Les Finkelstein, owner of Sunshine Draperies & Interior Fashions, St. Louis, MO, told a large group of show attendees how to "Keep Doing Wonderful Things with Windows" at the Boston Curtain & Drapery Show, February 3 to 5, 1996. The Sunday evening talk was hosted by the WCAA Northeast Chapter and was sponsored by Comfortex Corp., Watervliet, NY.
Finkelstein began his talk with how he's always asked why he is willing to share his knowledge with competitors. "I've got 150 employees and none of them listen to me, so why should I worry about a competitor?" he said.
Finkelstein went on to say it really isn't the independent window coverings specialist down the street who is the real competition. He noted how the federal government is a competitor with a prison agency that uses convict labor to bid on commercial drapery jobs. But more importantly, he said, it's the media that's the worst competitor with economic reports that unnecessarily undermine consumer confidence. "Is the fact that the U.S. dollar fell against the German deutsch mark yesterday a reason for the average person to postpone a purchase?" he asked.
Mass merchants also don't cause Finkelstein much concern. "When a 'big box' opens in St. Louis, I just assign a shop-at-home decorator to target the zip codes directly around it," he said.
To be successful, Finkelstein said a retailer must "romance the fabric." Don't use swatches, he advised, instead use standard 30-inch samples that you can have your workroom create from overcuts. Fold the fabric into pleats and hold it up so the customer can get a true look and feel for it in the light, he said.
Also, don't pass up any sales opportunities that you have by being in front of a customer, Finkelstein said. He noted that if there's a product area he is not personally interested in carrying, he makes arrangements with a supplier so that his decorators can be directly commissioned. "What I get out of it is the satisfaction of seeing the smiles on the decorators' faces when I pass out the commission checks at our staff meetings," he said.
The Window Coverings Association of America (WCAA) is the only national non-profit organization dedicated to the retail window coverings industry.
For more information on becoming a member and member benefits, contact Bill Nathan, executive director, at (847) 480-7955; fax (847) 480-7960; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Certifications Earned at Boston Show
The WCAA congratulates the 34 professionals who successfully completed the Certified Window Treatment Consultant Program held at the Boston Curtain & Drapery Show.
These individuals are: Deborah C. Baldi, Framingham, MA; Karyn C. Beaulieu, Wolfeboro, NH; Debby Beckett, Alton, NH; Michelle Bilodeau, Manchester, CT; Janet Boberek, Glastonbury, CT; Gary Carle Jr., Wainscott, NY; Kim Connell, Falmouth, ME; Toni Cronk, Poughkeepsie, NY; Diana Delorenzo, Wilmington, DE; Linda Diorio, Andover, MA; Cara Droesch, Lancaster, MA; Marie M. Findholt, Cambridge, VT; Susan Francesconi, Cranford, NJ; Heather Hartrey, Whitman, MA; Chris Henrich, Chatham, NJ; Carolyn Hodges, Elberton, GA; Susan E. Johnson, Portland, ME; Suzanne D. Joseph, Bethlehem, PA; Stephen Korell, Wainscott, NY; Terry Kral, Scotia, NY; Michaele Dusaila, Watertown, CT; Nancy Laferrierre, St. John's Ferry, VT; Priscilla Mayo, St. John's Ferry, VT; Patricia Nelson, Sandwich, MA; Wade Pierce, Woburn, MA; Catherine Srafin, Morganville, NJ; Patricia C. Sica, Aberdeen, NJ; Nancy Stepanian, Chatham, NJ; Sue Stevenson, Lewes, DE; Kristine Svelling, White Plains, NY; Judy Switzer, Franklin, MA; Gayle Thompson, Wainscott, NY; Paula Thompson, Oswego, NY; and Cindy Turano, Nutley, NJ.
Nielson to Receive Industry Achievement Award
Karla J. Nielson will be the 1996 recipient of the WCAA Industry Achievement Award, to be presented during the WCAA Breakfast Symposium on Saturday, March 30, 1996, at the World of Home Fashion Show in Indianapolis, IN.
Nielson is an assistant professor at Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, seminar presentor and author.
In making the announcement, Bill Nathan, WCAA executive director, noted, "It is no accident that among the items in WCAA's mission statement, education is first. Furthermore, because Karla has outstandingly exemplified the WCAA goals of professionalism, ethics and service, it is quite fitting for her to be the first educator to receive the award."
Austin Chapter Elects Officers
WCAA Austin, the local chapter for Austin, TX, has elected officers for 1996. They are: Sharon Radovich, Central Texas Decorating Den, as president; Lorrie Dorsett, The Blind Lady, as vice president; Vangie Sager, Shade Lady Interiors, as secretary and membership chairperson; and Madeline Goodrich, Accent in Color, as treasurer.