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Fabrics and Furnishings International, Front Page – Summer 2015

Fabrics and Furnishings International, Front Page – Summer 2015

$100 Million Coulisse Expands Roller Shade Business in Americas with Unique, Fabtex

MD Jop Vos leads charge as hotel trade moves away from draperies alone

MIAMI, Florida – Coulisse B.V., a $100 million plus window coverings converter and hardware supplier, is capitalizing on the trend towards roller shades with a major expansion in the USA and South American markets.

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Jop Vos, who joined Coulisse in 2006 covering the Eastern European market, relocated from his native Netherlands to the USA in 2011. He is now the Managing Director of Coulisse North America based in new offices on Brickell Key where he covers the USA and an increasingly important South American market. He reports to Morris Roetgering, one of the two principals based in Enter, The Netherlands, about an hour from Amsterdam.

There, Coulisse has a 170,000 square foot warehouse and design center which supplies 7,000 sku’s to the world market, shipping a container of window shades and mechanisms to the USA on a weekly basis. Coulisse says it has a motor solution for each of its 7,000 items, made mostly of 100 percent polyester, including TreviraCS as well as natural roller shades of jute, paper and linen. Coulisse also supplies blackout and light filtering shades. The company in its expanding export, effort, now has sales offices in Singapore, Shanghai, Guangshou, Taipei, Warsaw Poland and Moscow.

Coulisse also supplies jacquard fabric shades to its customers that coordinate with its Berlin collection of 119 solid colors. Prints are also a part of the offering too but more of the business today is done in plains and textures, Vos says. Coulisse deals with several different fabric and hardware suppliers worldwide to build its collections for the fabricator. Coulisse will also use its brand name or make private label for the customer depending on the situation.

Family Distributors Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, FL is distributing the Coulisse lines in the USA. This same company owns Unique Wholesale Distributors, Inc., a fabricator that is currently supplying some retail accounts in the USA. Fabtex, Danville, PA is another key fabricator for Coulisse, specializing in the hospitality industry that expects to cover as much as half of its windows with roller shades in the years ahead according to industry watchers. Coulisse also counts Lutron and Shades Online as two important customers in the US market.

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Christiaan Roetgering founded the company in 1992 and his brother Morris who originally was an international trader, joined sometime after that. “We didn’t get into the roller shade business until 2000,” Vos says. “Initially, the company just followed the trends in window coverings filling the need for existing products with European do-it-yourself chains; then we decided to be a trend leader, getting more creative with hardware and fabrics.” With that decision, that’s when Couusse’s business really took off,” he figures.

To give an idea how the shade business has grown for Coulisse in the USA, Vas doubled sales in 2012 and grew the business another 20 percent in 2014. The company as a whole expects to produce $110 million in sales in 2015 with 84 percent of the business in Europe and the balru1ce of sales are going worldwide, Vas says. He points out that the fastest growing market is in the USA today, which is expected to account for 25 percent of company sales within five years time. Germany by the way, is the single biggest market for Coulisse, which has no less than 50 distributors showing its lines at Heimtextil Frankfurt each year.