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2024 State of the Association by President Keaven Willa Hartt

January 24, 2024 8:30 AM | Harmony Maraldo (Administrator)

If you’re reading this message, YOU ROCK!

Because of members and friends like YOU, the National Upholstery Association had one of our best years to date. Thank you for your continued support and belief in our mission!

We can achieve wonderful things when we work together, and we already have proof that your help is making a difference.

In 2023...

We saw 46% Growth in our MembershipWow! Our Members make everything we do possible, so THANK YOU! Thank you to everyone who has been a member, and thank you to everyone who just joined! 

Our Volunteer base expanded by 15! Volunteers are critical to our success; it makes a huge difference to donate a little of your time and skills.

We had great engagement in the much-anticipated launch of our new Mentorship Program! Through our Mentorship platform, we’ve managed to pair up loads of helpful Mentors with eager Mentees, regardless of experience level, and we’re just getting started!

We redefined our Industry Partner Membership Levels, and gained 12 new IP Members this year! We now offer Industry Partner Memberships at Bronze, Silver, and Gold levels, with different benefits for each. Industry Partners are a huge help in making our mission a reality. Thank you to all of our IPs for believing in and supporting the future of the Upholstery Trade. Together we are making a difference, and we appreciate you!

We launched our new and improved Job Board! We’ve been working hard on this one, and believe that the updated version is easier to use, and is a really great resource for connecting members of our community with new employment opportunities

As our Membership increased this year, we also increased the size of our Board of Directors by 4, making it a 14 Member Board! We believe this increase will better help us to serve our growing community.

2023 also had us participating in not one, but TWO national trade show conferences! 

We attended the Furniture Manufacturer’s Expo for the second year, where we offered lectures, hosted a booth, and networked with some awesome industry people. 

We also went back to visit our friends at the Custom Workroom Conference, this time in Cincinnati, Ohio, where we launched the release of a custom short run t-shirt: The Anatomy of an Upholsterer, only available at our Exhibitor Marketplace booth. And last year’s pre-conference field trip to Colonial Williamsburg was such a success, we decided to up the ante this year with TWO pre-conference events! 

The NUA was proud to host our fully-booked French Mattress Tufting class, taught by the talented Polly Waite, where 40 eager students worked on their own cushions. Thank you to our generous sponsors, CS Osborne & Co, Foam to Size, and Workroom Buttons, for donating the materials to make this class possible! And thank you to Polly, for her stellar tutelage.

We hosted a fun cocktail party the night before CWC began, which was a great way for folks to mingle and network before the conference got underway. What a pleasure it is to get to meet everyone in person! Speaking of which, we can’t wait to see all of you at the Custom Workroom Conference 2024 in Providence, RI. Stay tuned to see what fun pre-events we come up with for this year’s meet up!

And on the topic of meet-ups, we helped to host a Regional Meet-Up this year, at Stitchroom in New York! Regional Meet-Ups are fun, and an awesome way to network in your own communities. Anyone can host Regional Meet-Ups, and the NUA will even help you do it! Send us an email for more info.

On top of all of that, we also lowered prices on our Merch Store, worked to update and revise our Strategic Plan, as well as updated our bylaws, and made some great changes to our Reference Materials Recommended Reading interface.

It was an amazing, successful year, and we should be proud of what we’ve accomplished together!

Just as we achieved so much in 2023, we have big plans for 2024. 

As we move into the new year with fresh goals and intentions, our theme is: Growth. We have already shown what amazing strides we can make in a year, and I am certain that we can keep this momentum going and continue to hit new heights.

We look forward to attending more conferences, helping to host more Regional Meet-Ups, continuing to strengthen our membership benefits, and connecting with more of you through community outreach.

I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to our outgoing President, Harmony Maraldo, for her hard work and dedication to the NUA during her time in this seat. It is not possible to adequately convey just how many of our successes have been thanks to her constant efforts behind the scenes, and I will forever appreciate her mentorship and support as we transition our roles!

I would like to also take this opportunity to say a big thank you, and a fond farewell, to our last outgoing Founder, and original NUA President, Rachel Fletcher, for her outstanding work advocating for the trade, and helping to build this organization from the ground up. We owe her a great debt, and wish her all the best of luck in her future endeavors!

And thank you also to the rest of our hardworking Board of Directors! They make all of this possible!

I am honored to take over the role of President this year, and am grateful for the faith placed in me. In this new position, I will continue to do everything that I can to make this industry a more inclusive and supportive place. I believe in the future of this craft, and look forward to seeing what we can achieve working together!

Wishing you all the best for 2024,

Keaven Willa Hartt
President, National Upholstery Association 2024/2025

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