Business Overview

In an era when everything seems to be digital, physical keepsakes still have a special place in people’s hearts. Preserved baby items, in particular, are tangible mementos that stand out from many of the gifts that are available today. Bronzing businesses preserve cherished keepsakes in bronze and other platings, offering people a way to keep hold of cherished items from their children’s and grandchildren’s youngest years.

The bronzing business is far from an up-and-coming industry. One of the two largest companies in the industry, American Bronzing Co., has closed its doors, and so have many other established bronzing businesses. As larger businesses close, however, new opportunities open for small businesses that can operate in this industry while maintaining a lower overhead.

Who is this business right for?

A bronzing business is suitable for anyone who enjoys working with their hands, for bronzing is a hands-on process. This is also a possible business for people who have day jobs, as the bronzing work can be done any time. There’s no need to work traditional office or retail hours.

What happens during a typical day at a bronzing business?

A typical day at a bronzing business mostly involves bronzing customers’ keepsakes. This is a multi-step process that Caswell details as involving:

  1. Washing the items being bronzed.
  2. Affixing the items in their final position with glue.
  3. Tying a piece of copper wire to the items.
  4. Dipping the items in the sealer solution for 30 minutes.
  5. Allowing the items to dry.
  6. Dipping the items again and allowing them to dry again.
  7. Plating the items with DC power and a plating solution for 1 hour.
  8. Removing and sanding the items.
  9. Plating and sanding the items again, letting the items be plated for 3 to 5 hours.
  10. Rinsing the items.
  11. Finishing the items.

The full process takes hours, but it’s possible to bronze multiple shoes at once. Established businesses normally set up an assembly line. Several items can be at each step of the process, and a business might easily do dozens of items at once.

What is the target market?

The target market for a bronzing business is mainly composed of parents and grandparents of young children. These are the people who may want mementos of their child or grandchild preserved.

How does a bronzing business make money?

A bronzing business makes money by charging customers to bronze baby shoes. Businesses usually charge a price for one shoe and offer a slight discount on pairs of shoes. It’s also common to charge more for shoes that are larger than baby shoes. Bronzery has different price lists for shoes up to 6 inches, and those between 6 and 8 inches.

What is the growth potential for a bronzing business?

Most bronzing businesses today will remain smaller operations. There isn’t enough demand to support the overhead that comes with a factory and large workforce. For self-employed business owners, however, this is a viable and affordable business opportunity.

American Bronzing averaged over 166,000 orders annually during its 84 years. There may no longer be that kind of demand for bronzed items, but there still is enough to support a small business.