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NEWS & BLOG
The lastest news and blog posts from the National Upholstery Association.
Have you heard? October is Upholstery Awareness Month! In an effort to celebrate and promote the field of upholstery we put out a call to our members to share some of their favorite projects.
You may be wondering how Upholstery Awareness Month came to be. Legend has it last year during a conversation between two upholsterers, Bruno Palin-Lopez and Louise Cornick, the idea was born. They decided there should be an Upholstery Awareness Month and they made it so. It was quickly adopted by many upholsterers on social media.
This year the NUA would love to help keep it going. We invite you to join us in publicizing professional upholstery of all kinds during the month of October. We will be using the hashtags #upholsteryawarenessmonthNUA and #nationalupholsteryassociation on Instagram so feel free to use those hashtags in your own Instagram posts so everyone can follow along.
Here’s a few of our member project submissions we’ve received. More will be shared on our social media throughout the month of October so stay tuned.
A favorite French chair. “I upholstered this chair with traditional European techniques, using Timorous Beasties fabric…. It was oh so rewarding to see this broken down chair come back to life.” -Amy of Ruby Jute
“I was able to duplicate factory interior of a 1967 Oldsmobile Delmont 88, including the crest in the seat backs. I did front and rear seats, door panels, sail panels, kick plates, sun visors, door handles, and headliner. But I only thought to take pictures of the front seat. I took a lot of pride in the finished job because it was a particularly tough job due to rust and water damage to the original interior parts and fabrics. The car has been in numerous area vintage auto shows and generated more auto upholstery jobs for me.” -LeAnn Hayes
"The floral chair has a wrought iron frame where all the elements had to be hand-sewn on it." -Tina Ortman of Sturdy Stitching Upholstery
“This is my own reclining Swedish type chair that my husband and I bought 30 years ago that became worn out and drab; it is now sitting proudly in my home workroom/office. It was originally upholstered in a tan leather, but I wanted to do something really unique for its next act. I found the fabric at a local store here near Oceanside, CA called Upholstery Fabric Outlet (UFO), and fortunately had enough for an accent pillow too. The other pillow is fabric from the same store and matches a cornice board above this room's window. It was a great learning experience, using the old leather as a pattern and sewing all pieces together to fit the still-in-good-shape cushions.” –Debbie, of Debbie Lousberg Upholstery Services
“This is one of my favorites. I love doing picture backs with vintage textiles. This picture back is a hand beaded and embroidered silk scarf. The person who purchased the chair was over the moon happy. So gratifying!” -Monica Rhodes of Monday Wash
"This chair is upholstered in beautiful crest leather. There are 1120 nails on the front and back." -Rhonda of The Whimsical Chair
"One of my very favorite projects - this client had fallen in love with a beautiful old frame badly in need of an overhaul. She hung onto it for years, deciding who to trust for the job. Initially, she reached out to one of our advanced students, a professional named Gabrielle Lindberg (Cotton Seed Designs) who felt it was beyond her scope of practice, and referred it to me. It was a challenge! The frame went completely down to wood. Edge wire coil springs were retied and all foundation and padding were replaced with top quality modern materials from Fabric Supply in Minneapolis. The client selected a beautiful and sturdy textile from Greenhouse Fabrics. The tack band and outside were stitched on by hand to get the curves as smooth and neat as possible." -Cynthia Bleskachek of The Funky Little Chair
“We at @hardestydwyer are so proud of this custom sectional that we made for @kellyhohla for the 2019 @sfdecoratorshowcase. We also recovered the vintage Lady Armchairs in the photograph. It was a joyful collaboration to create a show stopping Wo-man Cave at this year's event. To us, this fresh and original sectional is a celebration of how lucky we are to have such inspired clients, building amazing spaces where our passion for our work is showcased so beautifully!” Photo credit @johnmerkl #theymakeuslookgood -Hardesty Dwyer & Co.
If you are an NUA member and missed the initial email you can still submit a photo to be featured on The NUA Instagram or facebook. Submit your photo and a small description of why the project was special (the story behind it or materials used) via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your social media handle so we can credit you most effectively. Use “Upholstery Appreciation Month” as your subject line and add your photo as an attachment. Submissions must be received by October 10th.
