Levolor, High Point, NC, in August launched a new consumer ad campaign promoting its new and updated lines of Roman, natural and cellular shades and wood blinds. The campaign was developed by Woodbine, a strategic marketing and branding agency based in Winston-Salem, NC, with an office in Charlotte. It includes a national broadcast and Internet launch.
“I think we have a good campaign and I’m confident that it will resonate,” said Polly Black, Levolor vice president of marketing. “We haven’t been on-air for almost 20 years, so this is a first step in renewing our conversation with consumers more broadly.”
Maureen Hall, Woodbine CEO, believes her agency has a knack for helping consumers view established brands in a new light and says she was thrilled with the opportunity to bring Levolor into the limelight again. “With almost 100 years as a window fashions industry leader, the Levolor brand name has a loyal following,” said Hall. “Making this new campaign more of a re-expression than a re-invention.”
Woodbine has worked with lifestyle brands such as Destination Home, Bob Timberlake and Nautica under the Lexington Home Brands corporate umbrella, as well as Lowe’s Home Improvement and Naturescape Sunrooms.
GRABER LAUNCHES HOME CHOICES PROGRAM FOR PROFESSIONAL BUILDERS
Graber®, Middleton, WI, has created Home Choices, a new national builder program designed to give consumers a simple and affordable way to purchase window coverings directly through homebuilders at the time of construction.
“Graber Home Choices allows builders to offer a significant value-add to their customers making it possible for them to purchase window coverings for less and roll the cost right into their mortgages,” said Sal Parente, Graber director of sales.
Through the Graber Home Choices program, home buyers can choose custom window coverings from Graber’s top-selling styles and colors—including cellular shades, wood blinds, wood shutters and both vertical and horizontal blinds—all for less than off-the-shelf prices. For builders, the turnkey program delivers an opportunity to increase bottom line revenue by at least $500 per home while guaranteeing customer satisfaction through more varied window coverings and installation services.
HUNTER DOUGLAS UNVEILS iMAGINE DESIGN CENTER
Hunter Douglas, Upper Saddle River, NJ, has launched a cutting-edge new design tool on its consumer Web site, www.hunterdouglas.com. The iMagine™ Design Center is an interactive gallery that allows consumers to see every Hunter Douglas window fashion available in its full range of colors, fabrics and constructions on windows in customizable room settings. Potential buyers can then visit a Hunter Douglas dealer with ideas in mind, allowing dealers to close sales more quickly and more profitably, the company states.
Created in collaboration with Enlighten, Ann Arbor, MI, the iMagine Design Center offers viewers the ability to zoom in on any of the products for a close-up view of fabric, color and material. The site also allows consumers to visualize how light is affected by the selected window fashion and how it looks with a variety of decorating schemes.
“The iMagine Design Center is unlike other image rendering tools because it visually displays the effects of light in the room,” said Linda Bellitt, Hunter Douglas director of marketing technology and research. “By adjusting the fabric, material or color, changes in lighting in the room and the view of the outside world become immediately apparent.”
“Providing consumers with a visual representation of our entire collection, the many options available within each, and how each affects incoming light means that our dealers can expect a more educated, decisive consumer that makes the purchasing process much simpler and more enjoyable,” said Bellitt.
The iMagine Design Center also provides links to product and operating system videos as well as “Special Features,” which highlight the unique qualities of specific Hunter Douglas products.
NEW SHOWROOM EARNS HONORS, MORE SALES
Budget Blinds, Burnsville, MN, has been named one of the top 10 showrooms out of 140 submissions in the Hunter Douglas 2006 Showroom Makeover Contest. Budget Blinds, Burnsville is a dealer of Warren Steven Window Fashions, Minneapolis, MN.
Before the showroom makeover, Budget Blinds primarily worked with clients through in-home consultations. The company’s headquarters housed warehouse and office space only. “We wanted to help our customers view an entire product line and get explanations, which is hard to do with an in-home consultation,” explains Tom Cotton, Budget Blinds, Burnsville owner.
Lee Edlund, Warren Steven sales representative, and Rachel Rice, Warren Steven director of marketing, helped Cotton with the showroom design. In addition to Hunter Douglas displays, Cotton added to the showroom valance, cornice and swag samples from Warren Steven’s top treatment program, Above It All.
“I can count many jobs that started as an in-home consultation and then followed up with a showroom visit. It secures the sale,” says Cotton.
SLIPCOVER SUMMIT 2007 A SUCCESS, PRESENTS FIRST DESIGN CONTEST AWARD
Cozy Cottage, Parma, OH, was the first-place winner of the first Slipcover Design Contest sponsored by the Slipcover Network and presented during the Slipcover Summit 2007 in Boston, MA, in June.
Teresa Bennett’s slipcover design was among 15 professional entries from across the United States. Three winners were selected on votes cast by those attending the summit. Second place was presented to Linda Behringer, Cover Ups Complete and Custom Window Coverings, Hathaway Pines, CA. Third place went to Francine Parrett, Imagine That Design, Phoenix, AZ.
Cozy Cottage Slipcovers is a custom workroom specializing in custom slipcovers, bedding, pillows, indoor and outdoor cushions plus other soft home décor accessories. The company began business in 2003 and caters to retail customers, as well as limited wholesale clientele.
Bennett’s work previously has won several major professional awards for design and detail and has been nationally featured in trade publications. Cozy Cottage prides itself on giving individualized service and quality workmanship.
The Slipcover Summit 2007 also presented seminars led by six volunteer instructors sharing their specific skills regarding the trade, art, design and fabrication of slipcovers.
