WCAA Announces Recipient of the 2019 Jill Robson Memorial New Member Scholarship


The Window Coverings Association of America (WCAA) is pleased to announce that Patti Ayers, owner of Pillows & Pleats based in Waterford, Virginia, is the 2019 recipient of the Jill Robson Memorial New Member Scholarship.

The Jill Robson Memorial Scholarship was founded to honor the memory of Jill Robson and to promote education in the window coverings industry for those already in the industry as well as those new to window coverings. The scholarship fund encourages and equips WCAA business owners by supporting their education and providing foundational learning opportunities to promote professionalism in the industry.

“It’s such an honor, and I am very thankful to have been selected as a recipient of the Jill Robson Memorial Scholarship, which recognizes Jill’s contributions to the Window Coverings Industry,” Patti said. “I truly wish I could have had the opportunity to meet Jill, yet I feel like I have, as I’ve heard her voice through the excellent webinars that she presented, as well as from those who have spoken so highly of her and were lucky enough to call her their friend and colleague. Like Jill, I believe education is extremely important, and I hope that I can inspire others to never stop learning at any age and to seek the many avenues of workroom education that are available.”

Patti studied Interior Design at the University of Maryland for two years before transferring to West Virginia University where she completed her degree and graduated at the top of her class.

As a young girl, she recalls watching her mother sew outfits for her and her older sister. She learned more about hand-sewing techniques in Home Economics but wasn’t fully interested until she received a sewing machine from her husband for their first Christmas together.

She sewed mostly home décor, but quickly learned how to transfer those skills to create apparel. Before long, she was taking quilting classes and learning to smock dresses for her three daughters. But, it wasn’t until her son moved onto middle school that she decided to marry her love of sewing with her degree in Interior Design and start her own business.

Pillows & Pleats came along in 2016 and shortly thereafter, Patti joined WCAA National and the WCAA Northern Virginia Chapter. From there, her involvement with WCAA continued to grow. At the 2017 Custom Workroom Conference, she joined the WCAA Virtual Chapter and has been a member ever since. She also currently serves as the secretary for the WCAA Northern Virginia Chapter.

Patti is thankful to the wonderful instructors who have put their time and energy into classes which have helped further her education such as Susan Woodcock, Elki Horn, Deb Cronin, Sandra VanSickle, and Ann Johnson.

Patti is not certain how she will spend the scholarship, but ideas include attending the 2019 Custom Workroom Conference, business coaching with Michele Williams, classes at Workroom Tech, or attending Windows to Success hosted by the WCAA New Jersey Chapter.

Renee Williamson