From the blog

Sometimes less really is more

“Nothing special – just a plain blind really”. How often have blind suppliers heard that statement? Just a plain fabric – it’s really one of the hardest things to do well. A comprehensive range of colours hitting those on-trend fashion shades, whilst not forgetting the classic colours that consumers tend to choose when a “safe” colour that will go with anything is required.
Funny how the consumer will pay hundreds – or even thousands – of pounds for home decoration updates, but then wants to keep the same blind.
For the best part of three decades, Louvolite has tried to master the art of getting a great range of plains that hit all the right buttons. The name ‘Carnival’ was selected to try and convey a selection of colours that were fun and yet incorporated a wide choice of shade variations to satisfy every need. The fabric was woven with a tight set using 100% polyester yarn in order that it didn’t exhibit any of the concerning stability issues that were sometimes seen with other fabrics.
In order to achieve the depth of colour and consistency of shade, Louvolite chose to apply the colour by a pigment coating process. This process also allowed them to introduce additional performance elements into the fabric and this they did first including elements which helped make the fabric satisfy the FR requirements of BS5687 part 2. Suddenly an excellent and expansive collection of plain pigment coated fabrics was available which could satisfy both the domestic and the commercial marketplace – a double whammy!
In addition, Louvolite made the Carnival programme available as a vertical louvre blind fabric too. This meant that customers could furnish their patio doors of large glazed areas with vertical louvre blinds which matched the roller blinds fitted to other windows and doors – amazing.
As Carnival became more and more widely used, Louvolite introduced updates as part of its regular programme change. These updates included adding additional colour options; firstly it was to increase the number of colour options to 24. Later, this increased to 36 and now the current programme has 48 varying shades of Carnival fabric. As you would likely expect, all of these are available as vertical louvre blind fabrics, both 89mm and 127mm widths, and of course all 48 as roller blind fabrics. That said, the roller blind fabrics could also be used to manufacture Louvolite’s interpretation of the roman blind and also as a panel blind fabric.
As desire for greater levels of privacy and light control grew, as a partner to Carnival Louvolite introduced Carnival Blackout using 24 shades from the standard Carnival programme. Carnival Blackout features a colour keyed finish to the back and contains all the same features and benefits of Carnival. The technical performance of both fabrics is extensive and can be seen on the Louvolite technical data sheet.
The Carnival programme also incorporates a unique formulation that Louvolite created and has patented, namely “Pollergen”. Pollergen treated fabric shows over 50% reduction in the grass pollen allergen when compared to a non-Pollergen treated control fabric and so for hayfever sufferers, this can be really significant in reducing hayfever symptoms.
So this simple, plain fabric has come a long way over the last few decades – and it’s remained a stalwart in preferred fabric programmes for the vast majority of the blind manufacturing or supply fraternity.
But hey – things change. Suddenly there are new kids on the block, fabrics with what could be perceived as having similar breadth of range as Carnival. Some of them available in a number of width options, others available at very competitive price points. Sure they are not Carnival – but a plain’s a plain right? It has to be said that Louvolite would perhaps argue that the evolution of the Carnival programme to become the market leader would suggest otherwise and that all that glitters is not gold – but it have to listen to its customers – or its customers will become someone else’s customers.
So lets start with a few facts;
In the UK, it is recognised that the vast majority of roller blinds are less that 2m in width – a recent evaluation indicated that this was as high as 91%. Closer scrutiny suggests that around 45% of all blinds manufactured are less than 1050mm wide and around 33% are between 1050mm and 1450mm – that’s 78% in total.
So what currently happens when you sell a blind? You take the order and work out how much fabric you need to manufacture it. By far and away the majority of blind makers buyout lengths rather than full rolls, so they purchase the appropriate meterage of fabric based on the blind drop. This is always perceived as fine because the offcuts – the spare fabric that you have left over from the full width purchased – can be neatly rolled and logged for future use, right?
Well despite most companies best intentions for these ‘offcuts’ to be put to one side, or stored, the majority of the time they are eventually discarded due to not having enough space to store them, or no time to sort through all the offcuts to make a new blind, or they get dirty or damaged, essentially they become dead money. Not only are they dead money, but also the waste created can eventually end up in landfill.
So the way to curettes must be to stop happening in the first place – and this is exactly what Louvolite is doing in a move which will help remove the massive levels of dead stock and wasted money for its customers on key product lines.
Louvolite will now offer their premier fabric programme Carnival Blackout in 3 widths – 1025mm, 1500mm and 2050mm – ex-stock and available with the same cut length capability that it first introduced in 1990. This will enable blind manufacturing companies to order the appropriate width to trim and make up as a blind, with the minimum of waste both in terms of money and fabric.
In addition – on its top 10 selling colours only – Louvolite will also offer 5m and 10m rolls of narrower widths, enabling customers to not have to pay cut length surcharges – another significant saving.
This fantastic Louvolite innovation should free up wasted space used for its customers by stopping the need for storing offcuts and allow them to get a far better return on sales of a top quality fabric by significantly reducing their ‘real’ material usage costs. In addition, the manufacturing of the blind should now be easier as the manoeuvrability of a narrower piece of fabric will be much easier than a wider piece.
So whilst it’s not always the case, it would seem that sometimes “less really can be more”.

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