Mohair Velvet & Other Velvets

Silk Velvet Upholstery Fabric TextileMohair Velvet is a type of fabric made from Mohair Wool. It is usually used for upholstery. A velvet is a fabric that is made in a certain way usually ending up with a pile; importantly it can be made from many different fibres including mixtures of fibres.

Mohair Velvet – A velvet made from natural Mohair Wool. Typically durable with high Martindale rub test results. Natural fibres give a degree of inherent fire retardancy.

Cotton velvet – A velvet made from natural cotton

Linen Velvet – a velvet made from natural linen typically an excellent domestic upholstery velvet.

Silk Velvet – Potentially beautiful and amazing velvet fabric made from silk but a high degree of quality variation across manufacturers.

CS Trevira – Made from synthetic Trevira. Excellent contract velvet.

Cashmere Silk Velvet – Extremely high quality luxury fabric. Mix of two natural fibres ie Cashmere Wool and Silk. Combines beauty with durability.

Vicuna Silk Velvet – Extremely high quality and rare luxury fabric. Rarely available as an interiors fabric.

Cotton & Silk Velvet – A less expensive way to strengthen the beauty of the silk with the strength of cotton. Cotton being cheaper than Cashmere wool for example!

Note also that a velvet is made with a back cloth material. It is not unusual for an extremely fine top market velvet to have a 100% cotton back cloth.

Contract Upholstery Fabric – How to Specify It

Here is a VERY quick guide to specifying contract fabrics. Contract Fabrics 101 if you like. It shows you the main areas you need to consider.

1. Determine Use

Is it panelling or seating? for the latter you will need to consider flammability (cigarette, match and crib 5) and abrasion (Martindale)

2. Fabric Composition

The composition of the fabric including the yarn and weave will affect the fabric’s long term wear, appearance and technical performance.

Natural fabrics such as wool can be more expensive but generally offer good feel and technical characteristics such as natural flame retardancy.

Man-made fabrics usually are more easily cared for but can look cheap if not properly chosen.

3. Flammability

The single standard for contract seating which is acceptable throughout the EU is EN 1021 Parts 1 and 2 (cigarette and match). Higher level standards in the UK are BS 5852 and BS 7176.

The standard which applies to vertical surface fabrics is BS 476 Part 7.

4. Abrasion

You should be looking at the Martindale properties of the fabric. <Here> is more information on the Martindale rub test.

5. Environmental Considerations

Generally natural fibres like wool are good. And man-made ones less so, NYLON is not great.

6. Care and maintenance

Generally contract fabrics will look bad because of dirt rather than because they wear out. So follow the manufacturers instructions on care and maintenance.  Basically wipe away stains quickly and vacuum clean regularly.

Black Velvet – Even Better Italian Silk Velvet In Black

Black Velvet – only to be enjoyed by those who appreciate that black is the new black! KOTHEA have a range of velvets with shades of black colourways in most of those velvet collections.

Black Diamond” is the colourway name for the Italian Silk Velvet (100% Silk Pile) with the code 777-108-900.

You can get black silk velvet samples here from KOTHEA if you are a trade professional. Just click the link.

KOTHEA velvets are the best in the market. We only sell top market fabrics, mostly to top European Interior Designers and Architects. Here are some more bits of technical information on our black Italian Silk velvet fabric:

Width: 140cm

Composition: 100% Silk Pile

No repeat, plain.

Abrasion: Martindale 20,000.

Available from stock, normal delivery within 5 days.

Minimum Order length: 2m

Cashmere Throws – Luxury Refined From KOTHEA

Cashmere is the most exclusive wool practically available for interiors use. It is sometimes called Pashmina, and a few other things, but essentially Cashmere is what the wool really is and it rarely comes from Kashmir!

There are one or two wools that are possibly ‘better’ (ie warmer or softer) but they are extremely expensive (such as Vicuna). They are SO expensive and ‘rare’ that you will never come across them in reality unless you work in a very niche area of the fashion fabrics market. I have never even heard about such fabrics being available for interiors use, let alone seen or touched them. Although I would imagine it would not be dissimilar from cashmere!

Which brings me back to Cashmere Throws.

Maybe you already have a Cashmere Throw, or possibly a Cashmere scarf. They feel wonderful. It is not just marketing hype either, there are a variety of technical reasons why the Cashmere yarn makes fabrics that are warmer and softer to the touch than any other woolen yarn.

