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All About the Wall

Wallcoverings Association’s Annual Meeting.




If walls could talk, they’d be talking digital. At least that was the topic buzzing around the 155 members of the Wallcoverings Association who attended the organization’s 46th Annual Meeting, held in Clearwater Beach, Florida, last February.

Rana Raychoudhury, worldwide principal technical consultant at HP, said more and more digital print manufacturers are moving to interior décor applications.

And the design trends for digital that seem to be building momentum? “Bold colors, bold color palates, and bold patterns,” said Sean Samet, executive director of the WA. “These types of designs are becoming more popular.” Along with customization and the need to go green, said Jim Welcome and Paula Lewis of Hytex, calling wallcoverings “fashion for walls.”

The Annual Meeting was filled with networking opportunities, individual supplier meetings, an award reception, and of course, keynote speakers. Some tips and stats from three of this year’s speakers:

Seven Steps to Closing a Profitable Sale
Bob Langdon, author of Managing Your Business for Profit, shared the seven steps to closing a profitable sale – tailored for the wallcoverings market. He said the most important thing you must do to accomplish closing a profitable sale is to change your expectations. First, of yourself and what you expect from the company and second, of your customer.

“Own your best customers,” he also said. “Eighty percent of your profits come from 17 percent of your customers. Those are your upscale, service-driven customers … When those customers think of anything to do with wallcoverings, they think of your company.”


Langdon spoke to attendees who believe price competition is increasing in the wallcoverings industry about how to use simple techniques to identify the most profitable customers and how to generate more business from them.

“When differentiating your shop from competitors, make a primary competitor’s list – compliment competition – delete mutual items. What’s left?” he said.

Optimizing Your Business with the 80/20 Rule
Peter Philippi, founder and president of Strategex, conducts 80/20 Seminars and Workshops focusing on increased profitability and aggressive growth across the country. His 80/20 rules: 20 percent of what you do brings 80 percent of the value.

“I didn’t hire clones, but people who have the ability to do the things I can’t,” he said about creating a well-rounded company.

What’s Important – Wallcoverings Design Trends 2015
Mark Strauss, president of Interior Design Media, a design publication, website, and events brand serving the interior design industry, spoke on the 2014 wallcoverings trends and ideas in the industry.

“We are doing less thinking and more watching – the reality we are in,” he said about garnering new ideas.


Strauss also shared stats from the 2014 Universe Study of the Interior Design Profession. According to the study, 77 percent of design firms are designing for the workplace. And 63 percent of those surveyed find that modern themes are the most popular in recent design projects.

And looking towards the future: 58 percent of those surveyed in 2014 WA research say specification of wallcoverings products with acoustical properties will change in the next two years.



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