Today we’re learning the story behind the custom barware of Maker Crystal Imagery. Check out our interview with owner Eric Schuchart to find out more about their custom etched and engraved glassware with an aura of vintage craftsmanship and their journey from a basement to fulfilling orders for Iron Man himself.
Tell us about you!
I got married for the second time in 2009 to a wonderfully artistic and talented woman. My wife Sherri was a nationally known nursery designer and had her own line of childrens’ art. She knew her way around the marketing and internet world and was, in my opinion, a genius at web marketing. As she turned her attention to Crystal Imagery, we started making huge leaps in bottom line sales. Our sole focus was on personalized barware. I was able to quit my day job and start hiring employees to help me produce our awesome product.
What is your background as a Maker?
Crystal Imagery started 16 years ago in the basement of my home in rural Pennsylvania with the help of a loan from the only investors willing to take on such a risky endeavor. Who needs Shark Tank when you have parents who believe in you! I was able to get the equipment needed to begin the long process of learning how to sand carve. The next 12 years were spent working a full time, professional job during the day and filling orders in the evening and weekends. The business was growing but at a slow pace. There was only so much I could do with the limited time available.
How do you see growing your product lines in the future?
Our business is growing double digits every year now and while it poses some huge challenges figuring out how to keep up with demand, I wouldn’t trade this experience or my life for any other. While I always knew the potential for our product was great, the path that got us to this point has been unpredictable and exciting.
In 2016, we are constructing a 10,000 sq ft production facility in an even more rural location in PA than we are now! While it is currently just a cornfield, it will soon be home to our newly designed, state-of-the art, robotic sandcarving machines.
Tell us a fun story behind the glassware you’ve been making.
As we become more nationally known for our beautiful, deep carved barware, we find ourselves filling orders for such celebrity notables as the production team of Iron Man and Robert Downey, the entire animation team of Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur, the cast and crew of John Stamos’ internet show “Losing It”, the 2015 Chicago Bears receivers, The TV show in 2014 called Enlisted, the Inaugural dish for Obama’s presidency sold in the US House gift shop and many others!
Do you have any advice for would-be Zazzle Makers?
I believe our secret recipe to success looks like this:
50% great product/idea
40% hard work/persistence/passion
10% dreamer with a dash of crazy!