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Does Your Site Reflect Your Biz?

A website should be an online extension of your business.

Picture this: You're in downtown Los Angeles, about to visit a lounge called The Edison. To get there, you have to walk down a dark alley and through a set of wrought iron gates, leading you down a staircase into the underbelly of a century-old building that houses the remnants of a grungy power plant. But the venue is actually anything but grungy: Plush couches surround authentic generators and turbines, and beautiful chandeliers hang among original piping. Though Thomas Edison was responsible for much of the innovation during the building's era, the inventor behind the nearly 2-year-old lounge is Andrew Meieran.

"It's a melding of technology and aesthetics from that time with [those of today]," says Meieran, 41. "It's an echo of a historic epoch but made applicable to the world now."

Naturally, the grandiosity of the venue extended to the website . Designed by Meieran and Damjan Krajacic of ActiveColor, the Flash-intensive site uses various layers, elements, visuals and sounds to guide visitors through the different parts of The Edison's "universe." "The idea is to get involved and become part of what the site is trying to tell you," says Meieran. "And the key was getting the sense of what was happening down there [in the lounge] out to a mass audience." It's reasonable to say that the site has accomplished its goal: It sees 30,000 unique visitors a month, and the lounge will bring in $6 million in sales this year.

This story appears in the January 2009 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »