Allen Rien, founder and CEO of Cool Tools currently located in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin and Diane Lane, his assistant and soon-to-be wife, shared the story of their company to a full contingent of LBS members. The company began serendipitously ten years ago after Rien attended a workshop on using metal clay. There he discovered the attendees were interested in adding textures to their forms. His experiments began simply, carving patterns into the eraser ends of pencils and quickly expanded from there into a business. The company began with seventeen products and today has 7,000 with several of them being of their own design. Cool Tools' focus continues to be on textures but the product line now includes a full line of metal clay tools and supplies and is beginning to support traditional metal smithing. They will be moving into a new facility in Jefferson, Wisconsin in the near future.
The presentation ended with a number of surprises including tables packed with beads that the company gave away to everyone in attendance.