It began as an exploration into upholstery education by a diverse group of upholstery professionals, students, and educators. The mission: establish a viable education model that would revitalize the future of upholstery.
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The motivation for change arose from a decline in upholstery education. Trade schools in the U.S. were closing their doors, and apprenticeships were gradually giving way to the gig economy. Up-and-coming upholstery talent found themselves with limited resources to learn the skills they needed to enter the profession. To many, the community had lost a cohesive identity.
Let’s Get Social
The desire to learn the craft, however, was as strong as ever. Pockets of online educational content were drawing enthusiastic participants. Social media outlets were giving experienced tradespeople and rising stars a place to share their questions and knowledge. In this new mode of communication, a sense of connection and excitement was growing.
Collaborating for the Future
In the summer of 2018, an educator in Minneapolis put out an invitation to participate in a one year collaborative effort. The goal? To study the changed landscape of professional upholstery and design better training models for today’s promising students. Ten upholsterers from across the country joined efforts to discuss what might be possible.
An Idea Whose Time Has Come
The group soon recognized the dire need for a uniting force. They laid the groundwork to form a national association, and began recruiting more upholstery professionals and sponsors to join in their vision. On March 20, 2019 the National Upholstery Association was born.
The Next Stage
In summer 2019, the freshly-minted association will start accepting members. Upholsterers across the industry can join together in an official community defined by a common purpose: growing and perpetuating the upholstery trade.
The National Upholstery Association has grown out of the upholstery community itself. A handful of community members took the initiative, rolled up their sleeves, and got to work. Welcome to the movement. Let’s grow together!