SOMFY OPENS HOME MOTION CENTER
Somfy Systems Inc., Cranbury, NJ, has announced the grand opening of its Home Motion Center located in its Boca Raton, FL, facility. The Home Motion Center is an interactive home that features automated window coverings, rolling shutters and awnings powered by Somfy. It showcases the many different interior and exterior treatments that can be motorized and also highlights the many different compatible control options that are available, including third-party home automation systems, according to a company statement.
The Home Motion Center is designed to allow visitors to see the many different products that can be motorized, but also provides the opportunity for visitors to experience firsthand the lifestyle benefits that motorization provides, the company states. From experiencing control options to installation and use, the Home Motor Center is an interactive showroom that brings a home to life with motorization, it adds.
The Home Motion Center has also been developed as a platform to provide motorization education on a large scale. Somfy will host various programs that make demonstrating, specifying and selling its motorization products as simple as possible.
HUNTER DOUGLAS INTRODUCES MY BRAND BUILDER
Hunter Douglas, Upper Saddle River, NJ, has launched My Brand Builder, a new marketing tool on its dealer Web site, www.dealers.hunterdouglas.com.
My Brand Builder is aimed at making it easier for dealers to create customized advertising and marketing materials. Once logged into the site, dealers can access templates, logos, tutorials and other resources for them to better market their businesses toward consumers, according to a company statement.
My Brand Builder gives dealers access to a full creative library with new templates for newspaper and magazine ads updated each month, as well as postcards and more. Headlines and copy can be edited and logos, seals and dealer information can be included to add a personalized touch. Additionally, every time a dealer chooses one of the available images and copy, or adds his own custom information, creative material is automatically updated, in real time, to display precisely how the ad will look.
“My Brand Builder . . . is an all-in-one virtual advertising agency,” said Jim Mathews, Hunter Douglas vice president of corporate marketing. “The tool allows dealers to better their businesses by producing marketing materials that not only look professional, but are simple to create.”
Another new feature is the ability to resize materials and deliver finished artwork directly to a publisher via e-mail.
KIRSCH ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF DESIGN CHALLENGE CONTEST
Kirsch Window Fashions, High Point, NC, has announced the winners of its first-ever Kirsch Design Challenge Contest. First place winner Melissa Rodgers won $10,000, while second place winner Barb Lytle won $5,000, and third place winner Angie Gardeck won $1,500.
Kirsch received dozens of entry submissions, which were then judged by a panel of industry experts. Winning entry submission photos can be seen on www.kirsch.com showcasing the innovative use of Kirsch products.
The Kirsch Design Challenge Contest offered professionals in the window coverings business the opportunity to design a window using any combination of the following Kirsch decorative drapery hardware products for a chance to win $10,000: 1 3/8-inch Wood Trends, Mix & Match, Studio Coordinates, Metal Accessories and Wrought Iron. To enter, participants had to complete and submit an entry form along with a high-resolution photo showing as much detail of the specified hardware as possible to the Levolor Kirsch Window Fashions headquarters in High Point, NC, from March 1, 2007, through October 31, 2007. A list of the Kirsch hardware used to create the window was to be included with the photo at the time of entry.
“Through this contest we were able to generate excitement among window covering professionals across the country and promote creative, new uses for drapery hardware, which will ultimately benefit our end consumer,” said Cessy Brown, Kirsch marketing communications manager.
RANDALL TEAMS WITH DREAMDRAPER
Charles Randall, best selling author and window treatments authority, has entered into an exclusive relationship with Evan Marsh Designs, creator of the DreamDraper design program. Popular illustrations from Randall’s top-selling books, “The Encyclopedia of Window Fashions” and the “Designer Sketchfile,” will be featured in a series of collections for use in DreamDraper.
In announcing this agreement, Randall stated, “The marriage of the DreamDraper technologies with our designs will take the creativity and beauty of window treatment designing to a new level.”
SWEEPSTAKES PROVES POWERFUL MARKETING TOOL
Exciting Windows spokesperson and HGTV celebrity designer Michael Payne recently announced a $10,000 Windows Makeover Sweepstakes.
At the end of May, the winning homeowner, picked randomly, will receive $10,000 worth of window coverings designed especially for her by an Exciting Windows professional specializing in ideas to make the winner’s home more beautiful. Additionally, the winner will connect directly with Payne via phone and e-mail and receive a total design plan for the room where the treatments will be installed.
