It’s fairly safe to say that most people seldom pay any attention to their window fashions. When we walk into a room, rarely do we notice the blinders, or shoot an appreciative glance at the window shades. Indeed, if anything, we are perhaps more inclined to notice their absence rather than their presence, and anyone who has ever woken up with the sunlight hitten them in the face can attest. Something similar can be said about closets – they are an indispensable piece of furniture, such that they are often rendered invisible by their ubiquitousness. That is, unless you are Stephan Elbaz, the founder and CEO of the Hoboken-based window fashions dealer, Interior Motif, which also specializes in custom closets and drapery. An expert in window fashions with over two decades of experience, Elbaz knows just how important shades and blinders are to any room, and how crucial it is to own a closet that perfectly matches your storage needs.
“Puting in window shades or a closet does change the mood of your house,” said Elbaz in a phone interview with VUE Magazine. “It changes how much light comes into your room, or how much light you can block out, which means you can wake up better. As for closet organization, opening your closet and seeing everything tucked away creates a feel-good experience.”
And Elbaz should know, as he has been in this business for most of his life. Growing up in his native city of Montreal, Canada, he used to do soft window treatments – though, at first, he resisted making it his career. “Initially, I said “No way, I’m not going to do it”,” said Elbaz. “But [the business] pulled me back in.” Eventually, Elbaz moved across the border to the United States and opened up his own company, Interior Motif. Now, over 25 years later, Interior Motif has grown into one of the most successful and well-regarded window fashions and closets dealers in New Jersey. Specializing in beautiful, high-quality closets and window treatments, Interior Motif services clients throughout the Hudson and Bergen Counties. Moreover, Interior Motif is the only window fashions dealer to hold the rights to sell the prestigious Hunter Douglas brand in Hudson County. According to Elbaz, “To be a licensed gallery dealer, you have to go through a strict vetting process where they look at your staff, your accountability on jobs, all of those kinds of things, to make sure that you fit the profile – which we do. We’ve been in this business for 26 years, and we’ve been a licensed gallery for about 20 years.”
Guided by the motto “luxury for every budget,” Interior Motif caters to every kind of client, from private homes in the suburbs to high-rise buildings downtown. According to Elbaz, this is what makes the business so exciting. “Every project is unique,” he said. “Every client is different, every window is different, every product is different, which means that every day is different, too. It’s not a job so much as it is an adventure.” Of course, Interior Motif doesn’t actually design any of the products that they sell and install, but rather they act mainly as subcontractors. “We’re not a design firm, so we’ll work with builders, we’ll work with designers, we’ll work with contractors, etc…” Elbaz clarified. “Most of our business is residential, and we cater to every type of clientele, so we’ll work with every industry. Take, for example, somebody that hires a designer who’s going to design their kitchen, their flooring, all of that stuff. Now, the designer needs to hire somebody to do the work. So, when it comes to the window shades and the closets, we’re that company.”
In an industry that is mostly dominated by mom-and-pop shops, Interior Motif tries to stand out by betting on innovation, both on the level of the products and services they offer, such as their automated and energy-efficient shades, to the ways that they curate their brand image and reach out to potential clients. For example, whereas any other window fashions dealer would simply use a mobile showroom in a standard truck, Interior Motif, under Elbaz’s leadership, uses a mobile showroom made out of glass, which allows potential clients to look at the products offered by Interior Motif without having to enter such a confined space. At the same time, Interior Motif also has its own Youtube series called Behind The Shades, which was created in order to show people the process of buying window shades.
All that said, at the core of any successful business is its relationship with its clients, and Interior Motif is no different. In an industry where projects can vary widely in terms of complexity, style and scale, Interior Motif is able to maintain its customer service quality standards by always putting the client’s needs first. “Not every type of window shade or closet design is made for every person, so we have to really hear the client and learn what they want,” Elbaz said. “The first thing we want to do is listen. We want to hear what the client has done, what kind of research they have done. We want to hear them, and direct them in the right direction based on where they’re going with it. We want to show them the challenges they might incur in they went in a certain direction, or lead them to the right product. We can custom tailor [our products] to every style, option and budget. I just need to know what their needs are, what gets them excited, and then I can show them that.”
“If you take off the L in “Learn,” you get “Earn,” and that’s our philosophy. We have to understand the client, learn what they want, in order to earn their business.”