SOUTHERN SHADES

by M. LUKE YODER photography by HOLGER OBENAUS

 

Nobody embraces the “go-go-go” entrepreneurial spirit like Annette Kreck of Southern Shades.

After starting the high-end textile company 18 years ago and working from her home for 16 of them, she opened up a new facility in Moncks Corner, South Carolina, two years ago to provide the quality service her clients demand. From her shop on White Street, Kreck and her team have been fabricating shades, drapes and other fabric products for clients with discerning taste from all over the Lowcountry.

Now, she says, it’s time to expand once again. What is now the manufacturing facility will soon become a large public showroom, and all of her fabrication equipment will be housed in a new building on the property.

This means Kreck and her team will be able to accommodate more clients than ever and offer them new and exciting products as well. She’s been looking forward to the expansion for a long time.

“We’re always trying to grow. That’s the point, right?” Kreck says. “By adding a new building, we can show off all of our work in the showroom, display new fabrics and styles to select from, and create the high-end quality our clients expect in our new space.”

Kreck wants to take advantage of the additional building and add industrial machines to allow her team to fabricate larger window treatments and hangings. Once the new facility opens, there won’t be an order too big for Southern Shades.

This is exciting news for decorators and homeowners who are looking for upscale, elegant fabrics.

Of course, Kreck has always worked with great clientele and decorators from all over the Lowcountry.

Southern Shades has always been a “to-the-trade” company, meaning it only works with professionals and referred clients from architects and builders. Kreck has worked with local designers, like Cortney Bishop and Torrance Mitchell, on homes and other properties on Kiawah Island, Isle of Palms and the Peninsula. She’s also worked with some of the best restaurants and inns in Charleston.

“Because of the high-end fabrics we use and the quality of craftsmanship we provide, we’ve always been fortunate to work with some of the best people in the area,” Kreck says. “Our new fabrication space will allow us to reach even more wonderful clientele.”

While the fabrication will take place in the new building, Kreck envisions her new showroom as another place to expand. Besides showing off Southern Shades’ collection of available fabrics and products, Kreck wants to offer decorative accoutrements—such as rugs and lamps—ornamentation to put the finishing touches on a room.

“We want to give our clients every available option to make their home exactly the way they want it,” says Kreck. “By offering more than just window treatments, we can help designers and homeowners find what they need to complete a room or an entire home.”

The expansion will also allow Kreck to focus on a window treatment trend that is only getting more popular by the year: automated drapery.

Southern Shades works with Somfy, a company from Switzerland that has manufactured mechanical products for centuries. It has embraced the smart-home revolution and offers many different automated options for shades and drapes. It’s even possible now to connect smart devices to its products.

Each automated window treatment runs on its own power source, which only needs to be charged once every 400 uses or so. Southern Shades provides the charger and the controls to operate each treatment.

“Home automation is big,” Kreck says. “It’s nice to just hit a button and have the shades in your home open or close. I expect many homes to use this technology in the coming years.”

As the old business adage goes, “if you’re not growing, you’re dying.” If that is truly the case, then Southern Shades will be around for a long, long time.

Southern Shades is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

M. Luke Yoder is a writer based in Charleston. Learn more at mlukeyoder.com.