Iceculture, Inc. of Hensall, Ontario, is a recognized leader in creating ice design with a number of firsts to its credit, including ice beaded curtains, ice portraits and ice chandeliers. The company introduced CNC technology to the industry 12 years ago bringing centuries old art form into the 21st century. The company has designed and built custom equipment for ice carving such as their ice lathe.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) interviewed Julien Baley, Founder, about Iceculture’s innovation and experience in the events and promotions industry.
OCC: What advice do you have for companies who want to succeed in Ontario?
Iceculture: In 2008, the recession hit the manufacturing sector hard, which has caused business to make adjustments to survive the situation and gear up for the economic rebound. The key is to develop a business plan and then stick to it. We had to shelve some projects, make cuts in every department and then develop new revenue streams. It is a tough situation to face, but the best advice is stay lean and mean, and don’t take unnecessary risks.
OCC: In your experience, what are the key success factors for companies in the events and promotions industry?
Iceculture: Special event planners, advertising and marketing are always looking for an edge – something unique for their customers. A successful campaign will involve careful planning, outstanding design and efficient execution. Meet the customer’s objectives and keep these criteria in mind and you have the formula for a successful event.
Iceculture is fortunate to have a unique product that can be used in many different ways. We have been involved with many promotional events and ice generally ends up being the focal point.
OCC: What advice do you have for small businesses who have limited time and money?
Iceculture: Limited finance has been a struggle for us ever since the company started. We use government programs for funding wherever possible and have been relatively successful with them. Investigate what programs are available for your business and take advantage of them. Join associations and network as much as possible. As a manufacturer we belong to Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters and locally, the Huron Manufacturing Association. Both organizations run very worthwhile programs and deal with finance and how to find it.
OCC: You were an Ontario Business Achievement Award (OBAA) winner. How has this award influenced your company and strengthened your business? What is the secret to your success?
Iceculture: Winning an award is a great boost to morale and always gives you the encouragement to continue what you are doing. An award makes good press in local media and the recognition helps a lot. On top of this, an award means a lot to staff who all live locally. Again, the recognition is always appreciated.
OCC: At what point did you decide to commercialize your passion for ice sculpting? What does the future hold for Iceculture, Inc.?
Iceculture: The transition from hobby to business happened quickly. Both my wife and I gave up our other businesses to concentrate on Iceculture. In the last three years, the company has seen the second generation take over. As we see the economy recover slowly, the business expands. In the last four years the company has concentrated on the basics, but future plans will see growth in the area of special events as corporations increase budgets for product launches and promotions.
To obtain further information from Iceculture Inc. on the events and promotions industry, or to tell a similar story of your own, please contact Kelly Pritchard, Corporate Engagement Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.