#2019 Upholstery MeetUp Bringing Upholsterers Together

#2019UpholsteryMeetUp Bringing Upholsterers Together

What an amazing time!  Forty Upholstery and Soft Home Furnishings peep’s from around the USA and Canada attended the #2019UpholsteryMeetUp in Gastonia NC.  We toured four fabulous Vendor locations and had two companies give presentations to our group.

Our 2018 Upholstery MeetUp was fabulous and I never thought that we could top it, but WE DID!  

On day one we gathered in the lobby of the Courtyard Marriot before heading out to Revolution Performance Fabrics.  As we entered Revolution Fabrics mill we were greeted by Sean Gibbons, the owner along with Anderson and David Gibbons his sons, and Ashley, Sean’s niece. We were given a little history on the company and then shown a slide show presentation before beginning our tour.  We divided into 3 smaller groups and each group started the tour in a different location before regrouping in the sample room. They let us each gather a box of samples to take home, talk about a happy bunch of fabric lovers.

Did you know Revolution Performance slipcover fabrics can be washed?

Did you know leather can have hump holes?

On the evening of day one, I had invited 4 speakers to present to our group during the meet and greet cocktail hour sponsored by Kim’s Upholstery.  When bringing upholsteres together you must have food to go with the conversation!  Our first presenter was Taylor Souder, Fabric Specialist, from Greenhouse Fabrics.  Taylor shared her knowledge of fabrics and fiber content with our group.  Greenhouse Fabrics, Victoria Brooks and Taylor Souder, had hidden swag bags under the tables before the group arrived.  Talyor prompted the group to reach down and pick up a swag bag, but what no one knew was that one of the bags had an iPad as an extra surprise gift.  Next up on the agenda was Carla Bluitt of Crest Leather.  Carla gave us the ins and outs of leather.  Did you know leather can have hump holes? (a hump hole is literally a hole in the hide where certain breeds of cattle have a hump on their back, the whole is created by removing the hump, which is necessary to process a flat hide of leather).  Carla had handed out tickets when the evening began and held a drawing giving away half hides of leather to 3 lucky winners (and she gave one to me too). We then heard from Pat Taft co-owner of Reupholstery Charlotte. Pat spoke to the group about running an upholstery business and having employees.  The newly formed, National Upholstery Associaton’s Vice President Audrey Lonesway was our final speaker of the evening.  Audrey talked a bit about how the idea of forming an association for upholsters began as well as the direction the association is headed.  It was now time to relax, network and get to know the vendors as well as one another.

Crypton fabric has moisture resistant properties that cause liquids to bead up on their fabrics for easy cleaning

The first stop on day two was Crypton Fabrics in Kings Mountain NC.  We were greeted at the door by Chip King, the director of operations.  We gathered in a room to begin our tour and found the tables were set with samples and zipper pouches for each attendee.  A table at the back of the room was set up with snacks and beverages. Again we were divided into 3 small groups before beginning the physical tour. Sydney Vigotov, Director of Residential Outreach for Crypton, demonstrated the stain repelling and moisture resistant properties (mercury effect) to the group before we began our own testing on the samples provided.  Chip King conducted a tour of the plant and we were able to see each step the fabrics go through before they are shipped.  We also saw the lab where the engineering team is formulating the secret sauce that makes Crypton such a great performance fabric.

Third largest textile mill in the world!

On day two our 2nd stop was  Valdese Weavers located in Valdese NC.  Did you know that Valdese is the third-largest textile mill in the World? Did you also know that Valdese is OWNED by the employees? Now that is cool!  Jill Harrill, Sales and Communications for Valdese, and I had many conversations prior to our visit.   I was excited to finally meet Jill in person.  Our Upholstery MeetUp group gathered in a conference room for a presentation before proceeding to the mill.  The mill tour began with seeing the spools of yarn, learning about the dying process, seeing the looms weaving fabrics, and then the final inspection process before the fabrics are shiped. Cool Fact: Valdese employees have to take a color test to ensure you as the end-user gets the correct dye lot.  Talk about quality control!!

We saw the top secret product testing lab!

On our final day of our #UpholsteryMeetUp, we visited Rowley Company in Gastonia NC.   Mikala Moller, Director of Marketing for Rowley,  greeted us as we began our tour. One of our group members, Donna Cash, who partners with and works closely with Rowley Company, shared information about their upholstery related products with the group.  Being able to see and touch is always a benefit to those who may have never seen these products before. The group saw the entire process from the inventory being delivered all the way to the products being shipped to you the end-user.  Did you know that Rowley ships hundreds of orders every day…. I mean hundreds! And as a special treat, we were also brought in to see the product testing room, where items are still being researched and tested.  This is the secret room and no photos were allowed. Wait till you see what’s to come!!

Brining upholsterers together for networking, learning and bonding!

It was time to say goodbye.   I am forever grateful to the 40 attendees, including two from Canada, who took time out of their schedules and joined the #2019UpholsteryMeetUp.  Also very thankful to the great companies who shared with our group. From our 4 tours to our 3 speakers. We spent 3 wonderful days together.  During these events you get to have lots of conversations you would not otherwise have. You also form deep friendships with others who share your same interests.  Learning and bonding was the theme of the 3 day event. I am eager to get started on our 3rd Annual #UpholsteryMeetUp!

Annaul Upholstery MeetUp Bringing Upholsterers Together Goes International!

I invite you to post in the comments below and share your experience if you joined us this year or last.  To those of you thinking about attending next year I would be grateful if you shared what things you might like to see on the agenda for 2020!

A big hug and thankyou to my international #upholsteryfamily !!

If you would like to find out more about upcoming events click HERE to be added to our email list

See you on the inside, Kim