest with photo credit and Instagram link.
at the Library
Get it in Writing - Workroom Agreements
with Doug Kirwan, Corporate Contract Negotiator
Participate LIVE on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 1pm
A written contract plays a vital role in any business transaction. They are legally binding and serve as future references and proof in the event of misunderstandings. If you are a current workroom or thinking of becoming one, this brief review and discussion will help you understand the importance of a written agreement and how to keep everything legal and clear between the parties.
Join the Library today as a PRO Plus Member to view past and future CIRCLE TIME events, on demand.
The Social Justice Sewing Academy
Click here to LISTEN.
I reached out to Sara Trail of The Social Justice Sewing Academy to ask if she would be willing to talk with me about what she was doing with the SJSA. Once I contacted her and we started talking, I asked if we could talk about what is going on in our world and could she help me to understand the impact of racism on the young people that she was trying to give a voice to. I appreciated her patience with me, as well as her willingness to talk openly about her own experiences without judging my own lack of knowledge. I did not want it to become Sara’s responsibility to educate me, yet she did, with kindness and compassion. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to have an open conversation with Sara.
- Ceil DiGuglielmo
Sara Trail learned to sew at the young age of 4, and is now a successful author, sewing teacher, and pattern and fabric designer. At age 13, she wrote a nationally published book, “Sew with Sara” that teaches teens and tweens how to sew cute clothes and accessories for fun and profit. At 15, she starred in a nationally published DVD, “Cool stuff to Sew With Sara.” She then designed two fabric collections, Folkheart and Biology 101 a pattern collection with Simplicity, “Designed with Love by Sara.” Her pattern collection features prom dresses, backpack patterns, hoodies, and jackets as well as aprons and tote bags. While attending UC Berkeley, Sara created a quilt in memory of Trayvon Martin and her love for sewing and passion for social justice intertwined. After graduating from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, she founded the Social Justice Sewing Academy (SJSA) to be a platform where youth create art that engages and educates communities.
Comforts of home -
While you wait!
These almost three story 261” blocked drapery panels were our tallest to date and were for a local doctor’s office waiting room. The doctor’s wife’s goal was to create a waiting room to be as comfortable as a living room to ease the anxiety of being at the doctor. We think she achieved this goal very nicely!
Three colors of satin fabric, gold, taupe and black were strategically placed to accent the tall wall of windows. Nail head trim was placed on the board mounted panels for a design detail while still saving the client’s budget by not having hardware costs.
Click through the slideshow to see more!
Knowing two heads are always better than one, Rachel Barrera and Terri Booser combined their individual businesses to form Sugar & Spice Draperies and Shades, LLC in January 2017, With their extensive knowledge, experience and talents, they create a dynamic duo to design and fabricate unique and highly crafted window treatments throughout the Metropolitan Houston Area.
Scroll to read full article
This article first appeared in The National Upholstery Association's blog which you can read here.
Watch Rachel's Address on YouTube by clicking HERE.
As a woman of color I have been particularly affected by the events in the recent weeks, months, years...and decades of the killings and outright murders of Black, Brown and Indigenous women, men and the LGBTQ+ community and I feel compelled to say something on behalf of the National Upholstery Association. This was after some great thought and urging from the board and I want to thank them for not only having my back, but the back of Black and Brown communities as a whole.
The Black Lives Matter movement is a human rights issue and as the National Upholstery Association we wish to stand on the right side of history and that means standing with those we love, those we do not know and those we wish to know better.
There are too many names to list. There are too many bodies battered and broken. There are too many lives destroyed. There are too many people who have allowed this injustice to stand and the NUA is calling upon our members, and everyone everywhere to take a stand for racial justice; the human rights that belong to all of us.
We wish for love that is not blinded by feel good tropes.
We wish for the safety of our members.
We wish for equality for our members.
We wish for justice for our members.
We wish for solidarity, support, compassion and love between our members and for all.
The guiding principles at the NUA are Knowledge & Learning, Diversity, Accessibility & Openness, Community, Outreach & Partnership, Creativity & Innovation. Therefore, racial justice and equality - for all - is the very thread of the National Upholstery Association. It is the very thread and foundation of the upholstery trade.
As Upholsterers, we are creative outside-the-box problem solvers. We actively seek out knowledge. We are here to eagerly learn from our peers, and to educate ourselves. We are here to listen and we are here to learn from people with differing experiences. Without an open mind, and diversity, the upholstery trade cannot flourish. We need community and racial justice for our trade to thrive. Will our world thrive.
The National Upholstery Association will continue to forge a path that is inclusive of everyone. We will continue to reach out into circles that are yet our own. We will continue to make ourselves uncomfortable in the pursuit of learning and equality. We will continue to move with love.
We stand on the right side of history. We hope you will stand with us.
