In September 2017, Screen Innovations (SI) surprised the industry with the announcement that the company was going to expand its product line to include shades designed specifically for the custom electronics and design industry. One year later, it announced the rollout of its first products — the Nano indoor and Zen outdoor roller shade lines — which are sold exclusively through CEDIA channel dealers. To further show its commitment, at that time SI conducted a national tour to introduce dealers to the new shading line and its new software, called Flow. And now SI has announced the formation of an in-house design service that will fill the gap between concept and execution of installing shades.
Here Ryan Gustafson, CEO and founder of Screen Innovations, shares his thoughts on the expansion, and why SI decided to do it.
RESI: Why did Screen Innovations decide to expand its business to include a completely different product category in shades?
RYAN GUSTAFSON: Our COO Tom Cooley came to SI from the shade industry. His last company, The Blind Maker, was the fastest growing shade company in the U.S. for years. After we hired him, I would walk by Tom’s office every day and ask him what all the parts and pieces were in his cabinet. After many discussions we realized that, by leveraging some of the new screen technology we already had in motion, introducing shades could be a great opportunity to expand our business and transform the CEDIA industry.
Related: Case Study: A Renaissance in Shading
What lessons learned from screen manufacturing and selling did the company apply to its shade division.
Our customers count on us because we can provide fast custom options and we build to order by leveraging the latest technologies to execute custom fast. We have the most advanced CNC cutting tables, multi-roll indexing, and can offer custom color powder coating on the fly.
What separates SI screens and motors from others in the channel?
SI believes in open source — not proprietary control. At CEDIA, SI will add to its existing RTS wireless offering with the launch of its first global standard in wired and wireless shades and screens. Zigbee 3.0 will soon allow dealers to mesh their shades natively with other products such as Amazon Echo and Philip Hue. With Janus, SI motors will simply connect to all wire topologies, making connection a breeze.
What are the benefits for the integrator in becoming an SI shades dealer?
We try our best to always listen to the needs of our dealers. That means, the innovation that we push forward in our product lines is centered around them. Innovation such as lithium rechargeable motors with magnetic charging cable clasps so you never have to climb a service ladder again, or even design attention to products that almost sell themselves to consumers. We all simply love our customers and this industry, and every decision we make is driven to make them succeed!
What kind of training is available for integrators?
Our team travels the country to educate dealers with on-site training classes, online webinars, and training modules.
What is the SI Design Service, and why was it developed?
SI Design Services (SDS) is the FIRST service product SI has ever introduced and it illustrates our core beliefs that guarantees our dealers success. Shades bring a whole new complexity to our market and dealers are trying to adapt. Some have even lost huge dollars attempting to enter the space. With SI Design Services, we can guarantee the performance of the system every time.
How big a role do you envision Shades playing in SI’s business in the future?
Like screens, SI will grow its shade division to lead the industry in technology for years to come. For the future, we have tons of ideas that we believe will completely transform the shade industry.
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