This is Michael Bowling, owner of Crystal Caste. I thought that I would give a little background on our company and its beginnings.
During my undergrad years I was introduced to RPG gaming and subsequently became intrigued with the idea of making my own set of unique dice. I experimented a lot and eventually created a new geometric shape for dice. The idea was filed away in the back of my mind as I graduated with an engineering degree and began working a 9 to 5 job.
Years later I went back to school to obtain a graduate degree in business. I needed a topic for my MBA thesis and decided to do a business plan based upon a variation of my original design. The business plan made sense, so with my wife's encouragement, I founded the company in 1997 and started saving money. I named the company after my design and the shape was placed prominently in the Crystal Caste logo to show where it all began.
In 1998 I had a mould made of a crystal shaped d10 and traveled to the flagship trade show Gen Con® with my father and brother. All we had was a single table with only d10's placed on it but we sold everything we had before the show was finished! Good things come in threes because one week later we were granted a U.S. Patent on my design and the week after that, the Lord blessed us with our first child. Here's a picture of our daughter asleep on my back as I filled orders out of our garage in the early days.
We've grown since then and are staffed primarily with family and friends. In fact, my first full-time employee was my old gaming buddy from college. We have expanded our product line beyond our crystal d10's - but our goals have remained the same: to create quality products for serious gamers.
Crystal Caste's innovations include Dwarven Stones, Dwarven Metals, the original two-sided Combat Mats, tough BattleHive miniature cases, pre-painted pewter miniature sets as well as exotic acrylic dice designs such as our Otherworld, Oblivion and Firefly dice.
I guess to sum it all up, Crystal Caste was founded by a gamer and is staffed by gamers who happen to be family and friends. Basically we make products that we want to use ourselves. Most of our ideas originate during our gaming sessions and we still feel that we have a ways to go. You can't believe the ideas that are still in the planning stages. We try to make really cool products which your continued support will enable us to do.