This year’s Show Stopper winners

September 28, 2017

All the best from New Orleans: Thursday morning at IFAI Expo led off with lists of winners for the year, including the most popular products on the show floor. The sixth annual Show Stopper competition was designed to showcase the best of the best in the industry, from fabrics, equipment and chemicals to services and …

2017 International Achievement Award winners announced at IFAI Expo

This year’s winners in IFAI’s global International Achievement Awards (IAA) competition, recognizing design excellence in specialty fabrics applications, were announced on Sept. 28 at the organization’s annual meeting at IFAI Expo 2017 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. For more than 70 years, IAA has acknowledged innovation and excellence in design …

Keeping employees engaged

According to Barry Adams, President of Peach Tree Awnings in Norcross, Ga., “The reason people separate from their company is because they feel their contribution is not valued and they feel what they do isn’t making a difference.” Adams’ session, “How to Keep Talented Employees Engaged,” presented at IFAI Expo 2017, focused on ways to …

Building relationships with architects can improve fabric structure businesses

September 27, 2017

Want to do more business with architects? Mary Gilmore, AIA, NCIDQ, and Mark Shellshear, Structure Fabrics, Value Vinyls Inc., have many ideas. Gilmore and Shellshear shared those ideas Sept. 26 at IFAI Expo 2017. Gilmore noted, “Architects are very busy. Cold calls don’t work. They are very visual; they need pictures.” A good website with …

Expo panel discusses diversification

A panel of three successful company leaders illuminated the keynote luncheon September 26 at IFAI Expo 2017. The theme of the panel was “Path of Diversification,” featuring Meredith Boyd, Unifi Manufacturing Inc.; Ben Cooper, IoClothes; and John Neely, Berry Global. The panelists shared ideas on how their companies leverage regionalization in the U.S. Cooper mentioned …

Cutting room automation makes sense for many

If automating your cutting room seems either too expensive or too difficult, you may want to think again. Panelists of the IFAI EXPO session on “Optimizing Your Cutting Room” gave a long list of potential benefits for why you might want to consider using an automated cutter. “Everyone’s ROI is slightly different,” says Thomas Carlson, …

Outdoor graphics: bold statements and sustainability

During their joint presentation “Outdoor Graphics—Design to Installation” at IFAI Expo 2017, Valerie Cuchna, material resource liaison at Fabric Images Inc., and Mike VonWachenfeldt, technical service manager at Glen Raven Custom Fabrics, addressed the benefits of using outdoor graphics and offered tips to keep the graphics protected from weather elements. “Outdoor graphics can create an …

Choosing the right sewing machine

Among the many sewing machines options for your shop, how do you choose? The panelists at the EXPO presentation “Selecting a Sewing Machine for Your Application,” agree that nearly any project can at least be partially fabricated using a single-needle walking foot machine. “But for wide material for tents, awnings, covers, sails and the like,” …

Business success across markets

September 26, 2017

Whether you’re a fabricator for the marine, automobile, commercial or residential markets, Steven Wayne, owner of Southern Stitch Canvas and Upholstery LLC in Gulfport, Mississippi, says many of the same rules apply. According to Wayne, business success comes down to four basic things: skills mastery, excellent communication, judicious customization and customer education. Wayne’s shop works …

Sophisticated, simple succession strategies protect your business

Larry Oxenham, senior advisor with the American Society for Asset Protection, says small business owners should ask themselves one question: If something were to happen to me today, what would happen to my company? “Every small business will pass on eventually,” says Oxenham, “either voluntarily or involuntarily.” He says that most successful businesses are built …