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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Brilliant Business People: Exclusive Interview with Mover and Shaker John-Claude Hallak! He Tells Whom You Know About the Best Way to Confront Party Spills and Shares His Exciting New Business Ventures! Our Coverage Sponsored by Maine Woolens

John-Claude Hallak

Maine Woolens is a weaver of blanket and throws located in Brunswick, Maine. We work primarily with natural fibers, like cottons and worsted wools and are committed to using renewable natural fibers from American growers whenever possible. We do piece dyeing and package dyeing in house and the combined experience of our excellent employees exceeds 300 years. Our wool and cotton blankets and throws are 100 percent machine washable, soft and luxurious to the touch, cozy warm and comfortably light. We have many styles to choose from. Our clients are very positive about our products and happy to support a Made in Maine, USA company. Visit our website at
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Mover and Shaker John-Claude Hallak is spreading Christmas greetings and spotless soirees, educating Whom You Know readers about how to best confront spills and thrills this holiday season. In other exciting news from his great company, Hallak has launched a new division called "Bergen Linen" which provides linen and uniform rental to the hospitality, restaurant, country club, spa and medical office communities, and they acquired a new 10,000 sq ft building to house the new project. Hallak continues to be the national service center for repairs of Tory Burch shoes and accessories from all stores nationwide. Last month, Hallak introduced a fully functional iPhone app that allows a client to easily schedule pickups, control their preferences in real time, and see instant up-to-the-minute reports on work in progress, as well as history of past orders. Exact date, time and recipient of deliveries can easily be viewed. Hallak has been working on several projects with Christie's Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS) - which provides a singular level of fashion collection storage and care for both individuals and design houses. Although hit hard by hurricane Sandy (their plant was powerless for 1 week), subsequent water damage restoration projects helped to offset those losses. Hallak was very happy to be able to provide their entire staff with full pay (out of their own operating funds) for all days missed due to the storm and power outage. They continue to blessed with an amazing staff, wonderful clients and supportive vendors and we are blessed to work with them. We could not be more pleased to present an exclusive interview with John-Claude and updates on Hallak on how you can best live your holiday season from a fabric perspective!  Peachy Deegan interviewed John-Claude Hallak for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: Surely the most fun parties are sure to produce a spill here and there. Is club soda always the magic wand?
John-Claude Hallak: No, it is not. Club soda is no more effective than plain water (the bubbles don't scrub), and the salt that is often present in club soda could have an adverse effect (with the exception of helping to stem the tide of bleeding dye).

Should you carry around a shout pen or is there anything better to tote around?
That's not a bad idea. Just remember that *any* spotting remedy should always be tested in an inconspicuous area. Also, do not attempt to remove grease-based stains with water or they can be set in the fabric. Water-based stains (wine, fruit juice etc) will respond better to a "Shout Pen" and water.

If you spill something on someone at a soiree, what is the proper etiquette on your part?
If you are sober and it is a genuine accident, apologize and offer to assist if the recipient of your spill would like some help, and offer to pay for the dry cleaning - if it happened because you are a drunken stumbling fool, try to slink away quietly - it is not likely that anything that comes out of your mouth at that point is going to make matters any better. :-)

If someone spills something on you at a soiree, what should you expect them to do other than say "oops!" and hopefully, "Sorry!"?
Again, it is always good manners to offer to cover the costs of cleaning the spill.

What are the most common stains on outfits on women during the Christmas season and how should one initially confront the stain prior to sending it in to you?
Obviously food & drink - as well as flower pollen. I always suggest evaluating what you are up against and doing a little "cost/benefit" analysis on the prospect of home spotting. Many mishaps are best left to a professional, but with a little finesse and practice one can handle some issues pretty well on their own. 

What are the most common stains on outfits on men during the Christmas season and how should one initially confront the stain prior to sending it in to you?

Essentially the same - perhaps a bit more cigar ash and single malt.

How should stains be removed? Blotting? Scrubbing?
Scrubbing is rarely a good idea - chafing of fabric and yarn disturbance is a common problem with poorly-planned home spotting. Blotting is always harmless, and using a damp cloth or napkin will help to absorb the stain. Do not use a very wet or dripping napkin because excessive moisture can easily leave a ring which is often more troublesome than the original stain!

What is spilled most on rugs and should the treatment on that be different from clothes?
Well, rugs get pretty much the same party stains to which clothes are victim. The main difference is that they are usually far more durable and tolerant of scrubbing and wetting than a garment would be (that being said it is probably best not to "go to town" with home spotting on a six-figure oriental rug.)

If you are at a cocktail party and someone snags your best sweater, what can be done to fix it?
If the yarn is not broken, a skilled seamstress can usually use a fine knitting needle to repair the pull. If the yarn is snapped - it is still possible, but there may be some evidence of the repair.

There are lots of embellishments on cocktail party garments like sequins; can you replace sequins that go missing?
Unless it is a *very* unusual size, shape or color - most sequins and beads can be replace with an exact match or - at worst - a pretty good approximation of the original.

Are there any stains that absolutely end the life of a garment or fabric?
Crazy Glue is deadly ... and large amounts of ball-point ink (e.g. when a pen leaks in a pocket) are rarely fully removed. Other than that, if the stain is addressed quickly - in a day or two - most have a decent chance of removal.

When we are shopping for party clothes, are there fabrics we should avoid because if we spill on them it could be the end?
Many velvets are susceptible to matting and shining if liquids are spilled on them. Also, satin and organza - while gorgeous - are prone to rings from spills which are sometimes very difficult to remove.

Short of laying football fields of plastic over your rugs before a party, what can you do to protect rugs against possible stains?
Not much - other than limiting the beverage selection to shades of color that are similar to your rug. :-)

What should we all know about Tory Burch?
The brand has had a remarkable growth trajectory and brings a distinctive and affordable kind of luxury to a broad market. They are absolute in their commitment to customer service.

What services do you offer to the footwear industry?

Footwear, handbag and accessory repair is something that we see more and more demand for with each passing month. The biggest challenge we face is in matching branded parts (especially for legacy pieces). That being said, our "National Service Center" approach brings consistency to the repairs for a brand regardless of where the client lives.

What are your favorite wines that have come out in 2012 and have you added any older ones to your collection that you are particularly excited about?
Where to start ... I love the Far Niente Cab from California, Pichon Lalande (Pauillac), Ducru Beaucaillou (St. Julien), Cos D'estournel (St. Estephe) - to name a few frenchies ... as well as some Tignanello and Solaia - can't forget Italy! 

What wines are you asking Santa for this year?
A few bottles of older Chateau D'yquem ... are you listening, Santa?

How do your sons like college so far?
They are adjusting very nicely (more so than their father hit with "twin" tuition all at once!). One of the boys is in a business program that has a concentration in "family business and entrepreneurship" - so there may be a third generation along the way!

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
I am a crossword addict. 

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers? 
Phone is always easiest for me. I don't type nearly as fast as I can speak ...
1232 Second Avenue (near 65th)
New York, NY 10065

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