Fashionline: Celebrating 30 years of service

2020 is special year for Fashionline and is a year that deserves celebration. With so much uncertainty in the world right now, we feel very proud of our achievement.

When the idea for Fashionline first started, it was a very different time for the window treatment industry. John Wood (original founder and previous owner of Wagga Blinds & Awnings) and Ray Watson (Watson Blinds) first met at an industry trade show in the late 80’s and were both running small businesses at the time. With growing frustrations and limited access to products and suppliers, as well as manufacturing costs within the Australian Market, they thought to themselves that others in the industry must also be struggling with the same challenges.

“We didn’t know exactly what we wanted to create, but we knew we wanted to talk to some other business owners that were having the same challenges as we were, and maybe we could start a buying group” says Ray Watson, Watson Blinds.

Soon after the initial thought, they approached other businesses in the industry and when interest peaked, a formal meet and greet was organised in Sydney, which resulted in further interest by all attendees and those met as a result of these connections.

Then named “The Independent Home Improvement Group” began to form but heavily relied on the business owners volunteering their spare time and business resources to help gain traction. Over time, the group gained interest with new members and suppliers which resulted in branching out and renaming the group, Fashionline.

Ray Watson from Watson Blinds receiving an award from a supplier.

Ray Watson from Watson Blinds receiving an award from a supplier.

The next challenge was to negotiate with supplier Rollease Acmeda, known then as Sbriggs. The negotiations resulted in placing an order for a 40ft shipping container filled with vertical blind componentry. Once an order was placed, the next step was to negotiate and form a partnership with textile supplier Bradmill Textiles. Until this partnership was formed, blind makers communicated with canvas wholesalers, it was unheard of dealing with a canvas manufacturer directly, which was something that made Fashionline unique.

Today Fashionline is ran by a board of directors and has grown immensely. We have 27 members (and growing each year) that have access to 23 unique suppliers across Australia. We are very proud of what Fashionline has accomplished over the last 30 years and we look forward to watching the company continue to grow.

Your Fashionline Team.

Get in the mind of the buyer

Aesthetics and function combine when it comes to furnishing windows. Here are some things to consider that will be, or should be, top of the buyer’s mind…

A touch of Style

The aesthetic impact of window coverings is often the main motivating factor for buyers, as the right choice can completely transform a living space.

Social Media has had a huge impact on buyers -those beautiful inspirational pictures are generally centred on the style and look people want to achieve in their home, whether it’s contemporary, minimalist, country, industrial, beach hamptons, french provincial etc.

Pay attention to the pictures – there’s a reason they are showing you Instagram images. A buyer will want to “copy” the look and may go elsewhere if you try to steer them away from what they are showing you. Make sure you show them that you really ‘get it’ – the specific decorative style and colours they are after.

Control the light

Light control is an important benefit delivered by window coverings, and a facet that shouldn’t be overlooked, as it has a big impact on a home’s liveability. The buyer should know what they want, but you can ask questions relating to the room, what it’s used for, do they need to watch TV and movies in the room? What is the aspect and the warmth/cold that it endures? Make sure they’ve really considered light control and flexibility before purchase.

Ensure Privacy

With the majority of Australians living in urban areas and with neighbours close by, privacy is an important consideration.

If you can see through window coverings during the day, from inside at night, it will be the reverse, and people outside will be able to see straight in. So choosing the right coverings ensures a home remains private for your buyer.

Create Mood

The mood of a house is absolutely a function of the window dressings. Mood is influenced by many factors, including light, privacy and style – which can all be summed up in the right window treatment. Again, taking note of the pictures your buyer shows you is really important, and don’t forget to ask questions – what kind of mood do you see in this room? Peaceful, quiet… or fun, bright and active?

Deliver Thermal Comfort

Windows are essentially ‘holes’ in a home, so keeping the heat out in summer and the warmth in during winter is an important job for a home’s window coverings. They also help to reduce electricity bills.

Well-fitted, custom-made window coverings will deliver the highest level of thermal comfort, so make sure you bring this up when speaking to customers.

Add to Energy Efficiency

With Australians typically spending 41% of their household energy expenditure managing their home’s temperature, the right window coverings can save money, all year round.

Muffle Sound

Many people don’t consider the acoustic benefits of great window coverings.

A room with lots of hard surfaces that echoes, or hearing road noise from inside can be pretty unpleasant. But choosing the right window coverings can help dampen these sounds, so find out how noisy your buyer’s neighbourhood / family is.

Safety for Kids & Pets

Safety might not spring to mind when thinking about window coverings, but tangled cords pose a serious safety risk to children and pets. Most Australian households have either a child or a pet, or both, so safety is an important consideration. All modern window treatments comply with the latest child safety regulations, but make sure you mention this to buyers, find out if they have young children, and take appropriate action to minimise risks with their purchase.

We hope these tips have been helpful!

The Fashionline Team.

It was great to see you at Super Expo!

On the 8th to the 10th of June, Fashionline Group proudly attended and exhibited at the Gold Coast Convention Centre for the 2016 Super Expo. The name really says it all, Super Expo was simply super.

We had the chance to network with industry insiders from all walks of the business, and showcase our members as well as meet many new faces!

Because Fashionline are a group of the most successful independent Manufacturers / Retailers of window furnishing products, we wanted to show our expertise and the benefits to customers at Super Expo, and we got to do just that, because official visitor numbers were up some 60% on the 2013 version of the event, which was really great to see!

Organisers certainly learned that this expo has become a huge event, especially given the large number and size of the custom build stands. The management at the GCCEC said they had never hosted an event of such size and quality exhibits, so full credit must go out to all attendees for the outstanding displays. We were certainly proud of our stand (see image).

If you were one of the people we met at Super Expo, we want to take the opportunity now to show you the main benefits of becoming a Fashionline member. Here they are:
  • Group Buying Power – able to negotiate better rates as part of the group
  • Buying discounts – for both purchases as a group and individually
  • Subsidised Marketing Material – Fashionline have brochures and marketing material that can be customised for your requirements at a significantly reduced cost due to group volumes ordered. Plus, your business details are over printed at no additional cost.
  • Exclusive Content and Media Library – Fashionline have an image, video and copy library that can be used in print, TV, and online (including your own website).
  • Advertising subsidies – These are offered by several suppliers and when applied reduce marketing materials costs even further.
  • Group Promotions – Access to consumer promotions run by the group that significantly increase members’ sales.
  • Networking – Access to a premier range of industry contacts with a diverse range of knowledge and experience to draw on.
  • Independence – Each member retains their independence to run their own business as they see fit.
  • Flexibility – Whilst assurance is given to preferred suppliers to purchase the bulk of materials from them, each member is still able to purchase from other suppliers.
  • Wholesaling Opportunity – Some members specialising in manufacturing can wholesale those products to the members at special discount prices.
  • Member Rebate on Purchases – Each member receives a minimum 0.5% rebate on all purchases from approved suppliers.

If you’d like to know more about our membership costs and conditions, get in touch with us here. We would love to hear from you! And, don’t forget, Super Expo will be back, bigger and better than ever in 2019!

The Fashionline team.

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