Many brilliant business ideas have humble beginnings often created in the family garage. The RayMar painting panel is no exception.
Cathy Dietrich, a former professional artist, and John Dietrich, an accomplished project management consultant and entrepreneur, were inspired to create a new product. The idea came after Cathy enrolled in Ted Goerschner's workshop at the Scottsdale Artist School in February 1998. Looking over the class supply list, she was dumbfounded at the requirement to make her own painting panels. Why not just buy them, she thought. Well, unbeknownst to Cathy, professional panels didn't exist. Artists made their own panels by cutting up boards and gluing canvas to them.
So in the back booth of their neighborhood Carl's Jr. Cathy and John scribbled plans on paper napkins to make panels by hand for her workshop. But John's entrepreneurial mind raced ahead. "If every artist needs panels, why stop with your class?" he proposed.
In the summer of 1998 RayMar, named in honor of John's parents Raymond and Marion, was born. Cathy and John advertised in American Artist Magazine and direct customer sales began. RayMar celebrated its first appearance in an art chain store in January 1999; however the Dietrichs decided to focus on direct sales to build long-term customer relationships with personalized customer service. "We watched your art develop while we created new products you suggested," Cathy said.
RayMar also consulted renowned artist and instructor, Kevin Macpherson. Excited and supportive of RayMar's museum quality painting panel, Kevin sent a letter to his students to announce his discovery. Kevin's endorsement helped launch fourteen years of success and he continues today as our mentor and product advisor.
Over the years, RayMar refined its unique in house production process to maintain the highest quality control. Then in 2005 RayMar created and launched its own annual fine art competition. The contest helps artists showcase their work as it is followed by collectors and gallery directors. And the judges' critiques are invaluable to artists still perfecting their craft. The fifth annual contest judged by Juror of Awards Scott Christensen, ended in October 2011. Christensen's selections and critiques are posted on our website. The paintings were posted on facebook and also displayed in a full page ad in Plein Air Magazine's 2011 winter issue. The 6th annual yearlong competition is underway and ends November 2012.
Today Cathy and Emily Dietrich manage RayMar Art, Inc in Phoenix, Arizona with their dedicated production staff. Cathy states, "Our mission is also our passion; to supply you with museum quality panels, panel carriers to protect and transport your art and an art contest to enhance your career. We enjoy our professional partnership with you, our talented customers, and applaud your success. We sincerely appreciate the opportunity to supply supports for your masterpieces. We also feel it is our privilege."