November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you enjoy the day with friends and family and know we're thankful for you, our readers and friends.
We're proud to introduce you to Judy Soccio, a friend and colleague. Treat yourself and go to her site--- look at everything. Especially don't miss the "in the news" section. It's great.
Chris and Sandy

Spotlight on Judy Soccio

judyI had the pleasure to meet Judy at the Valley Forge trade show. She is delightful with a twinkle in her eye and fun in her voice. Her drapery workroom, SR Design, has been in business for seven years in the Pittsburg area. You will love visiting her website, and looking at some of her fabulous work.

While visiting at the booth she told me great story. She had a client with a problem - a door that got in the way of style. Wanting to treat the doors with the rest of the windows yet still being able to use the doors was a challenge. Other designers said it couldn't be done.

But Judy knew about Operable Door Valances and educated her client. If you aren't familiar with Operable Door Valances, it is the technique of mounting hardware on the door that allows the treatment to move with the door but above the door so it lines up with other window treatments in the room.

After intial sticker shock and Judy's explanation to the client about the intricate and time intensive nature of the project, she set to work. The customer was thrilled with the result and understood the cost.

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Later, Judy made a display featuring an Operable Door Valance and used it at an ASID vendor show and a local Home Show. The Pittsburg Post Gazette featured Judy and the treatment in the article about the Home Show. About 800 people attended the show and the show co-ordinator said - they all wanted to find "The Curtain Lady".

By doing something different and innovative, Judy created a buzz. The two shows and the newspaper article generated quite a bit of business. She also featured the treatment on postcards to be used as advertising.

Judy says, "Chris' videos are very good and helpful. You don't have to be mechanically inclined to be able to follow the directions. You can never have too much knowledge. The more knowledge you have, the more confident you are. And the more confident you are, the more confident and capable you will appear to customers."

Judy's work and marketing saavy are amazing and inspirational.

My challenge to you -what are you learning? What sets you apart?

Happy Sewing!

Tool Time- I have a new love!

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I have a new drill and I love it. My new Bosch Litheon Pocket Driver is a PS20-2 and it is light and it has a light!

My first love was a Makita I received as a gift from a grateful designer. That baby was such a wonderful tool but it really needs to lose some weight. It weights 4 lbs. I added to my drill driver collection when the new Makita was released and it weighs 3 lbs 3 oz. Both of those get quite a workout so when I heard good things about the new Makita, I had to try it out. It is pretty and holy cow, it is heavy. It weighs 3 lbs 8oz.

I tried the new Makita for a few weeks and found that it kept releasing the shaft when I would put it in my ladder between steps. Yikes, I dropped the 12" shaft onto a customer's toilet seat. So glad that it did not chip or break the plastic! I was talking to an installer friend and he said that his did the exact same thing, and was probably a manufacturing flaw. Well, that piece of equipment is being returned to Makita. No thank you.

And then I met Bosch. It weights only 1lb 13 oz., almost half the weight of the 'light' Makita I use a lot. It has a light and it recharges in about 30 minutes. The down side is it will not hold a drill bit. I use the adaptor from Makita to use drill bits. The chuck is different too. Instead of twisting to open or close the chuck, you pull on the outer ring and the shaft releases. It is much easier and more secure. It seems that I should go to work for Bosch, or Home Depot. I got this for $130 and will be getting another one to keep in the workroom for assembling shade boards and all the other stuff I use a drill for out here.

Hand fatigue needs to be taken seriously and this tool is just what the doctor ordered.

If you are a professional, go out and buy this for yourself before the end of the year. DO NOT PUT IT ON YOUR GIFT LIST! As a business, it is a legitimate business deduction and you should reduce your net earnings as much as legally possible so you pay less in taxes.

If you are not a professional seamstress/workroom, go buy it for yourself anyway. There is a wonderful feeling to buy your own power tools.

Featured Product for November

Operable Door Valances Video

This video guides you step by step through the process of making an operable door valance. You will learn how to measure, fabricate, and install the window treatment. Kits for the hardware are also available.