Small Business in Tennessee Provides Unique Resin Casting Service Will and Sheri Rhodes never thought they’d own and operate a successful manufacturing firm in Tennessee. The Rhodes found themselves drawn into the art and science of resin casting and manufacturing after Sheri parlayed her sculpting and painting hobby into paying work. Sheri’s painted horse models, mostly Breyer horse models and Artist Resin horse models painted by special order, sold well, and she was able to devote herself to raising their two children and her artwork. She also created unique, original equine sculptures. Originally, the duo used other companies to cast Sheri’s limited edition horse sculptures. Will became fascinated with the process and taught himself how to cast at home. Later, they purchased a rotational casting machine to create hollow casts. Today the couple own and operate Mountain View Studios, a unique business combining original equine art and resin casting services.
Sheri Rhodes remembers the leap into full time entrepreneurship well. “We were both working in our respective professions when we had our second child, and I wanted to find a way to stay home with our children. I had drawn and painted horses for years, and decided to try to paint model horses to help support our family. They sold well, so after several years I decided to sculpt a horse and sold it as a limited resin edition. We used another company to make the mold and castings, but my husband had an interest in doing it himself, so through trial-and-error, he developed a technique that produced my resins so well, that we soon began producing other artist’s resin editions. Soon we had so much work, he had to quit his day job and the rest is history. From resin horses, we have diversified into other markets and now produce many various products in resin.”
Today, Will and Sheri Rhodes own and operate Mountain View Studios. The company combines Sheri’s artistic talents as sculptor and painter and Will’s successful casting techniques to offer artistic services and small-scale hollow and solid resin casting. The company partners with EquinArt Creations to market and sell equine and animal art from their various casting clients.
Mountain View Studios built a small facility in Tennessee and employs several workers to assist with casting, cleaning and sanding the resin casts, packing and shipping. While many of their customers are also artists wishing to cast their works, they’ve recently diversified into casting for furniture companies and non profits.
When asked what sets their services apart from other small manufacturing and casting companies in the United States, Sheri said, “…we truly care about the artist being pleased with the finished product.”
Like many small manufacturers, the Rhodes face many challenges owning and operating Mountain View Studios. Finding qualified workers is difficult, so they mainly employ family members. Sheri agrees that “that’s the most challenging aspect of operating our business…finding a way to work with family.” She also bemoans the fact that it’s hard to find time to work on long-term business strategy and marketing, a challenge shared by many entrepreneurs and small business owners.
What does the future hold for this growing American-based company? Sheri hopes that in five years, they’ll have more large contracts and be able to hire more workers full time. Within ten years, the Rhodes want to explore prototyping and other options to help businesses conceive and cast objects that are beautiful and useful.
With their dynamic approach to small business, and Sheri’s background as an artist, Mountain View Studios continues to be one of the best choices for artists and small-scale resin casting work in the United States.