David Nebert of (ei) design
How did you start your business?
It’s an offshoot of two other craft and art ventures. I began producing my own concepts, primarily the living jewelry line. I then sought out local retailers to sell from.
I wasn't thinking about doing jewelry initially; the concept of putting a plant into a lightbulb sparked my whole collection.
How did you come up with the idea for your business?
I graduated from Industrial Design at DAAP in the summer of 2009. Since then, I decided I wanted to design and make my own products for sale locally. It was at the tail end of 2010 that I set my scope on jewelry design as the main focus of this venture.
What resources here did you take advantage of and how did they help?
The local retail stores that I sold and currently sell my products in. They in of themselves helped a great deal to gain exposure with my work. I also participated in Crafty Supermarket at the CCAC in Clifton as a means to further this exposure and get more interested in my work.
I may utilize a local business incubator in the near future as I plan to stick around Cincinnati for a couple years before striking out for the Pacific Northwest.
What does a typical day in your business look like?
I balance work on my jewelry and wares with a job I hold with a local online estate sale company, The Auction Floor. Each day is different. However, when I do have time, I work from home on producing pieces and restock retailers when needed. I’m gearing up to sell more things online, so packaging pieces to ship will be in my daily activities at some point soon. A few of my concepts also necessitate trips outside to seek supplies, such as found objects, glass and mosses.
What’s next for you and your company?
In the short term I will be expanding my online presence, complemented with sales in more retail locations in and around Over-the-Rhine, the Gateway Quarter, and downtown.
I’d eventually like to transition to working solely on my entrepreneurial ventures. Right now my focus is jewelry and home goods, but I’d like to dive into lighting as a primary focus once I have become more established in selling my wares.
Much farther down the line may be a retail space of my own creation combining my interest in art installation and product design.
Interview by Robin Donovan