Awards & Engraving

June '19

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A&E JUNE 2019 • 69 A SET OF CHALLENGES Just like learning general logistics when purchasing a new business, buying new equipment also comes with a set of chal- lenges and learning curves. Among other things, Shantel mentions that one challenge while learning the machine was figuring out what settings to use for what substrate. "Everything is different, and it was inter- esting to learn, to develop testing methods, to identify correct settings as well as align- ment of art on the substrate," she adds. But that method of trial and error has proved to be effective, with the team at Star Awards still using it a few months later. "Each mistake allows us to add to the knowledge we have and help speed up and eliminate loss of materials in the future," Shantel believes. Luckily they didn't go at it alone. Shantel says that they spent a good amount of time at trade shows before purchasing the laser, adding that the visual training was influential in their ability to be comfortable with the machine once they got it. She also lists the user's manual and forums such as Facebook as helpful resources. Like any personalization shop, they bought the machine to use, and before long, the couple had their first orders. That, however, is where they got a little different of an experience. "We were lucky that when we first got the laser, we were renovating our showroom, which allowed our first few items to be 'practice' as we created samples to put into our showroom," Shantel laughs. But they have done some customer orders since then. "One of the first items I remember doing for a customer is a plaque that we used to do on the rotary," she says. "On our rotary engraver, it took us about three hours to run the plate, all while hoping it didn't scratch it at the last line of text. Switching this to our laser decreased the run time to only nine minutes." It was at this moment that Shantel knew the pur- chase was worth it. GROWING AND THRIVING As the shop continues to grow and thrive, Shantel says their experience in the personalization industry has been won- derful so far. "Our customers are great, and we love to inspire them and help them bring imagination into reality," she says. She also believes they wouldn't be where they are now without the support of other industry professionals as well as local businesses. "We really hope to continue to grow and expand the business," Shantel says of the future. "Expanding allows us to create more jobs and serve more in our local community." A&E

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