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The latest news and blog posts from the National Upholstery Association.  All members can read and comment on blog posts.

Industry Partners and Educator members are invited to guest blog for the NUA twice a year. Contact us if you're interested. 

  • January 21, 2020 5:00 AM | Anonymous

    Written by Leslie Howard

    How often do you show a customer a traditionally upholstered antique chair as you tear it down and discover dried seaweed, moss, coir, or horsehair and get this reaction — “Eeeeeewwwww”? I get that from time to time because I specialize in antiques and vintage chairs. I don’t know exactly what they are expecting inside an heirloom antique chair, but not this!

    However, there’s no real ick factor here. These are natural, durable materials that have stood the test of time for generations! They don’t decompose; they don’t crumble and harden like foam does. They can frequently be conserved and reused! 

    These photos are from an old petite French chair; you can see that the stitched burlap, horsehair, and cotton fillings, which have been cut away from the coiled springs, have aged but are not even dirty! Someone took wonderful care of this chair while it was in use.

    I like to explain to clients about these fillings, and that I’d even like to put coir and horsehair back into their pieces When they hear about the benefits, they tend to agree. Not all upholsterers are trained in traditional methods like I have been, and many customers are satisfied with substituting pre-fabricated edge roll and a slab of foam for their formerly coir-stuffed, linen twine-stitched burlap foundation topped with muslin and curled, sanitized horsehair. Foam is cheaper, quicker, and great for many pieces, particularly mid-century and contemporary furniture. For antiques, however, traditional upholstery methods tend to be more appropriate, both for looks and how they feel.

    I find that clients are interested in these time-tested, museum approved, natural stuffings, and almost always opt for this more artisanal approach to building up their furniture, especially for a treasured family heirloom that they intend to keep and use for a long time. Even if they can’t see the result of artisanal methods underneath their fabrics, they know their piece has been lovingly restored on the inside to serve them for a few more generations!

    Photo credit: Leslie Howard

    Leslie Howard owns City Girl Arts Fine Upholstery & Vintage Furniture in
    St. Petersburg, Florida. She is a boutique upholsterer who loves to marry vintage seating pieces and bold, modern fabrics. Check out her work at

  • January 10, 2020 5:00 AM | Anonymous

    Join us on January 14th at 1pm ET for this month’s Webinar

     How To Do Email marketing with joy and ease

    with kimberly beer

    written by Nancy Sargent owner of Cobani Bleu The Art of Sitting Soft

    By the way, do you have an idea for a Webinar? Is there something you’d really like to learn? Or maybe you have something to share?

    Email the NUA at


    Are you primarily marketing your business via Facebook and or Instagram? I’m willing to bet you have worked really hard to build your audience too! Are you wondering why so few of your posts actually reach your audience?

    Well it is all due to the algorithms that are set up by Facebook and Instagram. Same company, by the way! To make things even more frustrating, just when you think you have made real progress, suddenly the algorithms change. You may only know this because your ‘numbers’ drop.

    Did you know that there is a better way to market to your core audience? A system that pays off big dividends for your investment of time. A marketing strategy that Facebook and Instagram can’t mess with! It’s called Email Marketing. Maybe you’ve heard about this form of marketing. Maybe you are even using it for your business. Or maybe you are totally new to it.

    The good news is that our January Webinar is all about Email Marketing. Kimberly Beer, of Be More Business, is an award winning writer, graphic designer, photographer and an advocate for entrepreneurship and small business marketing. Kimberly is sure to pack this webinar with creative solutions and actionable steps that will get your marketing strategy in order for the New Year.

    So what is email marketing and why is it important to your business? If you rely on Facebook and Instagram for your marketing, guess what? All those hard earned likes and followers are not yours! Nope! Facebook and Instagram and their algorithms have complete control over who sees what. However, the basis of email marketing is that you build your own list of subscribers. These are people that have opted in to receiving your marketing communications.

    Hello!!! What is more amazing than having people ask you to market to them!

    Kimberly is here to teach us how to effectively market to this very group. What’s the best strategy? How you can develop an engaging plan. Kimberly will even provide tips and recommendations for the best tools.

    Finally, email marketing has one of the highest rates of return on the investment of your time. As busy entrepreneurs, we all want to invest our time wisely. If you are thinking that this must be some complicated marketing plan, then the really good news is that Kimberly is here to show us how to use this powerful tool with Ease! Just think how Joyful you will be with email marketing effectively working for you business!

