Is that sofa made of ice?
by Jan Norman, small-business columnist
Published: June 7th, 2009
Ice sculptures are no longer limited to swans on the buffet table, says Marc Entin, partner of Ice Bulb LLC in Newport Beach.
Ice Bulb can deliver almost any shape made of ice: sofas, chandeliers, cars, corporate logos. Drink luges are very popular, Entin says.
When Entin was working in business development for the parent company of the Staples Center in Los Angeles, a co-worker from Canada told him about major ice events that were popular there.
"We're a new generation ice decor company that uses the latest technologies to create unique ice products," he says. "the ice industry has changed drastically over the last few years, and Ice Bulb wanted to offer something a little bigger."
The company has a lean business model, contracting with large manufacturing houses in Canada and Las Vegas in order to concentrate on sales, marketing and design. Works are created in freezers and shipped by freezer trucks.
They last a long time if they are out of direct sunlight and wind, Entin says.
There's a lot of competition in the ice decor industry so keeping cost down while building a reputation for amazing pieces is vital.
"We're like an art gallery selling for the artist rather than being the artist who has a tough time selling his art on his own," Entin says.
An ice sofa costs about $800 to $1,000. A curtain of ice costs $5,000 to $8,000. A life-size vehicle can run $20,000 to $50,000.
Ice Bulb does smaller projects too, according to Entin. About 50% of its business is "normal" and 50% these major pieces.
The company started in March, 2008 as the economy slowed. People putting on events still have to have lighting, food and entertainment "but they might think ice is a luxury," Entin says.
"Also, we have to educate people about quality, technology and our capabilities. We're not a solo ice carver working in our garage," he says.