When the doors of the International Window Coverings Expo opened on Saturday morning, hundreds of people began streaming through the doors in search of new products and existing business partners. Throughout the morning, the packed hall hummed with the sound of conversation and laughter as people caught up, found new treasures and reconnected with colleagues and friends.
Vendors raved about the quality of the show. “It’s been phenomenal,” said Lynn Ranger, vice president of marketing for Alta Window Fashions. “We were hearing it was getting better and better and we’re so thrilled to be back. Our booth has been non-stop crazy busy.”
“We’ve had a really good turnout,” said Jessica Bondell, senior product manager-fabrics for Texstyle, a division of Rollease Acmeda. “We’ve seen a lot of customers and we’ve seen some new faces. I feel like everybody’s been in good spirits, been enjoying themselves, and been happy to stay and chat.”
Indeed, attendees seemed to be keeping busy examining fabrics and trim, new motorization solutions, and interesting shutters and screens.
The educational portion of the event continued with classes and the Construction Zone, the popular hands-on demonstration area where fabricators can learn new skills. A new mini-class began every thirty minutes between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. They covered topics such as joining twist cord, hemming sheers, using Greek key embellishments, and creating star and pyramid-shaped pillows.
In the afternoon, an eager crowd gathered to hear the keynote address by TV star and designer Genevieve Gorder. In an energetic and humorous presentation, she talked about her upbringing in Minneapolis and how it gave her a deep love of Scandinavian design, a style she sees as very influential in the modern marketplace. Elements like fur, leather and matte black are extremely popular right now and have roots in this classic look.
Gorder also sees a real desire to create warm, cozy spaces that are inspired by nature and our need to retreat from technology, even for just a few hours. As a result, the color green, brass accents and plants are coming into home in a huge way. She demonstrated ways to incorporate these elements into window coverings (and encouraged designers to avoid curtains with tabs, heavy swags, and drapes that match the wallpaper and bedding).
Still riding high from Gorder’s talk, expo-goers piled into the ballroom for an annual highlight of the show: the presentation of the Design and Workroom Competition Awards. Two dozen designers took home awards in categories such as Combination Treatments, Ingenious Installations, Specialty Window Fashions and Motorized Window Fashions.
The two biggest winners were presented at the end of the night. Katherine Wozniak with Katherine Elizabeth Designs in Barrington, IL was named Designer of the Year. Linda Tully with Custom Coverings in Lexington, KY took home the award for Workroom of the Year. Terri Booser, who has organized the Construction Zone for the last 10 years with her husband Jeff, was also honored with the Industry Achievement Award. Check back next week for a full list of Design and Workroom Competition Award winners.
On Sunday, attendees had five hours to continue their learning and make last-minute business deals on the expo floor. An event like this can leave people feeling both excited and overwhelmed, which is why LuAnn Nigara (co-owner of Window Works NJ and host of “A Well-Designed Business,” the industry’s No. 1 podcast) and business growth strategist Madeleine Macrae spent some time helping people wrap up their experience.
In addition to sharing their “aha” moments and asking people for theirs, Macrae outlined a strategy to help the post-show to-do list from becoming overwhelming. Her suggestion: Write down one goal for your business for the year. Under it, create three columns: Yes, Maybe and No. Take all of the starred moments or key takeaways from the event, and divide them between the columns. Then—and this is the scary part—cross off the Maybe and No columns and work on the things in the
Yes column. That will give you a reasonable list of tasks to complete.
Mark your calendar now for IWCE 2020, which will be in Charlotte, NC from March 25 to 27. We can’t wait to see you there!