Entertaining Outdoors? Stay cool with an awning.

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If you have an outdoor living or entertaining space, then you know how beautiful it can be outdoors – just not when it’s blaring hot with the sun beating down on you. That’s where a retractable, or folding arm awning comes in. They can be a great way for you to enjoy the outdoors. There are some factors that you should however consider when purchasing retractable awnings. We’ve outlined them below:

Price

You should always compare pricing when purchasing retractable awnings. Folding arm awnings are some of the most expensive shade furnishings, and you should expect it to be a significant investment, even for a basic set up. For a purchase like this, avoid buying a product of lesser quality for a cheaper price, as the cheapness will become evident in not much time at all.

Manufacturing

Australian made is a great choice for awnings. Australia make some of the best window treatments in the market, and for good reason. We have some of the harshest climate conditions in the world. It’s good to know that your awning is designed and fabricated within our local standards, and that the product will therefore withstand the harsh conditions we find here, especially when summer hits.

Again, beware of companies that offer you low-cost retractable awnings at prices that seem too good to be true. Often they are too good to be true.

Warranty

You should always purchase your awning from a reputable supplier who offers a full service warranty. You can expect to pay a bit more up front, but the cost is worth it. In many cases, suppliers will provide a five-year warranty, which will ensure that your awning gives you stress free service throughout the five-year period.

Installation

If you haven’t thought about the cost of installation of your folding arm awning, before you shop is the time to consider it. If you go for a cheap product, you will not only (no doubt) find quality issues, but you will also likely have to install the awning yourself. Unless you are a DIY awning expert, you should probably leave it to the experts. This will have some cost attached to it. Also keep in mind, if you do choose to install the awning yourself, that in some cases this may void your warranty. Find out all the facts before you do DIY or have the experts install your awning.

We hope these tips have helped you out for buying your own folding arm awning, and we hope that you have a relaxing, cool, shady area to enjoy this summer!

All This Rain is Making Everything Dirty!

We’ve had a lot of rain this autumn already, and this weather can lead to dirt, grime, mould, mildew, and lack of energy for cleaning!

Here are some tips from the experts to help with some of your common window cleaning issues…

If your screens are worse than your windows 

Remove and take them outside. Pick up the screen by its edges, hold it at an angle so most of the screen surface is facing the ground, and tap one edge lightly against a firm surface. This will shake any dirt loose. Using a broad, soft-bristled brush, scrub both sides of the screens with warm or hot water and lemon-scented dishwashing detergent. Rinse with a hose and air-dry thoroughly before reinstalling.

If your windows get dirty unusually fast

Change the filter in your heating and/or cooling system. Modern airtight homes trap more dust, pollen, dander, dangerous mould and other particles inside than ever before. While air conditioner filters extend the life of your appliances, they also help trap that dirt. Filters should be changed every month or two, or anytime you can’t see through the filter when you hold it up to a light. Cleaning your air conditioning filter regularly is also an inexpensive way to keep your house cooler/warmer.

If your blinds are the problem

Dust or wash them. Dust blinds regularly with a soft cloth, a duster, or the dusting brush on your vacuum. Be sure to dust both sides of the shades. If they’re stained or spotted, it’s time for a real cleaning. Though you can wash them in place (with a drop cloth over the floor and furniture), it’s best to remove them. Place one shade at a time across a worktable covered with a plastic sheet or shower curtain. Wash vinyl blinds using a sponge and a solution of 1⁄4 cup white vinegar in a tub of warm water. Washing them in the bathtub is even easier. Run some warm water in the tub, add a squirt of dishwashing liquid, and wipe each side with a large sponge. To rinse, dunk them in clean water or hold them under the shower. Then wipe with a clean, soft cloth. Many fabric blinds can also be washed, but take a close look at the care instructions before washing them! It’s best not to leave them in the water for more than a minute.

If you can’t keep outside windowsills clean

Apply a coat of floor wax. Because your exterior windows are, well, exterior, they are subject to collecting a lot of dirt. Wax is the simplest (and most effective) way to protect your sills. A coat of WD-40 can also protect your windows from the elements.

