LONG-LASTING LUXURY

by JEFF HAMPTON photography by HOLGER OBENAUS

Cotton has been cultivated and woven into fabrics since 1500 B.C., while linen, wool and silk have been used to adorn our bodies and homes for centuries. But as long as humankind has sought to live in comfort and luxury, soil and stains have been a constant enemy—that is until Fiber-Seal introduced a new approach to protecting and preserving fine fabrics.

Fiber-Seal is a full-service provider of protective coatings and cleaning for upholstered furniture, carpets, rugs, draperies and fabric wall coverings. Founded in 1971, Fiber-Seal has 65 independently owned territories nationwide. The Dallas corporate office supports distributors across the country and services residential and corporate clients throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth region.

Fiber-Seal’s Fabric Care System uses proprietary cleaning solutions, fabric protectants, and rug and carpet treatments to help homeowners and businesses maintain the beauty and life of their interior environments.

“More than the product, it’s the service,” says Lisa Mattich, co-owner with Jeff Mattich of Fiber-Seal of Dallas/Fort Worth. “We’ll go to a client’s home and do a walk-through to see the fabrics and materials they have, learn about wear and usage, and determine what is needed.”

Cleaning and application of protectant is done on-site, except for rugs, which are taken to the Fiber-Seal office for cleaning. The process is managed by Fiber-Seal technicians who have undergone comprehensive training and together have more than 70 years of experience assessing and cleaning every type of fabric imaginable—from antique silks and cottons to new-age synthetics and performance fabrics.

Once a service is completed, the homeowner is provided a Fabric Care Kit for spot cleanings and touch-ups as needed, but Fiber-Seal also dispatches technicians to any client for spot cleaning at no extra cost. In addition, a Prestige Program provides regularly scheduled full-house maintenance and is a popular choice for homeowners who require a high level of appearance for themselves and for entertaining guests.

Fiber-Seal clients are interior designers, homeowners and business owners, and 95 percent of its business comes through referrals from designers and clients.

“There have been other competitors, many that try to emulate the Fiber-Seal business model, but we feel our ability to listen to the client’s needs and service those clients is what separates us from the others,” says Mattich. “Designers refer us only because we stand behind our service, and they have the comfort of knowing our business is always going to be here for them and their clients.”

Fiber-Seal’s work with designers includes consulting and testing on the wear and durability of various fabrics, as well as pretreating bolt fabric that has been sourced for custom-designed furniture.

A hallmark of Fiber-Seal is its ongoing research and development of cleaners and protectants as fabrics and fibers evolve and improve.

“The properties of all the fibers pretty much stays the same,” says Kurt Falvey, Fiber-Seal president. “What has really changed the way we protect fabrics and floor coverings is the environment and how the fabrics are constructed. Back coatings and finishes often dictate not so much how you protect them, but how to service them.”

Another trend that impacts the care of fabrics is the blending of materials. “Today the biggest issue is when they take a great fiber like wool and blend in a pattern using rayon,” says Falvey. “While wool is a very resilient fiber and generally easy to care for, adding rayon, which has no resiliency, simply lessens the useful life of that floor covering or fabric.”

But Fiber-Seal is up for the challenges—a fact made evident by the company’s accolades, not only from clients but from the design community. The company has been recognized consistently by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) as the “Best Cleaning Services/Textile Protection Company” in the region. In addition, Fiber-Seal is an ongoing industry partner with ASID, the International Facility Management Association, The Interior Design Society and WoolSafe.

“You can imagine that over almost 50 years a lot has changed—equipment is better, products are more advanced—so how you integrate the tools of the trade is very important,” says Falvey. “What has not changed is our commitment to service, which is and has been the backbone of our company.” *

Jeff Hampton is a freelance writer based in Garland, Texas. Find out more at jeffhamptonwriter.com.