Editor’s note: This month’s Business Beacon is a spotlight on The Shade & Drape Co., a full-service window treatment business. Owner Ted Jurek talks to us about their personalized approach and the art of “custom.” Visit them on their website or find them on Instagram or Facebook.
Do you have an interesting topic you think we should cover? Leave a comment below!
1. How did you get the idea or concept for your business?
TJ: I have always been interested in business and have a bachelor’s degree in finance and an MBA and started my career in the corporate world working in the insurance industry. Over time, I needed to chart my own course and decided to combine my education with my artistic passions and love for interiors and design. I purchased an interior decorating franchise in 2004 and worked with clients on decorating projects including furniture, lighting, flooring accessories, and, of course, window treatments. I realized window treatments were the most fun and technically challenging and saw a market for a business that provided this service. I exited the franchise and opened The Shade & Drape Co. in 2011.
2. Let’s discuss numbers: What year did you open? How many locations do you have? How many people do you employ?
TJ: We opened our first showroom in Houston, Texas, in 2011. We currently have locations in Santa Rosa Beach and Houston and have four employees.
3. What do you sell or what service do you provide? What’s your best seller?
TJ: We sell custom window treatments – draperies, shades, shutters, and blinds – as well as wallcoverings and bedding. Our bestsellers are draperies, roller shades and plantation shutters.
4. What’s unique about what you do or offer?
TJ: We carry multiple brands in each product category in order to meet the needs of most clients. Our array of product offer clients options to find the perfect solution for them.
5. How would you describe your business to a potential customer?
TJ: We create customized window-covering solutions for homes and businesses. We work with customers to transform the light in their space, letting their unique personality and design aesthetic come through. We have a simple process: (1) consultation – In your space or ours, virtual or by phone; (2) receive a complimentary estimate; (3) on-site measurement of your windows; (4) fabrication of your custom order; and, (5) professional installation. We manage the process from start to finish.
6. What do you love most about your line of work?
TJ: Each project is unique so we get to work with new people and take customized approaches to every job, which keeps things interesting. Working closely with clients and creating the right solution for them is very rewarding.
7. What sorts of trends are you seeing in your industry?
TJ: Innovative companies like Hunter Douglas create new products every few years that are truly original and found nowhere else in the market. In addition, the operating and lift control system for window treatments have evolved the most over the years. Cordless options are more prevalent and provide additional safety for children and pets and added convenience and cleaner lines for the consumer. Advancements in technology have led to a surge in motorized window coverings which can be operated with a remote, voice activation, and smart home systems.
8. Tell me in just a sentence or two what you feel sets you apart from your competitors.
TJ: The Shade & Drape Co. specializes in ALL types of window coverings – draperies, shades, shutters and blinds – and we carry multiple lines in each category to offer clients a variety of designs, features, options, and price points to meet their needs.
9. Who or what inspires you? This could be a family member or celebrity, a particular quote or even a book/movie/podcast. The sky’s the limit!
TJ: Family – their unconditional support and love keep me grounded and inspired.
10. What’s the best thing about being a part of the Emerald Coast, personally and/or professionally?
TJ: Of course, the BEACH! The small, vibrant community is the best. Their shout-outs and support of local businesses have been amazing. As an established business with a new location in Santa Rosa Beach, we’ve experienced their incredible support and are grateful.
11. Are you/your business involved in the community in any way? Volunteering or giving back? If so, how?
TJ: Being new to the area we are seeking volunteer options where we can make the biggest impact and have been speaking with Habitat for Humanity to see how we can help with a new build in the area. We are committed to supporting and improving our beach communities just as we have in Houston, where we volunteered to serve meals to homeless youth and were active in church mission activities.
12. What does a typical day in your business look like? (Pretend it’s Monday (or Friday!) and take me through the highlights of your day.)
TJ: It’s rarely “Groundhog Day” at The Shade & Drape Co. Each day is different but normally consists of meeting and consulting with clients in their home/business or our showroom, preparing quotes, entering orders, scheduling measure/installation appointments, and general customer service.
13. What’s your best “insider tip?” (This could be a community tip for vacationers or homeowners or even a tip for customers related to your business.)
TJ: While the vibe is more relaxed compared to larger cities, the beach community is close and works hard to support its members. Something about living at the beach – whether it’s permanent or just for vacation – seems to bring people together.
14. How do you recharge or relax when the day is done?
TJ: Anything outdoors, whether it’s a walk to the beach with my dogs or just sitting by the pool with a glass of wine. Also, my guilty pleasure is reality TV. I really enjoy the “Below Deck” shows, as they feed my love for travel as well as The Smithsonian Channel.
15. Just the deets, please! Where are you located? Business hours? Social media profiles and/or website links we need to know about? (Please feel free to add social media handles or direct links!)
TJ: We are located at 5597 U.S. Highway 98 W, Suite 101, in Santa Rosa Beach. We are located in the Marquis building, a quarter-mile mile east of Scenic 30A. We are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. We are also available by appointment. Find them on the web at shadeandrape.com.
16. One final question: If there was just one thing you wish the public knew about your business, what would it be?
TJ: “Custom” does not mean “expensive.” We carry value brands as well as premium brands in each product category and work with clients to create customized solutions to meet their needs and budget. We even have products that can beat prices from some online or big box stores and you get a better selection and personalized service. Our experienced pros love working with and educating customers and showing them options they may not have known about to create a solution just for them.