If there’s mould or mildew on your window frames

Wash with a bleach-detergent solution. Black or gray mould spots on wooden frames can be cleaned for good with a solution of 2 parts household bleach and part laundry detergent in a tub of water. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands, sponge the solution on the spots, let it sit for ten minutes, and then rinse thoroughly with clean water.

If your blinds are always dusty

Use an antiseptic spray (read care instructions first though!). The best way to keep dust from piling up quickly is by applying a spray, such as Static Guard, on the window blinds right after you clean them. If dust is a problem in other parts of your home, other cleaning strategies may be more effective.

If your windows are always streaky after washing

Use a window-washing squeegee with a smooth, soft rubber edge. Dry a one-inch strip at the top or side of each window and always start your squeegee there. Starting on dry glass is one key to avoiding streaks. Don’t wash windows in direct sunlight, because quickly dried glass is more susceptible to streaking. Evenings or cloudy days are the best times for window washing.

Happy cleaning!

The Fashionline Team.

SUPER EXPO IS BACK!

You guessed it…

FASHIONLINE GROUP AUSTRALIA will be exhibiting and attending Australia’s largest trade exhibition for the window furnishings and specialised textile industries on the sunny Gold Coast in June.

As the name suggests, this is really no ordinary trade expo. It’s Super Expo and we’re really getting excited.

Following the very successful inaugural event in 2013, and based on attendance then, organisers are expecting up to 4000 visitors this year, comprising industry fabricators, agents, and specifiers. As a result, the 2016 event is likely to be the largest trade exhibition ever staged in Australia for the window furnishings, awning, marine and outdoor textile conversion!

Fashionline will be one of 100 key industry exhibitors – and we don’t plan to simply blend in – we are, after all, Australia’s largest Independent Blind Manufacturing Group – we’re going to be in our element!

Super Expo will take place in all four main halls of the Gold Coast Convention Centre and visitors can attend from June 8 – 10, 2016.

For us, it’s not just an Expo (not all fun and games, though, there might be some golf!) no, no, it will be time to get down to business! We will be of course exhibiting, as well as attending award presentations and key industry networking events, giving us the opportunity to stay on the pulse and keep up to date with market trends and news. We relish these opportunities to network in face-to-face environments.

Super Expo will allow us to showcase our members, and market our group to independent leaders in their fields, who show business integrity and service. That is after all, what we are all about…

Fashionline are a group of the most successful independent Manufacturers / Retailers of window furnishing products, with over two hundred collective years in the industry. Our team brings together a wealth of experience to the industry with a range of companies from both metropolitan and country areas.

Each member has an exclusive trading area, and, each member enjoys the benefits of group purchasing, saving many thousands of dollars and then giving us the ability to pass savings directly to our valuable customers – who will be able to see this first hand at Super Expo.

For more info you can visit www.superexpo2016.com.au or contact us via secretary@fashionline.com.au for more information on our attendance.

 

Technology in the Blind Industry

Despite the span of your blinds and awnings business, upgrading to the latest technology generally is the last thing you think about when trying to expand business, create more productive workflow and improve profit without contributing additional time.

IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS

IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE

Ask any business associate you know who owns any business in another industry and they will let you know they couldn’t work their business without the technology they have acquired in the last 10-20 years. From accounting software, to customer relationship management systems, technology helps their business to develop and be more productive each year.

Are you as a Blinds industry business falling behind? Can you do everything faster with the trusty old pen and paper than on a PC? Most business owners can prepare quotes very quickly with high sales conversions, but it’s not about sales, it’s about maintaining the business more efficiently as a whole.

  1. Organise, automate and synchronise business processes
  2. Keep track of customer job details and business information
  3. Keep track of quotes
  4. Finalising quotes and processing final orders
  5. Sending orders directly to suppliers
  6. Tracking incoming materials
  7. Tracking progress of finished products.
  8. Preparing final installation and billing paperwork

ECONOMIC VALUE

CALCULATE THE COST OF NOT INVESTING IN TECHNOLOGY

Figuring out the expense of implementing technology must start with ascertaining the expense of not investing in technology. As a business owner you must ask yourself how to best utilize the time you spend in your business.  Assess the time staff spend in handling printed material.

