Acoustics

A Mission to Raise Awareness about the Universally Destructive Nature of Noise

1 January 1

After a short career as an actress in films and TV, she followed her grandfather's footsteps to become the founder and CEO of Quite Mark. The company helps consumers and specifiers find verified low-noise, high-performance products and acoustic solutions to unwanted noise. She was named “the Queen of Quiet” by The Sunday Times newspaper in 2021. She is a passionate campaigner about the impact of sound on well-being. Meet Poppy Szkiler.

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Your grandfather, John Connell, established the UK Noise Abatement Society in 1959. Is that how you got introduced in the world of sound? 

I had a career path in the film industry up until the age of 30, after a major reappraisal of my life and a deep desire to seek purpose I offered to help my mother start a trading arm to the charity but had no clue at the time it was going to become a long passionate very important journey in my life.

My personal revelation of the power of sound came through tangibly experiencing a sense of incredible peace transferred during times of listening to Christian worship music and in long periods of silence in prayer. Though Grandpa’s work had always been there through my childhood and as a young adult it had not captured my heart or even been on my radar as something I would be part of let alone lead into the next generation, up until my own awakening to the profoundly creative force of sound and with that came a sense of responsibility, the seemingly infinite depths and invisible wonder of sound to be stewarded, the science explained its impact articulated and the flip side of course being how negative and destructive sound can be when misused or misunderstood, why my family’s work had been established to protect society against the sources of contextual unwanted noise which ruin quality of life, as much as quietness or beautiful harmonious sound can create wellness and be entirely life giving. 

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You are the founder and CEO of Quiet Mark. What is the goal of Quiet Mark? 

The business model of Quiet Mark is designed to help solve noise pollution by undertaking the verification of manufacturers claims and acoustic measurement of products, providing a free guide to help easily find the quietest products, lowest noise technologies and best solutions to unwanted noise in the world in one hub.

Quiet Mark does the complex acoustic science and product performance evaluation to make solutions to noise easy to source and solve the problem with the best engineering currently available. With the acoustics knowledge gap we seek to educate in our campaigning to help nurture a greater understanding of necessity to human health to invest in acoustic design of products and living spaces and to give consumers or trade buyers an informed choice.

We are constantly updating and evolving our extensive databases to provide an evolving definitive resource platform to help everyone find the quietest products and solutions to unwanted noise. We champion the technical achievements of industry creating life changing products with acoustic design. 

How does Quiet Mark communicate about the importance of acoustics? Because a hairdryer sounds totally different in a reverberant bathroom than in a quiet bedroom. 

Quiet Mark conducts the complex science measurements, product testing and comparative triangulations in specialist acoustic labs on behalf of consumers, specifiers and trade buyers by third party acoustic experts providing an easy trusted symbol on the products in over 80 categories to make sure public have easy access to the quietest technology and solutions to unwanted noise at home and for building materials and many other applications.

Our acousticians test repeatably in our reverberant specialist lab environment so the product with a Quiet Mark has been proven to be one of the very quietest in a tough acoustic setting. We compare the highest settings readings like for like to determine results.

Quiet Mark assess sound quality, frequencies and tonalities in addition to decibel measurement. Quiet Mark’s high profile on-going global press campaign articulates to widest audiences via top titles the science made simple to help further understanding of complexities acoustic measurement. 

The value of silence and quietness are essential for every human’s well-being

Poppy Szkiler

CEO and founder of Quite Mark

Quiet Mark is celebrating its' 10th anniversary this year. How do you see the role of QM in another 10 years from now? 

Quiet Mark stands on the shoulders of 64 years of the Noise Abatement Society’s public service. At the completion of our first decade, I feel Quiet Mark has only just begun, we have laid a strong foundation on which to now build. With the constant momentum of global industry leaders across sectors working with us I believe Quiet Mark will continue to expand its influence, raising awareness about the universally destructive nature of noise as a major pollutant and how the work of Quiet Mark passionately seeks to reverse this.

We are already working towards the first Quiet Mark certified housing developments which could become a blueprint for future house-build where Quiet Mark certified products are prioritised and employed throughout. Where the demand for Quiet Mark certified products may become a must have, moving greater investment into acoustics as top priority in every build project from the outset. We would like to develop Quiet Mark certified hospitals to help support patient health recovery within unique sound designed units. When I experienced the great discomfort of Covid over Christmas, the only relief I found was sitting in silence, unlike the hospital environment where the intense constant cacophony of high-pitched bleeps and beeps from many monitors in hospitals only adds to the trauma of being ill. There are many noise battles to be won. 

In 2015 you were one of the executive producers of the documentary "In pursuit of silence". A film about the relationship we as humans have with sound. Do you think that has changed because of the global pandemic? 

With the whole of life suddenly happening under one roof at home during Lockdowns and the shift to working from home the necessity to create a quiet supportive environment for work, study and well-being became a major shift in how we live. Quietness became a must have and top priority for productivity and sanity.

So much so during the pandemic the number of Quiet Mark certified products listed on quietmark.com tripled from 350 to over 1,000 as the volume of demand and testing of products suddenly increased. John Lewis & Partners who have worked in partnership with Quiet Mark for 9 years, reported more than 10,000 searches a month for appliances during the Lockdowns that include the term “quiet” on the retailer’s website, with washing machines and kettles the most likely devices to be linked to the search. A new awareness of noise became front of mind where noise intrusions interfered with zoom calls and work concentration, also a need for comfort that a peaceful environment brings. 

The pressure of a lot of quick change and uncertainty in society at large has driven people to seek a safe peaceful place to feel comforted where noise has become more of an irritant than ever before. Our need for security and well-being has heightened during the pandemic and sensitivity to seek answers or to be soothed in stressful times is very much aided in a peaceful environment. Practically, home schooling and home office being in the domestic space is a huge shift and concentration is supported in quietness to be productive. People are also finding healing in quietness as it is a safe place where the still small voice of calm can be heard, especially at this time of unprecedented change. 

As a female founder and CEO what is your definition of the purpose of business? 

In a turbulent world I believe the purpose of business is to solve problems for people and planet, to help to encourage people to grow into the best versions of themselves in the midst of that journey. To be profitable and sustainable to have a core purpose of social impact and to challenge negative mindsets.

I most enjoy seeing the potential which can be unlocked when traditional boundaries between businesses are dissolved, where businesses themselves work as teams across sectors collaborating as one, to passionately focus on meeting the world’s problems, with true intention to serve and enable the poorest see their potential realised and not to do business for selfish gain. Each business led with the right heart motive can transform families, a community, a nation, or nations with the right values.