In a spirit of learning, sharing and networking workroom owners, sewers, decorators, designers and exhibitors—more than 750 in attendance—gathered at the Charlotte Convention Center, Charlotte, NC, February 15 to 18 for the 15th Custom Home Furnishings Conference & Trade Show.
In all of its aspects, from seminars, exhibits and special events, this year’s event was a learning-filled, special experience. The conference’s four-day schedule was highlighted by 50 seminars — most hands - on so attendees could get right in and discover a tremendous amount of information and the solutions to the many different challenges in their workplaces. Taught by an industry-recognized faculty of 17 leading instructors, the courses ranged from business organization and management to custom fabrication techniques, improving sales, installation tips and tricks, and photography. In addition, exhibitor demonstrations were offered free to those who attended to learn more about a specific product displayed in the exhibit hall.
Several other special events took place during the conference and extended on into the evening hours.
This year’s keynote speaker, HGTV’s Wolfgang Schaber, Wolfgang Interiors, offered insights into how he got into the window coverings profession and had the packed lunchtime audience laughing in recognition as he explained adjusting oversize draperies by hanging them over the railing of his balcony. The heart of this presentation was the extended question-and-answer period in which Schaber helped with the trials, tribulations and successes of the custom window fashions industry.
A Gala Dinner hosted by the Window Coverings Association of American (WCAA) and D&WC magazine was held Friday evening, which featured recognition of the association’s many chapters and their leaders and programs.
On Saturday night, The Custom Home Furnishings Academy welcomed attendees to a tour of its Charlotte facilities, which included a dinner. Attendees had the opportunity to walk through the Academy owned by Margie Nance (see D&WC, July 2004, page 24) and network with the school’s instructors, some of whom taught sessions at the conference, too.
Another highlight of this conference was an expanded Working Workroom, encompassing 2,500-square-feet in the middle of the Exhibit Hall. Sloan Machinery sponsored the working sewing machines and a number of other exhibitors generously donated products to the workroom, which also was the site for the Amazing Slipcover race.
The conference concluded with a group of worn out but well educated attendees who were reflecting on the knowledge they had gained.