He translates his artwork into wearable silk accessories

Philly.com business

Michael Hinkelman, Daily News columnist @MHinkelman | hinkelm@phillynews.com
January 12, 2015 — 12:16 AM EST

Michael Hinkelman/Staff. Adam Konigsberg started hand-painting silk. Now he uses digital printing.

ADAM KONIGSBERG, 59, of Northern Liberties, is a designer who translates his own artwork into digital prints on wearable silk accessories, home decor, fashion footwear and related items. He is known for exotic florals and patterns on ties, women’s scarves and shawls, and throws and pillows.

Q: How’d you come up with the idea for the biz?

A: After hand-painting silks for a while, I decided it wasn’t logical. I knew digital printing was becoming cost-effective, and that’s how the business came to be, about six years ago.

Q: Startup money?

A: I’m self-financed. I guess it was about $50,000, and I also leveraged my house.

Q: What’s the biz do?

A: Most of my artwork is scanned, so it’s all digital. I use just the image itself, or manipulate the image in the computer to generate repeat patterns, or do what I call a hybrid of computer-generated art and my fine art to create unique images. You print on silks treated with a compound where you can literally run them through a printer. I sub the printing and sewing to a North Carolina firm.

Q: The biz model?

A: I sell via my website.

Q: Your customers?

A: Mostly professional women or socialites, some businessmen. Maybe 25 to 30 percent live in the U.S., and the rest are in London and Israel.

Q: What differentiates you from other designers?

A: They’re doing woven ties and scarves, and I’m doing print. They buy fabric designs from $350 to $500 and copyright. I personally do the artwork and the fabric design in-house.

Q: Most popular items?

A: Scarves for women, shawls, throws and pillows. Scarves are $350 to $450; shawls are very large and retail from $1,200 to $1,500; home furnishings are in the $1,500 range.

Q: How big a biz is this?

A: I’m probably doing $25,000 to $30,000 a year.

Q: What’s been the biggest challenge growing the biz?

A: Money to hire people to help me. What I’ve found from prospective investors is that you need substantial sales because they’re so afraid of risk. They want everything in return, and I won’t sign away the rights to my artwork.

Q: What’s next?

A: I have a broker who’s working diligently with an Australian investor. He would fund several companies, including mine.

Q: How would things change if the deal happens?

A: I’d be able to bring on a management team immediately and set up trade shows for 2016. The focus would shift to a new product line and include fashion sneakers and accessories such as backpacks and messenger bags. We’ve already designed and manufactured sneaker prototypes. Once branded, we’d license the rights to my name and artwork.