Hi! I'm Dane Carlson, and welcome to the Business Opportunities Weblog. I've been publishing this website, by myself, and sometimes with the help of others for over twelve years now. You'll notice two things about this site right away:
It takes a creative mind to see the art in a few pieces of metal. Often a really creative person can create a functional piece of art that people will love. However, it takes a great business mind to see the opportunity these pieces hold. Vladimir Gendelman is that man.
Vladimir was first inspired when he came across the unique pieces of art by accident. He saw the potential they had, so he contacted the company behind the sculptures and brought them to the Internet. Since launching Metal Imagination, he has successfully landed clients in various parts of the country. Businesses have picked up his wine bottle holders as personalized gifts, and his business card holders add a unique touch to any entrepreneurs desk.
David Krieger, the project and website manager, recently answered a few questions about the business and their unique creations sold.
Tell us a little about Metal Imagination.
Metal Imagination opened its doors in 2007 as a boutique metal artwork retailer specializing in unique gifts for just about every lifestyle and profession. We carry a wide variety of handcrafted metal sculptures, wine holders, desktop business card holders, and many more decorative household and office pieces.
What inspired you to get into the metal sculpture business?
Discovering the artwork being produced by H&K Sculptures were really significant. We were very impressed by the designs, but the craftsmanship of the products was second to none and the decision of bringing them to an online audience of gift seekers was intuitive.
How many different styles/products do you offer?
Currently, we carry over 750 different metal products. Many can be engraved for additional styling and personalization. We also offer the ability to modify existing products as well as create entirely new designs for a completely original metal art piece. A minimum order of 25 pieces is required to customize your own product.
Recommend a sculpture you think our readers would enjoy.
One of the most popular products is the Wine Taster Wine Bottle Holder. This, along with all of our other wine bottle holders are fun gifts and also something you might not have personally thought of getting someone on your own. Why just give a bottle of wine as a gift when you can add some personality to it?!?!?!
What separates you from the competition?
Customer service being our number one priority and having unique gifts for every personality! No matter who you’re shopping for, Metal Imagination has a unique gift that will fit their personality. We know how frustrating finding the perfect gift can be and our friendly customer service staff like nothing more than to help someone pick out the perfect gift. Especially one you won’t find in your average gift shop or local shopping mall.
Do you have any goals you’d like to accomplish over the next year or so?
We would like to increase our following through social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. Our Facebook page (see Metal Imagination) has lead to some great engagement so far and we look forward to developing it even more.
What are some lessons your business has taught you?
You need to set yourself apart and creating a great customer service team that wants to help every customer is extremely important. We really feel that we do an amazing job at this! The ongoing redevelopment of our website to meet our customer’s needs and make it easy for them to find and purchase the products they are looking for is extremely important. Consistently driving traffic to reach revenue goals and creating the systems to have smooth logistics is very important to satisfying every customer, and that is the number one goal.
If you could go back in time, is there anything you would change about your business?
I would have taken the opportunity to sell these products even sooner. Often times we think about ideas and do not move forward. Taking the leap has taught us that without risk there is no reward.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Our goal is to be a site that people really enjoy exploring and find something they weren’t specifically looking for. Everything from our array of innovative artwork to our package inserts is created to make the experience fun and entertaining for every customer.
Do you have any advice you’d like to offer aspiring entrepreneurs?
Your customers are the core of your business and you need to take care of them like no other company does. You want them to be so happy that they want to talk about your company with the people they work and socialize with. Word of mouth advertising is better than any other media out there. Everyone wants their customers to come back and shop again, but the best compliment is if they bring someone new with them.