September 2, 2014

How to Turn a $300 Investment into a Design Business

how to turn 300

Terrence Kelleman started his business completely by accident. With no previous business or marketing experience, he turned a small investment into a multi-million dollar design business.

While working as an eCommerce photographer at the Museum of Modern Art, he found some magnetic puzzle pieces in the trash. Later, they sprung together on their own and his first product, a bracelet made exclusively of magnets, was born.

how to turn 300

Kelleman’s initial business investment was a $300 box of magnets to make more bracelets.

He wasn’t sure if the products would catch on. He just left a few of the bracelets at a receptionist desk at one of his art shows. When they sold out, he decided that he could be onto something. So he started dedicating more time and energy to making his new business, Dynomighty, a success.

Before Dynomighty, Kelleman was a fine artist featured at gallery shows in New York and Europe. So designing unique new products came pretty naturally to him.

how to turn 300

In 2005, Kelleman launched a new line for Dynomighty, The Mighty Wallet. The Tyvek wallet was the first to feature a single stitchless piece of material and has become the flagship product for Kelleman’s company.

But designing new products isn’t the only important factor in running a creative business. Kelleman had to learn about things like marketing as he went along. In an email interview with Small Business Trends he said that his creative thinking also helped in those areas:

“I’m not trained in business or marketing but I try to use creativity and innovation to solve business problems.”

how to turn 300

Some of the innovative tactics he’s used include online video marketing, unique showings at trade shows, collaborations with other artists, and integrating QR codes into TV ads. He has since been recognized by YouTube and Google TV Ads for those effective campaigns.

Today, Dynomighty products are sold in over 60 countries and in 1,800 stores across the U.S. And Kelleman isn’t done yet. His latest business expansion includes a venture into furniture design. But Kelleman’s goal is to always keep his products different from everything else available in the current market. Creative thinking in both product design and marketing has been a huge part of the company’s success. He said:

“Dynomighty is in its twelfth year and we’ve had many highs and lows but we keep growing and evolving thanks to our hard work and innovative product designs. Many of the products I have designed are so different that we have a strong edge in the market for our uniqueness and creative thinking.”

Photos: Dynomighty

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Annie Pilon - Staff Writer


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a staff writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles and feature stories. She is a freelance writer specializing in marketing, social media, and creative topics. When she’s not writing for her various freelance projects or her personal blog Wattlebird, she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

3 Reactions

  1. This is a classic story of how a good idea can make it big. But that is only because his idea is unique, interesting and creative. It is hard to achieve this if the idea is lame. Yet some people believe in their idea so much that they avoid anything that may change it. I guess it is still a combination of luck with the acceptance of the people at the time.

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