It wasn’t that long ago vertical blinds were the backbone of the window coverings industry. They were a good product to fabricate, sell, measure, customize, install and operate. They were everywhere. What has happened to vertical blinds lately? Quite a bit—yet, also, not much.
Over the last several years vertical blinds have changed in any number
of ways: They were embossed with patterns; made to accept fabric or wallpaper
inserts; fabricated out of vinyl, fabric, wood or wood look-alike materials;
and offered in an ever-changing rainbow of fashion colors—even with
metallic and mirror finishes. The vanes have been widened, narrowed, shaped
and motorized. For years a system was available to wrap them in sheer
fabrics that could be removed for washing. They were sold as the primary
window covering and as an undertreatment with a fabric valance and drapery
side panels. A few years ago all the hardness was taken out of this hard
window covering as the vanes became stiffened fabric enclosed between
yards of sheer-like material. This look proved so popular several manufacturers
came out with their own versions. Most recently we’ve seen vanes
become available in leather and velvet finishes.
What hasn’t changed about verticals? They still are solid, dependable,
versatile, light-controlling products that in some installations just
can’t be beat. In some parts of the country they still are the top-selling
window treatment. With all the talk about going “soft” at the
window, there still is plenty of market for dealers selling verticals.
In the High Desert east of Los Angeles, Trish and Bob Sole—this month’s
cover story—still make a good living selling
verticals at Express Blinds & Draperies. The Soles started their business
fabricating custom verticals, and although they now also sell draperies,
wood blinds and shutters, verticals remain the biggest part of their business—about
30 percent of their $1 million-plus sales.
It has been said the more things change, the more they stay the same.
In the world of window coverings, there’s always room for a good
product to fabricate, sell, measure, customize, install and operate.