Life is messy—on many levels. But when you’re a designer, dealer, workroom or installer, life can be downright stressful if the fabric you’re working with gets stained. One way to ease the stress is to work with fabric that is stain protected.
For several years, DuPont has offered fabric protection through its Teflon®
product. Yes, the same product that has revolutionized pots and pans.
The benefits it offers in the kitchen are offered for drapery, upholstery
and apparel fabrics as well. The problem is that “fabric protection”
has been an unclear concept—what type of protection was it, what
do fabrics need to be protected from? Fabric mills and converters understood
it, but many retailers and consumers didn’t. That’s about to
This year DuPont is following up on its to-the-trade promotional campaign
for its Teflon product with direct-to-consumer advertising. In the process
it will focus on stain protection, a concept that will have an emotional
connection to consumers as will the campaign’s theme: Let life happen.
HOME FASHION BENEFITS
Lisa Pfrommer is the manager of upholstery and home fashions for DuPont
Teflon. She explains that Teflon stain protection can be applied to virtually
any type of fabric without changing its appearance, feel, drape or breathability.
The process is done professionally between the printing and finishing
stages and is bonded to the individual fabric fibers. It doesn’t
even change the smell of the fabric, she says.
Teflon stain protection has been available for some time, but new technical
improvements have resulted in two basic treatments: one for stain repellence,
the other for stain release. Stain repellence will fight off stains, making
dry soil and liquids roll off or bead up, she explains. Stain release
will allow stains to be removed during regular cleaning.
Home fashions products can benefit from both treatments Pfrommer says.
Upholstery, draperies and comforters can be treated for repellence; area
rugs, tablecloths and bedding can be treated for stain release.
Pfrommer says DuPont’s new advertising campaign seeks to educate
consumers as to why they should look for fabrics treated with Teflon,
and to educate retailers on how they can benefit from promoting the fact
that the fabric or finished treatments they sell are protected.
One company that already sees the benefits of Teflon treatment is Concord
Fabrics, Inc. Roger Burnim, vice president, home furnishings, Concord
Home, a division of Concord Fabrics, says his company believes in the
product, although he recognizes that consumers need to make the same connection
to benefits as those in the industry.
“We as converters understand it. Mills understand it. Our customers,
being manufacturers and/or retailers, are just starting to understand
it. But the consumer has to understand it,” Burnim says. “They
need to know they can chose a fabric either for upholstery, curtains,
draperies or a bed spread that will let life happen, that’s been
treated and protected,” he adds.
“It’s a name that consumers understand, even though they haven’t
associated it with fabric,” Burnim says about existing Teflon brand
awareness. “We do retail business with some of the major chains as
well as significant manufacturing business. To allow DuPont and Concord
to tie-in a point-of-sale information package to consumer advertising
it becomes that much more recognizable.”
As a converter, Concord marries print, color, design and pattern to a
specific fabrication. It is in a key position to know what designers are
looking for and consumers asking for. He says the cocooning trend is very
much in evidence. “We’re seeing a reevaluation of what’s
important in people’s lives, and people saying, ‘Let’s
make home our castle.’”
“In terms of design themes, tropicals are still very important,”
he continues. “We are also expanding our juvenile collections. Fun,
whimsical things that would be youthful, that add color and accents to
Stain protection could be one of the best ways to ease the minds of customers
and to ensure their new interiors remain whimsical and colorful.