But making window coverings is not exactly rocket science and the equipment and techniques are commonly known, making window coverings one of the most competitive home décor categories.
Read our Window Blinds Buying Guide 2008 for an inside look at the window fashions industry and how to save money when designing, specifying and ordering your own unique designer window treatments.
Evolution of the Window Blinds Brands
During recessionary periods over the last several decades, the window coverings industry has repetitively experienced heavy consolidation, leaving customers with fewer choices and, at the same time, leaving the door open for private label and discount window blinds companies to emerge.
Today, a handful of major window blinds manufacturers control most of the major brands in the industry. But, during the 1980s and 1990s a number of nationwide discount window blinds companies opened in the U.S.
Instead of being forced to pay high prices buying window blinds from designers or make their own coverings, people could go to these discounters and enjoy lower prices and increased selection. The development of these additional distribution channels has enabled new growth in a very established
Window Blinds Industry Evolves Yet Again
With the advent of the Internet, a whole new way of purchasing window blinds has opened up, once again offering consumers a wider range of choices, styles and price points from which to select! This disruptive technology has caused turmoil, greater emphasis on specialization and hidden opportunities for upstarts within the window coverings space.
Now the do-it-yourself homeowner or decorator can measure windows and go online to purchase either name brand or private label window blinds and shades at much lower prices than ever before!
The other evolution that has helped make window coverings more affordable has been distribution through behemoth retailers such as JC Penney, Walmart, Target and others selling ready-made window blinds and shades at discounted prices. And while the selection is more limited in the largest chain stores, you can find bargain prices if can find what you’re looking for!
How Has Industry Change Helped Consumers?
All of this change and disruption has benefited customers with greater selection, lower prices and options from which to choose. But navigating the maze of window blinds and coverings choices, how do you decide what’s best?
When shopping for window blinds, you may not care that much about the brand you’re buying. But, unless you like replacing window blinds every couple years, it’s smart to pay attention to what brand you buy. As with anything, the adage “you get what you pay for” is certainly true when it comes to window blinds.
Major window blinds brands will have more options when it comes to materials, finishes, mounting hardware and operating controls. You can often buy a brand from discounters offering private label products.
Private Label Discount Window Blinds
These days, whether you buy blinds from a local store or designer or shop on the Internet, most likely the components used to make your blinds will come from one of the large manufacturers. Mass-customization is the name of the game, using state of the art supply chain management and custom component assembly techniques.
Window blind slats and other components are fitted and assembled to produce private label window coverings made either as ready-made blinds to fit generic window sizes or custom-measured and assembled to fit any non-standard shape and size windows.
Ask your blinds retailer, discount house or installer what brand components they use to make custom window blinds and shades. Whichever brand they use, your supplier should be authorized and trained to fit, install and service the products. Be leery if they say they don’t know or claim to make all the components in house.
Also ask about the warranty details of the store or supplier versus the manufacturer; if there’s a problem will you be able to return the blinds to the retailer or do you have to then deal with another, outsourced party?
What are the Big Names in Window Blinds?
There are really only a few major window fashions manufacturers; consolidation in the industry means that the biggest now own and operate under multiple brands, with a variety of quality levels, features and price points offered within each line.
We have researched customer feedback, product reviews and other data to bring you our assessment of the window coverings industry. We have reviewed each of the major brands for you in detail. Click on any brand name below to view a full review on the brand.
One of the most recognizable industry brand names, Hunter Douglas offers a number of product lines, each catering to a separate customer base and leveraging different distribution avenues. Consumers buy Hunter Douglas for the reputation for quality and choice …
Established since 1914, Levolor is recognized worldwide as an industry leader and innovator in the window blinds industry and popularized the aluminum “mini-blind” back in the 70s …
Customer who know Bali Blinds love the brand; they are like the Apple of the window fashions industry, with a loyal customer following and a knack for introducing the right products at the right time…
The focus of Comfortex began in 1985, when New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) provided support to the company in developing innovative, energy efficient line of window coverings. The effort was a success, leading Comfortex to become an Energy Star partner…
Read Comfortex Window Coverings Review
A pioneer in full service window blinds, Graber offers window blinds and shades, along with drapery hardware, leveraging a network of dealers and decorators to do all the design consulting, measuring, fitting and installing for you…
Read Graber Window Coverings Review
Known as a high quality brand, Kirsch sells custom window treatments and drapery hardware through specialty retail stores, design professionals and department stores…
Read Kirsch Window Coverings Review