Deeper Than Beauty
Oren Ben Shimshon is the CEO, and founder of AquaMelah, a leading company specializing in custom-designed aquariums, decorative pools and waterfalls.
How did you get involved in this interesting field?
The aquatic world always fascinated me; there’s something particularly soothing and hypnotic about it. I’m extremely lucky that I could convert my hobby into a profession, and now I can share my passion with others and beautify their homes with our custom-made aquariums and ornamental pools.
For whom are your products suitable?
Our products are sold nationwide and our clients range from large institutions to private homes.
Our aquariums are suitable for anyone who wants to decorate his home or work-space with something unique and prestigious. Nursing homes, hospitals, event halls, government offices, public institutions, country clubs, gyms, dental clinics, etc., could all benefit from a stunning water feature.
Our aquariums are custom designed, and there is virtually no limit to how personalized they can be. Certain people prefer certain colors and sizes, and we allow our customers to express their individuality and be imaginative when ordering.
What inspires you?
My father, of blessed memory, passed away two years ago. He instilled in me the enthusiasm and desire I needed to succeed in life. He told me to treat each product I build as though it were my own, and that’s the advice I always follow. Each time I build a new aquarium, and I see the excitement on the customer’s face, I become more motivated and more driven to excel.
Where do you see your business in 15 years?
I sincerely hope that I can continue working for the next 15 years, and continue to make people happy. Eventually, I want to open a school for children and teenagers who have dropped out of the regular system, and teach them a profession; carpentry, design, glasswork, etc.
Does an aquarium offer anything more than decoration?
I used to work in rehabilitation centers, and I was exposed to the notion that an aquarium and flowing water can have a positive mental effect. Studies have shown that observing an aquarium can lower blood pressure, lower mental tension, and stabilize the heart rate. Therapists have advised people to relax in front of an aquarium prior to painful medical surgery.
What part of your work do you find most challenging?
It’s always difficult to design and engineer a product to the highest standard, but the real challenge is adapting an aquarium to meet the customer’s exact requirements. I always need to balance the needs of the customer and spatial limitations. For example, I built an aquarium for the Eliya Association, which is an organization for children with severe vision defects. I had to carefully consider how to decorate and color the aquarium, so the children could appreciate the design and observe the movement. Thankfully, I was successful and watching the children enjoy the aquarium is especially heartwarming.
I donated a plasma aquarium to the Laniado Hospital. During the installation, there were children watching excitedly, and I will never forget their smiles and delight. Knowing that my work affects people is something which motivates me constantly. However, there are challenges involved when creating a complex construct. No two aquariums are alike, each one is individually and uniquely designed and requires a different building strategy.
Do you have a personal motto?
“A good man is not one who gives away his extras, rather it is someone who shares the little he has.” I try to donate to community organizations and to bring joy to children. Only G-d knows how much this means to me.
Which part of your work makes you smile?
Last week I completed a large project at Hillel Yaffe Hospital. The project consisted of three plasma aquariums at the main entrance to the hospital and seeing passersby admiring my work made me smile. Honestly, I have never finished building an aquarium and not smiled afterward.
How do you manage your employees?
I have workers and installers assist me with all my field work, but I need to be present at every job. I could never allow an employee to install an aquarium alone. I am a perfectionist, and I make sure that my work is always flawless.
Since it is a family business, I try to make my workers feel like part of a family. I created a warm, caring environment and each of my employees is dedicated and reliable, as though it is his business too.
What is your flagship product?
The plasma aquarium – it has become the latest trend in Israeli furniture, mainly due to a Channel 2 broadcast about our company. People realized that this isn’t simply a fish-tank, rather it’s a wall-mounted plasma aquarium, with innovative technology, such as a fully automated fish feeder. I call it a ‘lazy aquarium’, perfect for people who love having a beautiful and luxurious home decoration, which requires minimal exertion.
What advice would you give to a young entrepreneur who wishes to create his own product?
First and foremost, he must love and cherish the product, otherwise he won’t succeed. Secondly, one must remain fully committed and self-motivated. This isn’t always so simple, but if he puts all his effort into his business, he will reap the rewards. Finally, he should strive to create a unique product which fills a niche in the market. Many companies design similar products to ours, but the plasma aquarium is our own invention.