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02/17/2010

Airbrushed Helmets

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  Airbrushed Helmets business.

  Business Overview

  I was introduced to this very unique business venture a few years back while on vacation. A very innovative entrepreneur had set up a retail storefront location in a busy beach area that specialized in selling and airbrushing colorful images on helmets used in a variety of sporting and recreational activities. The way the business operated was pure genius. The shop was bright, colorful, and well located. Airbrushing the helmets on site while the customer waited always guaranteed a large crowd of onlookers. The shop sold prepainted helmets as well as painting a customer's helmet while they waited. The helmets they sold included baseball helmets, hockey helmets, bicycle helmets, football helmets, motorcycle helmets, and snowmobile helmets for the vacationing snowbirds. In the two hours that I was there, the shop sold or airbrushed a total of 28 helmets with three artists working. Each helmet took approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete, and the shop boasted a one-price policy for the artwork of $30 (plus the cost of the helmet). The shop featured binders with pictures and images that clients could choose from for artwork, or customers could provide their own art and supply the artist with a photograph, rough drawing, or even just an idea of what they wanted airbrushed on their helmet. I spoke to the owner who, by the way, was not an artist himself. All the artists were subcontract employees who were paid commissions based on the total number of sales they generated. He told me that in the three years that he had been open, his shop had sold more than 8,000 helmets and painted more than 25,000 images on everything from helmets to beach clothing to motorcycle gas tanks. That is absolutely amazing when you consider this was a seasonal business open only four months a year. Assuming each helmet only sold for $25, the business would have then generated total sales of one million dollars over that three-year period, or more precisely $80,000 for each month that the business was open. The main requirement for starting a business that airbrushes helmets is obvious. You have to have artistic ability or employees in place with the artistic ability to paint the pictures and images. Additionally, the business must be located or operated in a very busy tourist area, or an area with enough local interest to generate sufficient sales.
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