After graduating from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah with a bachelor’s degree in fine art, Deborah Herman entered the family hospitality business, working for her father’s company, Bedspreads of California. After nearly 15 years helping to grow the business, Herman decided to forge her own path, founding the Miami-based Fabric Innovations in 1997.
What led you to launching Fabric Innovations?
My father did fabrication, and I wanted to be on the textile side and supply fabrics instead. I started going to textile shows, and within a month of moving to Miami, I founded the company. I wanted to be in a tactile but still manufacturing business because I liked making products. There’s an expertise to it. My experience in manufacturing helped me find fabrics that are suitable to make a drape, pillow, or duvet cover. That helped me push the company forward because I knew right away [what would] make a good drape.
What are some of the opportunities you see in the industry?
The hospitality industry is cyclical. At some point, that sheet wears out, that drape falls off the wall, the carpet has a burn, or the mini refrigerator has a leak. In that cyclical business, people will have to renovate. Rebranding is also common now. As soon as contracts are up, hotels are doing what’s best for their property, and all of that will push product.
What is your best business advice?
Save a percentage of your profit for the whole life of your company. If you’re making $2,000 a month, you still need to save. Savings and cash capital are important for me. It helped me put a lot of products into inventory. If [clients are looking for a product], I have the inventory to quickly sell the product. Secondly, I would find something you really love. Don’t get into it to just get into it. You have to love it. I have a passion to make a product. I love to feel it, touch it, talk about it, educate people about it, see how it wears. I love the part [of the business] where you take a fabric that’s stunning, and you make it so it would operate well in a hotel. That’s how our artistic eye works.
Looking back, what is something you’re most proud of?
We have a big world, but it’s a small family. For 30 years, I’ve either helped somebody financially or helped somebody get a job. The things we do in our everyday life to help others is the one thing that matters the most.