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| | |-+  Need Help in selecting or guiding customers in fabric selection
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: Need Help in selecting or guiding customers in fabric selection  ( 890 )
baileyuph
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« : February 20, 2018, 08:47:32 AM »

Reupholstering - early in this game consumers have to engage in fabric selection, make a selection
based on simple or complex parameters. 

Question:  Since fabric milling has evolved as rapidly as it has, what are the more important
parameters?  Of course price is, color is, but do customers have a lot of knowledge about content?

What are the contents used today in making fabrics?  Haven't they changed?
I don't read/hear much about natural fibers (cotton/rayon/wool, to name a few).

So, what are the contents of available fabrics?

In review, several of the fabric books noted have a name but either it doesn't describe content or
the name just leaves the thought that this is just some kind of synthetic.

What are the fabrics to avoid fraying problem?

I have had customers bring me material (they didn't know what it was, nor did I) but the stuff
would start fraying after cutting.  Sure made sewing difficult and not want any more of that stuff.

Feel is about the most parameter I know to use and it helps in selection but more is needed
sometimes.

The original question is:  How do you guide a customer in fabric selection?

Any tips on fabric selection issues?

Doyle












kodydog
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« #1 : February 20, 2018, 09:36:18 AM »

We do not sell fabric so this is a big deal with us. We suggest several places for fabric purchase and the first thing they ask is what type to look for. Occasionally a customer will ask about all natural fabric but these days it is hard to find a fabric that doesn't have some type of synthetics in it. Except for 100% cotton, linen, wool, or flax most fabrics have rayon, nylon or polyethylene in it. Even if they do find a 100% all natural fabric the dyes used for patterns are toxic and if that's not bad enough they spray it with fabric protectors and glue like backing that's also toxic. If its imported you can bet it is also fumigated. It would be hard to find a fabric that has no toxins of some kind in it.

I think the fraying problem has more to do with loose weave than content. Also the glue like backing was almost non-existent for a while. I think the mills learned their lesson and are using it more often now. I tell my customers to buy a fabric with a nice tight weave and to hold the fabric up to the light and see how much comes through.

There is no telling what the content of the stuff coming out of China is. They will give you a list but is it accurate? I tell my customers American made is best. We just finished a job with fabric from India. It had a small geometric pattern that changed size as we went up the bolt.

Another often asked question is clean ability. We tell them this is something they need to ask the sales person about. Of course most sales people haven't a clue and will tell them just about anything.

A big sore spot with me lately is Hobby Lobby and JoAnns rarely use tubes anymore. They just stuff it in a bag and send them on their way. This is okay with some fabrics but fabrics with a nap and vinyl's can be a problem. Vinyl's are another problem. Some coming across my cutting table lately are very thin and stretchy. One particular piece of white vinyl was very difficult to keep clean and get stains out. Almost like it wasn't sealed or something.

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
http://northfloridachair.com/index.html
baileyuph
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« #2 : February 20, 2018, 05:31:01 PM »

What is Nanotex?  (sp?)  I see this label on a lot of fabric.  Is this just another processed synthetic?

Sometimes getting COM to work with is more efficient - in reality it comes down to the fabric quality

Doyle
MinUph
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« #3 : February 20, 2018, 06:53:19 PM »

Nano-Tex is one company becoming widely known for its nano-engineered fabrics that repel stains and control moisture levels in a way unheard of a very short time ago

Paul
Minichillo's Upholstery
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MinUph
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« #4 : February 20, 2018, 07:14:35 PM »

I try not to recommend any fabric. I will take time with a customer to help them in their decision process by explaining what I know but won't help "pick out" fabrics. The important points now a days are durability, cleanability, and cost. Durability is Wyzenbeek Test, thank you, cleanability is a nil unless it is water base, and cost is what it is.

Paul
Minichillo's Upholstery
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sofadoc
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« #5 : February 21, 2018, 10:45:28 AM »

A big sore spot with me lately is Hobby Lobby and JoAnns rarely use tubes anymore. They just stuff it in a bag and send them on their way.
This is exactly why I don't send my customers to those places. Of course, most of them find their way there on their own.

