Univision Awards “Premio Lo Nuestro” - Anuel AA

The company who designs and sculpts your favorite celebrity’s awards; You can see their genius at this year’s America250 awards during Thanksgiving NFL football

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What is your business all about?

We are a design and sculpture studio that specializes in high-end recognition awards. The majority of awards we create are custom designs commissioned by for-profit and non-profit organizations. We also offer predesigned awards that can be customized and personalized for organizations and recipients. Our clients include celebrities, heads of state and major corporations.

Tell me a little bit about your background and how you ended up choosing your field.

Well, my work background is actually in high-tech. I worked for some large technology companies, including Intel, HP and Accenture. A group of us left Intel to form a startup focused on wireless networking technology. We were able to raise venture funding from a blue-chip group of investors, including Intel, Microsoft, and Cisco. We eventually sold the company to Cirrus Logic. Following the sale, I switched gears and became involved in my family’s art business. Much of my family has been involved in art since the late 1960’s. We initially started a fine art gallery, but over time transitioned that to a sculpture studio specializing in custom awards. This was a way of marrying our family’s artistic heritage and expertise with a more commercial market.

How do you differentiate yourself from others in your field?

We are unique in that we entered the awards market from a distinctly different background than most of our competitors: we didn’t start out in the awards or trophy business, but instead as a sculpture studio and network of fine art galleries. This heritage influences the way we approach our business. We specialize in awards that feature a higher level of design, creativity and artisanship than traditional award and trophy companies. Other key differentiators include our small, tight-knit family orientation, our rapid adoption of new technology developments, and our breadth of capabilities, including both design techniques and production methodologies.

What made you take the leap into entrepreneurship?

The high-tech startup that I co-founded cemented my interest in entrepreneurship. Once you experience the thrill and excitement of something like that, it is tough to go back to a large organization. Thankfully, I was able to translate that entrepreneurial spirit into our current business.

What were the biggest initial hurdles you faced and how did you overcome them?

When we started Bennett Awards, there were very entrenched companies in the awards and trophy industries. We were initially just a small art gallery tucked away in a rural community. We took a new, unique and innovative approach to the awards business – a more artistic, design-centric approach that made heavy use of the then-emerging Internet and other technology developments. This enabled us to carve out a niche that has grown over time, and has helped establish us as a leader in our industry.

What are 3 tips you can share with our readers as it relates to your industry?

1. Listen to your customers. Customers are looking for solutions that reflect their personality and brand, not ours, and we adhere to that philosophy in the designs we create for them.
2. Respect your customers. We bend over backwards to keep our customers satisfied. Not only is this the right thing to do, it also benefits our business from a dollars and cents perspective. Servicing repeat customers delivers a much higher ROI than acquiring new customers. In addition, our outstanding customer testimonials are a great way of establishing credibility with potential new customers.
3.Respect your employees. We have created a work environment that values our employees not just as workers, but as human beings. We want our workplace to be a fulfilling and rewarding place for everyone who works here. At the same time, we recognize the importance of a healthy work-life balance, and have created a structure that supports that.

How do you personally define success? What does it mean to you?

Success, I think, is something that makes you and everyone around you better. A win/lose situation is never a success – a win/win is almost always achievable, and is the pathway to lasting success.

Toronto Film Festival

How do you think technology will affect the way we do business 10 years from now?

Technology will have a huge impact on our business and industry. Our industry is unique in that it combines old-world craftsmanship with cutting-edge technology. Certain aspects of our business, such as the process of hand sculpting models and the lost wax casting process, haven’t changed in thousands of years. Other elements of both the design and production process have been heavily influenced by technology. Examples include a greater reliance on design software, and, from a production standpoint, 3D printing technology. Future developments in these areas will continue to transform our business over the next 10 years.

How can you be reached if someone is interested in your products or services

The best way is through our website at www.bennettawards.com, via email at bennett@bennnettawards.com, or via phone at 530-621-1164.

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