    Members, to sign up for the Webinar check your email dated December 31, 2019, for the link.

    *Webinars are only available to NUA members. Not a member yet? Sign up here.

    We look forward to seeing you at the webinar and don’t forget to bring all your email marketing questions!

  • January 02, 2020 7:59 AM | Anonymous

    written by Michelle Minner, NUA board member at large and owner of Blue Roof Cabin Upholstery


    It’s that time, the beginning of another glorious year in your business.  The time to reset, organize and start fresh. Here’s a list of things to help you start the New Year off right in your upholstery business. 

    Deep Cleaning & Maintenance.

    All of the items on this list you need to do often, more than once a year but let’s get started off right, shall we? 

    First up…

    Let us start out with the obvious. All those cobwebs and staples in the corners have got to go.  Pull out all the tables, cabinets and shelving units or get behind them and sweep/vacuum. Bonus, you will most likely find all the small tools you lost this year. Mop the floor. Clean the windows.

    Empty your air tank of your air compressor and drain it.

    Oil all of your pneumatic staple guns, including the ones you rarely use.

    Oil your sewing machines and dust with canned air. Clean out the little drawer of your sewing table it no doubt has 20 random things hiding in it.

    Sharpen your scissors.

    Change the batteries in your smoke detector.

    Check on you fire extinguisher, is it still charged?

     Next up... 

    Get organized & assess your efficiency.  What have you been tripping over all year?

    Is your workshop efficient?  Ask yourself how is your current set up working for you? Do you need to change out a storage system that isn’t functioning? Now is the time to move the sewing machine to the other side of the room to gain more elbow room or better light. Is your air hose where you want it? Are you tired of dragging that long hose across the floor? Time to get that thing hung from the ceiling. Lastly, how’s your work table? Is the top surface looking embarrassingly shabby? Perhaps covering with vinyl or canvas will help it to look and function better.

    Take inventory, even if only mentally, of what supplies you have. Open up all cabinet doors, drawers and shelving. How often have you ordered something only to find you already had a box or two stuffed in the back of a shelf or cabinet?

    Organize your supplies. Store like things together, label the shelves and drawers.

    And most importantly,

    Purge. Toss out or recycle those random scraps of fabric, dacron and foam that are too small for you to be keeping. Are you saving them for dog beds you will never make? Find someone who does make them and give the stuff to them.

    Speaking of purging…

    Organize your fabric books.

    Check your vendor’s website for a list of discontinued books. Toss or donate the old books.

    Price changes happen at this time. Check Vendor websites for price increases and print the updated pricing sheets. 

    This is a good time to assess if you are happy with the fabric lines you carry. Are you satisfied with the lines you already have or do you want to add a new vendor? (see a list of NUA Vendor Members here)

    Now that we have the workroom looking spiffy lets focus on….


    Revisit your pricing. Are there certain areas or types of pieces you need to increase your prices on? Perhaps an overall increase is in order.

    Do you need to implement a new fee? A COM (customers own material) charge for instance? Maybe you want to start charging for pattern matching, since it adds hours to each job. (Two fees that I will be implementing this year.)

    Review your contract. Update any new fees or changes to your policy. Add verbiage to cover you in areas you may have found an issue with this past year.

    Next up how is your estimating process working? Think about issues that have come up that may be solved by tightening up your estimating procedures. I did this at the end of last year and I noticed a definite increase in my income per job. Things are easily forgotten when you estimate off the cuff. Take the time to establish a good form and process and use it every time.

    File all finished job paperwork. Pull outdated quotes and archive. Perhaps this would be a good time to contact these potential clients that haven’t converted and ask if they’d like an updated quote. Are they still looking for fabric? A quick note may get the project back on track for them.

    Still with me? Let’s move on to the fun stuff.

    Freshen up your Social Media


    Is it time to change your cover photo? How about that profile picture? Is it a photograph of you from ten years ago? Maybe its time to switch to something a little more current.

    Check and update your hours, phone number, email, physical address or business description.

    Review your automatic response message to direct messages. If you don’t have one setting it up is a great way to let potential clients know you got the message and when they should expect a response. You can also use it to point people to your email if that’s how you prefer to be contacted. No more lost messages. 


    Review your Instagram profile information. Does it have your correct info? Does it still reflect your brand and business goals? Is it interesting?

