If you want to enjoy beautiful window accents that bring out the best in your rooms, Beth Goodwin at Drapery Source is a master designer who will satisfy your desire.
Her experience with creating and making draperies goes back to childhood. As a girl growing up in Chicago, Goodwin worked in her mother’s drapery shop. Her mother was an interior designer. The workshop had nine sewing machines. Her grandmother, aunt and her mother’s Polish friends made the draperies there. Little Beth learned cutting and ironing, and her mother put her on a sewing machine for straight seaming.
When she was 10, she designed her first bedroom in shades of muted yellows and sage greens. She was told she was good, and ever since has been a student of design and fabrics by reading, watching and studying the business.
Goodwin earned a degree in business from DePaul University in Chicago, worked in the city, married and reluctantly left Chicago when her husband Guy, who worked for Merrill-Lynch, received a transfer to Sacramento. Guy was relieved to say good-bye to two-hour commutes in the snow, but for Goodwin separating from family, friends and life in the city was hard.
She adapted to her new life, Beth and Guy raised their two sons in El Dorado Hills, where each graduated from Oak Ridge High School. “I volunteered a lot at their schools,” she said. “I was president of Sports Booster Day, did Teacher Appreciation Days, Blue and Gold events and a lot of fundraisers.”
Greg, 22, graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in business in June, and is selling Internet cloud services there. Charlie, 20, is a sophomore at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, also studying business.
With the boys growing up, Goodwin began looking for a business opportunity when she read an article in the newspaper that Ron Ahlstrom, who owned Drapery Source on Durock Road in Cameron Park, was looking for someone to answer the phone. She went to work for him in 2003, but didn’t stay behind the receptionist desk for long. “After a couple weeks I told him I needed to be selling and designing,” she said.
Ahlstrom purchased Drapery Source in 1989, and built up the business. He had four employees when Goodwin joined. With the recession and competition from the Internet and big box stores, Ahlstrom retired and sold the business to Goodwin. “With hard work and design sense” she paid off her debt in one year.
“I kept the business name, and the phone number was golden,” she said. Repeat customers and referrals account for 85 to 90 percent of her business. “A lot of my success comes from the local newspapers. People see my photo in an ad and recognize me at the golf course or store, or somewhere in the community, and talk to me about it.”
She is meticulous about her work from start to finish. She interviews clients, personally designs and prices each job. She contracts with a workshop to create the draperies, and with Hunter Douglas for blinds and shades. Her installer is Richard Barb from Placerville. “He has been installing for 25 years and is calm, cool and collected,” she said.
Goodwin closed the store recently and moved her business to her home in Serrano. “According to my industry reports, 60 percent of owners are moving their businesses home,” she said. “We still have to go to the job site.”
She said she was losing time and money at the store. “People would come in and ask all their questions, then go home and order online,” she said.
“I hated to close the store and let the employees go, but it has worked out. Customers call the number and can still contact me.”
With her extensive background, Goodwin does all types of window coverings, metal and upholstered cornices, fabric treatments, bedding and upholstered headboards.
In addition to the Tuscan style that fits our Mediterranean climate, Goodwin said many of her clients are going contemporary. “The large colorful geometric and floral prints that were popular in the early ’60s are back. Velvets and shiny fabrics are popular. I like designing ripplefold draperies for the way the fabric plays with light. Ripplefold is a style that has come back,” she said. “I love fabric.”
Through her residential clients, Goodwin has moved into commercial work. “I did a job for a pediatric dentist, and when he opened a new office he asked me to do the window treatment there.”
She has also worked on yachts and in schools.
Commercial work has more technical requirements. For a hospital in Santa Rosa she has to use fire-retardant, anti-microbial material. “I’ll be meeting with the fire marshal,” she said. For a mental health facility, safety is the primary concern. “The drapery has to be able to be pulled down easily.”
Goodwin says she is a perfectionist. “I want to make sure my clients are happy.”