Meet Your Maker

Irwin Maltz shares the story of how the passing of his father gave him, his three brothers and their families the inspiration to turn a family tragedy into a growing business.

They say that every dark cloud has a silver lining…in our case it had a paper one!

My brothers and I, along with our mother, wives and children, lost our beloved father, Bernard Maltz, in November of 2006 after a long, tough battle with cancer. O ur father always instilled in us the power of family and to always look for the good; for the “silver lining”.  When he passed away we planned to sit Shiva at my Long Island home.  Being brought up with a strong Jewish background, my brothers and I wanted to do everything “kosher” and prepare the house for a proper and respectful mourning period.

For those not familiar with the customs of the Jewish religion, when a parent, sibling or spouse passes away there are traditions to be observed, one of which is the sitting of Shiva, a week-long formal mourning period.  During this time, it is customary that all of the mirrors in the Shiva home be covered.

Our entire immediate family gathered in my home, looked around at my mirrored walls, and faced a dilemma; how do we respect Jewish tradition and cover all of these mirrors?  My wife, who keeps an impeccable home, shuddered at the thought of messy glass wax to cover the mirrors.  The walls were too large to cover with sheets, and we didn’t know what to do.  It was at this time that one of my sister in laws suggested using paper shades, similar to the self-adhesive ones that builders or interior designers would use as temporary shades to cover the mirrors.

Well, anything was worth a try.  We adapted these shades to fit our need.  Their ease of use, with adhesive tape and adjustable sizing were just what were needed to solve the mirror problem.  We were able to cut the shades, or place them side by side, according to the size of the mirror.  We used clips to shorten the shades as needed.  All of the mirrors in my home were covered in less than fifteen minutes.

After ShivaShade

During that extremely sad and difficult week, the many friends, relatives and rabbis who came to offer their condolence, would complement us on the elegant way that we covered the mirrors.  On more than one occasion, people commented on our “shiva shades”.  They were a simple yet stylish solution, which enabled us to adhere to our Jewish customs.  One evening while sitting with our immediate family and reflecting on the day, the topic of “shiva shades” came up.  Suddenly, someone said, ”why use a schmata when you can use a shiva shade?”  Laughter broke across the table for the first time in many days. We started talking; if our family had a problem covering the mirrors, many other Jewish families must as well.  At such a difficult time when a family is mourning, this simple creation can make setting up the Shiva house less stressful and easier.

The next morning, we started to talk about taking our idea to the next step and going into business.  ShivaShade Inc. was born.  We started talking to funeral homes and synagogues in our area to see if they would be interested in offering ShivaShades to those individuals that they knew who were in mourning.  Quickly, we began to get orders for our product. We have also started attending funeral director and bereavement conventions.  For my brothers and I, The ShivaShade business has become our passion – allowing us to keep our father’s memory alive.

In the months since our father has passed, our business has grown exponentially. We have Rabbis and funeral homes distributing our products as far away as California.  We have also discovered new markets, learning that many other cultures share in the tradition of covering the mirrors in a time of mourning.

ShivaShade, Inc.will be attending the next New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association Convention in September 2007 and National Funeral Director’s Association Convention in October 2007.  Until then, you can find out more about Shiva Shade by visiting our website at, or by calling 516-665-8323 .  You may place an order by contacting your local funeral home, synagogue or online at our website.  

From day one, this has been a family run business – with each of us lending our talents to help get the business off of the ground.  One grandson developed the Web site, while another grandson developed the logo.  A granddaughter took the photos demonstrating how the ShivaShades were to be hung, which are now seen on our Internet site.

My brothers and I created ShivaShade, Inc. in memory of our beloved father, Bernard Maltz.  We are a family owned and operated company, with three generations involved in the production, distribution and marketing of our product.  Shiva Shade is the “paper” lining to our dark cloud, and we know that our father is looking down on us with pride.


One of our newest friends, Deborah Ross of Remembrance Reproductions, has created a new, patent-pending product:

Blue Legacy Board - Click Image to Close

This is the Legacy Board in blue.  The rectangle sections are open to the background.  A sturdy base board offers space to glue, tape or temporarily attach a photograph.  The front framing spaces (the foreground) lays over the photos and give the inpression of a hand-scrapbooked memory board.

Deborah’s boards wholesale for less than $60 a board, making this a viable, timesaving product for your clients.

Check out her site at

Our booth neighbors, Roadside Memory, have just improved their product.  Utilizing an extremely precise laser, they etch a photo and other relevant info onto a powder-coated aluminum temporary marker.

