Upholsters Unite To Support Susie's Hope

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Original blog courtesy of Kimberley Chagnon of Kim’s Upholstery

Upholstery has not gone to the dogs, but upholsterers helped to make a charitable collaboration a huge success!

Earlier this year Greenhouse Fabrics Digital Marketing Manager, Victoria Brooks, and Fabric Guru, Sandy Williams came to visit me here in Greenfield.  Sandy has been my sales representative at Greenhouse for many years, but this was the first time we had the opportunity to meet in person.   During our visit, we talked about many things relating to fabrics, upholstery, marketing and so on. One conversation we had turned into a wonderful collaboration between 24 upholsterers, an upholstery supply company and Greenhouse Fabrics, uniting to support Susie’s Hope.

Many hands make light work!

While talking on and on as most of us can do when it comes to the thing we love the most, Victoria mentioned that she had a charity that was close to her heart and was looking for an upholsterer who would take on the task of making 50 dog beds for Susie’s Hope.  Immediately my community of fellow upholsterers came to mind.  Making 50 dog beds is a lot to ask one person but it’s not a lot to ask many upholsterers to each makes a couple of dog beds.  I was in, I knew that my peeps would be willing to participate. So Victoria and I worked on the details and I put the call out to our community.  Literally within minutes, and no I am not exaggerating, we had half the help we needed. By the end of the day, we had more volunteers than we could use.  I love the enthusiasm and sense of community that our group of upholsterers has created.

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(To digress a bit,  If you joined the upholstery community 23 years ago when I did, it was very hard to find that kind of bond.  Most of the seasoned upholsterers either didn’t want to share their knowledge or were so neck deep in work that they didn’t have a minute to spare. So the conversations and collaborations were, shall we say, pretty much nonexistent.  Although I was lucky enough to find Carr’s Corner, we will save that for another blog.)

To make dog beds you need 3 things,  Fabric, Stuffing and willing helpers!

Well, the planning began and we were off to make our goal of 50 dog beds for Susie’s Hope,  (you must read their story HERE).  Greenhouse Fabric was donating the Crypton fabrics for the project.  I was in charge of finding the helpers, designing the beds, calculating yardage per bed and figuring out how to make the whole thing work.  Shipping stuffed dog beds would be costly but “there must be a way,” I thought? Of course, my friends from Genco Supply.  They were one of the great vendors we visited during our annual Upholstery Meetup.  A family run business that believes in community, and the caveat, they were in High Point right near Greenhouse!  I spoke to Ashlie, daughter to the original founder of Genco, there was no hesitation, “How can we help?” Was her response.  Dog bed stuffing, CHECK!

Wow, that came together fast.  Greenhouse started shipping enough fabric for beds to each of our wonderful volunteers.  I made a quick video for the volunteers, to walk them through the fabrication of the cushions we had designed. Each volunteer also received a pdf with yardage and cut sizes so they could jump right in with no calculating needed.  We wanted this to be as simple as possible because we knew that even though this wonderful group volunteered they still had their own work for clients to complete. Some volunteers made 3 beds and some made 2 so that we could hit our goal for Susie’s Hope and all the dogs in need of a comfy bed.  Genco Supply was gathering the necessary filling’s so once received the Greenhouse Fabric Guru’s could begin to fill the beds as they arrived.

So when you hear those negative words in regards to the state of the upholstery world today, please remember that there are groups of upholsterers such as our community who are always willing to step up to the plate. Giving back and paying it forward makes our community a family.

Thank you to all of those that were a part of this great event and

to those who volunteered over and above the amount of help we needed.  


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About the Author: Kimberley Chagnon

My name is Kimberley Chagnon and I am the owner of Kim’s Upholstery, located in the town of Greenfield in Western Massachusetts. When I started my upholstery business in 1996, I didn't know where it would take me, but I was ready to do what I loved and be my own boss. Now, we're a trusted source for upholstery services from custom–fitted slipcovers and cornice boards to custom curtains, covered headboards and more. When I'm not busy at the shop, I'm busy teaching. For the past six years, I've led classes for the Window Coverings Association of America group, popular conferences and the Sewing and Upholstery Retreat, which I co–founded. Now, I get the pleasure of teaching you too through our Online Upholstery Classes!

Lauren Shirley