Please note: Photos must be of your work and you must also have permission to use them. Let us know if special photo credit is needed (to a designer or photographer, for example). By submitting your photo, you are giving the NUA permission to use them.
The 2019 Upholstery Symposium is in the books. We had a great turnout with nearly 100 upholstery and soft furnishing professionals in attendance.
members of the NUA that attended the symposium
The Symposium was the pre-event to the annual Custom Workroom Conference (CWC) that took place last week in Concord, North Carolina. The theme of the event was Take your skills to the next level, aspire to inspire. We were honored to have the chance to interview four talented upholsterers, all well-known and respected in the field. The panelists had a lively discussion answering questions about what inspires them. Their willingness to share their talents and insight is so needed and much appreciated. Two of the panelists are NUA board members and all were Instructors at CWC.
panelists Bruno Paulin-Lopez, Cynthia Blesckachek, Rachel Fletcher & Grant Trick
After the discussion, attendees had a chance to meet and mingle. Most of us had only ever met through social media so it was fun to finally meet in real life.
The next three days of the CWC conference were jam packed with Classes, Networking and a Vendor fair. Classes covered topics that included soft furnishings, upholstery and business. There was something for everyone. Whether you were a drapery/soft furnishing professional, an upholsterer or both; there were more than enough classes to suit your needs. The chance to network with peers was the highlight for many.
NUA booth at the Vendor Fair
The NUA board and volunteers have put their hearts into creating an organization whose mission is to support the field of Upholstery. The Symposium was our first event and we hope that it will be the first of many. As I began to write this blog it occurred to me, how better to sum it all up than to ask some of the people who worked so hard to make it happen.
Here are some of their thoughts:
“Wow!!! What an incredible experience. Susan Woodcock, producer of the CWC, said the event would be life-changing and she was right. I'm a different person on this side of the event than I was before and I am so grateful for that. Meeting so many people and meeting the PERSON behind their social media account is invaluable and furthers a connection that's made difficult between screens. I can't wait to do it all over again.“
Rachel Fletcher, NUA President and owner of Knox Upholstery
“I loved being part of this new step for Upholstery, and to see how the overlap with the drapery community can benefit both groups. I learned so much and still so much to learn…”
-Carla Pyle, NUA board member and owner of Natural Upholstery
“Even as someone that does both upholstery and some drapery, I thought CWC might be too much on the drapery side for me. This year was the perfect mix. I also didn’t realize the wealth of business classes that are offered. I’m so glad that I took a couple of those classes. I feel prepared to make changes to my business strategies, and am confident that those changes will be right for me.”
-Audrey Lonsway, NUA Vice President and owner of The Sewing Den.
“It was incredible to see such a robust turnout, such a sense of community, belonging and shared identity among upholsterers. This was a very different experience from last year for upholsterers, and I think the changed variable is the engagement of individuals like each of you. Crossing paths with the drapery community has made me want to up my sewing game – those professionals are FIERCE!! But it’s also made me see how much more we COULD have for networking and community. Simple connectivity heals a lot of things – just having access to one another. It’s an easier place to learn and thrive from, for sure…”
-Cynthia Bleskachek, NUA board member, owner of The Funky Little Chair
“To me it felt like a good mix of drapery and upholstery professionals. I had so many primarily drapery people tell me they were glad upholsterers were there. I’m so glad we turned up strong. I’m hopeful we can continue to work with CWC. Meeting everyone and networking was invaluable. Plus I feel so energized I’m ready to tackle the world (in terms of upholstery.)”
-Elizabeth Decrescezo, NUA Treasurer, owner of Nailed it Upholstery
“In over 20 years as an upholstery shop owner, I have never been in company, online or otherwise, of that many upholsterers! It was a bit overwhelming but exciting. I really loved listening to the members of the panel at the Symposium. One piece of advice from Grant Trick stood out for me. This was to make time to get out of the shop and go see what is going on in the world of upholstered furniture by visiting design centers and art museums.”
-Kim Newell, NUA Board member, owner of Kim’s Upholstery Shop
The event was a huge success. Thanks to all who came out in support of the National Upholstery Association as well as the upholstery community as a whole. A huge thank you goes out to our Symposium sponsors. The event would not have been possible without them. Their early support even before the National Upholstery Association was up and running is so appreciated.
