This month we continue our treaded discussion on education. It
began in January with our cover story on ASID President Linda Elliott
Smith. ASID and Smith are leaders in the design field when it comes
to the importance of continuing education and business success (see
D&WC, January 2004, page 36). Smith, specifically, has moved
into the area of providing seminars—both in person and online,
a rapidly growing medium for continuing education. In short, she
says, education works.
This month, Kitty Stein urges us to look beyond the expected sources
for information and knowledge that can be helpful every day (see
page 38). “Most of us get so focused,” Stein writes, “that
we never think to look at other valuable resources” that may
be readily available if we only took the time to look.
This month’s cover story (see page 20) offers a third source
of industry education, one that is more traditional and far more
prevalent in the industry: growing up in the business. Necessity
and a dream of owning her own business led Phyllis Cain to start
Interiors By Cain. She didn’t know how to do it, but she was
determined to make it work. As a single mother of four, she turned
to something she knew: sewing. When she was a child, her mother
and grandmother made many of their own clothes and draperies, so
starting a custom drapery workroom (both wholesale and retail) felt
Phyllis’s four daughters also grew up with the business and
today are co-owners. There even are two granddaughters involved
to ensure the business continues for generations to come.
Learning a trade by living it has lots of advantages. By the time
you’re ready to take over or to go it alone you know you love
the work so you are willing to put the time and energy into it.
You’ve also seen just about every aspect of the business and
have handled most situations. Providing you’ve had a good teacher,
you’ve also learned the importance of uncompromising quality
and customer service.
The reputation that Interiors By Cain enjoys is proof that this
system can work well. For most others, however, continuing education
is imperative. Knowing how to design and create beautiful window
treatments is one thing, knowing how to solve clients’ problems
and run a successful business are other matters. Draperies &
Window Coverings is committed to delivering personal and professional
development education, and we review and renew that commitment each