Jackie and I recently had the wonderful distinction of being interviewed by House of CoCo, a truly unique fashion magazine and blog based in the UK. Below is portion of the interview that Jackie and I did with them.
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
Da Vinci Case as a brand was first launched in 2012 from my basement in Denver, Colorado USA. I had been experimenting with putting my artwork on device cases for about a year prior to launching the brand. Initially I was selling them on Etsy.com next to prints of my art. The demand for the cases was much greater than I expected and eventually there were so many they buried my art prints on the site, so I spun them off into their own brand and store. That’s how Da Vinci Case was born.
What’s your background?
I’ve always been an artist creating things, even as a small child. I grew up in a very creative family, my mother is a florist and my father is a landscape architect. So using flowers in design was introduced to me at a very young age. I studied both fine art and marketing at Western Michigan University graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1999. I worked for advertising agencies for the next twelve years before stepping out on my own with Da Vinci Case and my art licensing company Fusion Idol LLC.
How many people are involved in the company and what are their roles?
We have four people currently involved in the business.
Christopher Beikmann – Founder – art design, product development, manufacturing, marketing, customer service
Jacqueline Barnabas – Wife & Co-Founder – business management, product development, legal and social media
Our two part time studio assistants Heather and Lauren, work on customer service, photo editing, web design and fulfilment.
If you could start over with the business would you do anything differently?
I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, so I’m hesitant to say I would change anything. Even mistakes are lessons learned that make your business better. I’m proud of my designs and the high quality products we’ve come to make sell.
What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
Copyright and Trademark Infringement. This is something every successful artist will face. It has definitely impacted me emotionally as well as financially. When you have a quality product, good designs and a loyal following of customers this instantly puts a target on your company. Your brand and designs get copied, counterfeited and sold off super cheap by unscrupulous people with terrible quality in places like Amazon and eBay.
Tell us one fact about you that people don’t know?
I secretly want to work on art and design for a Lady Ga Ga project.
2016 is almost here – where do you plan on taking the brand?
There are going to be a lot of changes in the coming year. We’re moving out of the big marketplaces like Amazon as we’ve decided they are not in line with our artisan brand. Meanwhile we’re expanding DaVinciCase.com and our Etsy shop. We’ve partnered with another art focused company in the USA making high resolution vinyl skin decals for iPads, Laptops and other devices. Some of these new skin products have already started making their way onto DaVinciCase.com. This will also be our first full year in our new larger studio located in Tijeras, New Mexico USA. Hopefully this will lead to lots of new inspiration in the coming year.
To date what has been the highlight since launching?
There has been some exciting media coverage of my art and case business. We’ve been featured in Vogue magazine, Interviewed on a local news morning show in Denver, CO and most recently my iPhone cases and art have been featured on the US hit TV comedy “Black-ish” airing on ABC.
Three beauty products you can’t leave the house without?
A – I’m deferring to Jacqueline on this question. Here’s her top picks:
1. Lip gloss. I prefer Stila long wear lip stain or other long wear lip colour. Sometimes that is the only make up I wear.
2. Tweezers. You never know when you will notice a stray hair or have a few minutes in the car mirror before and appointment and keeping your brows groomed keeps your look polished at all times.
3. Coconut oil. It should be extra virgin and organic. I use this as a face and body moisturizer, lip balm, nail/nail bed moisturiser, eye makeup remover, brow tamer and even as a supplement in my coffee.
Defining your inner self to the outer world.
Statement shoe or statement bag?
I’m deferring to Jacqueline again for her favorites.
“Knee-high boots. All kinds. All colors. All heel heights. I wear them all the time with skinny jeans, leggings and tights. They are classy, sexy and depending on heel height quite practical.”
If you had to, what piece of clothing from your wardrobe would you wear everyday?
Considering most people take their iPhone with them everywhere, I don’t think anyone should ever leave home without their Da Vinci Case, but I’ll defer this question to Jacqueline again.
“Earrings – Whether I am dressing up or dressing down. I always wear them. Accessories show that you care and put thought into your appearance, plus it is always fun to decorate yourself!”
In the future how do you plan on expanding the company?
I know we can’t manufacture everything under my watch in the studio, so I’m always looking for good manufacturing and licensing partners that fit with our brand. I think you can expect to see some new, unique quality products coming from these relationships.
Where can people find out more?
You can shop with us online at www.DaVinciCase.com and at Etsy www.davincicase.etsy.com . You can connect with us on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/davincicase . You can also learn more about me as an artist at www.fusionidol.com