Paintings With A Purpose.
Names and ages: Laurie Chester, 38; John Chester, 39
Company name and description: Art publisher Wild Apple Graphics Ltd. distributes thousands of prints by popular artists, including American folk artist Warren Kimble. "We focus on finding artists we can work with, who are painting a little on the cutting edge," says Laurie.
Based: Woodstock, Vermont
Start-up costs: $50,000
First-year sales: $80,000
1996 sales: $1million plus
Artfully inspired: After quitting their jobs and traveling the world, Laurie and John decided they wanted to start a business they could run together. Says John, "We looked at a lot of different ideas, but this one appealed to both of us."
Painting the picture: Clients include independent custom frame stores; contract framers; and international distributors in Asia, Australia, Europe, New Zealand and South America.
Various offices: From a bedroom and bathroom (sans toilet) to a renovated barn to a 16,000-square-foot warehouse facility
Key to picture-perfect success: "Make it a lot of fun for yourself, for your employees, for your customers," says John. "That goes a long way toward promoting yourself and creating sales."
Worth a thousand words--or dollars: "Art does improve life, and it doesn't have to be a multithousand-dollar investment," says John. "A nicely framed print can be a very affordable way to positively change the feeling of a room and have a permanent effect on your attitude."
DPM Enterprises, 343 N. Wood Dale Rd., #102, Wood Dale, IL 60191, (888) BUG-BAN-1
Wild Apple Graphics Ltd., fax: (802) 457-3214, firstname.lastname@example.org