From The Bench

Welcome to Rod Mench Studios' Blog...'From the Bench', where we will be sharing informational articles about the Generational Awards and Custom Creations we sell. We will also be sharing industry news as well as interesting articles on a variety of topics. Thanks for Stopping in and please 'Like Us' on Facebook!!!

The Art of Resilience

 I think it's safe to say that doing business in 2020 and 21 has been unusual, trying and a bit difficult. What started with a contagious lab-created Chinese virus that made people ill has turned into shaking up American industries and wild stock market plunges. Which brings us to the word resilience. Yes, we all know the Webster's dictionary definition of the word. But what about how it applies in real life? In business? There's a test that really breaks it down for you; I strongly encourage everyone to take it: Now, with that said, you're wondering where we're going with this. We're here to say that our business is resilient. Numerous problems in our industry have arisen fairly recently: dramatic increase in ocean freight when importing very long wait times for restockprice increases straight across the board here in the U.S. Lack of reliable manufacturing from overseas Businesses with low or no inventory stock Fortunately, we're able to pivot. We are able to cast a number of our designs in our facility. We also have secured some basic production here in the U.S. This will be for some of our 9" figurines, such as the Drill Sergeant, the Combat Medic, America's Pride, etc. We are currently working to set up manufacturing in Mexico. Not only will this eliminate ocean freight charges (and the additional 25% China tariff!), it will be 'closer to home'. That means solid production t...

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Zen and the art of business

Ahh, yes, Grasshopper! The zen lesson today is about the bamboo. It bends, but it does not break. Like bamboo, be flexible, yet firmly rooted. Be always ready. Find wisdom in emptiness; it is said that in order to learn, the first step is to empty ourselves of preconceived notions. One can not fill a cup which is already full. Continue to grow. Above all, express usefulness through simplicity. OK, you're wondering what this is all about. Basically, the Dumpster Fire known as 2020 continues. After a year, covid is still impacting businesses across America. This is the time for us all to think outside the box and adapt. How can you preserve your cashflow, but still service your customers? How can you buy awards and still stay within your budget? We thought long and hard on these questions. The zen lessons of the bamboo started to make sense. You must be resilient to survive in business. Don't overcomplicate things. Continue to grow and roll with the punches. We came up with some great new ideas that no one in the industry is doing – at least, not that we've seen or heard. They probably wouldn't offer these ideas anyway. Go figure. Through Summer, 2021, we are now offering our wholesalers the 'Build Your Own Case' deal. Instead of ordering 8 of one design to get the case discount, you can now order 8 of any mix of statues to build your own case for the discount. You need 3 Mechanics, but also need only 1 Warriors' Ethos, a small Combat Medic and 3 Drill Sergeants? Well, you have...

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Origins - Calling Dustoff

Oct. 07, 2020 Origins Time and time again, people ask us how we come up with designs. We don't – every single design that we create is done by suggestion. When we get enough suggestions for a particular design, it gets done. We contact someone in the military for assistance: technical info, current uniform, pose suggestions – the works. We want to be sure that the piece is 100% accurate…or at least as close as humanly possible. When the technical side is handled, that when we create the 'whistles and bells', the additions that make it a generational award. What's a generational award? It is something that is customized and so personal that it becomes part of a family's history. It gets passed down to the children, and eventually, the grandchildren and so forth. It depicts the job that the recipient did in gritty detail. These 'whistle and bells' include things like coin holders, places to attach a patch or a pin, a place to display a photo – all those little things that add up to something much bigger than just the sum. Of course, when we start any new design, there's always a good story behind it. I decided that I should share these. Some are funny, some are sad, some are amazing -- and some will just plain break your heart. I decided to start out with a funny one. CALLING DUSTOFF: Back in 1998, one of the big military hospitals called me out of the blue one day. "Rod," the woman said, "I really need an updated medic. The one that we're currently using is outdated, I mean re...

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I'm turning into a techno-junkie!