    How about the link to your website? Is your homepage where you want to direct people or would a specific page be better? Consider adding a landing page to your website if you have more than one product or place you’d like to direct your clients.

    Are you using hashtags? If not start using them.  Take the time to research and find the hashtags that are relevant. Type up the list and put it somewhere you can save it, like the notes on your phone or an email draft. Then each time you post you can go to that place and copy & paste them into your post. That initial effort will pay off going forward. I put this off for years until my friend Rachel said you need to do this now. Listen to her, she is smart. It will make a difference.

    By the way, now that your workroom is looking sharp it would be a great time to take photos, do a facebook live or Instagram story. Take clients on a tour of your workroom; they’d love to see where the magic happens. If not your clients, then your fellow upholsterers surely will.

    And last but not least,

    The Website

    Ask yourself, does your website reflect you and your business, has it been working for you this year? If not, seek help.  A well thought out website makes a great impression and can answer those recurring questions so you don’t have to.

    Review every page and update content as needed like pricing and contact information etc.

    Don’t forget to add those amazing photos of your recent projects to your galleries or home page to keep it fresh.

    Whew that was a lot! Hopefully this will help set you up for a successful 2020. Time to get around to all those things that keep moving to the back of the list.

    Here’s a handy Printable Checklist that you can print and use.  Don’t we all just love checking off the boxes? I left a few blank spaces in each category for you to add more.

    year end checklist for upholstery businesses.pdf

    Best Wishes and continued success to you in the New Year! Bring it 2020!


  • December 20, 2019 10:26 AM | Anonymous

    NUA - 2019 Recap (by Carla Pyle)

    In the first few months of the National Upholstery Association's existence (since July 2019), a core group of volunteers has been hard at work. Below is a brief recap of their accomplishments in 2019. Many thanks to our members for their support!

    1. Coordination, promotion and presentation of a well-attended Symposium coinciding with the Custom Workroom Conference (CWC) in North Carolina in September, titled ‘Aspire to Inspire: Take Your Skills to the Next Level’ featuring four upholstery experts from around the country. 
    2. Promotion of the National Upholstery Association with a booth at the CWC Trade Show.
    3. Kick-off of a monthly Webinar Series, featuring business development, skills training, tool tips. 
    4. Development of a marketing & branding strategy, including a website, active engagement on multiple social media platforms, logo design, and engagement with vendor affiliates.
    5. Initiation of multiple communication channels to facilitate the seamless communication between the Board, Committees and Membership.
    6. Development of organizational framework, including structure of the Board, Committees and Membership levels, and a 3-year Strategic Plan (to be published January 2020).
    7. Since the current Board is made up of largely of upholsterers who do not have previous nonprofit experience, we have sought the help of an organization called Alliance for Better Non-profits (ABN), where we've found valuable help & guidance. The Board is currently working through an assessment exercise and evaluation that will show us where we need to focus our limited resources to get this ship sailing on an even keel.

    A huge thanks to all of our 2019 volunteers who made this possible:

    • CWC Symposium Event Committee: Louise Cornick (Chair), Elizabeth DeCrescenzo, Anne Neuenschwander, David Williams, Kim Newell, Carla Pyle
    • Webinar Committee: Jill Ragan Scully (Chair), Linda Miller
    • Membership Committee: Jeanne Henzel (Chair), Audrey Lonsway, Cynthia Bleskachek, Kim Chagnon, Rhonda Shanahan, Michelle Minner
    • Public Relations Committee: Michelle Minner (Chair), Rachel Fletcher, Nancy Sargent, Leslie Howard, Rhonda Shanahan, Jamie Facciola, Linda Parker-Dugger 
    • Board of Directors (Current and past): Rachel Fletcher, Audrey Lonsway, Carla Pyle, David Williams, Joan Bonzon, Elizabeth DeCrescenzo, Cynthia Bleskachek, Kim Chagnon, Louise Cornick, Michelle Minner, Anne Neuenschwander, Kim Newell, Kriss Kokoefer

    We are an all-volunteer organization, thus far funded solely by membership dues and proceeds from special events. A big thank you goes out to ALL our members who joined in 2019. Your confidence in the potential of this community has made so much possible in just the first 6 months!

  • December 06, 2019 5:11 AM | Anonymous

    Join us on December 10th at 1pm ET for this month’s Webinar

     the big three - ready for year end
    with sandy schlafer

    written by Nancy Sargent owner of Cobani Bleu Upholstery

    By the way, do you have an idea for a Webinar? Is there something you’d really like to learn? Or maybe you have something to share?
    Email the NUA at


    Wow! How did we even get to December so fast! Well you know what they say,“Time flies when your having fun!”

