SBDC helps Metal Art of Wisconsin get through entrepreneurial challenges

What started six years ago as a simple artistic expression of patriotism in his spare time has grown into something beyond Shane Henderson’s wildest entrepreneurial dreams.

Employed as a social media manager at Baileigh Industrial in Manitowoc, Wis. Henderson forged the foundation of his burgeoning Metal Art of Wisconsin business quite by accident in 2013.

“In the summer of 2013, I took a Baileigh Industrial plasma table home with me and started designing and cutting patriotic metal art in my garage,” Henderson said. “When I posted it on my personal Instagram page, it went viral overnight. That is when Metal Art of Wisconsin was born.”

Henderson points to the strategic use of social media as one of the main keys in launching Metal Art of Wisconsin into a thriving business.

“I have been the social media marketing manager for Baileigh Industrial for 11 years,” Henderson said. “I have built their social media to over six million followers between Facebook and Instagram. I used all of my social media experience to grow my own brand of metal art, which is now the largest metal art Instagram page on planet earth.”

Unique in its approach to patriotic-themed art, Henderson has designed Metal Art of Wisconsin to fill a distinct niche in the artistic marketplace.

“We design and sell patriotic metal art and concealment flags,” Henderson said. “Our custom designed art pieces hang on the walls of numerous studios, banks, museums, churches, hospitals, cemeteries and memorials all around the world, in addition to a long list of celebrities, professional athletes, musicians and politicians.

“We specialize in reproductions, logos and custom pieces,” he said. “We can make anything out of metal. We’ve had a passion for metal forming, metal shaping and plasma cutting for many years. We have a full staff of designers, CAD specialists and metal arts, who love to create ideas out of metal. We do it all for the love of metal.”

When Henderson found his business growing faster than his organizational structure would allow, he enlisted the services of the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center at UW-Green Bay to help guide him through a series of entrepreneurial challenges.

“Metal Art of Wisconsin was already going when I attended the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center at UW-Green Bay entrepreneur’s class,” Henderson said. “The class definitely helped me in managing this monster I created. My books were a mess. I had 3,500 backorders. I had not enough management, not enough employees and not enough manufacturing to keep up with my marketing. Wisconsin Small Business Development Center Director Tara Carr and the guest speakers gave me critical suggestions to stabilize my business.”

With 19 employees, 205,000 followers on Instagram and over 250 products, Metal Art of Wisconsin moved into a 15,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and showroom at 1125 South Rapids Road in Manitowoc in late 2018.

The facility serves as an ideal headquarters for a skilled production team of designers, CAD specialists and metal artists to create patriotic steel and wood flags, custom and personalized laser engraved metal art, as well as the wildly popular “freedom cabinet,” which is a concealment flag cabinet featuring high density foam with an invisible lock.

Metal Art of Wisconsin is open from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information, visit www.metalartofwisconsin.com, call 920-717-0635 or email info@metalartofwisconsin.com.

New release submitted by the SBDC