Starting a business during a pandemic is not for the faint-hearted. With economic uncertainty and changing policies, it’s difficult to predict what will happen next. However, for those with entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for their craft, starting a business can be an exciting venture even in uncertain times. For me, my hobby had become something more than just a past time, so it was the perfect opportunity to turn a passion into profits. Despite the restrictions of social distancing and limited resources, new businesses are finding innovative ways to reach their target markets while managing their overhead costs. With careful planning and an eye on the horizon, there’s no limit to what you can achieve if you have the right strategy in place. Taking your hobby from dream to reality is within reach - all you need is dedication and determination!
"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!"
What is my business about?
For the most part I sell personalized gifts and promotional items, both direct-to-consumer and business-to-business.
With the right tools you can make almost anything, that is why from time to time I take on specific request that go from engraving a substrate or item that is new to me, to even manufacture a furniture piece or create a piece of art down to specifications.
My online catalog is not even a third of what I have done before, but I showcase there the items that I am able to mass-produce, and for which it's easy for visitors of my website to personalize on their own while seeing a Live Preview of their design even as text is being typed; this self-service personalization approach has allowed to concentrate on other tasks of my business.
What's my background?
I am a Graphic Designer, but one thing led to another and I got myself into the restaurant industry, being General Manager the last job I held before starting my business. At one point I oversaw more than 7 units in one of the 10 most busiest airport in the United States, but during that period I realized I was not having enough "Me" time so I had to step down and go back to just managing one restaurant close to where I lived.
"Do what you love, and you'll never work another day in your life"
On my free time I loved to do crafting and would always find an excuse to buy a new tool to help me get a gift for someone or to create or decorate something for my household. I’ve always been amazed by the level of detail and capabilities that a laser machine has, and I knew that by owning one I could make more out of my crafting hobby.
What's my favorite tool in my workshop?
It's obvious what I am going to say: my Mira 9 from Aeon Laser!!
Buying a laser machine was life-changing for me; due to Covid pandemic my husband was furloughed from his job, and we didn’t know for how long the situation would prevail, so we decided I would put my Graphic Design career to practice and try to turn my hobby into a business. Incorporating a laser machine allowed me to start working with different materials and items that I could only dream about before.
I was fortunate to have a laser machine when I decided on making a living out of my design and crafting abilities, and after more than two years owning laser machines, all I have to say is that I would not be where I am today without them. I went from selling just one engraved product, to have the experience and confidence to be able to offer more than 800 different items, although a big chunk of those are exclusive to our business and corporate customers.
Without a laser machine it would have been nearly impossible to generate the level of income I needed to leave my job without sacrificing my lifestyle.
What's my superpower?
Being able to achieve a lot in a short span of time. Even though I am very detail oriented, I don’t let that become and obstruction, so I am always trying to mark things off my to-do list, and don’t let myself get distracted while I have a task at hand. Offering fast-turnaround times on my business is a top priority.