The Inside Scoop at

Archive for April 2012

An email message two days ago. . .

The customer asked, Could he make a change in a line item? Or, was it too late to make any changes?

There is a brief window, where the order goes from our order entry department to various departments within Production — and this customer lucked out! We pulled the order, changed the lift option to Cordless Top Down Bottom Up (our current sale!!), and sent the approved order to Production.

That got me thinking: What if we did some blog posts on what happens within our company?!?

Let’s take a look.

1- Shade Order Done Online; or by phone/fax/email/mail

All of our made-to-order shades are built after your order is received – either via our secure server or by phone/fax/email/mail. Do notice that this screen shot is for windows – here called “Regular” Cellular Shade order form; there are alternate order forms for single cell fabrics; arches; and skylights. Use the same form(s) for a quick and handy QUOTE, too!

If you call, fax, or write, we have a form with the same questions you see on the online form – soliciting color, size (width and length), etc.

Online, your order is sent to our secure server and you receive back an automatic confirmation of the information you input. When online orders get downloaded from our server, we have all the information to hand: your shade order, as well as billing and shipping information. These orders then go to order entry.

Non-online orders also go to order entry, but we will then email you the order for a review and written (via email) approval. We’re also able to fax or even mail you the typed-in order, but email is our bread-and-butter method of communication. We love keeping our finges busy.

2 – Order Entry

Although you may have a computer-generated copy of your order, it is the copy sent via email which will actually generate the paperwork that produces your shade. We highly encourage you to open and review this email, although on our end there is also a review going on. We never want you to be disappointed in your shade order – especially not due to inaccurate order entry.

It is in order entry phase that we might also make some adjustments to your order. Were two different orders placed, seemingly for the same shade, within ten minutes of each other? Was an extension pole AND the pole end ordered? — the two come as a complete set, although you may order pole ends separately. Real people enter your orders and we will query you, if something seems out of whack.

One person inputs your order and another will review that order for accuracy.

Once the order has been reviewed, it is then printed – or “batched” as we call it. Batching produces several things: two sets of labels and written paperwork with measurements for all the sundry parts and fabric. The more “complex” the shade – lift option; side tracks; skylight versus window shade – the more information printed on the work orders.

3- Production (pre-production stage)

Your shade order is then hand-carried to the Production room. If you could walk through this room with me, you would see shades that have come in for repair, shades awaiting installation for our local Vermont showroom, shade orders arrayed in all of their components, and shades being assembled by our Production Team members.

The table at the far side of the room is where new orders are placed. These are then entered into our Production Logs. Paperwork is dispersed, after this initial stage, into two sets. Remember those two sets of labels? One set of labels and papers go to our rail department. It is here that anything from side tracks (windows) or side retainer tracks (skylights) to headrail and bottom rail is cut. Makes a terrific noise as saw slices metal.

The next installment will look at the actual production of your shade! Stay tuned— That’s where the *MAGIC* at really happens… And it all begins with a look at our free samples page.


Remember the line from Sunset Boulevard: “They had faces then” –Norma Desmond knew that visuals were worth a thousand words.

With films routinely being made in “3-D” — giving “faces” noses, chins, and cheekbones — now is the time for The Inside Scoop to break through the wall (no pun intended) and talk about our own “third-dimension”.

Orders will always inquire about the width of a shade, the length of a shade. Twice today my colleague and I have taken phone calls that brought to mind the undiscussed dimension: that of DEPTH.

Both calls regarded our Balcony Skylight Shade — on which currently offers a 20%-off sale (sale ends this weekend).

My Colleague’s caller wanted to know the measurement of the side retainer tracks. These pieces appear at the sides of our Skylight Shades (shade schematics) and the left one is seen on the left side of this photo (above).

They measure a good 2-inches, in depth.

My caller had difficulty quantifying “depth” – because the measuring guide made no mention of it. The Product Information, which should be the first page consulted, gives all our max and mins. The minimum depth required for mounting a Skylight Shade is given there as 1 and 1/4-inches. Of course that means that if your tracks measure 2-inches – there is an addition inch and a quarter that juts out beyond the opening.

While we custom-make every shade to your dimensions, the dimension of depth is possibly the most important measurement you can take.

So, a word to the wise: Always account for the third-dimension!

The skylight opening pictured at right has no bottom “shelf”. Can CellularWindowShades build a shade to fit this space? Yes — but, that fourth side needs to be built, then a set of length measurements taken. Why? Because the shade has brackets at the bottom and top — it’s the middle rail that moves so the shade opens and closes.

This photo at left has it all: four sides, with 90-degree corners; a depth greater than 1.25 inches. The photo shows the shade at the interior edge, but you could place that shade further into the “box”, just as long as the shade is not right up against the glass.

For required depths, and other product information, see our Skylight page:

For our VIDEO on how to operate a “Balcony” Skylight Shade – check out CWS‘s YouTube channel.

A few weeks ago, Kim Cook of The Associated Press, brightened the Spring 2012 home decor campaign with a story about “Graphic Prints and ‘Saturated’ Colors”. Her conclusion: They offer a breath of upbeat decor after the long, drawn-out winter.


‘Saturated’ is a word being used a lot; it means ripe … hues…intense…rich… zingy… peppery.”

A Pittsburgh Paints specialist was quoted as saying that this spring’s color palette was “full of joy and playful“.

One hot hue: PINK — “it’s a happy, girly color”. And what a better item to Think Pink about than….

No! Not The Pink Panther — but the black out fabric that’s perfectly named, PRINCESS PINK!

It’s one of our *new* colors for 2012.

Check out ALL colors by checking out our FREE samples page.

You can read Kim Cook’s article, found online at an Arizona newspaper. I read it in the “Home & Away” section of Vermont’s own newspaper, The Burlington Free Press. Today’s headlines cover the Lyric Theatre’s production of Titanic: The Musical. The show opened last night, and runs through Sunday — which marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

Do “musicals” and “cellular shades” go together? — They do when they are Symphony Shades! Our Vermont-based employees takes great pride in our productions, and know you would be pleased to invite them into your home. Come visit our website, or — better yet — sing out, let us hear from you!

Your Source for Insulating Cellular Shades

CWS offers custom-made cellular shades in both double and single cell light-filtering or blackout fabrics.

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