Albany Foam and Supply
C.S. Osbourne & Co.
British School of Upholstered Furniture
Nailed it Upholstery
Profession Upholsterers Network on Facebook
Frank Destro Jr.
A special thank you goes out to Susan Woodcock and Rodger Walker the creators of the Custom Workroom Conference. Their suggestions and support of the NUA as we were just getting off the ground were invaluable.
Is having a website important to your Upholstery business? In today's world, it seems if you don't have a website do you even exist? I know having a website can seem like one more thing to handle in an already crazy schedule, but a well thought out website can actually save you time and your sanity. How? You ask. Here are a few ways.
Good SEO will help your customers find you. By consistently doing a few small things you can greatly impact how you show up in searches. Coming up in a google search will help your clients find you and not your competition.
Displaying a list of the services that you offer lets your clients know that they have come to the right place. By giving your clients a clear way they can contact you to discuss their project saves them, and you, time. Maybe you are currently busy and not looking for new clients. A website will keep your information out there for when you are. Potential clients use the internet to find what they need.
A great website will help you with the know, like and trust factor. We all know that people do business with people they like and trust. When you display photographs of your past work and share your story, it helps clients to feel like they already know and trust you. A well designed and thought out website can help attract your ideal client and open the doors to communication with them.
“Website Basics” Presented by Jason Chagnon
Jason Chagnon is President of Providentia Marketing, an inbound marketing firm specializing in the home care industry. Providentia Marketing offers a range of services to satisfy the marketing needs and fit the budgets of all kinds of senior care firms. The company was founded with a simple mission: to make great marketing more affordable to the senior care industry. Whether you’re looking for a new website or an effective way to stand out from the competition, Providentia Marketing can help. To reach them send an email to
email@example.com, call 888-229-8057 or visit www.ProvidentiaMarketing.com.
Members, to sign up for the Webinar check your email dated 8/27/19 for the link.
*Webinars are only available to NUA members. Not a member yet? Sign up here.
Board Member at Large
Join us September 15th for The National Upholstery Associations first Sponsored event, the Upholstery Symposium. The Symposium is the pre-event to the Annual Custom Workroom Conference being held this year in Concord North Carolina.
The Symposium is a two part event beginning with a panel of Upholsterers. The theme is take your skills to the next level, aspire to inspire. The panelists will be sharing who and what inspires them as well as answering questions asked by our moderator, Elizabeth DeCrescenzo of Nailed it Upholstery. You will hear their personal insight into the processes used in their workrooms and professional lives as well as how they continue to improve on their skills.
The four panelist are Rachel Fletcher of Knox Upholstery, Grant Trick of Design Industry, Cynthia Bleskachek of the Funky Little Chair, and Bruno Lopez of Atelier de France . All passionate about Upholstery and well known in the field. Each have different back grounds and came to learn upholstery in different ways. From traditionally trained to no formal training at all. It’s sure to be a spirited conversation. One you don't want to miss. We will wrap up this lively discussion with audience questions.
Afterwards there will be a reception with light refreshments where you can meet and mingle with fellow upholsterers. With over 70 Professional Upholsterers signed up so far, this is a great opportunity to Network with your peers. We hope to see you there!
For more information about the event and how to register click here to be taken to the event page.
Thank you to our amazing event sponsors Ronco, Albany Foam, United Fabrics, C.S. Osbourne, Professional Upholsterers Network, BSUF British School of Upholstered Furniture, Upholstery Education and Nailed it Upholstery for their support of this event.
NUA President Rachel Fletcher and VP Audrey Lonsway sat down with Ceil DiGuglielmo from the Sew Much More Podcast. They talked about how the NUA was formed, challenges facing the upholstery industry, and more. Listen here: http://ceildi.libsyn.com/158-rachel-fletcher-and-audrey-lonsway-talk-about-the-new-national-upholstery-association
The National Upholstery Association held the first monthly webinar on July 9, 2019. The "Meet the Board" webinars gave members and public a chance to meet the current Board of Directors and ask questions about the future of this association. View it here: https://youtu.be/aIMluca_fmQ
Webinars will be the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 1` pm ET. August's webinar will be presented by Fabric Supply Inc's Owner, Randy Oelschlager on the topic of all things FOAM.
NUA is pursuing 501(c)6 non-profit status.