BERLIN — Judy and Dave Vogel, owners of A Thread of Elegance, have been in their South Main Street shop for about a year and are still happy to have made the move to a higher-exposure shop from their former Broad Street store.
Although they have been in town for years, when the opportunity presented itself to move into a place that met all of their production needs plus offered a storefront, they decided it was one they couldn’t miss.
The move downtown immediately provided more opportunities for foot traffic, as people’s attention is caught by the colorful window displays.
The Vogels built the business primarily providing custom window treatment, pillows, bedding and cushions for designers and homeowners. Designers prefer to work with Judy, who does the production work, because she is reliable and does the work herself and on site. As in any other business-to-business service, being able to make her clients look good was the cornerstone of her ability to grow.
Similarly, in her work with homeowners, the fact that customers can examine the fabrics used to make the finished product makes people more comfortable ordering custom items made from fabrics they have chosen.
Over the last few years, the Vogels have begun to move into the reupholstering business as well. Although it is by no means their primary business, Judy started doing some “fun” work on the side that included both reupholstering and painting furniture and discovered she had a knack for it.
The odd thing is that people often thought A Thread of Elegance was an upholstery shop even before they did it at all. It was an understandable mistake because of the volume of fabric books they have available.
In addition to carrying and having access to both Hunter Douglas and Norman Shutters products, they have a dizzying selection of fabric available. And because they have been in the game for so long, getting fabric they don’t happen to have in stock is something they can easily do.
Now that they have the room, A Thread of Elegance carries Vivid Vintage Furniture that Judy has reupholstered and had restored. The chairs do double duty, serving to display some of the pillows and other fabric work done in the shop.
In the new space, however, the Vogels have additional retail opportunities beyond furniture. Over the last year they have built contacts with local artists and artisans to provide A Thread of Elegance with unique home and personal accessories that have helped turn their store from a destination-only business into one that’s worth popping into just to see what is new.
One of the challenges they’ve faced since the move is that their work often takes them out of the shop. Whether it is visiting a customer to measure for custom drapes or looking at a piece of furniture someone is considering freshening with new upholstery, they’ve built their reputation and their business by making things as easy as possible for their customers.
The downside is that, try as they might, they are occasionally away from the shop, so it is always best, especially if traveling into Berlin to see them specifically, to just make a quick call to double check that they expect to be in.