    Speaking of fun, are you ready for the year-end? Not the fun New Year’s Eve party, cause you know that one ends at the stroke of midnight! I’m talking about

    The Dreaded Tax Season!

    Now, let me just say, in a former life, I was a finance manager working in Corporate America! I’m pretty good with budgets and spreadsheets, BUT, having your own business is just a bit different! You are responsible for all you financial reporting.

    And we all know we want to be straight with Uncle Sam!

    That is why I’m super excited about this month’s webinar, The Big Three – Ready For Year End with Sandy Schlafer. Sandy is an expert with Quickbooks. And Quickbooks is one of the best tools, (best friends) a small business owner can have.

    With Quickbooks, you don’t just open an account and start punching in numbers and viola, you have the reporting you need. You have to set it up! And by that I mean, set it up correctly, so that you will get the reporting you need and harness the power of Quickbooks!

    That is where Sandy comes in. She is going to teach us exactly how to set up Quickbooks so we get the maximum bang for the buck!

    This includes all the financial reporting for year-end including the BIG THREE:

    •  Profit & Loss Statement
    •  Balance Sheet
    •  Sales by Item Summary

    If numbers are not your thing, then this webinar is for you! Learn from Sandy how to make this tool work for you, so you can easily be in control of your numbers and more importantly, you can confidently wear the Chief Financial Officer hat for your business.

    Sandy is a partner at Common Sense Quickbooks Coaching. She has certification in Quickbooks ProAdvisor in Desktop and is advanced certified in Quickbooks Online. She has extensive bookkeeping experience and specializes in catering, interior design, non-profits and family counseling. Be sure to bring your questions, I know she’ll be able to answer them.

    Members, to sign up for the Webinar check your email dated December 1, 2019, for the link.

    *Webinars are only available to NUA members. Not a member yet? Sign up here.

    We look forward to seeing you at the webinar and don’t forget to bring all your Quickbook questions!

  • November 08, 2019 5:28 AM | Anonymous

    Join us on November 12th at 1pm ET for this month’s Webinar

     Tools & Gadgets
    with Rhonda Shanahan

    written by Nancy Sargent owner of Cobani Bleu Upholstery

    By the way, do you have an idea for a Webinar? Is there something you’d really like to learn? Or maybe you have something to share? Email the NUA at


    You know the truth of the matter is that upholstery doesn’t really require a lot of tools. But gosh, darn it, don’t we upholsterers just love our tools and gadgets!

    If you’re like me, you want the inside scoop on whether a particular tool lives up to its hype. Will it really function as advertised? Will it help me work better, faster or more efficiently? Wouldn’t it be nice to ‘try it before you buy it’?

    If this is you, then you are in luck. This month’s webinar is all about tools and gadgets and the inside scoop on them. Rhonda Shanahan, owner of The Whimsical Chair will be sharing some of her favorites. She’ll show how to use them and give us some insider tricks on how to make the most of them. We expect this webinar to be very interactive so bring your questions.

    Rhonda is a founding member of the National Upholstery Association.  She has been practicing upholstery for ten years. She loves living in Castle Rock, CO with her husband and 3 children. Her life long love of sewing and colorful textiles has lead her to a career in upholstery. She is passionate about her craft and is a natural at sharing it with other upholstery professionals. Although, she wants to remain a solopreneur, she is very forward thinking and always looking for opportunities to grow and expand her business.

    I know for a fact that Rhonda will share the latest hot new upholstery tool, the pneumatic nail head gun. Maybe you’re on the fence about this one. I know some of you find applying nail head meditative? While others just want the fastest way to get through the job! This webinar can help you decide if this gun should be added to your arsenal.

    photo credit & work by The Whimsical Chair

    Here is one of Rhonda’s recent projects. Yes, every last one of the 1120 nail heads was applied with this tool! And after that many nail heads, she is quite the pro! Actually, she nailed it from the beginning! Haha!

    Now I’m not sure exactly how many tools and gadgets Rhonda may share, but here are a few:
    • Button Press
    • Double Welt Gauge
    • Klinch It Tool
    • Leather Stitcher

    Leather Stitcher? That’s curious! You need to tune in to see how Rhonda uses this one! I just know Rhonda is going to inspire us all with her bag of tools! Can you say ‘tool envy’? It’s going to be hard to not want all them all. And what perfect timing! After all, we are approaching the gift-giving season, what tools will you be adding to your list?

