JOHN POMP, 40, of North Philadelphia, is founder and principal of John Pomp Studios, a glassblowing studio on Cecil B. Moore Avenue near Mascher Street, North Philadelphia. Pomp, a glassblower, now spends most of his time on product development. His studio specializes in handcrafted blown glass, lighting and furniture. Pomp's fixtures are displayed in 10 U.S. showrooms and in Paris and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Q: How did you get into the glassblowing business?
A: I was a painter in high school in Johnstown, Pa., and my art teacher was a mentor. He suggested I try glass. It's an ancient art that many people aren't familiar with.
Q: How does it work?
A: We inflate air into molten glass with steel pipes. And we blow it at 2,000 degrees.
Q: You and your art teacher have a Philly connection, right?
A: Yes, he was a graduate of Tyler School of Art at Temple University, and so am I.
Q: What did you do after that?
A: I was teaching and freelancing in New York and developed my first accessories collection of vases. I came back here and taught at Tyler, but returned to New York in 1999. That's when I launched John Pomp Studios.
Q: Tell me about that.
A: I got a bank loan to open a studio in Brooklyn. I was the go-to person for custom glass-blown lighting fixtures for architects and interior designers.
Q: Why did you return?
A: There are many talented artists here. It made sense to come back. We bought a building on Mascher, and then we purchased an adjacent building [with assistance from the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp.].
Q: How's the biz model work?
A: Our collections are available only to architects and interior designers who can specify custom lighting fixtures for residences.
Q: Who buys Pomp?
A: Clients who have multiple homes and can afford handcrafted, glass-blown lighting fixtures for their homes.
Q: How much do products cost?
A: Our industry is very sensitive to this because we don't do retail, but in general [lighting] fixtures range from $1,500 to $50,000.
Q: Everything in Philly?
A: Yes. We have our metal shop, glassblowing studio, lamp shop, wiring, crate-making shop and offices. I'm very proud of that.
Q: How big a business?
A: Twenty-two full-time employees.
Q: Are you going to hit $3 million in annual revenue based on what you did in 2012?
A: That's what we project.