With 36 total attending some late registrations had to be turned away in order to keep class size small. The goal was to keep sessions to around 12 participants so each would have time for actual hands-on experience. Some of the classes were overflowing capacity at 18.
Four Slipcover Scholarships were awarded to: Celia Oliver, Historic Textiles & Interiors, Shelburne, VT; Laurie Brule, L.B. Interiors, Lakeville, MA; Esther Behling, Blackbird Slipcovers, Brattleboro, VT; and Cynthia Dawkins, Silver Spring, MD.
SKANDIA, SOLATECH ANNOUNCE PROPRIETY POS SYSTEM
Solatech, Inc., High Point, NC, has been selected to provide a proprietary point-of-sale system for Skandia Window Fashions, Tallassee, FL. Solatech provides technological solutions to the window fashions industry, streamlining processes from design to manufacturing to distribution.
“With Skandia’s attention to quality and customer service and our understanding of the industry and the technology, partnering . . . was a natural choice,” said Ray Soltis, Solatech founder and CEO.
“Solatech’s point-of-sale software allows our dealers to order our products more quickly and with greater accuracy, which means greater efficiency and service for the end customers,” said Michele Lorch, who manages marketing and customer communication for Skandia.
Skandia Window Fashions is a full-line window coverings manufacturer with three manufacturing facilities. Its product lines include shutters, blinds, shades and motorized coverings.
Solatech is in the business of imagining and building the software tools that streamline processes in the window coverings industry from manufacturing through consumer installation. This software simplifies design, price quoting, customization, manufacturing and installation.
ORION ORNAMENTAL IRON RECEIVES 2007 ADEX AWARDS
Orion Ornamental Iron, Inc., has received a 2007 ADEX Gold Award for its Village Forge Collection and a Platinum Award for its Venezia Collection. These awards are conferred on products with excellence in design, innovation and unique features.
The Village Forge Collection is noted for its classic Old World design and adds 10 new handcrafted finials to an extensive line of hand-forged finials that Orion offers to customers.
The Venezia Collection offers a variety of ornate cleats and tassels that match with any décor and finish. Both collections are available in 31 finishes. The Venezia collection offers an additional six tropical finishes along with four exclusive metal finishes.
BREITER OPENS HOUSE OF WINDOW COVERINGS
Christopher Breiter, former district manager of 3 Blind Mice Window Coverings, Las Vegas, NV, recently opened his own company, House of Window Coverings. The new showroom/office, located at 4440 S. Durango Dr., Suite F, Las Vegas, offers a full range of custom window treatments for private residences, high-rise condominiums, businesses and hospitality projects.
Breiter operates his new company with five experienced design sales consultants, three installers and a showroom manager. His staff has more than 30 years of experience in the window coverings industry.
Prior to serving as district sales manager for 3 Blind Mice, Breiter was employed with 3 Day Blinds in Las Vegas. In 2004, his showroom earned two sales awards, achieving first place out of 300 other stores.
GRABER PRESENTS NEW WEB SITE, BRAND LOGO AND TAG LINE
Graber® Blinds, Middleton, WI, recently drew up the shades on its revamped Web site designed to provide more comprehensive information on and images of the brand’s entire product line, as well as tips for selecting the perfect window coverings for every room of the home.
The site, www.graberblinds.com, was re-launched in conjunction with the brand’s new marketing campaign and features a complementary color palette as well as the brand’s new logo and tagline: “Every Home a Gallery. Every Window a Canvas.” This new brand image also will be reflected in trade advertising, print collateral, dealer displays and all marketing communications.
“True to our new tagline, Graber’s redesigned Web site showcases the stylish and sophisticated side of window coverings,” said Greg Farr, Graber vice president and general manager. “We’re using this site to help educate consumers about how to transform their uncovered windows into works of art.”
Each Graber window treatment—from cellular and vertical shades to faux wood blinds and wood shutters—has its own section on the Web site. To help consumers identify the most appropriate window coverings for their personal needs and preferences, these sections rate every product in terms of important factors like privacy, light control and energy efficiency.
The dealer-only section of Graber’s Web site provides complete information on all of the company’s 2007 dealer initiatives and marketing support programs including: Partners in Profit Consumer Credit Card Program, Partner Plus Dealer Program and Graber/Valpak Direct Mail Program.
Dealers also may request complimentary Graber product brochures and contact their Graber Preferred Fabricator to order product literature and sales support materials.
BLONDER, KATHY IRELAND HOME TEAM ON WALL COVERINGS, BATH COLLECTIONS
Blonder Home Accents, Cleveland, OH, announces its new partnership with Kathy Ireland Worldwide (KIWW), the design and marketing firm founded by CEO and Chief Designer Kathy Ireland. Blonder will design wall covering collections (including appliqués) and bath accessory ensembles. These will be distributed as the Kathy Ireland Home by Blonder Home Accents brand.
The new designs will be based on Kathy Ireland Worldwide Style Guides®, which feature her travels to exotic lands. The first collections debuted at the Blonder New York showroom in August.
“Our partnership with KIWW will allow us to experience a greater presence in the marketplace with an impressive brand offering supporting the KIWW mission of ‘finding solutions for families, especially busy moms.’ Our aspiration is to design products that inspire consumers to escape, to relax, to experience serenity, to pamper, to indulge and to make home their haven,” said Frank Sterling, Blonder Home Accents president.
Blonder Home Accents is an 89-year old, 100 percent employee owned company, and is one of America’s top three suppliers of wall coverings.