Rachel Fletcher owns Knox Upholstery in Knoxville, Tennessee. With a bachelor's degree in communications from Millikin University, her career before upholstery included marketing, advertising and promotional events. Rachel learned how to upholster while working as a theatrical Props Assistant at the local university after moving to Tennessee. After falling in love with the trade she began her upholstery business out of her home in 2010. Rachel is also a co-moderator of the Professional Upholsterer's Network on Facebook.
Rachel Fletcher Addresses Racial Justice
A message from the President of the National Upholstery Association
How to Create a
Transition and Restart Plan
Scroll to read full article
This article first appeared in Michele's blog which you can read here.
Planning makes most things go more smoothly than working without a plan. When times are great it is easy to get caught in the upward swing and assume that there won’t be a downturn or a change of direction that we did not personally create. By documenting our plans for times of transition we can think through, in advance, what we might need. This prior planning can bring us peace when a transition occurs either by choice or force. Consider transition plans not as a bad thing – but as a great way to prepare for business to not function as normal. These could be executed due to sickness like COVID-19, elective surgery, having a baby, going on a long vacation or other life and business event. What is also as important as having transition plans is having a restart plan. Usually upon return to some normalcy business does not go back to full force immediately. Think of a restart plan similar to an on-boarding plan for a new hire. There are many tasks we need to modulate and ease into.
This training is part of my aim with intent methodology. Aim stands for aligning your team, igniting your process, and managing your money with intention.
Building A Transition Plan
When building a plan, take into account your people, processes, and profits. During this time I am asking my clients to build 3 transition plans. One that is short-term in nature (think 4 weeks), one that is mid-term (8 weeks) and one that is a more long-term transition (12 weeks). In each plan identify what business might look like for you. What needs to change for your teams (internal, external and support teams), your processes (internal, external and support) and your money (cash in and cash out). Having multiple plans allows us to continue on when we may not know the end date. For example, this is being written while we are in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. We have no idea of the end date of our shelter in place or quarantine. So we need to make a plan for 4, 8 and 12 weeks. Here is another example. When I coach women who are stepping out of their business for maternity leave, we may create 3 plans as well. Plan A which is 6-8 weeks, plan B for 12 weeks and plan C for 16 weeks. Going into delivery we may have an idea of what we need and want but it could turn out very differently once we are in it. Having a plan in place for multiple circumstances brings relief.
Consider These Areas In Your Plan
While you are thinking about people, processes and profits, also consider building plans that address how you will handle communication, finances, marketing, HR, legal, clients, and technology. Other areas of impact also need to be identified as part of a continuity plan. During times of transition, our work may change as well as how we show up as a company. Be intentional about what you do, how you do it and who is responsible.
Identify Trigger Points
Your 4-week plan might be the basis of your 8 and 12-week plans. But also be aware of triggers the initial plan to be put into place. In other words, what constitutes a transition? It is also noteworthy to understand that what we might do in a 4-week plan could be vastly different from a 12-week plan, especially with regard to financial resources and marketing efforts. Make note in each plan where the task might shift if the plan has to have a longer duration than initially planned for.
Be Flexible and Pivot
Be willing during times of transition to bend the rules and be flexible. It is best to consider relationships for the long haul. We can keep our values in alignment, but our products and services may shift or morph to meet the needs of the time. Relationships will carry us through times of difficulty, not just having solid financials, but having good solid relationships. Be nimble. Changes may occur frequently during times of transition and new needs may arise. Focus on not being so rigid that you cannot pivot to meet these new needs in the best manner.
Plan Early, Plan Often
Planning in advance when you can think clearly will remove the overwhelm of being in the moment. When having to change quickly on a dime it can make you feel scattered, and that makes you feel even more out of control than you might already be. And so while you cannot control everything, you certainly can manage what you have in front of you. Use this time to create cross-training plans, look for overlap or lack of. Where do you need to have duplication of effort?
Plan to Restart
Make a plan for starting back after this transition period. What does it look like to restart? Everything does not go back the way it was before in a single moment. We are not going to all just go back on day one. So how do you start back in If you've had to work differently, or layoff or furlough employees? How do you bring them back on? How do you start work back up? How do you start prioritizing which job goes before the other? How do you start working with your trades? Again, we have got to be flexible in this restart because other businesses have been impacted as well. If you can take the time right now, to think about how, during even a transition, you're going to align your team, ignite your process and manage your money and do it all very strategically and with intent, that's going to help you manage this. Consider these same elements, as you create a restart plan, and you're going to be better off than the majority of your colleagues who are not doing this. Many will be grasping or working in fear and not using their time effectively.
Use your time, build your business now for what you want it to be, and do it with intent. If you want to set up a call to talk through your strategy you can do that HERE.
Michele Williams is the owner of Scarlet Thread Consulting. Using her software development and interior design business background, she empowers her clients to charge what they are worth and to have confidence in their financials. Michele is a Profit First certified coach focused on the interior design industry, and she hosts the popular Profit is a Choice podcast. You can learn more at www.scarletthreadconsulting.com.
