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Custom Workroom Conference

In the drapery business, we do our work in “workrooms”. That’s the industry speak for the place where we work with our machines, big tables, irons and all the gadgets and gizmos we use in our trade. It’s where we make drapes, slipcovers, pillows, duvets, valances and whatever else we get asked to make. Many of us are single person businesses and that can get really insular. So when we get the chance to meet each other, we do.

Last week I was in Charlotte, North Carolina for the first Custom Workroom Conference. There have been conferences before but this was done by a new organizer who is well respected in the industry. She took a chance and threw one heck of a do.

Picture this: 250 people — about 95% women — who share common goals and skills. And who want to share their knowledge, and are eager to learn new skills.  Three days of classes and talks all oriented at increasing our skills and lots of business training, too.  And of course there was the trade show, just for us. It was like Christmas — all the newest doo-dads that we love to use. This is me at the booth for the Workroom Channel , an on-line educator for professional workroom operators– who I write for. 

workroom channel booth

I bought a sample set of a cordless roman shade hardware kit. It is revolutionizing roman shades; it’s like nothing we’ve had before. ( The video shows a slatted wood blind, but it’s the same for a Roman Shade). You will be amazed when you see this thing.  We can raise and lower a large shade with very small motion and little strength. It seems that the cordless regulations will be law in Canada within the next year or so. This means that any drapery product which is cord controlled must adhere to very strict guidelines. And there is the suggestion that corded shades may not be legally included in the resale of homes. ( But the good news is that many shades can be retro-fitted to compliance. If you want to know more, call me.)

And I bought some hand sewing needles that will make my quilter friends green with envy. They are made in Belgium (who knew) and are only available from one supplier — in Colorado.

I also got an insiders tour of a huge (300 employee) quilting company. The Workroom Channel ( .com and on Youtube) — who I write for — was filming for their “Real Workroom” series. Now THAT place is a workroom.

I got to eat grits every morning, and went for Bar-B-Que the night before we left. Had to take shelter in a tornado warning. Got to sit in 70 degree sunshine, made new acquaintances, put faces to many internet names I’ve talked to for years, and got to experience the wonderful hospitality of the South. Can’t wait to go back next year. 

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