There is no purchase or consultation necessary to enter this contest. Colorful, eye-catching graphics on entry forms, neighborhood flyers, door hangers, postcards, press release material and on the company’s Web site has all contributed to the success of the program.
“This Sweepstakes provides a powerful tool to collect names and contact information of potential customers who are interested in window fashions,” cites Kathy Cragg, Exciting Windows vice president of member services and architect of this marketing program. “Rather than just selling products, we concentrate on building relationships over time through e-mail newsletters, mailing and phone calls until we turn a valuable percentage into customers. This no-obligation Sweepstakes promotion provided more than 3,000 potential friends for Exciting Windows in the first month alone. When we get target customer names in our data base and communicate with them over time, a solid percentage will ultimately buy.”
HUNTER DOUGLAS OFFERS FASHION FOR WINDOWS SUMMER SALE
This summer, Hunter Douglas, Upper Saddle River, NJ, will present to its aligned dealers the Fashion for Windows Summer Sale Event, which will offer significant rebate savings designed to entice consumers to update their home’s window dressings.
Between May 15 and August 31, 2008, consumers can receive generous rebates on up to 10 units each of Duette® Architella™ honeycomb shades, Palm Beach™ Lantana™ polysatin shutters, Silhouette® window shadings, Skyline™ Gliding Window Panels and many more Hunter Douglas products.
To build consumer awareness of the Fashion for Windows Summer Sale Event, the promotion will be advertised in USA Today with an extensive dealer tag ad program running in select major market newspapers. Prominent promotional links also will be posted on the consumer Web site to alert visitors to the special savings.
GRABER REVAMPS SOLAR SHADES COLLECTION
Graber®, a Springs Window Fashions brand, Middleton, WI, is relaunching its entire line of LightWeaves® Solar Shades to offer an array of updated fabrics, design options and technologies.
LightWeaves Solar Shades allow consumers to maintain a view to the outside while minimizing glare on TVs and home computers—at the same time protecting furnishings by blocking damaging UV rays, according to a company statement. Additionally, the shades also can help reduce heating and cooling bills by lowering heat transmittance to keep indoor temperatures comfortable, it adds.
Graber is offering LightWeaves Solar Shades in a variety of jacquards, stripes and woven textures for looks from casual to contemporary. Additional design options now include fabrics formatted to fit Graber Panel Accents™ sliding panels; three percent and five percent openness options; and matching fabric-wrapped cornices for a completely finished appearance.
“More consumers are requesting energy-efficient window coverings, and the revamp of our LightWeaves collection addresses this increasing demand,” said Greg Farr, senior vice president of sales and marketing. “We also are proud to be offering several stylish GreenGuard certified fabrics, like Lucid, Haze and Cirrus, which are certified for indoor air quality—as well as 10 Phifer fabrics designed exclusively for Graber,” he said.
SUN GLOW RELEASES ARTISAN
COLLECTION WITH ENVIRONMENTAL FEATURES
Sun Glow Window Covering Products of Canada Ltd., Toronto, Ontario, Canada, has announced the release of The Artisan Collection with European influence and environmentally friendly features. The Artisan Collection includes a premium line of window treatment fabrics in new colors with coordinating trims and pulls.
Sun Glow launched the line to fill a need in the growing designer and residential markets, according to a company statement.
The Artisan collection includes a selection of fabrics in today’s colors coupled with an array of coordinating trims, pulls and curtain tie-backs. It was created to give designers the freedom to mix and match to create an individual window display from a casual to a formal look, both easy to achieve and easy to live with, the company states.
Fabrics in both light-filtering and room-darkening properties allow the color theme to flow throughout the space and meet the sun control needs of the particular rooms. In addition, the fabrics can accommodate roman shades and panel track to further enhance decorating options. An integral part of the collection is a set of trims and pulls suitable for children’s rooms.
The fabric line consists of environmentally friendly fabrics all Oeko-Tex 100 certified and PVC free. The collection of pulls includes some constructed of reclaimed wood, glass, leather and suede.