​IDEAS...  People often ask where I get my ideas for sculptures. I was going to explain it, but I decided to list various sculptures and make a note of where the idea came from.  WARRIORS' ETHOS: I was attending a military funeral at Ft. Carson. The Warriors'Ethos was written on the back of the funeral program. The idea for the soldier carrying his brother came from a picture of a medic in Iran. MECHANIC: When I was an XO in anarmor battalion, I always admired the "can- do" attitude of the "wrenches", as they called themselves. Rain, snow, mud, heat, didn't matter - they got back in the game. DRILL SERGENT: Drill Sergeant Ralph Flower E-6, Ft. Dix NJ. "4th Platoon never quits". I'll never forget him. A total professional and a true badass. Funny thing, I always thought he was taller than me (I'm 6' 2") until my wife took a picture of us together on graduation day. I was at least 4" taller. CALLING DUSTOFF: I was asked by AMEDD to do a statue. My only condition was that it would be gritty, not bandaging someone's ankle. It took off like a rocket and a month later I was asked to do a female medic. BUFFALO SOLDIER: Being a hardcore history buff, I had seen many, many prints/paintings of the legendary Buffalo Soldier. But, I had not seen any good sculptures. This was odd because if you look at their history, they are one of the most fascinating subjects in this country's military. I had managed to find a copy of THE exact military cavalry manual for 1866, writ...

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Customization and Its Impact

​January 19, 2017 Happy New Year to everyone! Let's be honest: 2016 kind of stunk. We lost people like David Bowie and Alan Rickman, the election was in full psychotic-frenzy mode, and in October, many of our military personnel got their budgets cut – or didn't get one at all. So, when dealing with military customers and the budget constraints, how can you still give your customers that extra 'oomph'? I think about this all the time when sculpting. What value can be added on to a figure that gives it an extra touch of personalization, without adding a good chunk of change to it? It's the small touches that can really make a difference. Think outside the box. For mechanics and flight line maintainers, we decided to put that etched line on the side of the tool box. Take a gold Sharpie and write the recipient's nickname on it. That handwritten touch makes it more personal. Mechanics and flight line guys seem to really dig this. You can also get a wrench from the person who orders it. Add that to the base or as a backing. Engraved plates are nice to add to the statues, but why stop there? Add the recipient's rank pin, jump pin or combat arms/ ranch of service. You get those things from the people who are ordering. It doesn't cost anything, it's very custom and it makes an impact. Don't forget the less commonly used items like a grenade pin or a shell casing from combat. Or consider dog tags. Many troops keep some of these things as momentos. Add them on! These statues are going t...

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Merry Christmas!

I'd like to start out by wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous New Year. We're starting to roll out the new designs. Currently available is the Ol' Bill and the mini Air Force Chief ornament. Let's start with Ol' Bill. For years, I had been asked to do Ol' Bill. I didn't think much about it. Patterson was already doing it, and Terry was a friend of mine. But, after doing some research this past year, I now understand why the Army Cav guys love this figure – it's iconic. This figure is based on a drawing by Frederic Remington back in1890. Remington was at the camp of the 3rd Cav. They were stationed in Tampa, FL; the regiment was staging for the Santiago campaign (San Juan). Mr. Remington was on his way to cover the war going on in Cuba for Harper's Weekly. Turns out, he was a good friend of one of the commanders of the 3rd Cav. While Remington was there, he noticed a non-commissioned officer by the name of Sgt. John Lannen. The sergeant was an excellent rider and cut quite the figure. Remington viewed the sergeant as the epitome of a cavalaryman. To make a long story short, Remington immortalized Sgt. Lannon in the now-famous drawing: a grizzled, tough cavalryman- a white haired man cradling his weapon. Seriously, who hasn't seen this? So, after researching this, I was inspired to create my version. Tough, self-assured and reliable – something befitting of the Cavalry. This piece is in stock and ready to go. The mini Air Force Chief o...

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Happy New Year

We are so pleased with all of our loyal clients.  We just wanted to wish you all a Happy New Years!!!

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State:      Colorado
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