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For Ronit Dayan-Vishovski, forming her own profitable business out of graphic designs was a long road, but since she hit upon the idea of turning her artwork into decorative stickers for the home, things have been steadily improving.
"I call it my Coca-Cola secret," she says of the colorful, stick-on designs she makes for tiles. Because getting a patent is expensive and complicated in Israel, many young entrepreneurs opt to sell their products without one, and Ronit is no exception.
"Getting a patent is difficult to begin with, and getting one for stickers is nearly impossible because you have to prove that the stickers are yours and not someone else's," she says.
The concept of designer drawings for tiles came about when Ronit was searching for a way to combine her art with a practical product for the home. After finishing her degree in graphic design at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, Ronit began working in a graphic design studio. For three years, she worked for a company with the knowledge that one day she would fulfill her dream of being self-employed.
She started working on her MA in Art History at Tel Aviv University, but decided she preferred making art to analyzing it and never finished her degree. Influenced both by the Muslim art she studied and by her travels in India, Ronit took some time off to draw and think about how to make something of her own.
"I was drawing pictures and trying to make all kinds of nonsense out of them," she says. "But when I put the images on a sticker for the tile and tried it at home, I realized that I really liked it and I thought it could work."
But before mass production could begin, Ronit had to iron out the kinks with the materials to make sure the stickers could withstand bleach and other cleaning products without peeling off or falling apart. She needed to create images that would offer attractive decorations for the walls in a home and adhere easily and simply to the surface of tiles, even those with a rough surface.
Once the technical details were in order, Ronit began making the stickers at home. "For the first two years of the business, I made everything myself, from start to finish," she says. In 1999, she drew the first of her designs, and at the beginning she completed the entire process, from the conception to the production to the sales, without outside help.
"I started by selling my stickers at the Nahalat Binyamin market in Tel Aviv," she says. For three years she worked from home and sold her products there, but the growing demand and popularity of her stickers allowed her to expand the business and hire an outside manufacturer in 2002.
"I was fortunate that I did everything myself in the beginning, even though it was a lot of hours and hard work, because it gave me the experience to find a manufacturer who would do the stickers exactly how I want them," says Ronit, who demands perfection and quality in the production of her stickers.
Today, over 50 design stores throughout the country sell Ronit's stickers, and she recently signed a contract with the 15 largest Home Center branches. The stickers, decorated with everything from farm animals to nature scenes to abstract patterns, come in two sizes, 10x10 cm or 15x15 cm. They range in price from NIS 25 to NIS 35, depending on where they are sold and their size.
"People like the stickers because they are an inexpensive way to brighten up the home, they are simple to use and clean, and they look like a part of the tile," says Ronit. "In five years of selling them, I think only five customers were dissatisfied with them."
For Ronit, the hardest part of the process is the marketing. She prefers to spend her time drawing and creating new designs in Ma'aleh Gamla, where she lives with her family on a moshav overlooking the Kinneret. "When he's not working as a physiotherapist, my husband helps me with the marketing aspect of the business," she says. "I don't like sales. I prefer to spend my time creating new designs."
For more information about Ronit's stickers and where to find them, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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