THE FINIAL CO. RETAINS DESIGN2 AS DESIGN CONSULTANTS
The Finial Co., Dallas, TX, has retain Design2, a collaboration between designers Merle Lindby-Young and Julie Cohn, to expand its line of finials and to provide ongoing design and development consultation.
The first product of this new relationship is a collection of modern finials to be introduced mid-summer 2008, according to Martha Beck, president, The Finial Co.
Design2 is a collaborative entity formed four years ago by Lindby-Young and Cohn building on their individual histories of successful design and development projects for U.S. companies. In its short tenure, Design2 has completed several successful projects including the introduction of its first area rug collection at the 2006 Atlanta Rug Mart and a wall covering collection coming soon from ArcCom Fabrics. Lindby-Young and Cohn also are researching a second collection for The Finial Co., an organic/botanical group in wood, resin and metal.
“Merle and Julie’s unique dynamic process merges their material and surface design perspectives with a keen awareness of art and architecture, giving us an edge in our industry,” says Beck. “And their comprehensive understanding of manufacturing processes has already been helpful in developing prototypes for the new collection.”
3G MERMET OPENS EXPANDED FACILITY
3G Mermet, Cowpens, SC, has completed a major expansion of its U.S. operations. Company officials recently hosted state and local dignitaries, as well as customers from around the world, at a grand opening celebration.
Mermet’s newly expanded facility allows it to centralize all of its operations—corporate, sales, support, weaving, coating and warehouse—into one facility, said Jules Duguay, general manager. Previously, operations were divided among several temporary buildings, including the Cowpens plant, which originally was only 45,000 square feet.
“The company decided to almost triple the Cowpens location by adding 85,000 square feet,” Duguay said. “Our new 130,000 square-foot building will help us meet the increasing demand for Mermet fabrics, and we also have plenty of room to grow.”
“Mermet fabrics are recognized by architects and designers as ‘intelligent fabrics’ for their ability to handle multiple challenges in a building: solar protection, energy savings, visual comfort, decoration, prints, signage and acoustical comfort,” said Chris Duerk, director of sales and marketing.
Mermet fabrics also recently received two certificates from the GreenGuard Environment Institute.
HUNTER DOUGLAS FACILITY INCORPORATES GREEN TECHNOLOGY, DESIGN
Hunter Douglas’ Bytheways fabrication division relocated to 2080 Enterprise Blvd., West Sacramento, CA, in April 2008. The company moved into a 208,000-square-foot facility that has been completely renovated into office and fabrication space using state-of-the-art technology and fixtures that are at the forefront of environmentally responsible green design, according to a company statement.
The expansion is three times larger than the company’s previous operations, which were housed in three separate buildings. The new West Sacramento Hunter Douglas facility is expected to employ approximately 350 employees and consolidate existing operations from San José and Sacramento.
The new building has many energy-savings features including being constructed of concrete, a naturally good insulator, with a good orientation for passive solar heating. A computerized lighting control will balance natural light with T5 fluorescent low-power bulbs to provide optimal lighting for work areas.
Radiant gas heating and high-efficiency evaporative coolers on a digital control will combine with the R30 insulation to create a comfortable work environment.
Trees also will be planted around the facility, and there are plans for an outdoor eating area for employees as well as multiple break rooms, a gym and shower facilities. In addition, there will be bike racks to encourage employees to bike to work and a ride sharing program.
During the demolition process, anything that could be recycled or reused—such as wiring and plumbing–was recycled.
“By incorporating green technology and ideas, we are setting an example that a company can be both successful and environmentally responsible,” said Bryan Clabeaux, general manager of the local division of Hunter Douglas.
NEW DECORATE LIFE COMBINES FIVE SHOWS, TRENDS
The new Decorate Life combined show makes its debut July 4 to 8, 2008, in Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt, Germany.
Together, the five events—Tendence Autumn + Winter, Collectione Preview Spring + Summer, Young Living, Outdoor Living and The Design Annual—present a range of consumer goods at one point in time.
With the new concept, Messe Frankfurt is implementing the all-in-one venue as demanded by the market, according to a company statement. Decorate Life showcases the latest products for all four seasons. At Collectione, bulk buyers find exhibitors who are able to deliver large quantities. Tendence is for boutique buyers looking for lifestyle brands and suppliers of designer products and small, individual companies. The new events —Young Living and Outdoor Living —offer future-oriented product groups for all channels.