The story of Forest Drapery Hardware begins once upon a time in a land not so far away. Henk Bosgoed, an enterprising young Dutch man, started an upholstery and soft furnishing materials business from the back of a truck in the 1970s. Within 10 years, he was the largest wholesale distributor in the Benelux region, which includes the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Try as he might, Bosgoed could never find a curtain track system he liked, so he finally developed one himself. The Forest KS Track System was so popular that in 1995, Bosgoed sold the soft furnishing materials business so he could focus on drapery products full time. The company opened its first U.S. operation the same year. (The company gets its name from its founder; “Bos” means “forest” in Dutch.)
Today, the company has subsidiaries on three continents and has expanded its product line dramatically. “We are the only manufacturer offering a full range of drapery hardware products, including tracks, decorative pole sets and traversing rods, roller shades and motorization across all categories,” says Steven Wright, the company’s current president.
In addition to Bosgoed’s original aluminum extrusion tracks for residential and hotel draperies, Forest led the development of traversing ripplefold systems. Decorative traversing rods are available in a variety of shapes, including round, rectangle, square, “C” and oval. The RBS Roman Blind System has a clutch that will pull up to 18 pounds of fabric. Designers looking for decorative metal pole sets have a new option in the Glasgow Collection, which combines metal accents with acrylic poles.
Forest is one of few firms that continues to offer wood drapery hardware. “While we have seen competitors eliminate wood hardware from their line due to lagging demand, Forest will continue to include wood as part of its mission to be a one-stop shop,” says Wright.
The growth in motorization is one of the biggest trends Wright has seen during his tenure at Forest, and the company has gone all in on this category as well. Top products include the FMS track, which comes in black or white and can be curved or straight; FMS Plus, which has a recess mount option; the Dresden Motorized Decorative Metal Collection, which combines style and functionality; and the RBS roman blind system and roller shades. “Four Forest Shuttle motor options to suit any environment,” says Wright. They can be operated by touch control, remote control, wall switch or automation system. All come with a 10-year warranty, something offered only by Forest.
The newest addition to the company’s products is roller shades. The Apollo collection offers a single and double direct mount or cassette roller shades. “Mercury is our designer collection, with chain or motor operation, designer finishes and a variety of mounting options,” says Wright. Shades in the Atlantis system include full blackout fabric and heavy-duty motor operation.
One of the things that made Bosgoed’s original business excel was his focus on customer service. That’s something that has never changed, says Wright. “We have a team of inside and outside sales folks working together to serve customer needs. We provide sales and technical advice and support over the phone.” The company offers in-person trainings for people who are new to the products. That’s supported by a website with an extensive library of support documents and a YouTube channel with videos that provide installation and programming tips for the company’s products.
Forest also prides itself on keeping an excellent inventory position. “We have a 40,000-square-foot warehouse with product ready to ship from Atlanta,” says Wright. “Plus, we stock with distributors across the United States to save time and shipping costs. Component orders received by noon can ship same day. Assembled orders ship in seven to 10 business days.” Need a custom finish? No problem. The company offers custom painting and staining.
For the past few months, Wright has been focused on making Forest stronger at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s reorganized the inventory in its warehouse, developed new time-saving procedures in the assembly areas and created new video content for technical support. “Although we have been lucky to stay open and continue to serve our customers, we have had some downtime to reflect and make improvements within the company,” he says. “It is an exciting time for Forest as we celebrate the first 25 years of business and make plans for a strong next 25.”