Evan Eisman Company - Brooklyn, NY
What inspires a business owner to obtain funding for the first time – especially when that business includes more than two decades of successful operations and growth? According to Evan Eisman, owner of Evan Eisman Company, “It was fairly simple: Funding was essential to reach our full potential.”
Evan Eisman Company is a design, fabrication and material-treatment studio that brings key aspects of art, architecture and design projects to life through innovative surface treatments in materials such as wood, glass, metal and stone, often highlighting unexpected or unexplored elements. Evan and his team have worked on several high-profile projects, including signature logo work for the Secretariat Conference Room walls of the United Nations building in Manhattan, the wood facade of Brooklyn Public Library, Greenpoint, and fine art fabrication for Xu Bing’s permanent installation for the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, Washington, DC.
Simple launch, steady growth
Evan opened his studio in 1998 as a glass-etching operation, launching with a single client and doing all of the work himself. Fortunately, this client had several ongoing projects, which helped Evan build a solid foundation for his fledgling company.
Over time, recognition of his creative approaches to material treatments spread, and Evan took on additional clients and staff. He currently has four employees on his team, including designers and business-development associates. Along with the fresh perspectives that team members bring, the studio’s techniques have also evolved to meet client interests and project needs.
Evan’s company, which has been based in Brooklyn Navy Yard for more than 15 years, has grown largely by word-of-mouth, from client recommendations and referrals, and repeat business as past clients and collaborators take on new projects.
Inspired location, inspiring collaborations
Evan credits the company’s location in the Brooklyn Navy Yard as essential to both its creative output and for many valuable opportunities.
“We thrive on pushing the boundaries of the materials we work with and our location has been key to some really transformative opportunities, because there’s a ton of cross-pollination of ideas, skills and talents when it comes to solving problems for clients,” Evan explains. “Here, there are a lot of people making things in new ways, which has led to a lot of interesting collaborations and projects. This has been key to both our business growth and to our creativity and collaborative spirit.”
A turning point for business growth
The success that Evan’s business has achieved since he launched is notable for many reasons, not the least of which is that he managed to build a strong, financially stable operation with consistent, manageable growth – without any loans or other funding for the first two decades.
“I was able to fund operations from project income, which made sense for a long time,” explains Evan.
After more than 20 years, then, what made Evan decide to seek funding?
“I’d considered it for a while,” he says, “because I knew that our growth potential was limited without additional funds on hand. We have a pretty robust pipeline of jobs coming in – in fact, likely more than we could have handled without expansion.”
He admits, “The motivation to finally take action came when there was a project we wanted to take on, but we knew we couldn’t do it without purchasing a major piece of equipment and expanding our studio space.”
Learning about business loans and more
“I attended a business workshop at Brooklyn Navy Yard and Paola Garcia, a business advisor with Excelsior Growth Fund, gave a great presentation on funding options. It really helped me understand loans as a tool for growth, so I applied,” Evan explains.
“The application process was pretty simple and straightforward, too,” he continues, saying, “We had our approval very quickly and the money within days. It meant that we could do everything we needed to successfully propose and complete this major project.” In addition to purchasing needed equipment and expanding his studio’s space, Evan is also in the process of hiring a team member and has plans to add another soon.
“Although we just received the loan a few months ago, I know that a year from now, I’ll already see a return on investment from this,” Evan says.
He also learned that because his father was a U.S. veteran, Evan qualified for a reduced interest rate through the Veteran-Owned Business Loan Fund, a loan program offered through EGF for veterans and their immediate families, including spouses and children.
“It was totally unexpected,” Evan admits, “but a pleasant surprise. And, it was meaningful for my father, too, because it was a way for him to contribute to my business’s growth and to have his service further recognized. It was a great benefit for both of us.”
Excelsior Growth Fund also offers business owners workshops and mentoring in areas like financial management and marketing, and Evan took advantage of several opportunities, too.
“I used the financial services that were offered,” he explains. “We had a consultant help with our books and we learned so much, like how to make our financial information work for us. Our consultant also helped us put together financial projections that will help as we move forward. It was useful information and I really appreciate that the assistance was available.”
Designers, fabricators, manufacturers and makers can all benefit from the right loans
Evan encourages other entrepreneurs in fabrication, design and small-manufacturing operations to explore ways that funding can help them grow their businesses, too. “Although our funding has only been in place for a couple of months, I can already see the short- and long-term benefits,” he says.
He continues, “When you hear what EGF has to offer, it just makes sense. Funding can totally evolve the way you approach and operate your business. And, for a lot of businesses like mine, it’s almost impossible to reach your full potential without it.”