The IFU seminars will be held at the D&WC booth on the exhibit hall floor. They are offered at no charge to show attendees, and no further registration is required beyond obtaining an exhibit hall pass.
In keeping with D&WC's long-standing tradition of offering pertinent, top-notch seminars, this year's program offers show attendees a full range of topics from design and consumer lifestyle trends, creative business promotion and marketing ideas, and workroom techniques and professional standards. Specific seminar topics, descriptions and schedule available.
What's more, the IFU sessions will be presented by a faculty of four industry-leading professionals, each with many years of experience in her chosen line of work, and all of whom continue helping retailers and interior and design professionals through education, inspiration and motivation.
Kay Pegram will present two seminars at the Draperies & Window Coverings' booth in Atlanta: "Selecting the Best Promotion Techniques for a New Millennium" and "Marketing in a New Millennium." As the titles suggest, both seminars cover how retailers in the window coverings and interior fashions field can use traditional and some non-traditional approaches to reach new customers and to gain additional sales and referrals in the years immediately ahead. (For details, click here.
Pegram's background eminently qualifies her for her prominent standing as instructor in the D&WC Interior Fashions University. She is the owner of Kaymar Communications, which she started in 1988 and has run for more than 10 years. Kaymar Communications performs marketing planning and marketing communication functions with a twofold purpose:
1. helping companies determine how to market their products and/or services effectively through marketing research and planning activities;
2. putting together the printed communications to accomplish their marketing goals including logos, advertising campaigns, brochures, direct mail pieces, newsletters, product introductions, sales promotions, etc. Kaymar Communications' clients include organizations in interior fashions, banking, high-tech industries, health care, telecommunications, air freight, small business and trade associations.
Prior to starting her own business, Pegram held managerial and executive positions in customer service, finance and marketing in several mid-size companies both in Los Angeles, CA, and Chicago, IL, including LouverDrape, Tempo Industries and Teleflora.
Pegram's experience in the window coverings industry dates back to 1983 when she became director of marketing services at LouverDrape, Inc., Santa Monica, CA. There she assisted in the development and implementation of marketing programs for the $85 million company. She was responsible for product introduction and development, advertising strategy and media selection, sales analysis and forecasting, press relations and trade show participation.
Following that, Pegram was hired as director of marketing for Tempo Industries, Inc., Vernon Hills, IL. She was responsible for the total marketing function of the $25 million company, and her responsibilities ran the gamut from developing the advertising strategy to sales promotions and incentive contests, co-op advertising, press relations, graphic production and copy writing.
As an adjunct to this position, Pegram learned desktop publishing systems and techniques and completed most of the graphic elements needed for her work in-house.
Pegram's sales and marketing background extends back even further than her involvement with the window coverings industry beginning in 1981 when she held a position as manager of special projects. She computed sales territory potentials and monthly sales rankings, established and maintained monthly sales analysis by product line, conducted analyses of competitors' products and pricing, developed new pricing and trained new salesmen.
Pegram also has held the position of sales administration manager for Teleflora, Inc., Redondo Beach, CA. There she managed 12 employees in the company's sales and communications departments.
Pegram has received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego at La Jolla, CA. Her post graduate work includes a Master of Science degree from Harvard University, Boston, MA, and a Master of Business Administration degree from The Anderson School at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in Los Angeles, CA.
Pegram also presents seminars on marketing and professional networking at national conventions and company meetings and has published a book, "Marketing and Promotion From A To Z," for home fashions retailers and interior designers. That book is available through D&WC's Interior Fashions University Bookstore, (800) 833-9056. Pegram currently is working on a second book, "The Entrepreneur's Bookshelf," a review of the best available books on a variety of topics for small business owners.
Pegram has been a featured contributor to the pages of Draperies & Window Coverings, writing the "Dollars & Sense" column since 1988.
Cheryl Strickland will present three workroom-related seminars at the Draperies & Window Coverings' booth in Atlanta: "Error-free Measuring," "Calculating Yardages," and "Treatments with a Twist Fashion Show." An internationally acclaimed speaker, Strickland's seminars are sure to inspire and motivate window treatment designers and fabricators by combining hands-on skills and techniques with a push to increase creativity with a review of new and exciting treatments.
As the owner and lead instructor at the Professional Drapery School in Swannanoa, NC, Strickland over the past three-and-a-half years has helped some 400 students learn professional and efficient workroom techniques and run a successful business on their own.
