November '22

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6 4 G R A P H I C S P R O • N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 2 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M even playing the community's Mr. and Mrs. Clause. "e most rewarding aspect of getting involved in the community has been exactly that," John says. "e closeness of the community is fan- tastic here." In addition, three years ago, John was named small business- person of the year by the local chamber of commerce. "You don't do these things for the pats on the back and hoping some- one's going to walk in from those events and offer you busi- ness," John says. 2) Do your homework For those looking to get started in engraving, John stresses doing your homework beforehand. "Be sure that things like safety, both personal and customer, are at the top of your list," advises John. "If you're going to be doing things like plastics, you need to be aware that the exhaust fumes are not only very corrosive for your machine but also toxic." John also stresses learning the limitations of your machine. "Don't be prepared to take on anything," he warns. "If it's a physically big job, make sure it's going to fit on your machine. And you should also never override the interlocks — it's not a good idea." In addition, he also recommends contacting other shops that do what you would like to do and asking for information and advice from them, as well as reading trade magazines. "ere are a lot of things that you might not immediately think of," he explains. 3) Look for new opportunities John also emphasizes the importance of looking for opportu- nities through new markets. "I can't stress it enough — don't get tired of looking for poten- tial customers. ey're not going to walk in and look for you because they don't know what you do," he explains. He recommends that, once you get into the groove of run- ning your business, start looking for opportunities with your local school district, businesses, farmer's markets, community fairs, etc. and brainstorm how you can expand your services to meet their needs. 4) Be ready for the long haul Finally, John recommends preparing yourself for the long haul of the ever-expanding journey. He advises that businesses be pre- pared to take the time to learn and experiment. While suppliers are great resources, he stresses the importance of gaining expe- rience and learning for yourself. "You never know everything; there's always more to learn," John says. "You've got to be prepared for the learning curve — and the learning curve never stops. It gets narrower and less steep, but you're never done with the learning." GP Marie Fennema is the editor of GRAPHICS PRO Today, covering news and guidance in apparel decoration, awards and engraving, and sign and digital printing. LASER ENGRAVING REPORT Try This: Laser Engrave a Leatherette Cork Journal In 2022, Celtic Tides added a second laser engraver. A laser engraved guitar piece. Engraving of a Claddagh design.

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