Berrolia is a small workshop founded in 2014.
The year 2014 was not good for my career. A company where I was a partner for seven years exhausted its limit of luck and was about to shut down. The decisions of the government and changes in regulations meant that it had to be closed rather quickly to avoid bankruptcy. This was not a good start.
I did not have a good idea for my future. I wanted to do something, but I did not know where to begin.
From Gadgeteer to Craftsman
My wife Ania always said that I was a gadgeteer. She used to joke that I just must have the latest iPhone, wrapped in the most swanky phone case I can find. And that I have to put this iPhone in the most visible place in the car.
I decided to convert my weakness into an idea. I have always liked driving a car. I could not believe that you can have a phone that is a piece of art and an iconic, beautiful car – and you cannot connect these two things in an elegant manner. The plastic phone holders that were available on the market were just terrible then – and they still are. From my father, a watchmaker, I inherited the conviction that it is al good thing to surround oneself with beautiful objects. Beautiful ones – that is, objects that are at the same time made of unique materials and that fit in with how you live.
It was not easy to work out the concept of Berrolia. Because I am an economist, I supported myself with the help of experts – experienced engineers and master craftsmen. And I did market research among potential users.
I wanted the phone mount to be classy. I did not want rubber and plastic, so I tested various materials, aluminium and steel, leather and mahogany wood. I checked numerous assembly methods that eventually did not work out: a one with the suction cup attached to the windshield or the one mounted to the CD slot. I made a prototype with the most modern induction charging – it worked, but it turned out to be too sensitive to even minimal movements of the smartphone, and it was charging too slowly.
Finally, after a year, prototypes of the phone mount were created. They were not only made of exclusive materials, but also they efficiently charged the phone. And, importantly, inserting and removing the phone was so easy that I used it every time when I was driving. First, I started using the Berrolia myself. Then I put up a few auction listings on the Internet. The test batch I made was sold in a few hours.
All Systems Go
The project has become a reality – Berrolia was founded. In Lodz, where I work and live, I found craftsmen, which was not easy, because many traditional professions are already disappearing. But I made it and and now each Berrolia is made by hand, passing through the hands of up to eight skilled craftsmen. One bends the steel, the next hardens it, the next paints, cuts the leather, etc.
I started making bigger and bigger batches. Within a few years, something that used to be just a side project transformed into a production workshop that I run with Ania. It has become an important part of our lives.
I hope that Berrolia will also fit into your life. If you think so – email me. If not – email me anyway: firstname.lastname@example.org