On The Job
Ernie Dascoli is the owner of Made In The Shade, a custom window treatment business in Windham.
Explain your job and what it entails
I’m the owner of a custom window treatment company. My job entails overseeing the day-to-day operations, which entails mostly marketing, sales and install coordination. I help people transition their homes by using blinds, shades, shutter and draperies products that dress up their windows and change the entire feel of rooms in their home.
How long have you had this job?
I started the business this year and have enjoyed a lot of early success, considering you hear most companies struggle at the beginning. What led you to this career field and your current job? I’ve always been in corporate sales for packaging manufacturers, so the interaction with the client came naturally. I was looking to transition out of the corporate grind and build a company of my own. I was burnt out from traveling all over the country and spending 100-plus nights on the road and weekly conferences and Zoom calls that seemed to accomplish nothing except give the group a reason to jump on another call. It left me with a very unfulfilling feeling inside, and I felt destined to do something better for myself.
What kind of education or training did you need?
The education never stops. I spent a week at the corporate franchise office learning the basics of running the business. I then took it on my own to work with some local window treatment installers to learn the products and how they are installed. I also spent a lot of time meeting with my window treatment manufacturers to learn about all the products and trends in the window treatment industry.
What is your typical at-work uniform or attire?
Depends on what hat I’m wearing. For in-home consultations, I dress more professionally — dress pants and a golf or button-down dress shirt. If I am doing an install, I’ll be wearing work pants or jeans and a golf shirt of some sort. No matter what, it is always important to look respectful at a customer’s home.
How has your job changed over the course of the pandemic?
Being a relatively new business, things are changing constantly. From the beginning of the year until now, I feel like I’ve lived through two dramatic swings that most businesses don’t experience for years. In the beginning of 2022, business was booming, but these past few months business has slowed due to inflation pressures and a downturn in the economy on the brink of a recession. You need to roll with the punches and keep adjusting. It’s important to stay ahead of the business environment and keep on learning.
What do you wish you’d known at the beginning of your career?
When you work for a large company, no matter how much you like the company or the people you work with, you’re still an employee, and everyone is replaceable. There’s not a lot of loyalty. I should have started my own business earlier.
What do you wish other people knew about your job?
I’m always looking out for my customer’s best interest. When I have happy customers, that is the most rewarding part of the job.
What was the first job you ever had?
I was a caddy at a country club in town.
What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?
No matter how bad you think a situation is, it’s usually not as bad as you think it is, and most of the time it works itself out.