Iliana’s Curtains is a bespoke home decor and soft furnishings company offering handmade and made-to-measure products that create a stylish, traditional or modern look and brings a touch of elegance to a room or space. Iliana’s Curtains offers handmade curtains, roman blinds, cushions, table & bed runners and other kinds of soft furnishings using a wide range of fabrics. Iliana Glaister, the founder, recently spoke to Herts Review about her business journey and aspirations.
Iliana’s Curtains covers mainly the residential sector working with a range of clients that want to improve the look of their home or are doing house extensions, refurbishments and major renovation work to their properties. The company also works with interior decorators, designers and property developers. “Most of our work is in the residential sector mainly in home improvement. We have however undertaken some commercial projects like a hotels, short-lets as well as bed & breakfast”.
The dedication, creativity, passion and attention to detail Iliana brings to each project is reflected in the customer reviews online. Julie Carlile Mckenna, a happy customer remarks “the roman blinds that Iliana made are absolutely beautiful. They look and feel so luxurious. Iliana’s work is amazing and her service outstanding. I would highly recommend her to all my friends… thank you so much”. Another customer K Hance says “Iliana has just completed our lounge curtains with pelmet and matching cushions and we are thrilled! Her attention to detail and craftmanship is second to none. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her to anyone who is after soft furnishings”.
“This is why I love what I do. It is the amazing people I meet, the wonderful projects I work on and the look on customers faces when they see the final outcome. That look on their faces is worth more than any amount of money. They see their home transformed with our curtains, blinds or other soft furnishings. I also bring a lot of their personality into it by creating products that they want using my experience and advice to guide them. This keeps me going and looking forward to the next project” says Iliana.
It has been quite a journey getting to this point. The business started in 1997 in London while Iliana was attending Westminster College completing a course in soft furnishings. “In college, there are lots of project work so I started testing and trying various styles. Eventually I had family and friends asking me to do soft furnishings for them and through referrals and recommendations it naturally took off. London was the place for bespoke furnishings and handmade curtains then but as people relocate out of London to the Home Counties, there is a market here as well”.
“I was not entirely focused on the business at that time as I had other things going on as well. I moved out of London to Aylesbury in 2001. However in 2014, I decided to dedicate my time 100% to Iliana’s Curtains and have not looked back”. Iliana works with a wide range of fabrics from basic to luxury. This means she works with a range of budgets while still bringing her creativity and dedication to each project.
The massive growth in internet usage has also helped the business from marketing to product development. “The internet has been great for our business. In the past, you are restricted to what you learnt in college or designs you have created. Now there is a large online community of people who do what I do and we share ideas and knowledge. It means opportunities to continue to learn and develop our craft. It does take a lot of years to develop the skills to be really good at what we do”.
“In addition, with social media – Facebook and Instagram mainly, I get the opportunity to share my work and market to other new clients. Clients can see what we have done in the past which makes the conversation easier as they have more confidence in what we do. At the moment, we are fully booked for the rest of this year so that is good”.
Fortunately, the business has remained resilient through the covid-19 pandemic this year. “The lockdown meant a lot of people were home and were thinking of ways to make their home look better. This means more opportunities for home improvement and so more clients reached out to us. The downside is that as a result of the lockdown some supplies including fabrics have been hard to come by so we have had to postpone some projects till next year. Some deliveries can also take a bit longer”.
Iliana has deliberately not grown the business quickly so as not to lose control and the standard of service. “To be bespoke, it has to be personal. I take my work very seriously and must always maintain that very high standard. I have built my business around my family as well. In the future however, I am thinking of working with one or two apprentices to help them develop a life skill and set them on the path to success. In addition, I am strongly considering teaching. I am passionate about it and hope to take on a teaching role in the future”.
If you are in or around Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire or London and need truly elegant handmade soft furnishings then contact Iliana’s Curtains here.