A Game changer in COLOR
TEXTON’s ability to customize and print on demand turns heads in window covering industry
There is a colorful history behind TEXTON, a wholesale window covering manufacturer that has largely gone unnoticed for most of its 70-plus years of existence in Garland, Texas.
“It’s kind of funny, but it’s also a little frustrating sometimes when you talk to people in the community and they don’t know what we do or that we are here, like we are a secret operation,” TEXTON CEO Ed Williams says with a chuckle. “We’ve been a big part of this community since my grandfather started it as Tontine Shade Shop in 1941. That’s when the Army contracted him at the start of World War II to put roller shades in barracks around the Southwest. It might be a little ego, but it’s nice to be noticed.”
Having trouble getting noticed is a thing of the past for TEXTON, thanks to its new COLOR line.
COLOR is a revolutionary product giving interior designers, contractors and retailers around the country the ability to offer customized, print-on-demand shade collections for any color or pattern for any size job. Customers can now match colors with wallpaper, carpet, tile—anything they desire—while reducing material waste and production time. TEXTON can fulfill bulk orders for commercial projects as well as orders for residential needs. Its state-of-the-art software program, coupled with its versatile, high-definition printers, allow clients to keep up on the latest color trends and print on all types of fabrics, textures and styles of window blinds, shades, awnings and more without having to wait months for supplies to arrive.
Ram Degani, Owner of Lone Star Blinds, calls COLOR an innovative change for the interior design industry.
“What makes it stand out in the marketplace is its versatility,” Degani says. “I can now tell a customer they can do anything they want, even a competitor’s sample line. That gives me a nice advantage. It also helps with the objections a client might have, like wanting a specific color.”
Degani works with high-end residential clients and has been doing business with TEXTON since 1984. While Ed Williams has been the CEO over the past decade, Degani says that the company has never changed the way it does business—and he likes it that way.
“There’s something to be said for the way they conduct their business,” Degani says. “For a company of its size, it is really run by family, and that gives them a nice little advantage. They care more than the average vendor about what they do. Ed is just continuing what TEXTON has been about for 70 years. They are important to a lot of people and their families. They have a lot of employees who’ve been with them a very long time because of it. They are very authentic people.”
To understand the family beliefs behind TEXTON, Williams tells the story of being a young man and sitting down for lunch with his mom at Joe T. Garcia’s restaurant in Fort Worth shortly after Super Bowl XIII in 1979.
The Dallas Cowboys had just lost a heartbreaker, 35-31, to the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Orange Bowl in Miami, and in walks Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry.
“Everyone in the place stood up and cheered when he walked in,” Williams says. “So, here is probably the most famous person in Dallas/Fort Worth at the time, a week or so after the Super Bowl, and he walks straight over to my mom and sits with us for 10 minutes. She was one of his assistants, and they worked together at Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He was big into his faith and just the nicest man. Over the years we hung some blinds at his family home. The Landrys were just great people. They treated everyone so well. We try to do the same.”
Williams has many more Cowboys stories, having grown up with some of the players’ kids in the Lake Highlands area of Dallas, near the old training facility. No story, however, captures growing up in the heart of Texas like a story from Tom Landry and America’s Team. Like Landry, the Williams family built its reputation on faith, devotion and Texas charm. Williams says that they don’t preach their faith, but they try to practice it and take pride in being part of the fabric of the Metroplex community.
Business is Booming
COLOR isn’t the only innovation or product that TEXTON offers, and it’s definitely not the sole reason the company has grown into a $10 million enterprise with more than 70 employees.
Motorized shades, for example, are rapidly growing in popularity because of smart home convenience. Motorized shades are also viewed as safer than manual products because they are cordless and cause less threat to children and animals.
Optex Screens are another major seller for the company and were recognized by the Window Covering Manufacturers of America as the Best New Style Product of 2018. Optex Screens can block up to 90% of the sun’s heat and glare, significantly reducing electric bills. Plus the screens look like plantation shutters from the outside, accentuating instead of detracting from a home’s exterior appeal.
Degani says Optex has been a popular choice for his affluent and design-conscious customers at Lone Star Blinds. “It’s a very good product and pleasing to the eye,” Degani says.
One-Stop Shopping and Branching Out
TEXTON prides itself on being one-stop shopping for all window covering needs, starting with consultations for several lines of blinds, shades, awnings and more, and finishing with delivery and installation.
The attention to overall quality and detail—along with a shift to using resources such as The Blue Book Network® to reach clients—has led to 25% growth in sales in 2019, following 20% growth in 2018, Williams says.
“We went through a rebranding and reinvented ourselves a few years ago,” Williams says. “We made a bigger push to work with general contractors on projects that give us a lot of volume. It took a lot of hard work to get our name out and was very painful growth, but the volume was there and it kept us stable through the valleys.”
He expects continued growth with the innovative COLOR products. “You used to want sample books to last at least four years, but they were always changing,” Williams says. “I had always dreamed of bringing in white fabrics and being able to print any colors or patterns, instead of bringing in all different colors. We can order products, fabrics, in bulk and have them on hand and ready.”
There aren’t many companies that can compete, he adds. “With our printer technology we are one of the only companies in the world that can do what we do. My wife and a few of us got together and created a sample book with over 350 patterns and colors. The beauty is that customers can request changes on the spot and the book will never be discontinued. It will live in perpetuity. We will come out with another collection, but it won’t upend this one. We custom-make every order.”
The feedback for COLOR, Williams says, has been everything he hoped for.
“I feel like we’re now being recognized around the country as an innovative company,” Williams says. “I can tell some of my suppliers are amped up about us, and they feel TEXTON is doing some out-of-the-ordinary stuff. We have a lot of good people here making it happen. We have employees and family who’ve been here over 40 years. My Uncle Alan has been here since the 1950s and is still an active salesman even though he and my dad are still the owners. We’ve got more people who’ve been here 30 and 40 years. It’s just an incredible staff that cares about what we do, and we’re all excited about the future.”