Getting a business off the ground is no easy feat. Once you gather enough courage and resources to run with your dream, you’ll be met with one obstacle after another — all of which are valuable learning experiences. But an even better way to learn is not from your own mistakes — but from the mistakes of others. Get a business leg-up by following the wisdom that RockPaperRobot learned the hard way: You can always make more money, but you can’t make more time.

Makers of awesome magnetic/floating furniture, kinetic lighting, and dynamic installations, RockPaperRobot is an acclaimed “engineering boutique” building ingenious, physics-defying design pieces that have been wowing design-aficionados and growing a loyal fan base for their unique creations. But the road to success wasn’t so easy for founders Jessica Banks and Mihae Mukaida, and they have one very important bit of advice to share with their fellow entrepreneurs — a lesson they learned on the road to success: You can’t always do it all. Watch their American ExpressInside Successful Small Business video above for their story, and keep reading to learn more about this inspiring design/engineering duo.

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The Float table (seen above) is probably the engineering boutique’s most iconic and well-known piece. A fusion that brings together a high-end, modern design and magic-show intrigue through the use of physics, the table consists of “floating” magnetized wooden cubes that are actually separated by repelling magnets, and held in balances by a system of barely visible, tiny steel wires. Though the table looks rigid, the cables allow for dynamic and fluid movement upon touch. The Float table is one of a growing collection of RockPaperRobot’s kinetic furniture that also includes expanding chandeliers and a massive diamond-shaped coffee table that appears to defy gravity.

RockPaperRobot founders Jessica Banks and Mihae Mukaida are — not surprisingly — two brilliant minds with backgrounds as impressive as their creations; Banks has advanced degrees in robotics and engineering from MIT, and Mukaida is a filmmaker, advertising guru, and interdisciplinary designer. When the two ladies came together, they wanted to create a medium where they could fuse art and technology to “create beautifully reactive projects with novel actuation schemes, from passive to fully robotic”, and thus RockPaperRobot was conceived!

+ RockPaperRobot

This post is sponsored by American Express.