In 2001, Tijman came from Argentina where he had trained as an industrial engineer. By 2003, his uncle, Raul Fainbraun, had purchased a small company called The Blind Shop, and they went into business together. Despite having no experience in the industry, they quickly learned the mechanics of manufacturing custom blinds from the basic materials of two-inch aluminum slats and string. They learned how to hand cut the slats efficiently and thread the string through them without getting cut on the sharp edges.
Unfortunately, less than a year after starting the company, Fainbraun passed away, leaving Tijman in charge with only a small binder full of client referrals. Most of the clients were property management companies that only needed basic miniblinds for residences and small offices. Tijman wondered how to make the company grow.
He decided that he needed to become involved with a business network, so he joined Property Management Association (PMA). Together with his Financial Officer Carol Feudale, they looked to find ways to improve their business practices. Tijman says he couldn’t have done it without her. “She always has a positive attitude and makes everyone in the office strive to do their best.”
Fortune began to shine on Tijman when an unsolicited fax came in from Clark Construction, a local general contractor, requesting a bid for a large commercial project.
Tijman was unfamiliar with how the bidding process worked, but he was anxious to learn. He quickly contacted Clark Construction and asked questions. Eventually, he won the bid. He was on his way to an interesting and successful future.
Over the years, the company has weathered tough times, but has grown, currently employing 20 people in sales, manufacturing and installation. In 2009, the company name was changed from The Blind Shop to Total Shading Solutions on the advice of a mentor, Denise Khoury. Khoury is Mid-Atlantic Business Development Manager at MechoShade Systems. Tijman met her when he became involved with Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Tijman recalls, “She was my guardian angel. She gave me tough jobs, but supported me with advice and suggestions about the direction of my business.”
In 2021 Total Shading Solutions is looking for new Horizonts opening a brunch in Florida with the objective to expand the company.