Yet there remains a huge variation in price from one Cashmere throw to the next. Why?

We have struggled to answer that question ourselves. Cashmere Throws can retail at £2,000. Yet the quality is only very good. Scarves too can easily cost several hundreds of pounds (and upwards).

So we are about to release Cashmere Throws that are better than everyone else. We are using: higher quality, thicker yarns than anyone else; sourcing our own designs, qualities and colours from the best mills.

I can guarantee that if you put one of our throws next to any competing alternative you would always choose a KOTHEA Cashmere Throw. We would even let our competitor choose the criteria that they wish to compete on! We are SO confident that our throws win on all counts.

Or you could go and buy one for £2,000 from somewhere else and be unsure that you have the best.

Cashmere Throws

Cashmere Throws are about as good as you can get.

We are in the advanced stages of launching a substantial new range of bespoke Cashmere Throws with standard and custom sizes; custom colours and great standard designs and colourways. Quite a big leap ahead of many companies, certainly in the UK.

We will be introducing new yarns of a higher ply rating than any we know to be available in the UK, offering the thickest and most luxurious feel.

We already have exquisite hand-woven linen throws and are considering other yarns for throws like Chenille.

Dye Lot Samples vs. Stock Cuttings

What is the difference between a dye lot sample and a stock cutting?

In the UK those phrases are taken to mean the same thing. But that is not universally true so I will explain.

When you as an interior designer are about to place an order you need to get a cutting which you keep in your records stating exactly what colour the fabric will be. So you need a cutting from the exact roll of fabric which is going to be cut for you by the supplier. Once you have a this “dye lot sample” or “stock cutting” the onus is then on the supplier to supply you with the exact fabric.

Is this always important?

This is particularly important as the colour of many fabrics vary slightly between different batches of production. This is common across all suppliers.

Usually, however, it will not matter if your ENTIRE order comes from a roll that was different from the original sampling. The difference will be trivial and not noticed.

But if you are being supplied with more than one piece then it often DOES matter. The different rolls of fabric when made-up side-by-side can be noticeably different.

Sometimes even if the fabrics are different; the way they are made up, the lighting or where they are in a room can make the difference not noticeable.

Various technical reasons explain all of this, such as the variability of colour in man-made dyes, however designers need only know that it can and often does happen that fabrics vary slightly in their colour.

If in doubt obtain a dye lot sample/stock cutting.

Facebook – Advanced Pages For Interior Designers

Once you have set up your Facebook (FB) Fan Page for your business so that it looks and feels ‘right ‘ then it’s time to take it to the next level. So if you are at that point, read on. If not go <here>.

Note: Before you start make sure you will be working on your business page (fan page) and not your personal page. You really should be using a business page (fan page), be sure what one is before continuing as lots of people go down the wrong route and then have to start all over again, FB is not very forgiving in that respect.

OK I’m going to look at Branding, Promoting, Enhanced Navigation & Content. These are the main areas to add a bit of spice to your FB Fan Page/Business Page.

1. BRANDING.

a. You need a 200 pixels wide x 600 pixels high image of your brand. Maybe you have a logo, if so use that. Upload this to the area to the left of where it says “Wall”.
b. Header. This goes above where it says “Wall”. Change the text here so that it has your company name. What if you get the name wrong? Well if you get the name wrong you cannot change it, so you have to delete the page and start again (as at Feb 2010). So please get it right first time.

c. The same applies to the category of your page, that cannot be changed either. So when you create your page get the category right.
d. If your company is called XYZDesigns then you need http://facebook.com/XYZDesigns as your url. This article <here> tells you how to do that.

2. PROMOTING

 

a. You probably already understand groups on LinkedIn. Well Facebook (FB) has them as well. Start one or use existing ones like Interior Design Lovers (requires you to be logged in to FB). Promote your page in groups. BUT DO NOT SELL, SELL, SELL. Let people know about the information your FB page will provide them with. Remember further that few people are interested in your business per se, they are more interested in what it can do for them. So talk about solving problems and NOT saying how great you/your services are. The sell-sell way does not usually work.

b. User comments. Engage with your fans, reply to them. Promote yourself to these people and remember that they are already on your page and are taking the time to write something, probably to find out something, so they have more than a passing interest in what you do. Again soft-sell not a hard sell. Try to help them.

c. Facebook Advertising.