For Strickland, work is all about sharing. "I take great joy in sharing my knowledge and information with other people," she says. "If there is a technique I can teach them, or a problem-solving solution I can pass along that would help them time-wise, profit-wise or just plain relieving stress-wise, then I take great pride and joy in that."
Joy and Honor
The Professional Drapery school is just the latest of Strickland's accomplishments. Long before the school opened Strickland had set on a course that is yet to be completed. She learned to sew at the age of nine, and held her first job in the design field at a retail store at 19. Later she worked at a Fort Lauderdale, FL, workroom, then joined her mother's business, Drapery Arts, which grew from a small basement location to a large building with a showroom, office and 2,000-square-foot custom workroom. Her nearly 17 years in the family business taught Strickland most of what she passes on to her students today.
Strickland's independent business career began with seminars. She held her first window treatment class in 1988 in Asheville, NC, then joined the seminar program developed by Draperies & Window Coverings in 1989. This venture earned Strickland national recognition for her teaching abilities. It was her success at leading seminars, both for herself and for major window treatment manufacturers, that gave her the idea to expand her efforts into a full-time school. Today, four-day seminar programs are held at her 5,000-square-foot facility in Swannanoa, which holds three classrooms, eight full-size worktables and all the professional equipment necessary to offer complete instructions including sewing machines, cutting machines, steam irons, tools and supplies. Her classes cover the full range of topics necessary for running a successful business.
An important reason for starting the Professional Drapery School was to help others avoid that long, drawn-out struggle of having to make a lot of mistakes, hoping to survive the mistakes and feeling the frustration of guessing how professional treatments are made, Strickland explains. The school takes those who already have mastered sewing and teaches them professional and efficient window treatment fabrication and provides them with guidelines for quality work.
But that's not all. The classes also cover important business issues such as proper equipment, workroom layout, work flow, pricing, hiring, contracting out and how to sell custom work. "We could do a bang-up job of making sure students have the hand skills they need then send them out into the world, but if they don't know how to market themselves or price their work, they will flounder," Strickland says. "The focus of all our classes at the school is how to make professional treatments with high standards of quality, but efficiently enough to ensure high profitability," she explains.
"I really do enjoy the teaching. I'm honored to be involved in this whole process," she adds. Strickland also produces a monthly newsletter, SewWhat?, and maintains a site on the World Wide Web: www.professionaldrapery.com. Strickland has been a favored seminar speaker since 1989 and has been a featured contributor in the pages of D&WC magazine, writing "The Big Picture" column. She is the author of "A Practical Guide to Window Treatments" and "The Designer's Sketchpad," both available through the D&WC Interior Fashions University Bookstore (800) 833-9056.
Kitty Stein is the newest faculty member in the D&WC Interior Fashions University. She began presenting workroom seminars in 1995. Stein will present two seminars at the Draperies & Window Coverings booth in Atlanta: "Workroom Quality Standards" and "Professionalism: Is It Necessary?"
Stein is a 20-year-plus veteran of the drapery workroom field, having owned and operated her own business for 18 years and having taught classes on window treatment construction. Until 1990, Stein and a partner owned a workroom with nine employees. She since has opened her own smaller workroom, Workroom Concepts, that has just one employee.
Stein runs Workroom Concepts from her home in Clear Brook, VA. It's mainly a consulting firm to help others getting started in the business and veterans looking for help in areas where there's no one else to ask. "My goal is to help people in our industry, especially drapery workrooms, realize how talented, skilled and precious they are and that they deserve to be paid handsomely for their talents," Stein says.
Stein also represents workrooms as a member-at-large on the board of directors for the Window Coverings Association of America (WCAA).
Running a Business
Stein's willingness to help others stems from her own experiences. "When I started, all I knew how to do was sew," she says. But she loved to sew and from that point on her career has run the gamut of what can-and, in some cases, what shouldn't-be done.
Stein started by working at a Winchester, VA, department store in 1976 with a group of seamstresses making draperies and altering ready-mades. Over the next two years, the store stopped making draperies and did only alterations, which "got a little boring," she says. So Stein answered a classified advertisement by a local designer looking for a seamstress. As it turned out, the designer once had a workroom of her own and Stein was able to learn quite a bit from her. She set up shop in her home and soon was getting so much work from the designer she couldn't keep up.
Stein took on a partner and together-mostly through sheer effort-the business grew. Stein ran the workroom and handled the wholesale business working with designer clients throughout a 50- to 100-mile area. But after nine years in business Stein knew she was ready for something else. She was burned out and weary. She had become a manager concerned with bills, payroll and overhead when what she wanted to do was sew.