These are great markers and are a wonderful alternative to the typed temporary marker that most funeral homes use.

Check them out at and look for my video interview with Gary of Roadside Memory in the next few days.

This interview is part of the series, 45 Exhibitors in 45 Days, which highlights companies which are exhibiting at the NFDA Convention in Las Vegas.


FINAL EMBRACE:  My guest today is Dirk Jaekel of Pictures in Motion.  Tell me, Dirk, what does Pictures in Motion do?

Pictures in Motion DIRK:  We specialize in creating professional DVD photo tributes.

FE:  What is your product’s best feature?DIRK:  Our attention to detail and uniqe creativity is our best feature. We color-correct all photos, fix scratches and blemishes, remove dust and add special effects and backgrounds to enhance our productions.

FE:  What makes Pictures in Motion unique?

DIRK:  Our graphic artists use several different software programs to create the highest quality productions.

FE:  What is the advantage to working with Pictures in Motion?

DIRK:  Our hours of operation are 24/7 with a guaranteed turn around time of 12-24 hours with no contracts and no minimums…”We do the work, you get the recognition.”

FE:  Why are you attending the NFDA Convention this year?DIRK:  We have been attending for the past 5 years….it’s a great way to meet potential new clients and bench mark ourselves against our competition.

FE:  I know our readers are always looking for great memory-makers like your videos.  How can they reach you?

DIRK:  You can call us at 1-866-767-8770, e-mail us at or visit us at


(click the picture for a larger view)

NFDA Convention Exhibitor 24k Rose Co. is reaching out to convention attendees ahead of the big show with a postcard that describes their great product.

We’ve already featured 24 Karat Rose in our series, 45 Exhibitors in 45 Days.  You can read their profile and other articles about the company here.

Special thanks to Greg from 24 Karat Rose for sharing this with us!

The following interview is part of our continuing series, 45 Exhibitors in 45 Days, which highlights some of the vendors who will be showing their wares at the upcoming NFDA Convention in Las Vegas.

FINAL EMBRACE:  Susan, tell us a little about United Priority Distributors.

SUSAN:  We offer a wide variety of cremation urns and keepsakes.  We manufacture unique products like our Keepsake Rosary Urns, Boy Scouts of America exclusive urn line and Music Box Urns.  We also have a full line of plush Teddy Bears, the largest selection of jewelry and more.

FE:  And why are you attending the NFDA Convention?

SUSAN:  We are so excited to attend this year, as it is actually our first NFDA show.  And since the last ICCFA show we attended in March, we acquired the BSA license, the Log Cabin urn, the wood pendants and more.

FE:  Are you going to have a convention special or be giving away a prize?

SUSAN:  Yes, we are giving away 350 Blue Spruce Tress, and a drawing for a BSA Urn.

Boy Scout Cremation Urn

FE:  Where is UPD located?

SUSAN:  We are located just 10 minutes from the Sequoia National Park and reside in a small town called Three Rivers.  Thousands of visitors pass through 3 Rivers, every year.  We love living here and really have made this place our own in just 3 short years.  We like to say “ From the smallest seed grows the largest tree, and we still growing!”  That’s us, a small family business.

FE:  How can our readers find you?

SUSAN:  Best way to contact us, is to go to, but our phone number is 888-445-4449.

FE:  I look forward to meeting you in Vegas!

SUSAN:  Me, too!

I’ve been putting together a list of people I want to meet when I get to Vegas for the NFDA Convention.

I added another name to the growing list after talking to Toni Noel, owner of A Touch from Beyond.

I’ll be interviewing Toni at the NFDA Convention, but until then, one of her associates replied to our email with the following facts about their product.  This is profile #15 in our feature, 45 Exhibitors in 45 Days.


A Touch from Beyond sells a genre of touching cards with a powerful impact which will be sent to loved ones of the client upon his or her passing.

VARIETY PACK DFThis product is unique because of the personalization of the preplanning package in which the client simply chooses from a wide variety of cards to send and creates a list of the loved ones who will receive the product. A Touch from Beyond also adds you logo to the back of each card, thus establishing a client connection with the next generation and initiating a family tradition of dealing with you in this time of life.

The products best feature is the quality of the cards that are sent and also the beautiful verses that are embellished on each card to deliver that final message.

The reason A Touch from Beyond is exhibiting at the national convention is to offer our cards to funeral home owners and funeral directors for their preplanning marketing.Your readers can reach A Touch from Beyond by calling 888-32CARDS or by accessing the website

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