Soft Ear Loops
innovations for comfort
Scroll to read full article
Mask wearing is an act of kindness. It is a simple and effective action to protect others when we cannot stay apart. With a team of twenty at Adaptive Textiles, wearing masks ALL DAY, EVERY DAY is a strict requirement of our employment, so it became necessary to develop a mask that was truly comfortable to wear. After some quick google research and a tip from the MaskAmerica Facebook Group, we tried this Lycra innovation, and I'm excited to share it with you.
View the step-by-step slideshow to see how it's done! Click on the arrows.
Michelle Macaranas is the Workroom Supervisor at Adaptive Textiles. They are her hands in the photos above. You can learn more about Adaptive's mask production by visiting:
Scroll to read full article
Channel Back Chair
with Cynthia Bleskacheck
The Funky Little Chair and The Workroom Channel have partnered to create a new anytime-access video course- coming to you in September!
Watch a preview of the course below:
Channeling is a popular upholstery technique that your clients are sure to request. It’s also notoriously challenging and it is considered an advanced skill. But a solid plan and understanding of the process will help you navigate your next channelback project with confidence.
In this detailed six-lesson program, we’ll work through a channel back from planning to cutting and sewing to stapling. If you’ve tried channeling and feel like there must be a better way, or if you’re still working up the courage to take one on, this course is for you.
For a complete list of self-paced, online courses from The Workroom Channel, click here.
Cynthia Bleskachek is the creator of The Funky Little Chair located in Minnesota. With a wealth of experience “at the bench,” Cynthia is an exceptional modern upholsterer with a specific passion for training and consulting. As a respected leader in the field, she’s traveled as far north as the Canadian border and as far south as Alabama to provide technical and training support to industry leading workrooms. In addition to overseeing course and curriculum development in Minneapolis, Cynthia has been an instructor at Workroom Tech in North Carolina and Customer Workroom Conference in South Carolina. She has a YouTube Channel with over 20,000 subscribers and currently serves on the board for the National Upholstery Association.
Click HERE to be notified when the course launches in September 2020.
click here for
Drapery & Design Professional Magazine
Volume 2009, Issue 4
Blast from the Past
Join the LIBRARY!
seach more than 500,000 forum posts
read every issue of the ORIGINAL Drapery & Design Professional Magazine
View more than 100 hours of educational webinars
Workroom Tech is now offering online classes for beginner level students. The WT Online basics series is a great way to get started sewing window treatments. Classes include beginner draperies, shades and other soft furnishing styles.
WT Online classes include three 1-hour online, interactive lessons, written instructions and a project kit with materials and supplies. Susan Woodcock, instructor and owner of Workroom Tech understands that online classes are more accessible for people starting out.
“This is a great way to learn a new skill while exploring the idea of opening a workroom business.”
Classes for professional level students include top-down/bottom-up roman shades and arched draperies.
To learn more about Workroom Tech and to register for upcoming classes visit www.WorkroomTech.com
New Online Classes from Workroom Tech
Film your own
Scroll to read full article
The Workroom Channel is known for the inspiring and informative series: REAL WORKROOMS. Amid the pandemic, photographers are unable to travel to capture the unique stories of workroom owners.
That's where YOU come in!
TWC is looking for business owners to submit their own footage to be edited and produced by The Workroom Channel as a VIRTUAL REAL WORKROOMS Tour.
All you need to get started is your smart phone or tablet (TWO if possible) and a tripod or a creative solution to hold the device. (Think stacks of books on the edge of your work table.) Tip: It's always nice to have a helper behind the scenes to be sure the camera is recording!
Address your audience by speaking directly into your main camera. Try different angles to make the cuts more interesting. Take additional videos and close-up photos to add detail to your movie. (Known in the biz as "B-Roll".)
Every workroom is unique! What makes your space special? Share your workroom tips, tricks and life-hacks. Someone is sure to have an "AHA moment!"
If you are interested in being a part of the REAL WORKROOMS Virtual Tours, please reach out to Liz@TheWorkroomChannel.com
100 Things White People Can Do For Racial Justice
Printed with the messages "Say Their Names," "Black Lives Matter," "8:46," "I Can't Breathe," and "Justice Now," protest face masks from Printmakers Collective are made in support of the ongoing protests against racially-biased police violence.
Royalties from the sale of protest masks support the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Click below to read:
Behind the COVER PHOTO
We cannot respect the dignity of all lives until we acknowledge
that we have failed to respect the dignity of black lives.
shop for PROTEST MASKS:
The Workroom Channel
The Workroom Marketplace
Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library
Sew Much More Podcast
Love this e-pub? Don't miss a single issue!
July-August 2020 photo credits:
Keely Hersh, Right at Home Interiors
Terri Booser & Rachel Barrera, Sugar & Spice Drapery and Shades
Casey Dech, Printmakers Collective
The Drapery & Design Digital Digest is the result of the collaborative efforts of The Workroom Channel and the Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library. Our mission is to showcase the outstanding work of custom home furnishings professionals, spotlight quality products, and share educational resources.
Layout Editor: Liz Kelly, The Workroom Channel