"I believe that one of the biggest reasons small businesses fail is because they have inadequate to no knowledge on how to run a business," Stein says. "Now as a consultant, I emphasize moving a home-based business into a storefront if you have the working capital to pay yourself while you get the business going," Stein says. "It's an entirely different business going from home to storefront," she adds.
Stein now spends much of her time writing, consulting and contributing to the WCAA. Her writing career began in early 1993 in response to a search for columnists for Draperies & Window Coverings. Stein submitted an article for review and her column, Workroom Operations, appeared in the August issue and has run regularly ever since. "I love writing and the research it includes," she says. Stein also contributes to Cheryl Strickland's SewWhat? newsletter every month and altogether has published more than 100 articles. Stein has authored four books or organizational tools for designers and workrooms: "Order in the Workroom," "Contract Terms & Conditions" (for wholesale workrooms only), "The Price List" and "Workroom Specifications" available through the D&WC Interior Fashions University Bookstore, (800) 833-9056. She currently is working on a pricing how-to book, which she plans to follow with a book on window treatment fabrication-although the more she talks to others, the more she sees a need for a basic business book for workrooms. "So many desperately need help in that area, but I don't think they know how important that is," she says.
Stein's Web site, www.WorkroomConcepts.com, provides visitors with lots of workroom information and features a monthly guest article and a tip of the month. She also is an active contributing member of the DraperyPro and WindowWeb e-mail lists.
Karla J. Nielson
Karla J. Nielson is proof positive that design than meets the eye. She has been a popular and well respected seminar leader in the interior design industry for more than 15 years and holds a prominent position on the faculty of the D&WC Interior Fashions University. Nielson will present three seminars at the Draperies & Window Coverings' booth in Atlanta: "Consumer and Business Trends: Making the Most of the Future," "Balancing Business and Self: The Win/Win Way of Life," and "Design for the 21st Century: High-tech/Low-tech."
Nielson is an Assistant Professor of Interior Design at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, UT, an Education Affiliate of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), and a member of the Window Coverings Association of America (WCAA). She was honored with the WCAA Industry Achievement Award in 1996 in recognition for her outstanding contributions and service to the retail window coverings industry.
With 26 years experience as a professional interior designer, Nielson holds a realistic and optimistic view of the profession. Her motto is "learn and share" as evidenced by her enthusiastic and knowledgeable seminar presentations.
Contributing to the Future
Nielson seems to be one of those people for whom time is limitless. She earned an Associate's degree from Dixie College in St. George, UT, and a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in art and design from BYU. Her 1979 Master's thesis formed the basics of her book, "Window Treatments." Nielson began teaching at BYU while still a student. After graduation, she began teaching at one of the university's extension centers, then returned to teach at the main campus in 1974.
Nielson has taught introductory courses on interior design, courses on textiles that she developed for the university's design department and business classes for interior designers. The design courses have covered everything from color, lighting and space planning to building systems, exterior styles and architectural elements. Her business courses prepare students to become professional designers by covering topics such as writing a business plan, getting and working with clients and career growth.
Nielson first attended the trade show program developed by Draperies & Window Coverings in 1982 as a member of the BYU design department. Recognizing that she had something to offer the program, Nielson began presenting seminars soon afterward covering topics including creative uses of fabric, the psychology of color, historic interiors and how to increase profits with soft treatments.
Meanwhile Nielson pursued a freelance design business. "In particular, I love to work with fabric. For me it is a medium of artistic expression," Nielson says. "I believe that everyone is entitled to live in a beautiful surrounding that is well designed. Some designers can be somewhat elitist. But I consider myself more of a generalist who is an avid supporter of middle America. Anyone who wants beauty in her life deserves to have it. After all, good design does not necessarily come with a price tag." she adds.
Nielson is the author of the book, "Window Treatments," the definitive work that forms the basis for the Certified Window Treatment Consultant (CWTC) program offered by the Window Coverings Association of America. She also is the author of "Interiors: An Introduction" used at dozens of colleges and universities and "Understanding Fabrics," which is available through the D&WC Interior Fashions University Bookstore, (800) 833-9056. Nielson also writes the monthly "Design Perspectives" articles for Draperies & Window Coverings magazine.
Whether writing a magazine article or a chapter in a new book, Nielson loves the research and educational process that is involved. She also believes that, unlike some other pursuits, writing allows her
to make a long-term contribution to her readers' futures.