It’s not always clear how to approach growing your business. There are many paths we can take as our businesses evolve and change. Here at AP Lazer, we encourage customers to open up their product offerings to the Priceless market by custom laser engraving items that hold meaning to those who purchase. Below, Stacy Rowson of Lakefront Living Custom Engraving & Gifts tells us a little bit about her story, how she came to purchase an AP Lazer, and what effect it has had on her business growth!
How did learn about AP Lazer?
A business in town was thinking about buying an AP Lazer engraving machine and asked me about custom engraving some items in my Etsy shop. I told her that we could “try” it! Little did I know what it would turn into.
Funding your laser engraving machine, how did you make it happen?
I chose to lease, but if I had it to do over again I would have gotten a loan. I would like to pay it off quicker. It’s provided me with so many new revenue streams that I could absolutely pay it off more quickly.
What was the biggest selling point of our laser?
For me, it was the fact that the company that was doing my laser engraving before I purchased my own machine had the same one and they were happy. The 24/7 Tech Support was also a huge draw for me since I didn’t have any experience using a laser machine. It is very reassuring to know that if I get stuck on a big order because I can’t figure something out that I have a lifeline any time I need them!
How difficult is it to run an AP Lazer engraving machine?
At first, when it’s new it looks super intimidating and seems like it’s going to be hard. It does take a little time to learn to use it proficiently, but once you get the hang of it it’s super easy. I just moved mine to my storefront and had it up and running within minutes.
What have you used AP Lazer Tech Support for and how was your experience?
Oh my goodness! EVERYTHING!! I called them non-stop for the first several weeks! Especially around Christmas when I was swamped with orders! They were AMAZING!! I felt like I was always bothering them but they were always so kind and helpful!!! I really appreciate how much time and care they take making sure that I am able to use my laser effectively. They probably wonder if I still have my laser, since I haven’t called with a problem for a long time! Haha! It’s great to know they’re always there for me if I do have problems.
What do you like about the AP Lazer family?
Super friendly, welcoming, and helpful!! Brad Landstra from AP Lazer will actually be in town and swinging by my shop’s Grand Opening on June 1st!
Did you purchase to start a business or to diversify?
I already had a business selling wedding sand ceremony sets. When I first started getting my glass items laser engraved by someone else, I couldn’t believe the response I got. My sales increased drastically. I diversified to do my own engraving on the sand sets, but now I do so much more. Adding a laser engraving machine has completely changed my business!
What is your business and how would you describe it?
It started as wedding sand and has now turned into a storefront with a variety of customized products. Lakefront Living, LLC Custom Engraving and Gifts.
Describe the impact owning a laser has had on your business:
It has completely changed my business! I was working from our basement and now have a storefront. I have been able to grow so much more quickly than I ever could have expected.
How do you approach marketing your business?
I haven’t done much marketing, to be honest. I had a few items on Etsy. Then a did a craft show in our small town (<2000 people) before Christmas. Since then I have had multiple people contact me daily about things they need. I do have a business Facebook page now but don’t do much for marketing other than that. Word of mouth has been my strongest means of getting new customers. When you do something this unique, people find you!
Do you have a website, and do you think it is necessary?
I do now because of the storefront. At this point, it isn’t very useful but I think it will be eventually when I get more of my available products on it.
How do find customers?
I try to offer a wide variety of products. The most popular are probably the tumblers and cutting boards, but I’m continuing to expand my offerings. Like I mentioned earlier, word of mouth has really been why customers come to me.
How do you figure out pricing for your products?
I struggle with that! I like helping people so it’s hard for me to take their money, especially when I know them! I just try to be fair for both of us by making sure I’m making some money and they feel they have purchased something valuable at a reasonable price.
What products did you start with when you first got your laser engraving machine?
Glass and quickly moved to cups because that’s what people were asking for. I know a lot of people do them and at first I didn’t want to compete with others that were doing them and take business away from their companies. I quickly learned that there’s more than enough business for all of us!
What products would you recommend a new owner start with?
Probably cups and anything wood. Cutting boards are very popular. Polar travel tumblers like Yeti cups are also in high demand.
What is your favorite part about using the laser?
The look on my customer’s faces when they see their finished product. I always get nervous and think there might be something wrong with them or they won’t like it, but then they smile and say it’s perfect. It’s the best feeling to be able to provide something so meaningful to my customers!
What is the most creative/unusual object you’ve engraved?
I made ornaments for every family at our church for Christmas. We used to have a lady that crocheted ornaments every year for each kid with their picture. I missed getting those and wanted to make ornaments for our church family. It wasn’t that unusual, it just awesome that I could do something!
Do you have anything to tell potential AP Lazer owners?
It was a very hard decision for me to make. It’s a huge purchase, but it ended up being the best decision I could have made for my business. It truly opens up a world of opportunities!