Fabric. It's one of the main reasons that I got into the interior design business. I love fabric. I used to sew my own clothes in high school, and I think it was really just so that I could go to the fabric store and paw through all those options, the never-ending options. Also, we were broke, and I wanted cool clothes. So, there's that.
But back to the fabric. When I first put out my shingle 18 years ago (has it really been that long?), I met with a rep from Fabricut, a fabric line that I had been checking out at the San Fransisco Design Center (@sfdesigncenter) for years. She came out and set me up with an entire library of fabric books, and I knew I was in the right line of work.
Fast forward, and my rep is retiring; I thought I would never have such a great rep again, and then, along comes Malia Sage, fabric goddess she is. We clicked immediately (or maybe she is just so good at her job that I felt we had clicked). Either way, I began to really look forward to her quarterly visits to my office when she showed me all the latest and upcoming fabrics. Oh, how I enjoy those meetings! They really get my creative mind going.
In the years since we first met, Fabricut has added several great options to their offerings. So I caught up with Malia, and we chatted about her, how she got into the biz, and what great offerings were in the pipeline for Fabricut and their portfolio of brands. Here is a bit of that conversation.
HCD: What is your professional background, and how did you come to work for Fabricut?
Malia: After graduating from SDSU, I started out in Public Relations and Fund Development, then decided to make a career change in my early 30s and went back to school to study Interior Design. While at school, I met some outside sales reps who came and spoke to our class about what they do, and I thought, "THAT is what I want to do!". I represented a custom window treatment workroom for 16 years, then got my break at Fabricut when I learned that my rep there was retiring.
HCD: I use your product on many of my design projects and love the variety of looks and types of fabrics. But what is your favorite product within the brand?
Malia: Fabricut has branched out in recent years to include several product categories (Furniture, Leather, Window Treatments, Drapery Hardware, and Rugs in addition to their Fabrics, Trimmings, and Wall Coverings). I grew up with a mother who loved to sew (she made all of my formal dance dresses that I designed for school dances). I have always loved fabric and appreciated a variety of styles and designs. One great thing about working with designers is helping them find what works for their projects and help to curate the different products that work together for them.
HCD: What would you tell someone who is not familiar with Fabricut are the best reasons to use the product? What sets it apart from other fabrics?
Malia: Before I worked for Fabricut, I was a Fabricut customer. Hands down, they are the best and most reliable source in the industry. Our portfolio of fabrics is vast, and each brand under Fabricut is distinctly different from the others. Our focus is to make the design process as easy as possible for the designer through our easy-to-navigate website and customer service staff for each department specializing in those products. So, if you have a detailed question about custom window treatments, you can email or call and speak with a custom window treatments expert.
HCD: Recently, Fabricut has launched a quick ship drapery program. How successful has that been? How does it work? Have you seen an uptick in orders due to the longer lead times in general due to Covid and supply chain issues?
Malia: Our Quick Ship program has started to take hold in the industry, offering a semi-custom product made in the USA as an alternative to other Big Box stores which stock inferior panels from overseas. We have seen an increase in demand for window treatments in general since Covid, and since our workroom that manufactures our Quick Ship panels also makes our custom window treatments, lead times have increased across the board. Our Quick Ship panels are running about five business days behind right now, or 10 to 15 business days depending on the fabric selected.
HCD: What is your favorite part of your job?
Malia: No two days are alike. I get to travel to different locations, and every appointment has its own unique needs. I enjoy figuring out how I can best serve the designer I'm meeting with. I also cherish the relationships I've developed with clients over the many years I've been in the industry.
HCD: Anything exciting in the pipeline that you can tell us about?
Malia: Next Spring, we will be adding a couple dozen new furniture pieces to the Fabricut Furniture collection. I can't wait to see it!
HCD: Tell us something about you that I may find surprising.
Malia: I studied with a vocal coach and opera singer for 11 years, and my first job from ages 14 - 17 was singing for weddings in Hawaii.
HCD: What is the plan for Fabricut in the next few years? Any new ventures?
Malia: Fabricut will forever want to be at the forefront of the industry and is evolving to meet the design community's needs. Every year we are branching out, and I'm sure next year will be no exception!
Thank you, Malia!
Until next time,