Whether someone is being introduced to Draper for the first time, or is already a long-time customer, there are certain questions that inevitably pop up in conversation. Mostly these questions about Draper revolve around why we conduct business the way we do, and where we do.
Whether we’re at a trade show, a client meeting, or a party, here are seven things we find ourselves answering.
“How Do I become a Draper dealer?”
This is an easy one. Just go to this page on our website, and fill out the relevant form. If you want a direct relationship with Draper, be sure to choose the “Dealer Inquiry” form. If you prefer to purchase AV products (only) through distribution, you can apply to be a Draper Authorized Reseller.
“Can’t I just buy it from you?”
No. We only sell through Draper Authorized Dealers or Draper Authorized Resellers. Members of the Draper dealer network bring a lot of market and product knowledge to every job that we would not have the time to acquire or pass on. They can consider all elements of a project, including products we don’t make. They also give a local point of contact, which eases installation, planning, and repair hassles. We love our dealers; you will too!
“Where in the world is Spiceland, Indiana?”
Spiceland, Indiana is about 45 minutes east of Indianapolis. The vast majority of our employees live within a half hour commute of this small town of 800 residents.
“How did you end up there?”
We ended up here because we started here. Back in 1902, Luther O. Draper founded the company. He traveled around east central Indiana by train and bicycle, selling the idea of solar control and window shades to schools.
“Why are you still there?”
Why would we want to be anywhere else? We have quick and easy access to Interstates, an international airport about an hour away, a talented and dedicated workforce, plus all the sweet corn we can eat during the summer. Seriously, this has been home since 1902; we are part of the community and it is part of us.
“Why do you sell different product lines? Do they have anything in common?”
The short answer is that all of our product lines are installed in schools, and the education market was by far the biggest part of our business for our first 100 years. However, the line from shades to gym equipment is also straighter than you might think.
As mentioned above, we started out in the shade business. In the 1950s we added projection screens. They utilized similar materials and technologies, so it was relatively simple for us to begin manufacturing them. Later we added projector lifts because wherever there’s a screen, there’s a projector and you need a way to get it out of the way when it isn’t in use! We started in gym equipment by making gym divider curtains. Again, the concept was similar to screens and shades—vinyl fabric on a motorized roller. That eventually grew into a full line of gym equipment.
“Tell the truth—which product line is really the most important to you?”
Our answer to this question will always disappoint people. They are hoping for a “Roman Holiday” moment. Princess Ann, played by Audrey Hepburn, is asked at a press conference in Rome which of the European cities she’s visited was her favorite. She starts to deliver the politically correct answer: “Each, in its own way, was unforgettable. It would be difficult to—.“ Then she stops and says what she’s really thinking. “Rome! By all means, Rome.”
That won’t happen here. We won’t single out a favorite product line. It isn’t because we’re being politically correct, but because we feel all of our product lines are equally important. Our diversification provides us with a balance that protects us from the cyclical ups and downs that can occur in any market. This is something most of our competitors don’t have; they are dedicated to a main product type, and are thus much more at the mercy of that product’s market.
What do you always want to know about Draper? Let us know, and we may include it in a future post!