Death of Retail? Not too fast…


With Amazon announcing a “contest” to cities and regions to bid for their new HQ2 headquarters and 50,000 high-paying jobs, people have been quick to pronounce the death of retail and proof that online shopping is the future.  However, in our experience, we think retail is going in 2 different directions and its not just online:


Direction 1 – Online: Why get out of the house, there is more selection and better prices online and delivery right to the door — perhaps by a drone.  However, the truth is there is more selection of “mass” market items i.e. lower price, commodity products and finishes with none or minimal professional service requirements.  However, once someone is looking for more unique and/or higher quality materials and products, the selection online is limited.  Why?  See Direction 2 below.


Direction 2 – Speciality Retail: Custom made to order products use higher quality material and often require a knowledgeable professional or team of knowledgeable professionals to help the customer choose the right product and install it.  Looking at digital images online tends to give people the impression that there is minimal difference in quality between one item and another that might be price 20% higher.  In reality, once you see the complete products side-by-side in a showroom, it becomes very apparent that the higher price item gives much better value to the buyer and is multiple times better in quality and usage.  Looking at just finish samples at home is not the same as looking at the complete product in operations at a showroom.  Also, many manufacturers and retailers are reluctant to sell direct their most unique or higher quality items online as online shoppers predominately short-list by price, thereby eliminating those very products that make the retailer unique.


We at Trendy Blinds & Closets, are currently addressing the needs of Direction 2 above with 2 showrooms in the Greater Toronto Area, with combine opening hours of 7 days a week.  For the online crowd, stay tuned for some well priced, easy to purchase items online from Trendy Blinds in the near future.


Why Do Custom Drapes / Curtains Cost More?


Every so often we get potential customers looking to buy custom-made drapery for the very first time.  Invariably, it leads to the question of why custom drapery cost significantly more than ready-made drapes/curtains they see at a local big-box store.

The short answers is:

1) the obvious quality difference that they can see and feel (and not smell – no harmful chemicals);

2) extra workshop labour to make it custom fit to size;

3) the greater selection of fabric and styles available; and finally

4) The expertise and experience that comes with the price you pay to make the drapes  transform the look of your window and room.

A follow up question I occasion get is: “Can’t you use cheaper fabric to create the same look?

1) Cheaper fabrics are more difficult to work with in the workroom to create the details such as pleats or grommets, hems, etc. and they do not hang well i.e. they cannot look like custom drapes no matter how hard one tries; and

2) Cheaper fabrics come at a social and environmental cost – these fabrics are often made with bonded labour in some third-world factories frequently with underage workers.  Recent Apple 2015 Supplier Responsibility Progress Report shed light on the common practice of “Recruitment Fees” that workers pay in order to work for manufacturers in the electronics industry.  Unfortunately, this practice is not just limited to that industry but also in the fabric and drapery industry in these poorer countries.  Workers are forced to work long hours in sweatshop environments.  At Trendy Blinds our commitment to our customers is that all our drapes are Made in A Workshop Not in a Sweatshop.  We also carry a line of lower priced Ready-Made Drapes that are Made In Canada.

The final follow-up question, I usually get asked is “How do I know I am getting the best possible price for custom drapery?

1) We sources some fabrics directly, bypassing Canadian fabric suppliers/distributors, especially with our Design-Ready series of Custom Drapes;

2) We monitor and can recommend clearance fabrics to customers who are less specific about the fabric they want;

3) We keep business overhead low with small but fully packed showrooms, and minimize time spent on (and thus labour cost) “free in-home estimates” for price-shoppers;

4) We clearly post prices of our drapery and apply set volume discounts.

Visit Trendy Blinds today for your custom drapery needs., 905-604-1222, 416-721-1002,