    Want to know more about Rhonda, you can visit her here:


    Members, to sign up for the Webinar check your email dated October 29, 2019, for the link.

    *Webinars are only available to National Upholstery Association members. Not a member yet? Sign up here.

    We look forward to seeing you at the webinar and don’t forget you can ask questions.

  • October 30, 2019 5:30 AM | Anonymous

    written by Taylor Souder, B.S. in Textile Technology and Fabric Specialist at Greenhouse Fabrics

    Just like fabric, leather comes in many textures and color variations. Greenhouse Fabrics is a proud supplier of high-quality leathers suitable for use in high-traffic areas and the automotive industry. All of our leather orders are placed by the square foot in whole-hide form only. A fabric specialist will verify the average hide size and do their best to accommodate your min/max square footage needed (Hint: 1 yd. = 18 sq. ft.). All current leather SKUs are stocked at our vendors’ warehouses for a 7-10 day lead time to us.

    A couple questions that come up often regarding using leather for an upholstery project are how much leather should I order and what’s the difference in quality? Here’s is a helpful guide to help illustrate the usable square footage. There are also several different finishes and grains to consider when choosing your hide.

    Country of Origin:

    Italian hides
    • Very clean with little defects
    • Average hide size: 50 sq. ft.
    Argentinian and Brazilian hides
    • Produced from Brahma bulls (will have a hole in the neck area from hump)
    • Insect bites, brands, and healed scars may be apparent
    • Average hide size: 55-70 sq. ft
    US hides
    • Clean hides with little natural characteristics
    • Insect bites, healed scare, and scratches may be apparent
    • Average hide size: 48 sq. ft.

    Leather Finishes:

    Pull up aniline
    • Has an additional oil or wax applied giving it a distressed look
    • When pulled tight or scratched, the color will change. Rub the oils from your hand on the spot to blend the wax/oil to the lighter areas.

    • Most natural-looking leather
    • A transparent dye penetrates the hide allowing the natural grain to show
    • Includes pores, scars, and fat wrinkles


    • Hide is treated to age the appearance, giving it a rugged, older look

    • Same as aniline but more durable
    • A thin protective top coat is applied to protect from wear and staining

    Protected leather
    • Fully sealed after the dying process with a clear top coat offering protection against scratches and normal wear
    • Greenhouse Fabrics now offers Purely Protected Performance leather
    • Resists moisture and stains, high-traffic and user friendly, high color fastness

    Pigmented leather
    • Finished with a solid pigment or “paint” for consistency of color and texture
    • Pigments cover imperfections as well as add protection to the leather

    Leather Grains:

    Full grain
    • There has been no plating or correcting of the grain of the hide
    • This is the natural grain of the animal and will vary on different portions of the hide

    Top grain
    • The outer layer of the hide, the strongest part for upholstery use

    Corrected grain
    • The hide has been manually “corrected” or embossed with a pattern to give a consistent appearance from all angles

    Greenhouse also offers hair-on-hide leathers. These are great for rustic and urban furniture applications (they also make great rugs). Typically, these run anywhere from 30-45 sq. ft.

    HOH002 Black White Salt Pepper

    As you can see there are many things to consider when choosing the right leather for you project. There’s no need to be intimidated, if you have questions, our customer service reps have you covered.

    For more information or to become a dealer, call us at 866.755.5000 or visit our website at

  • October 01, 2019 4:57 AM | Anonymous

    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 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.

  • September 25, 2019 10:26 AM | Anonymous

    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

    Symposium attendees

    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. 

    Symposium Sponsors:

    Ronco Industries

    Albany Foam and Supply

    C.S. Osbourne & Co.

    British School of Upholstered Furniture

    Nailed it Upholstery

    Professional Upholsterers Network on Facebook

    United Fabrics

    Upholstery Education

    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.

  • September 04, 2019 4:58 AM | Anonymous

    Join us on September 10th at 1:00 pm EST for  this months webinar

     website basics

    Presented by Jason Chagnon

    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.

    Jason will share actionable ways to maximize your existing website or if you don't have one get you started on the right foot.

    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, call 888-229-8057 or visit

    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.

    We look forward to seeing you at the webinar and don’t forget you can ask questions.

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