From artist to valuable artist advisor.
The beginning as an artist and retailer
1992: Frank Herterich opened a sales area for airbrush supplies in Schweinfurt, as he was no longer allowed to practice his original carpenter's profession due to an operation on the moldings. A purely stationary sale of a niche product, the small town of Schweinfurt and the art form unknown in Germany were a risky undertaking at the time. He attended various workshops (including Dru Blair, Jürek) in order to develop himself as an artist and developed an excellent reputation as an airbrush artist in southern Germany. From 1994 he took the new course "Airbrush Designer" at the IBKK Bochum and graduated successfully in 1998 with the thesis "Children's birthday party - who still celebrates with parents?" He draws attention to himself through various exhibitions and commissions, so that in 1997 he was invited to GamesCon in Chicago.
In the meantime, the shop has slowly changed: in the beginning as a sub-tenant of a 15 square meter sales area in the car workshop “Tonat”, he moved into his own shop in Neutorstrasse in 1996. There was enough space here to unfold. The sale of other products was strengthened, in which, in addition to airbrush accessories, Warhammer, Magic & Pokemon cards were also sold. There was a small room that served as a course room and a two-year training concept was developed. His son Sebastian was also among the “training candidates” at the age of almost 10 - neither untalented nor uncreative but impatient! So he quickly hung the airbrush gun back into the airbrush holder. In addition to the sales area and course room, there was also space for a small studio and office. This office prompted his friends and customers Andre Olzog and Michael Handel († 1998) to chat with him on his first PC in order to be up-to-date. After initial start-up difficulties or log-in difficulties;), PC use picked up speed. As early as 1999, Frank Herterich registered the Ebay account airbrush4you and in 2001 the domain www.airbrush4you.de.
The creation of the brand airbrush4you
Since the shop in Schweinfurt did not develop as hoped, a temporary withdrawal from the city to the tranquil Egenhausen (Markt Werneck) was carried out in 2000. The old farmhouse, which the family moved into in 1997, offered a large area for a studio and training rooms. Subsequently, commissioned painting and the "airbrush academy" were again used. Since selling airbrush products in the tranquil town of Egenhausen (approx. 650 residents) was quite difficult, the focus was forcibly placed on online sales. With Ebay and the first steps in my own online shop, several packages came together a week. Sebastian was allowed to pack the parcels and fill out and affix the handwritten (!!!) address labels. In addition to their first experiences in the online age, Sebastian and Isabella improved their pocket money through negotiating skills by packing the packages and occasional priming work for large orders. Over the years, the pure airbrush concept became a general art course and thus a greater need for art products. In addition to pure airbrush items, accessories have also been added to the range. This was followed by the development of an airbrush dealer with cross-selling products. In order to open the growing business to walk-in customers again, the company moved back to the city of Schweinfurt (2004).
The new space in Schrammstrasse was too small from the start. The training concept and the growing range quickly made the small area burst at the seams. In addition, there were a lot of walk-in customers who settled down as welcome coffee drinkers and thus strengthened the airbrush community. So two ideas matured: moving to a larger building and organizing an airbrush fair in Schweinfurt. Since both require a lot of planning and artists are belly people, both were planned and implemented ad hoc. The company moved again in March 2008, airbrush fair in April 2008.
2008 to 2012: Development into a national niche retailer
As the organizer of the Schweinfurt airbrush fair in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2016 and 2018, the company established itself as the undisputed service partner and independent specialist dealer in the art scene. The brand and the online shop airbrush4you became the airbrush specialist trade in Germany which, in addition to advice, also demonstrated reliability and delivery reliability. As a service provider, every special request was implemented, if only somehow possible. The range was constantly expanded and the first hires were made because the children's vacation jobs were no longer sufficient. In 2012 we welcomed Sarah as a trainee at airbrush4you. The team grew to two employees who took on customer service and the daily dispatch of online orders.
The retail space we moved into in 2008 has since turned out to be the right (gut) decision. If the 400 square meter building area was hopelessly too spacious at the beginning, the area offered the opportunity for constant range expansion and generous space for art courses. In addition to the in-house exhibitions in 2016 and 2018, world-famous artists could also be won over as guest lecturers for courses.
The airbrush fairs, the training concept and the growing trade beyond airbrush articles led to an excellent reputation as a niche dealer. Online shipping has been steadily expanded over the years and was an important factor, so that contract work increasingly faded into the background.
2013 to 2018: focus on online trading
So the company grew steadily and the volume of orders and advice.
Sebastian Herterich completed his studies in business administration in 2013 and, in addition to many vacation and temporary jobs, gained internship experience in controlling at Schaeffler GmbH & Co.AG and Hypovereinsbank as a corporate customer advisor. With this know-how, the inefficient work processes as well as countless time-consuming tasks became apparent to him during the renewed temporary help. So Sebastian decided between graduating and starting his career as a management consultant to optimize the company by implementing a merchandise management system in order to cope with the dynamics of online trading. After the 6-month changeover phase and successful online shop going live, Sebastian left the company in December 2013.
In the years that followed, airbrush4you developed into a specialist online trade that has firmly established itself in the airbrush niche. Right from the start, advice was placed on service and specialist knowledge of the employees, so that customers can be helped at any time and with any problem. The development from artist to artist consultant was a gradual process that has developed over 26 years. Whether our customers are beginners, hobbyists or professional artists, you know about our competence and appreciate it.
Another strength is that Frank Herterich, as a passionate artist, has put together a product range that he can recommend and sell with a clear conscience. The motto is from artist for artist.
In 2015 a private label “Herterich Products” was also developed. Under this a paint series “CustomDesignColor” as well as an own airbrush paint series on water basis “airbrushColor4you” has already been brought onto the market. This is supplemented by the "Herterich Basic" products.
The changeover to the new merchandise management system was decisive and of decisive importance for the growth in the following years. This is how the company developed into an online airbrush trading company. Our ability to deliver quickly has given us a very good image across Europe and represents a decisive USP.
The location advantage of Schweinfurt means that orders can be delivered quickly across Europe.
2018: Succession plan and Vision 2020
Despite the successful years and the steady development of the business, the increasing market dynamics and the general development of customer behavior and the airbrush market forced a critical analysis of the business model. After many years of Frank's gut decisions, at Christmas 2018 he philosophized with Sebastian (now 6 years management consultancy and tends to be the head person) about the further development of the company. Without the intention of the succession plan, a common path was quickly found and a "Vision 2020" proclaimed
In March 2019, a market analysis and a financing concept were drawn up. The modest goal: to open up to the general art market as "Herterich - Airbrush & Art Supplies" both in the Schweinfurt +100 km region and with another online shop and to use the airbrush niche and specialist knowledge as the basis for this development.
This required the re-implementation of an improved inventory management system and the modernization of the existing online shop. From May 2019, the existing range was revised, adjusted and transferred to the new system through a significant expansion. This change tied up considerable manpower from Frank and Sebastian, who implemented this project as a part-time consultant. The realignment of the company (including a change of name) was completed in September 2019 with the changeover to the new system. We thought !! - However, the work was only just beginning because completely new work processes and assignments of tasks were defined, which internally only became flesh and blood in the course of the following months. The article maintenance as well as the inventory had to be revised several times, system-technical errors had to be recognized and eliminated….
As of January / February 2020, Vision 2020 was actually completed. Now the reconstruction of the online shop airbrush4you begins, the reconstruction of the new online shop urban-toolbox.de as well as the advertising measures for the shop in Schweinfurt / Oberndorf.
We look forward to your purchase and your visit. Online or offline - nice that you are there. If you have any questions, just call 09721 474 20 80.