If there is one thing to say about Christy Latta's American Blinds and Shutters, it is this: if they don't offer a product or service, they will help you find it.
Christy and her husband, Tim, purchased a wallpaper business eight years ago and eventually morphed it into American Blinds and Shutters, mostly offering custom blinds, shades, and draperies. The couple knew one another in high school in Little Rock but did not reconnect until after college and married in 1998.
At the time, Tim and his parents owned and ran a gift shop next door to the wallpaper store they would later purchase with his parents. "Our business is very much a family business," says Christy. Prior to embarking on American Blinds and Shutters full-time, Christy worked as a sales representative, a job that prepared her for working with clients' needs in their homes and businesses. The busy mom of Blake, 7, and Madison, 5, says she thoroughly enjoys working with her husband and in-laws and "wouldn't have it any other way."
The evolution of American Blinds and Shutters has been interesting. Only in the last year did Christy and Tim begin offering drapery services. "Our clients were satisfied with the work we did on their blinds or shutters, and the natural progression was for them to ask if we did drapes as well. Now we do," she says. "Drapes are an area I really enjoy; it's fun and a little more frilly." Gesturing to Tim, she adds, laughing, "He's actually pretty darn good at it himself. Who knew?"
A typical client of American Blinds and Shutters will set up an initial appointment with Christy and Tim to discuss their thoughts and needs as related to their window coverings. From there, they measure the area and prepare a quote. "We do not charge for estimates or installation," says Christy. "We also work around the client's schedule." American Blinds and Shutters' works with individuals and interior designers and pride themselves on a job well-done. "Word of mouth is our best advertisement," she says.
The current trends Christy is seeing in window treatments are soft draperies and sustainable products, including bamboo and poly-resin free 90% energy efficient material. The most popular fabrics and prints are "Silks - burnt orange, animal print, chocolate brown and blue together. Also the 6" to 11" banding and beaded trims are big right now," she says. For our warm climate, the silk draperies include a double liner that offers additional protection for the fabric, as well as a flannel lining. Christy also adds that clients can bring in their own fabric, or "we can help you find what you need," she adds. They will even help the client in shopping for the fabric.
In blinds and shutters, Christy says the 2" and 2.5" blinds are the current trend. "We are seeing a lot of faux wood and stains right now. We also see the creams and whites in the 2" blinds. We even work with companies that can custom-color blinds. We also offer blinds with a hand remote control." Roman shades are also in demand right now.
Christy views her relationship with her clients as more of a partnership. American Blinds and Shutters doesn't just sell the product and leave, they take the client from the initial meetings and sales process to the installation. They personally ensure their window coverings fit properly and give immediate attention to any issues a client may have. Their goal is to earn a client for life, and they will continually work to meet the expectations of their clients.
Being a family-owned, local business and having flexibility in her schedule has played a large part in the success of American Blinds and Shutters. "I am so fortunate to work with my family. The nature of our business allows me freedom in working with clients on their schedules." Christy also adds, "If there is one thing that people should know about us, it's that if we don't offer it, we will help them find it."