Most entrepreneurs anticipate big, but not so with a brace of Central Florida academy buddies who accept developed a tiny idea.
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Erik Polumbo of Lakeland and Mat Hofma of Orlando, both 30, are the founders and manufacturers of Mini Materials. The business, conceived two years ago, has already fabricated a name for itself in the apple of hobbyists, Polumbo said, and now they’re aggravating to go global.
“Every day we see our bazaar expanding,” he said.
Mini Abstracts makes tiny replicas of authentic blocks, pallets and rustic tables. According to Polumbo, who is the business-minded partner, Mini Abstracts is array of like Legos, but fabricated with the absolute stuff.
The miniaturized accomplishment bulb sits in a distinct bay in a baby automated ability south of Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. It houses a few assignment tables, some buckets of authentic and a baby office.
There, one artisan cranks out miniature cinder blocks, pallets and tiny tables by herself. Alexine Goldwag is the workforce, Polumbo said, and creates the blocks, packaging and handles shipping.
The blocks, which are congenital to one-twelfth scale, are a charge for abounding hobbyists, Polumbo said.
“They are absolute for anyone who is creating a to-scale archetypal for a railroad bureaucracy or needs to body a foundation for a doll-house or who aloof wants to be authentic while creating a miniature,” he said.
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“We mix the authentic and cascade it into silicone molds, let it set for an hour or so and it’s accessible to be packaged and alien out.”
Polumbo said the molds were the conception of Hofma, who was the abstraction man. “I capital to advance an online business,” Hofma says. “And looked for article niche-y and interesting. I begin somebody authoritative mini-blocks, but they weren’t to calibration and weren’t durable.”
“Mat anticipation there ability be a bazaar for small, to-scale adhesive blocks and, application a 3-D printer, came up with the abject for the silicone molds we use,” he said. “Then, we messed about until we begin the appropriate mix for the concrete, and actuality we are.”
It all started in Mat’s garage, Polumbo said, anon afterwards the longtime accompany accelerating from the University of Central Florida.
“We knew we capital to accomplish this aggregation work, and it took a while to get the mix appropriate and adjudge area we capital to go from there,” he said.
Added Hofma: “We approved a brace of mixes and over time developed our own proprietary mix that will authority a 200-pound man with out crumbling.”
After graduation, Hofma put his graphic-design amount to assignment for an Orlando company, and Polumbo acclimated his master’s in business administering to get his anxiety wet in absolute estate. They both still accept those day jobs and apply on Mini Abstracts on weekends and afterwards work.
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“We’re already authoritative about 70,000 blocks a month,” Hofma adds, “and accept alike had one adjustment for 120,000 blocks.”
He said the aboriginal advance in the absolute ancestor artefact line, the website and accessory assignment was about $500, and best of that was for the materials.
Word about their mini-blocks is accepting out. Polumbo said the articles accept been featured in blogs that baby to miniaturists and hobbyists and are actuality marketed on platforms like Touch of Modern and Zulily.
“Next week, we’re activity to be featured on The Grommet, an absolute maker-dedicated e-commerce website,” he says.
So far, it’s been a articulate business accomplishment via the internet, but Polumbo has his eyes set higher.
“We appetite to be in places like Target, Walmart and Hobby Lobby,” he said, abacus that he’s been in negotiations with several product-agent firms that ability advice the apprentice aggregation get there. “And, Lowe’s and Home Depot would be nice too.”
He additionally sees schools and training sites as accessible customers.
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“Anyone who builds a miniature to bazaar their own artefact or abilities could use these blocks,” he said, citation architectural companies who appearance models to abeyant customers, or arch designers or aloof about anyone who wants to appearance an authentic replica of a architecture activity that will use accepted authentic blocks in their architecture process.
Polumbo said that while best of their articles appropriate now are miniature authentic blocks in assorted sizes — from the atomic 1 1/3 inches by 2/3 inches by 2/3 inches, up to amateur that size, he’s additionally got some that are added adorning and appear in assorted sizes. Hofma said that patents for all their miniaturized appurtenances are in the works.
He’s additionally extensive out to bassinet and authentic artefact makers who ability be able to use their miniaturized versions as business tools.
“We could put the name of their close on the pallets, and they could use them as coasters,”Polumbo said.
“And we can add logos or names to the artery and blocks too,” Hofma added.
Mini Abstracts are alien out in boxes, but the blocks central are on a bassinet covered with shrink-wrap plastic, aloof like the pallets begin in home-building accumulation stores.
“We do aggregate the makers of the regular-sized blocks do, we aloof do it much, abundant smaller,” Polumbo said.
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The abstracts are priced from $7.99 for a collapsed of 50, basic, one-twelfth calibration red artery up to $79.99 for a complete kit that includes all kinds of blocks, artery and pallets.
Mini Abstracts can be apparent on the company’s website at www.minimaterals.com or on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Anyone absorbed in contacting the aggregation can email Polumbo at email@example.com or alarm 863-900-5563.
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