What compounds the problem........after the customer takes the bag of folded fabric out of the store, they toss it in their trunk........take it home and spread it out......... then they half-ass fold it back into the bag..........toss it back in their trunk and bring it to me.

By the time I get it, it's just one big wadded up pile of crap.

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
kodydog
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North Central Florida


« #6 : February 21, 2018, 08:28:26 PM »

Sofa, what can I say. You are right.

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
http://northfloridachair.com/index.html
baileyuph
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« #7 : February 21, 2018, 09:17:37 PM »

A few years ago, I would not accept COM jobs.  Material not bought here didn't get installed here.

Then, time later, when my suppliers were in flux - said Ok COM you get what you have. 

It has been that way for a good while, but here lately - last couple of years or more, customers want
to get me more involved selecting fabric.  Since I have had changes in suppliers and have many sample
books.

Customers (many) now don't want to even look for COM.

Today, I got 4 pieces (think that is right could be 5) and they didn't give COM a thought.  They won't do
COM and even wanted my input on fabric selection. The selection was made in less than 15 minutes, fabric is on order and I was able to get the job (two pieces stripped down - almost).  I am going to be
good to go when the fabric arrives.

Another job went about the same way - this customer especially demanded my input because she
said I did the job several years back an fabric and job still is holding up - so you know the rest.
Part of the reason there aren't near as many shops left and these customers are jumping on
"getting the job right".  Plus I didn't have to hear all this stuff about "how much".

In the shake out, one customer's husband gave me to auto seat jobs.  He said he had trouble finding
someone who did original auto work.

What these customers said, fewer shops who can get it done and some don't do it at all.

So, maybe what comes around goes around.

So, I encourage all of you to establish good relations with customers today.  The new stuff problems
- the word is getting around on that also!

I finished some real classy nice chrome pedestal work.  This customer wanted to get rid of the
processed leather (bonded) and had me to put the best vinyl on the job.  Very detailed job.

Doing good work that people appreciate sure makes for a nice day! 

You experienced business know what I am saying.

Doyle
MinUph
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Mainly furniture. Tarpon Springs Fl.


« #8 : February 21, 2018, 09:35:13 PM »

A few years ago, I would not accept COM jobs.  Material not bought here didn't get installed here.

Then, time later, when my suppliers were in flux - said Ok COM you get what you have. 

It has been that way for a good while, but here lately - last couple of years or more, customers want
to get me more involved selecting fabric.  Since I have had changes in suppliers and have many sample
books.

Customers (many) now don't want to even look for COM.

Today, I got 4 pieces (think that is right could be 5) and they didn't give COM a thought.  They won't do
COM and even wanted my input on fabric selection. The selection was made in less than 15 minutes, fabric is on order and I was able to get the job (two pieces stripped down - almost).  I am going to be
good to go when the fabric arrives.

Another job went about the same way - this customer especially demanded my input because she
said I did the job several years back an fabric and job still is holding up - so you know the rest.
Part of the reason there aren't near as many shops left and these customers are jumping on
"getting the job right".  Plus I didn't have to hear all this stuff about "how much".

In the shake out, one customer's husband gave me to auto seat jobs.  He said he had trouble finding
someone who did original auto work.

What these customers said, fewer shops who can get it done and some don't do it at all.

So, maybe what comes around goes around.

So, I encourage all of you to establish good relations with customers today.  The new stuff problems
- the word is getting around on that also!

I finished some real classy nice chrome pedestal work.  This customer wanted to get rid of the
processed leather (bonded) and had me to put the best vinyl on the job.  Very detailed job.

Doing good work that people appreciate sure makes for a nice day! 

You experienced business know what I am saying.

Doyle

Doyle if I could give this a thumbs up I would. We do know.

Paul
Minichillo's Upholstery
Website
Mojo
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« #9 : February 22, 2018, 07:47:56 AM »

Fabric selection is a biggie with us despite our work being awnings. We now offer 3 lines, acrylic, vinyl and CBD acrylic. All 3 fabrics are branded under our trade name CoachGuard, Migliore and CoachGuard Elite and Elite 3D.

