Volume 13, Issue 2 - March/April 2009

Open 24/7
Opportunities in Decorative Film

There is no doubt that the weakened global economy has taken its toll on our industry. I speak to window film dealers across the country on a daily basis and their message is consistent—business has dropped significantly since late October 2008. But rather than conducting business as usual, these dealers are seeking new business opportunities and have identified decorative films as a viable option.

Having spent seven years in the window film industry, I have a pretty good idea as to what the decorative film market is, but I thought I’d ask the market experts for their definitions. Michael Hassenauer, marketing manager for 3M Company writes that “decorative films are flexible artistic solutions for interior glass. They can be removed from glass panels for change-outs, saving the glass for a new design pattern. Etched, frosted, and sand-blasted glass panels are commonly destroyed when change-outs take place and increase project budgets as a result of removal costs.” Peter Huyser, a member of Decorative Films LLC, provides a similar definition. “There is a need for an affordable way to transform clear flat glass into an attractive design that complements its surroundings and the need for privacy. We understand the decorative film market once we understand the incredible need for ‘decorative privacy.’”

Just how big of an opportunity is it? When asked about the market, Mr. Huyser said, “It’s not a seasonal product, and there is almost more flat glass utilized inside high rise buildings than the area of glass curtainwalls on the exterior of buildings.” In fact, he recently produced 23,000 square feet of custom-made, dot-gradation film for a shopping mall.

3M Company views decorative films as a subset of a much larger market. “The decorative film market is directed to the interior’s market segment,” Hassenauer says. “Designers worldwide work closely with architects and owners to ‘design in’ interior solutions for new construction and renovation projects. Interior solutions include ceilings, flooring, walls, cladding, paints and coatings, finishes and more.” Furthermore, designers are, and have been, looking for flexible, artistic and ecstatic solutions to address inherent challenges etched, frosted, and sand-blasted glass present. 

Continued … So, given that the market is big, just how profitable is it? Find out in the next edition of Open 24/7.

Manny Hondroulis is marketing manager for Energy Products Distribution in Baltimore. Mr. Hondroulis’ opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine. If you have questions, e-mail Manny at mhondroulis@epdwindowfilm.com.

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