Where do you really create profit?

Taking care of the printed material won’t profit yet it is important to keep precise records and process exact quotes.

  1. How many hours do you spend on quoting in a week?
  2. How many hours is spent on amending quotes and writing up final estimates for the customer?
  3. How many hours is spent on ordering products, writing up work orders and installation orders plus job tracking?

INVEST IN TECHNOLOGY

BE MORE PRODUCTIVE

Utilising computer technology and software will help you to cut your printed material procedures by hours, hours that can be spent closing sales and completing jobs. Hypothetically if printed material procedures were cut down by 1 hour per day, that is 5-6 hours per week which gives an additional 24 hours for every month to work on business growth.

WHY

BLIND SOFTWARE

The blind and awning industry is not built on simple window treatments.  Utilising reliable Blind Software will cut down error rates in quoting and deliver in seconds a completed quote that can be emailed to the customer. Blind software can help sales staff with complex window treatments and with the added benefit of not wasting time manually re-estimating customer quotes,  processing vendor and workroom orders, installer procedures and billing paperwork.

Conserve energy with Window Furnishings

Conserve energy with Window Furnishings

Passive solar building design or climatic design takes best advantage of the local climate and the design of windows, walls and floors store and distribute solar energy without the aid of mechanical or electrical gadgets.

Without effective energy efficient window treatments, up to 50% of a home’s heating and cooling energy can be lost through its windows. A simple way and effective way to reduce energy consumption and to protect internal furnishings from fading is by covering your windows from the hot Australian sun.

Stop the Sun before it hits your Windows

The most effective way to reduce the heat from the sun is to shade your windows and sliding doors to stop the sun seeping in. Stopping the sun’s heat before it penetrates through is up to 7 times more effective than using roller blinds or curtains.

External window shading options include, fixed metal or carbolite awnings, canvas or acryllic awnings, shutters and louvred awnings. The styles vary from fixed, straight­drop, folding arm, pivot arm awnings, with the control options being manual, crank, spring or motorised.

Aluminium roller shutters provide all year round thermal, light, and noise protection with the added benefits of security, storm protection and protection from the radiant heat of bush fires. They provide up to 90% reduction from the effects of UV rays.

Traditional awnings made from quality canvas, sun screen or acrylic materials are available as 100% block out or mesh light filtering fabrics.

Fixed carbolite awnings that have been treated can provide 99.9% UV protection. They are available in many shapes and sizes, from the traditional bull ­nosed, domed and the conventional flat. These awnings will last longer than traditional fabric awnings.

Window furnishings aren’t just a decoration

There are many choices of fabrics and styles of curtains to suit any style of home and many practical reasons for their installation. The effectiveness of curtains depends on the fabric choice and whether the window covering is opened, closed, raised or lowered. In order for curtains to be effective, it is recommended they reach a long way below the bottom of the window frame.

Venetians blinds allow you to control the angle of light entering the room and provide privacy allowing you to see out. Timber venetians can provide some insulating properties in a closed position though due to the slats will not be effective as other options.

Roller and roman blinds keep the heat in due to the fact they are one continuous piece of fabric and are most effective at keeping heat in when they sit up against the window frame.

Timber shutters are crafted from plantation wood or PVC and provide great insulation. Wooden shutters are selected for its long lasting elegance, consistent grain and strength. PVC shutters are fire retardant, termite resistant and mould proof making them ideal for wet areas. They provide character and real style to your home.

Australia has very diverse climates and depending on whether you’re in Victoria or QLD, more than half of your household energy use goes to heating and cooling that is wasted. The cracks and gaps in an average home equate to having a 1 x 1.5 metre windows open all of the time. Forty percent of the heat loss is through uncovered windows.

Creating a comfortable living space is as important as choosing the perfect window fashion. Contact your local awning or blind expert to get specialised advice and service. Alternatively, don’t hesitate to contact us at Fashionline Group.

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