We have 2 fabric consultants and one thread consultant and meet with them twice a year. These guys are some of the very best in the business and spent a great deal of time inside textile mills around the world. They keep us up to date on all the changes and new developments in marine/outdoor fabrics.

Their expertise helps us to provide information and educate our customers on fabric selection. Most have no idea what they want. Ingrid is great at finding out how the customer uses their motorcoaches, their travel habits, etc. and then helps them select the right fabric. For instance if we have a customer who winters in the Rio Grande area of Texas she recommends our vinyl as it is better in the wind. If they spend a lot of time in AZ then she recommends our CoachGuard acrylic. She also recommends certain fabrics depending on the awning assembly type and manufacturer.

We have found that by providing professional assistance and showing expertise with fabric types our customers become very confident in our abilities and work and recognize us as experts. Educating customers, while I admit can be a pain in the ass, really helps sell jobs. It has always been part of our mission.

Here is a recent article on our new CoachGuard Elite fabric:  https://rv-pro.com/news/stone-vos-unveils-new-acrylic-fabrics


Mojo 
MinUph
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Mainly furniture. Tarpon Springs Fl.


« #10 : February 22, 2018, 12:27:14 PM »

Chris I envy you having 4 fabrics to choose from and all that left is colors. My sample room must have 500 different types of fabric and that is at a minimum.
They can have whatever color they want as long as it's black.
« : February 22, 2018, 12:28:10 PM MinUph »

Paul
Minichillo's Upholstery
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sofadoc
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All types of upholstery.....except cars and boats.


« #11 : February 22, 2018, 01:30:27 PM »

Customers (many) now don't want to even look for COM.
Well, they do here. They can't run to Hobby Lobby or JoAnns fast enough.

They'll even settle for a color, pattern, or texture that they aren't truly happy with............just because "That's all they had".

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
kodydog
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North Central Florida


« #12 : February 23, 2018, 09:52:27 PM »

We have JoAnns, Hobby Lobby and another non-discount store in Gainesville. In Jacksonville (1-1/2 hours away) there is also a JoAnns, and a Hobby Lobby plus two other non-chain discount stores. Valdosta Ga (1-1/2 hours away) is another mom and pop discount fabric store. It is amazing people will drive that far to save a few bucks. I guess its the American discount mentality.

We just got the go-ahead on a job we quoted last October. That's how long it took to get her fabric.

So Doyle, where are you and don't you have discount fabric stores there?
« : February 23, 2018, 09:52:50 PM kodydog »

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
http://northfloridachair.com/index.html
baileyuph
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« #13 : February 23, 2018, 11:05:09 PM »

I commented that "many" do not want COM.

The bottom line to this issue is how you market and to whom.  The discount materials are cheaper for
a reason -- fabrics simply are not the best and some do not want it in their homes.

Educate the customer in your marketing, many will appreciate the professional advice.
There are fewer people doing what we do, it isn't hard to attract upscale customers, especially those
with expensive homes, cars, and nice boats.

I just finished rebuilding an expensive German car seat w/air bag.  The skill to do this is scarce even
in a bigger city.

Some of my customers do not ask for a price, some do.

Young people are not doing what we do, there is no keyboard attached! You have a skill in demand,
Market it! 

Doyle

Doyle 

sofadoc
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All types of upholstery.....except cars and boats.


« #14 : February 24, 2018, 09:26:13 AM »

Educate the customer in your marketing, many will appreciate the professional advice
With furniture, you can educate them all you want. But the bottom line is.......many simply aren't going to pay $50, $60, $70 a yard and up. They're going to run to Hobby Lobby and pay $14.99 a yard.

In smaller towns, there isn't enough high-end clientele to market to. You have to take on the "Blue collar" crowd.

But most of my business has transitioned over to commercial work now. And thankfully, commercial clients don't go divin' in the bargain bins. They buy from me.

Residential upholstery is only about 30% of my business right now. And almost all of them are COM.

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
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