February 26, 2014

Lee Academy

Julia and Caroline have spent the last couple of days expanding their knowledge at Lee Academy, a trip designed to help dealers learn about the Lee Industries products we are selling.  We knew they were a great company before we went, but now we realize exactly what went in to making them a special, eco-friendly company, separating them from other industries.  Planting about 10,000 trees a year is just one of their many sustainability initiatives. They also recycle all of their leftover materials to be used for insulation in cars.

Lee Industries runs a first-in, first-out business, meaning that they produce products in the order that they were placed.  Today, their lead time stands at just under 4 weeks!   It's hard to believe they produce 15,000 finished products per week.
 Lee consistently has about 400,000 yards of fabric in stock.
 In the leather plant, we learned how their fabrics are aniline dyed, which is a non-toxic form of coloring the leather.  We also learned the difference between leathers coming from different countries, and why leathers vary in color, even within the same hide.  They use only the top 5% of hides in the world.
 Tuesday, we took a trip to Valdese Weavers, where we learned how fabrics are woven.  It's amazing to see the process of a design on a computer being translated onto bolts of fabric. 
 We even got a sneak peak into what the April Market is going to look like for Lee! We were the first group to admire the new Spring fabric lines coming out soon, and the new pieces of upholstery currently being designed in product development.
 Julia enjoying herself the first day of the trip in one of the Lee showrooms.
 They demonstrated the 8-way hand tying technique to us.  As stated on their website, "This keeps your springs from shifting and creating uncomfortable lumps and bumps."  (Each sofa requires 300 ties)
 This is just a small portion of the sewing section in one of their 5 plants.  Their head quarters are in Conover, NC, so we had the easiest trip out of everyone there. 
One of the experienced workers at Lee Industries. Most of the employees there have been there for 20+ years! That really says something about the company, and how they treat each of their employees.  They try to create a family environment as much as possible, which was evident walking through there.

February 17, 2014

Hickory Chair University

One of our retail girls, Julia Caplan, spent a few days at Hickory Chair University last week to learn about all the details that go behind a single piece of furniture. While there, she was able to see both furniture and upholstery created from start to finish! “It was incredible to see how many hands touched one single piece of furniture/upholstery.” Julia said. “I have always known that Hickory Chair creates sleek, quality furniture, but I found so much more to appreciate about this company being at their University. They have a culture of continuous adaptation and collaboration, and while walking around the workshop you feel like you are walking among a large family. Each employee is joyful and excited to talk about their role in the creative process… Not to mention, the products are absolutely beautiful.” Take a look at some of the pictures Julia snapped while touring the facilities:

Look familiar? Hickory Chair workers were photographed in the middle of creating the frame for the Sutton Sofa that we have on our retail floor, pictured below!

February 3, 2014

Lucky to have you, Arevat

We are so grateful for Arevat Manucharova, our expert seamstress who has been making our design dreams come true for the past 17 years.  If you do not know of her, here is a quick intro. Arevat, a native from Armenia, has a workroom upstairs at our shop. She crafts all of our custom pillows for clients as well as for our shop. However, her talents don't stop at pillows! She is also a seamstress for bed skirts, table skirts, coverlets/duvets, shams, seat cushions, and more!  We can count on her for just about anything, including some personal alterations.  We appreciate her patience through everything that is thrown on her every day.  Come by the store to take a look at her expertise displayed throughout, as she is consistently keeping us stocked.  We have many more stock pillows that are on the way, from some of the prettiest fabrics Cindy has chosen.  Here are a few we have available today...

 Arevat hard at work upstairs

This Nancy Corzine silk fabric makes a gorgeous pillow backed with velvet