By Del Williams
When hotel, motel,
and resort buyers coordinate interior decor it can require purchasing hundreds
of lampshades for rooms, lobbies, dining rooms and common areas as well as
event and business facilities. This
often involves customizing the lampshades in size, shape, or colour to match aesthetics,
whether for remodels, grand openings, or replacing any that become damaged or
soiled throughout the year.
Now to save up to
50 per cent on custom lampshades, instead of ordering from overseas manufacturers or
distributors, a growing number of astute hospitality buyers are finding a
better alternative: purchasing direct from a quality domestic resource online. This is cutting out the middleman, beating
overseas costs, and speeding delivery by months.
To ensure the
order is ready when needed, hospitality buyers are doing their homework and opting
to work with an American company large enough to quickly produce hundreds of custom
lampshades in time to replace needed stock or meet operational deadlines.
“We needed custom
lampshades tailored to our handmade lamps in time for our grand opening, and
got them at a significant savings,” says Dennis Connolly, Director of
Operations for Mahogany Bay Resort & Beach Club in Belize. The resort is
part of Hilton’s global Curio Collection of distinctive four and five star
hotels that offer travelers local discovery and authentic experiences.
Until recently, hospitality
buyers have typically ordered from a manufacturer in China and waited up to six
months for delivery, which can interfere with operational deadlines. When dealing with overseas suppliers,
questionable quality – along with long lead times to correct any mistakes – also
makes this approach less desirable.
“We could not wait
for a container to arrive from East Asia,” says Connolly. “It would take too
long and if there were any mistakes or quality issues, it would be even more
through an aggregator is an option, this entails paying a large middleman markup,
which can double the wholesale cost. Even
when aggregators hold ample inventory, it does not always meet hotel or motel
Custom On Demand
When Mahogany Bay
Resort & Beach Club was preparing for its grand opening, everything had to
be flawless, even its custom lampshades matched to handmade lamps crafted from
a local hardwood.
“We wanted the
shades to have a tropical, British colonial look, but with a contemporary feel
as well so they had to be custom,” says Connolly.
When Connolly purchased
about 150 custom lampshades for the resort’s rooms, he turned to Jack of All
Shades, an Alabama based resource for custom hardback lampshades for 30 years
that specializes in online sales for the hospitality industry.
The company offers
a wide range of hardback lampshade options, which run the gamut in shape
(round, square, oval, rectangle, drums, pendant, and half round or square); in
size (from small chandelier type to 72” oversized); and in color (with a palette
of over 130). It also offers a number of
fabrics (linen, silk, burlap, weave, poly cotton, faux leather, leather laced
or washable/easy to clean) as well as lampshade fitter types.
“The website is very
simple to use,” says Connolly. “You can
design your lampshade on the website, get expert help by phone if desired, and order
the quantities you need.”
Connolly says the
custom lampshades perfectly match the handmade lamps and arrived in time for
the resort’s grand opening.
“We were able to
achieve the look we wanted with large, barrel-shaped shades along with a
natural, sand colored, cotton fabric that not only met our color requirements
but also would wear well,” says Connolly.
To provide a
contemporary feel as well, the shades also sport a special handmade “rolled
edge” that eliminates the need for trim.
Instead of traditional 1/2” trim, the fabric forms the finished edge of
the shades for a clean look that is becoming a trend in venues aiming for a
In order to ensure
that the shades work properly with every lamp, the lampshade company also offers
a complete range of fitting types. This
includes: spider and washer with harp, the most common type of fitting for
table and floor lampshades; uno, usually found on smaller U.S. table lamps;
euro, a European style fitting used with smaller table lamps; and clip-on,
often used with accent lamps and chandeliers or Edison bulbs.
“In the future, we
will probably order custom lampshades for public areas as well as our rooms,” concludes
Connolly. “Our interior designer was
very happy with how well the shades turned out.”
For more info go to www.jackofallshades.com.
Del Williams is a technical writer based in Torrance,
writes about health, business, technology, and educational issues, and
has an M.A. in English from C.S.U.