Tell us about yourself and your company, and what inspired you to start this business?
I’m David Tivadar, President for Quiet Curtains. We design custom elegant soundproofing curtains.
As with any problem that exists, you first identify the problem and then you imagine the solution. We were constantly getting calls from those who live in an urban environment with noise issues such as the kids being too loud. Hotels were calling us because, while they had great locations in the center of the city, they dealt with challenges in regard to accompanying highway noise. Acoustics were never a priority and while windows can help, they're often expensive.
So we wanted to provide something that wasn't as pricey or invasive. I grew up around window coverings. Materials that blocked light, but not sound. I heard and listened to customers who had a genuine problem and from then on, Quiet Curtains was born. I enjoy what I do. People call with a problem "I can't sleep, I've been up for days, help me!" and we provide solace.
What has been your proudest moment in business?
Solving the customer problem is always the most important, but I’d say when we were able to bring all of the variables that needed to come together into one place: antimicrobial, fire resistant, flexible but still able to block out sound. Hotel curtains, for instance, have to pass fire codes, and hospital curtains need to be antimicrobial. The moment we realized we had it all put together was a great moment.
Name one thing you’ve struggled with, in the work you do.
I think a common theme among small business owners has to be the challenge of growing and matching your infrastructure to your growth. Growth can come so quickly, but when you don't have the foundation to support it, it can be tough to manage. Imagine having the demand without the support you needed to make it happen.
In my industry it's especially challenging because it requires education in acoustics. It's far more than just answering the phone.
What is the one thing you wish you could change about your industry? About your business?
Compatibility with Amazon-type of marketplaces, as well as education to better articulate the value these products have. Acoustics isn't a field that's well enough understood in that space, so it's not comparable to standard/regular curtains. So there's no true category that actually fits, which results in difficulty to sell on Amazon and the like.
What’s one lesson you’ve experienced that has translated into the work you do?
I try to instill within my daughter that, regardless of what you've decided to tackle, you have to put the work in and commit to finish what you've started. Only then will you see growth and be proud of yourself for being able to persist.
Whether it's a sport, a business, or a personal endeavor, you have to stick it out and put the work in. That's where the pride come in, and it's a recreatable feeling.
Switching gears: You’re on a deserted island, what three things would you have with you and why?
I'd probably want something practical related to survival: the ability to start a fire--a kit or something of that nature.
I know it's not a tangible thing, but I want to also bring my creativity: to adapt, to think outside of the box, etc.
And finally, probably my sense of humor, because really…I think you can survive anything with a sense of humor.
Last question: If you could impart one piece of wisdom to your peers, what would it be?
It may not seem like much advice, but make every effort to control your costs and spending. At the end of the day, you can survive any environment whether in an upturn or downturn if you've paid attention to your spending. That's a life lesson I learned the hard way.