You may have tried Google AdWords advertising or the Yahoo and Microsoft equivalents (they are each very similar to one another). Maybe they have worked for you, maybe not. Facebook also allows you to advertise your services. They take a slightly different approach to the other 3 by targeting the FB user base. I particularly like how you can be much more specific about the region and demographics of the person you are targeting; FB also tell you how many people are in the demographics you specify. Worth a look especially for Interior Designers who are targeting the general public rather than other businesses. I will not go into this area in any more depth yet as it really comes under ‘advertising’ rather than building a better FB page for your business.

d. Make sure the information about your business on the left-hand side really stands out. Get some good, engaging and genuine words about your company there.

3. ENHANCED NAVIGATION

 

a. You can administer your FB business page (fan page) <here>. You need to be an administrator of your business fan page.

b. Go to the wall. At the top of the left-hand column you will see ‘edit page’. Go there and then choose “Wall Settings: Edit”. Change the default view to the correct page that you want a user to land on, could be your wall, could be your info page. This can be changed later if you make a mistake.

4. CONTENT

 

This is what will make people come back to your site. It’s really, really important! So you will need to have some new ‘stuff’ on your FB page to make it worth their while to return. That ‘stuff’ could be new videos, articles or whatever. it could also be the content of communication and engagement with like-minded design professionals working together to solve problems online…

The most obvious route is through your blog. You can display your blog as the ‘wall’ for your business page. You have a few options for example:

  • Write your blog (the original content) in FB and post it everywhere else automatically from FB. You can even write your blog by accessing Facebook from your blackberry.
  • Get your external blog synchronised into FB automatically (I use a free FB application called Social RSS and my blog is on WordPress)
  • I prefer the second approach as WordPress also automatically publishes my blog posts to other sources such as Twitter. Apparently there is a FB Fan Page-to-Twitter application but I do not use that, sorry!
  • Encourage your fans to add content (photos, etc.). That makes your job easier and makes your site content-rich for others.

Designers: What to Twitter / Tweet About

It's Me Again
It’s Me Again (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Really, I’m not interested in what you had for breakfast, nor what the weather is. If you want to be followed by people who are not decision makers then ‘your breakfast’ or ‘which train you are currently on’ is a great thing to Tweet about. But that’s not what you want is it?

So…

1. Automatically Tweet your blog posts once a week – that’s a great way to start. If  you use a WordPress hosted blog (like this one) it’s just a case of ticking a box and you are done.

Or

2. Every day just go through your suppliers. As a designer you have lots of them. Tweet a compliment about a DESIGN RELATED supplier &/or one of their products/services.

Or

3. Maybe tweet a promotion

Remember

4. Tweets are eventually deleted from the net. So you don’t have to worry about keywords too much. If you are writing a blog post then that post will be permanent and the keywords in it are important. So with your Tweets just keep it simple, interesting and professional. Think “interesting narrative”.

But would you…

5. Tweet about your competitors? Sure if you want to help publicize their work (??) and sure if they reciprocate and Tweet back.

Facebook For Interior Designers: 7 Steps To Get Started

Now consumed Become a fan on facebook http://w...
Now consumed Become a fan on facebook http://www.tomtolkien.com (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article tells interior designers how to setup a business page for their interior design business on Facebook.If you sell to the general public then the consensus amongst marketing professionals is that your marketing strategy must include Facebook. Facebook will work to promote your services through your network and through the networks of your network members.

If you sell to businesses (eg if you are a hospitality interior designer specialising in restaurants) then I’m not convinced that Facebook is the best medium. However, and its a big however, many of your clients will be using Facebook already so maybe you should use it to help them consume the information that you produce and to help them interact with your organisation in a way that suits them. It’s not what is easiest for you that should be the way forwards, it should be what is the easiest for your (potential-) clients.

Click To Read More Interior Design Articles
Click To Read More Interior Design Articles

Let’s get started then. Here’s what you need to do and it will cost you nothing other than time:

1. Create a personal Facebook account if you don’t already have one. If you have one, use the one you have.

2. Create a business page for your business – sometimes called a fan page. Listen up here!

  • Don’t create another personal page.
  • Don’t create a group – you don’t need to know what one is.
  • Create a business(or fan) page: http://www.Facebook.com/pages/create.php

Make a note of your default business page ie the URL that Facebook gives you. KOTHEA’s is http://www.facebook.com/pages/London-United-Kingdom/KOTHEA/129265851209/ and yours will be similar, make sure that Continue reading “Facebook For Interior Designers: 7 Steps To Get Started”