Curtains never close on love
DARRELL and Alison Eising will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next year... though running a business as husband and wife for 31 years is an equally golden feat.
Starting up Gatton's Curtain World from scratch in 1979, the Eisings were forced to rent some floor space from Gatton Furniture due to a lack of buildings to rent at the time.
Two years later the couple jumped on the perfect opportunity to finally open their own shop.
"Jack Anderson was running his carpet store down where Curtain World was - and when he bought the picture theatre - so we took over his store,” Darrell said.
"It was an exciting time for us.”
With a natural flair for colour co-ordinating, Darrell was a colour consultant and interior designer for Myer in Toowoomba for about 13 years before opening Curtain World.
When they opened shop Darrell was chief decorator - looking after all the the advising, measuring and quoting and installation work, while Alison ran the store.
"I taught her everything she knows,” Darrell chuckled.
"She was a nursing sister before that - so she didn't have any experience.”
The Eisings unanimously agreed that the secret to succeeding as husband and wife in small business was being extremely compatible.
"We are compatible in marriage life and we could get along really well in business,” Darrell said.
"Alison learnt how to tell me what to do.
"We are both a pair of softies who get on well - and that helped a lot in business. We had the occasional tiff of course.”
"But because we loved what we were doing, I think it passed onto our customers,” Alison chimed in.
"We co-operated well with each other.”
Over the years Curtain World grew, along with its extensive range and began to lay broader roots across Queensland and overseas.
"At one stage we were employing four sewing ladies, and extended our workshop out to Brisbane,” Darrell said.
"We were working in New Guinea, New Zealand, in the Gold Coast and Brisbane. And I did houses on the Downs and in Harvey Bay.”
"Once we did five houses for one customer - she would move and we would keep doing her curtains,” Alison said.
"She moved to Goondiwindi and Darrell went out there and measured them and fitted them for her.”
Alison said it was disappointing to see the lack of reciprocal support in small businesses today.
"Business has really changed - a lot of people don't shop locally and local business should support each other more.”
Since selling Curtain World in 2010, the Eisings have kept very busy.
"I'm not sure we'd even have time to run a business now,” Alison chuckled.
"We've done a lot of travelling and caravanning. And we both love to garden and to grow our own veggies - which we share and swap with our neighbours.
"People stop us in the street and say 'gee I've missed you', and ask about us, it's really nice.”
"We are very proud to be Gatton people,” Darrell said.