Building memories for today, tomorrow and beyond
Rahila Robinson took over her family's marble memorial products company in 2008. Robinson & Sons Enterprises of America Inc. was known throughout the funeral services industry in the United States for their beautifully designed and hand-crafted urns. Robinson knew that there was more that her company could do.
"There was so much bi-product from the urns," Robinson said. "I knew that we could use all that left-over marble for other beautiful things."
In 2010, Robinson rebranded the company from Robinson & Sons Enterprises of America Inc. to Marble Products International (MPI). She also created a second division, R&S Design Gallery which used the marble left-overs from her hand-crafted urns to retail specialty interior design products such counter tops, tile flooring, and sinks. Robinson had more ideas for expansion, but, "when you're a business owner, you have so much on the line, you need a guide," she said. She turned to two SBA resources partners for help.
In 2011, Robinson met with SBA resource partners at the Central Indiana Small Business Development Center (SBDC). She had recently purchased 3000 sq. ft. of space and needed help with long and short-term planning strategies. Robinson also began working with the Central Indiana Women's Business Center (WBC) to develop marketing plans tailored to fit her plans to continue expansion into residential kitchen and bath design.
MPI currently consists of three divisions; the original memorial division, R&S Design Gallery, and Robinson Design Studios, which was launched in 2017. Since taking over in 2010, MPI has grown from two to six full time employees and seen revenues skyrocket 850%. In 2019, Rahila took part in the SBA Emerging Leaders program which inspired her and helped her strategize how to take the memorial division global and improve market share for all divisions by offering more product and customization. She also continued working with the Central Indiana SBDC, who walked her through IN-STEP which allowed her to set up export contracts in Mexico and Canada.
"We're always trying to stay two years ahead of the industry," Robinson said. "I know that MPI couldn't have done as much without the great advisors at the Indiana SBDC and WBC. They've been, and I'm sure will continue to be, tremendous."