You never should stop learning—you’d be amazed at what there still is to know. Some are big important things, but many more are little interesting things that add to the sum of your knowledge. Often, you learn something when you least expect it, or when you’re not really trying.
That was the case with this month’s cover story (see page 30). In interviewing Koni Kim and Joe Robertson of KOJO Worldwide I expected to learn a thing or two about working in the contract/commercial market—in this case, hospitality in particular. I had an idea of what it would be to manufacture hundreds, even thousands, of bed coverings and window coverings that would then have to be delivered and installed in rooms spread across dozens of floors at one site. I knew about fire codes and blackout linings. I also had a hint at how lucrative these jobs could be for someone who could manage that much fabric.
What I didn’t have a clear idea on was how particular and demanding these jobs are. A company like KOJO approaches each window covering as if it were a custom measure and installation. It has to. Even though to most travelers one hotel room tends to look very much like another, they are not. If you think of hotel rooms being produced in cookie-cutter fashion, think about those holiday cookies. No two were exactly alike. The room next door or across the hall is just different enough in measurement to require its own custom window coverings. Those draperies have to look nice, withstand the rigors of use and hotel laundering and never allow a light gap.
There also was something to learn when it came to bed coverings. Somewhere along the line the trend has become to expose the big fluffy pillows, pillow shams and bolsters on top of the bed. Thick, inviting duvets have replaced bedspreads, and across the foot of the bed you’re likely to find a narrow band of fabric. That’s a bed scarf (didn’t know that) and it serves two functions; one decorative, the other functional. The bed scarf picks up an accent color from the room and adds another layer of fabric—one of the “layers of luxury,” as Kim puts it. It’s also placed at the exact spot on the bed where a traveler is likely to plop his or her luggage, offering a bit of protection for the duvet cover. Live and learn.
Heading into the next issue I have a couple of ideas about networking and buying groups and what dealers are doing to survive in today’s tight market, but will be especially attuned to learning still more.
Draperies & Window Coverings