In the last 20 years, Arash Khurana has lived in 30 homes in four countries. Though she loves the adventure of expat living in different places, all that perpetual motion gave her a deep-seated desire for a beautiful, constant home that would provide a sense of continuity. However, she found that home décor—and window coverings especially—were far more expensive than was practical, especially when moving so often. Khurana often found herself choosing between custom but highly overpriced draperies or cheap but mass-produced, low-quality window treatments.
“The most expensive part of decorating a home is the window coverings,” Khurana says. “You can easily spend $10,000 or more on a room, especially if you have large windows. Most people don’t want to spend that, even if they can.”
When Khurana moved to London from the United States, she decided to leave her career in health care PR and launch an online business that offered high-quality, hand-stitched window treatments at a fair price. Spiffy Spools was born.
Leveraging her family history in the textile industry and connections in Asia—the world’s largest textile sourcing hub—allows Khurana to buy directly from Asian manufacturers and designers. These suppliers were already designing and exporting fabrics to retailers such as John Lewis in the United Kingdom and high-end window treatment studios in the United States. “We wanted the right suppliers who already knew what international clientele are looking for,” Khurana says.
Once she had her collection sourced, she hired a team of expert tailors and seamstresses with decades of experience hand-stitching window treatments. She planned to offer clients a wide selection of traditional and on-trend fabrics and custom-sized window treatments with flawless craftsmanship and ultrafast, free shipping anywhere in the world at roughly a quarter of the cost.
“Compared to most window treatment brands, our business model is very lean and efficient,” Khurana says. “We don’t have high overheads and expensive leases that brick-and-mortar retailers do. We don’t maintain large inventories but rather work on a just-in-time model for our order production. We’re sourcing direct from textile suppliers and selling direct to consumers, which means no commissions and middlemen feature in the equation. These are all components that make other suppliers so expensive. We are not encumbered by these and are very happy to pass the savings to our clients in the form of highly competitive prices.”
Khurana opened a test store on Etsy and waited to see if her idea would resonate. Not only did it resonate, her clients were so pleased that she quickly outgrew her Etsy store and three iterations of her website. Charleston became one of her best markets. “Growth has been fantastic,” Khurana says. “Especially during lockdown. Since we do everything online, the process is seamless.” Forty percent of Spiffy Spool’s clients are furnishing a new or newer home, and business has been strong in hot climates where people need blackout curtains or double layering to combat the heat.
In addition to custom sizes and styles, clients can choose from more than 2,000 fabrics on the Spiffy Spools website and get samples delivered to their doorstep before the final purchase. “Once a client has found their perfect fabric, they have multiple on-site resources at their disposal to guide them during the ordering process. Our size and style guides are full of visual, easy-to-understand graphics to show you how to measure and choose the right kind of top and fold style for your space,” Khurana says.
Because her business was born to fill a gap she experienced herself, she truly wants her clients to be happy and enjoy shopping for their window treatments, which otherwise can be an overwhelming experience for first-time buyers. Part of the genius of her model is clients have access to a streamlined library of resources, graphics and guides that take the mystery and intimidation factor out of choosing and ordering window treatments. “If all else fails, send us an email; we have stylists standing by who will reply in great detail within 12 hours.”
Once clients place their order online, they can expect delivery within four weeks. “With most drapery studios you’re probably looking at six to eight weeks for curtains, and 10 weeks for Roman shades. You have to start planning for Thanksgiving around July 4th,” Khurana says. “With Spiffy Spools, you can expect far better timelines because our processes are highly optimized and our team is very tight.”
Khurana spent a year honing a process that would successfully disrupt the window-covering industry and give homeowners what she always wanted: high-quality custom window treatments at an affordable price. Judging by the hundreds of five-star online reviews, it’s working.
Robin Howard is a full-time freelance writer in Charleston. See more of her work at robinhowardwrites.com.