Animas Artisans

Taking a concept from idea to inception is not always an easy feat.

But, this is what Dylan McClain and Dalton Bevill do best. As the founders and owners of Animas Artisans, they specialize in high-end steel fabrication, concrete casting, and woodwork. They focus on finished goods, such as railings, concrete countertops, steel wraps, planter boxes, pergolas…and just about anything else that requires custom design and fabrication.

Both Dylan and Dalton have a passion for being creative and artistic, and they bring unique skills to the company. Dalton’s background is in custom fabrication and agricultural management, and Dylan is a creative problem solver with a degree in mechanical engineering.

“When we decided to launch the business, we had all these grand ideas and started to put them on paper. We quickly realized we didn’t know how to go about it. The SBDC made it easier for us,” Dalton says.

They enrolled in the SBDC’s Starting Your Business Workshop and put a business plan together. After the workshop, they met with some of the SBDC’s consultants to dial in the specifics.

The company is now entering its third year of business. For the first two years, the focus was heavily on marketing and growth. They had a booth at the Farmer’s Market and spent considerable time building professional relationships in the community. “Durango is a perfect spot for community support. Once we started making the connections, the word spread. We are stoked to collaborate with so many people in this area.”

Now, they have a steady stream of work coming in, and their focus has shifted to growing to a healthy, manageable size. “Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is important to us, and we are working on optimizing our processes so we can be as efficient as possible.”

Dylan is currently teaching a welding class at Animas High School through Animas Artisans, and this year, they took on two high school interns for several weeks. “It was a learning process, and it was great,” they said.

Looking ahead, Dylan and Dalton want to keep pushing the creative envelope and pursuing their aspirations to maintain their livelihood. So far, they’ve taken advantage of the Lodger’s Tax grants and funding from the Durango Creative District to create works of art. “Finding the balance of art vs. work is an ongoing challenge,” Dalton says. The team is also passionate about sustainable art—recycling, upcycling, etc., and they hope to grow this side of their business by working with clients who want to repurpose things they already have.

Reflecting back on the past two years, the duo offers this advice: “Keep striving to learn. Especially as a new business owner, you will make a lot of mistakes…you’re going to mess up a lot of things, whether it’s projects, financial stuff, decisions, or whatever. You will lose a lot of time and some money, but instead of getting down on yourself, keep the mentality of ‘We’re getting paid to learn. We may not be the most efficient yet, but we are getting paid to learn.’”

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