the big interview

we had before. That is since the lockdown period.

Please provide some examples of retail partners you work with Szkiler: Quiet Mark has established a unique alliance of partnerships with leading retailers who are helping shoppers to find the quietest appliance technology available on the market including John Lewis & Partners, Argos, Very, Currys PC World, ASDA and Lakeland.

That’s an impressive portfolio – is your main customers the larger multiples or do you focus on independents as well? Szkiler: The British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) also work with us to promote Quiet Mark certified products to their networks, and we believe we want to serve every British household. So, in terms of independents, we are very grateful to be able to have an ever-increasing presence to trade routes to help people. Essentially we have a charitable remit with

links to The Noise Abatement Society, so hence we’ve sought to have links with as many different routes to retail as possible.

increased – whilst nobody wants a pandemic, it coincided with the need for solutions to problems that have always been there. The damaging effect of excessive noise on health, productivity and social cohesion is seriously underestimated. World Health Organisation research shows that environmental noise pollution affects mental and physical health and is now second only to air pollution as the world’s largest killer pollutant. Across an estimated population of 340 million people, at least one million years of healthy living are lost each year due to noise pollution in Western Europe. In our fast-paced lives, vibrancy is exciting and necessary. But this heightened state can only be valued if there is also the opportunity to choose the alternatives of calm, quiet and the chance to switch off. Quiet Mark was established to provide a credible, independent scheme that would help consumers easily identify quieter products for the home, at work and for public spaces.

How has Quiet Mark managed to buck the trend in the retail industry during the Covid-19 pandemic? Szkiler: Quiet Mark has been waiting in the wings in terms of what we have all experienced in 2020 due to Covid-19. As many occupations and activities are moving under the home setting now – whether it’s home schooling, working from home or older people having to stay at home – all of these things means that noise is all under one roof. We are noticing this increased noise under one roof, which we have never noticed before. For example, that fridge making that annoying noise, and all the little sounds of our home have just become that little

22 | bit more irritating.

QuietMark has almost been readied unwittingly for this time, and what we have experienced is a tremendous increase of household brands that if they hadn’t engaged with us already, they are now engaging and getting more of their new seasoned products tested and certified with us.

Are you comfortable about threat of second lockdown to your business? Szkiler: Humbly and thankfully, our business has grown steadily through the period, and we are a certification consumer champion company, like Which? And Good Housekeeping, where our priority is to make sure customers of every demographic and region have at their fingertips the information they need to make a purchasing decision In that sense it’s been a time to fulfil that vision, where people have needed it the most, which came as big surprise to us.

How have Quiet Mark products been received by retailers? Szkiler: John Lewis Partnership is a longstanding retail partner of ours. They have seen a huge increase of 225 per cent in customer engagements searching for Quiet Mark in their navigation bar and then 100,000s of customers shopping at John Lewis Online, searching for Quiet Mark certified products with the checkbox we have on the left hand side of the navigation menu.

How many products are in your range? Szkiler: We are up to 800 plus products that have now been certified this season across 70- 80 product categories – almost doubling what •

Kettles are the most searched for Quiet Mark product on John Lewis’ website

What are your bestsellers? Szkiler: Our most searched for appliances at John Lewis are quiet kettles. It must be the British loving a cup of tea in peace and quiet! Also, the holy grail – as any OEM and manufacturer will vouch for – the boil has to be done very fast, in under a minute. To do that with the heating element is a complex piece of engineering, so very few achieve it.

And on the Quiet Mark website? Szkiler: On our own website, kettles are our number one across 61 different product categories. However, our bestsellers often trend with the season – right now we are seeing trending in our bakeware categories – due to

October 2020

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