Pacific Mold Design is a company that invites aspiring artisans or even weekend DIY warriors to take a chance and get in touch with their own inner creativity.
Just like George R. R. Martin penned Game of Thrones and ushered in a make-believe world filled with heroes, knights, castles, and supernatural beasts, Blake and Monique Warner produce molds that make the implausible seem possible. In fact, the husband-and-wife team dreamed up the business based upon their own home-improvement experience. While tackling a backyard renovation, they realized that choices were few, and imagination was hard to come by. "Blake came from a tile and stone-installation background as a youngster. When we were remodeling the yard, it was almost like he was supposed to create this business. It resonated and lit a fire under him," Monique pointed out.
"Basically, we resurfaced a retaining wall using a series of concrete molds that we found online," Blake revealed. "Yes, you can buy stepping-stone molds and other statuary kits, but what about affordable planters for gardeners and artisanal molds for the folks who want to remodel their kitchen backsplash or BBQ islands using unique tiles?"
Recognizing that there were few options and choices, Blake and Monique had an epiphany. They realized that they were not the only folks who wanted a way to express themselves but were restrained by the available marketplace. "Your options really are limited to big-box retailers or contractors that charge a fortune," Monique observed. "DIY-ers want to be in control of their projects, and we have given them the affordable tools to do just that."
"I was always an artistic human, and installing flooring material for several years really helped me understand what we needed to do from a size and shape perspective," Blake stated. "I knew we had to keep our molds simple and functional."
Determined to ensure that their designs would appeal to people who didn't want to be confined by the ordinary and the expected. Both Warners wanted their mold designs to break the mold of typical patterns and commonplace silhouettes. Blake and Monique make plaque molds, paver/tile/accent molds, garden-art molds, and more. The old saying, "A man's home is his castle," becomes a reality when a Pacific Molds creation is utilized.
These days, Blake and Monique are still working other, full-time jobs, and devote their off-days and hours to this enterprise. Their joint goal is to "get to a place where we are both focused on making molds full-time. We have so many ideas that are on deck to be made. Baby steps will turn into big kid steps."
Juggling schedules and ensuring that their work's quality - and of their lives - don't slip is a difficult task. The pair does admit that it is a challenge to fulfill orders while also fulfilling their daily obligations, but it is a pitfall for many self-employed people. "Because we both work full-time, this means late nights and bypassed weekends. We spend many hours during the evening pressing and cutting orders for customers," Blake admitted.
Because the Warners are the owners and operators of Pacific Mold Design, they do have their hands full with making molds, chatting about concepts, and dealing with unexpected emergencies. They had to step back and evaluate what their strengths were and what their weaknesses were. "Up to this point, that was the hardest thing for me to do. Asking for help and then taking it allowed us to do what we do best," said Blake.
They now work with a marketing agency and rely on them to cast a laser-focused series of campaigns on various platforms. Sales have been steady, which has allowed Blake and Monique to focus on perfecting the production process.
After two years in the handmade arena, Pacific Mold Design does have a good feeling about what they've accomplished and what they still yearn to do. Neither craftsperson is afraid to take a chance or follow a risk. Blake and Monique have enjoyed enormous success with maker studios and Paint & Sip workshops. "They purchase directly from us and use the molds to create merch that their customers paint up and take home. They have had their profile raised through their digital presence. "When we can break free, we attend local events, but we find that social media is a major influencer for us," Monique said. Beyond the married couple cementing a name for themselves, they have also launched an online presence and storyline for their loyal dog, Chukoh.
"Chu is family, and our business was built around doing creative activities as a family. He has such a large personality, so we figured he would make a great addition to our team. We incorporate a lot of humor and reality into our social media content, and he is just another piece of who we are as puppy parents. I believe we hear more about Chukoh than we do our molds at times. Go figure," Monique revealed with a laugh. The Warners know that they are still relative newcomers in the handmade field, but they are enthused that their artistic path is also allowing their customer base to mine their hidden potential. It gratifies them that they have created molds that permit fellow fearless folks to make their homes more "Addams Family–centric" than Brady Bunch or Partridge Family-friendly.
"Success for us is seeing and reading about our customer's success using our molds. Seeing a post on social media about a skull being painted up and given as a gift or seeing someone's finished patio filled with 400 pavers made from our molds is just crazy fulfilling. We had something to do with that. Our hands created that mold and someone else thought it was nice enough to use for their project. We are over the moon," Blake expressed. "There is no perfect way to start a business in ANY arena, but the handmade community is incredibly supportive. Our experience in other industries was not so forgiving and welcoming," they both admit. "Creatives approach business with a helping hand and really are well connected. It's been a really cool experience for us."
Continuing to collaborate and remaining receptive to any and all opportunities, Blake and Monique Warner are thrilled that they had the fortitude to forge this creative path. It was filled with unknowns when they began, and they still aren't 100 percent positive about all of their decisions and maneuvers.
However, they wouldn't have done it any other way.