When Debbie Gentry started in the yachting industry in St. Augustine, Florida, 34 years ago, she discovered an untapped market for high-quality cushions. That’s when she connected with Trivantage, a long-time supplier of Sunbrella® fabrics.
“Property owners need cushions they can unzip, pull the foam out, and clean,” she said. “That’s the wonderful thing about Sunbrella — it’s easy to maintain; there’s practically no maintenance.”
During her tenure in the textile industry, “Ms. Debbie,” as she is known in the industry, has grown and adapted to different markets. She’s also developed a long-term relationship with Trivantage. In 2001, she established TNT Marine Canvas & Upholstery in Kemah, Texas, specializing in yacht interiors and exteriors. Today, she is joined by her son, Troy Paylow, who is an owner of the family-owned business, and the duo designs and markets interior boat restoration from sailboats to powerboats.
Customers love the Sunbrella Dupione collection, she said, because the fabric is long-lasting, and yacht owners gravitate toward earth-tone shades. Paylow noted that TNT Marine Canvas recently completed a high-profile project for a South African Catamaran.
“We furnished the yacht interior and cockpit with Sunbrella Pure Upholstery from Trivantage in Cast Moss green,” he said.
Whether working on a project for land or sea, the duo turns to Sunbrella – and Trivantage – for the best fabrics for the job.
For more information, please contact your Customer Care Team or call us at 800.786.1876.
Amy Novick gets to know her customers to really understand them – and she knows her products as a self-described “textile brat.” As project manager for Crystal Coast Interiors, Novick and her team go beyond what a yachting customer asks for to identify accents and materials that create a finished look. A family-owned business built on tradition and values, the company’s in-house craftsmen have been creating exceptional marine interiors for over 18 years.
“We’re a dynamic company that is always looking for memorable solutions, whether it be boat cushions that are comfortable but low maintenance, suggesting accent cording, or even expanding into the residential market,” Novick said.
Novick has worked with Trivantage her entire career, thanks to her rich background in the textile industry. While vinyls vary in stretch, texture, veining, and finish, Sunbrella Horizon®, an engineered synthetic leather that brings unparalleled style, comfort, and performance to the water, has been a favorite for the company with the right seam allowance, a subtle hand, and the ability to trim well.
“When I speak with customers about vinyl products, Sunbrella is a go-to. It’s a known brand with beautifully designed products and colors showcased in sample books that are easy to show customers,” said Novick. “The warranty provides a lot of comfort too.”
Novick’s customers are conscientious. When investing in materials for their boat or yacht, they’re looking for a long-term solution.
“After two years or so, an average marine upholstery fabric will start cracking and even pinking. Sunbrella Horizon’s three-year warranty against microbial pinking is comforting for us,” said Novick. “People are willing to spend a little more for that peace of mind.”
When Roberts Awnings was contacted about providing a shade sail solution for a new luxury apartment complex in the heart of Washington, D.C., company owner Brittany Goodwin immediately had the answer.
“We needed an innovative outdoor fabric that would complement the look of a new modern luxury apartment high-rise in the shadows of downtown D.C.,” Goodwin said. “There was no question what our solution would be.”
Goodwin’s team specified SolaMesh® shade sail fabric, an inventive outdoor fabric using polymer technology. The lightweight fabric works well in areas with frequent sun exposure, a requirement for The Wren, which is redefining luxury living in the Shaw neighborhood in the nation’s capital.
“A signature element of The Wren is an open-air skybridge that connects two of its iconic buildings,” Goodwin said. “They needed a fabric that would offer overhead protection from the elements and one whose colors would balance the overall aesthetic of both the building and surrounding community.”
The bridge is primarily for pedestrian traffic, but it also includes table seating along one side, making it a destination amenity for residents and guests.
“The Wren has created unique, creative spaces throughout the complex, from its skybridge to ground-level seating for grilling and gathering,” said Chris Noyes, sales manager for Roberts Awnings. “They wanted the same fabric for both high-traffic areas, making SolaMesh the perfect solution.”
Offered exclusively from Trivantage, SolaMesh is perfect for medium-sized shade sails, custom awnings, and similar shade structures. The shade sail fabric is made from highly stable HDPE monofilament cloth and tape, resulting in a product that’s very stable when exposed to UV rays. It also is easy to clean and features a 10-year warranty, and the canopy material provides best-in-class strength, value, and longevity.
SolaMesh is available in 19 colors, including lime green and cream that was specified at The Wren. The project also incorporated SolaMesh shade sail hardware, a signature line of hardware made from high-strength stainless steel 316. The hardware, with a five-year warranty, is built to hold under maximum tension, another plus for an installation involving a skybridge.
“SolaMesh is a perfect example of how we thrive with Trivantage,” Goodwin said. “The product is durable, comes in colors as wild or as tame as the application requires, and offers a longer term investment over umbrellas. Add stainless steel hardware designed to perform and a business partner committed to your customers, and you have a recipe for success.”
When Faith Roberts, owner of Banner Canvas in Ham Lake, Minnesota, left bridal design in 1986 to pursue a career in marine fabrication, she sought out an industry expert for advice. That’s when she met the late Bob Weldon, former branch manager at Trivantage.
“Bob was a wonderful friend and mentor,” Roberts recalled. “He did a lot for me and for our industry.” In the early days, when Roberts had a question about dying fabrics or where to find a finishing company, Weldon was ready with an answer: “I could always rely on Bob to help me figure out a problem.”
Roberts has worked in the marine fabrication industry for more than 40 years, but perhaps her most impressive accolade is that she purchased the company she worked for — and her current company, Banner Canvas — after only a year of experience. “When the owners were ready to sell, they thought I had the right talent to take over and keep the brand name strong,” she said.
Roberts built her robust clientele solely through word of mouth, noting: “Potential customers would approach me because they had seen my work at their friends’ houses.” When asked how she provides value to her customers, she explained the importance of technicality. “You have to understand the products and how one product is better for a certain location and project than another,” she said. “This comes with an understanding of the market and fabric engineering.”
When asked what makes a good supplier, Roberts emphasized the importance of relationships and drew parallels to her partnership with Trivantage.
“The truly best suppliers invest their time and develop a long-term relationship — I know I can call them if I have any questions,” she said. “Bob was a true partner and did not view our customer relationship as transactional.”
Today, Roberts relies on Trivantage account representative T.J. McGillis, who has guided her through several projects. She also turned to Trivantage to outfit a 30-foot slipper launch, a traditional Thames River pleasure boat. It was fabricated with Sunbrella® marine fabric in Ivy and Hemlock Tweed.
For more information on how Trivantage can assist with your next project, contact your sales representative, shop trivantage.com, or call us at 800-786-1876. Be sure to contact your sales representative and share your story with us and we may include it in a future Market Corner.