November '22

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6 6 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 LASER ENGRAVING REPORT B ri Gates, owner of Bumble and Birch, got her first taste of laser engraving after starting a small Etsy site during the pandemic selling wooden earrings she designed with a wood-burning tool. "I didn't think anything would stick really," she says, but "lo and behold, three months in I was bombarded with sales and requests from people interested in my work." At that point, she began looking for an easy-to-use laser cutter because hand burning her jewelry was not fast enough to keep up with her orders. In January 2021, Etsy Enthusiast to Wholesaler Bumble and Birch ramps up its laser game By Paula Aven Gladych Bri Gates, owner of Bumble and Birch. (All images courtesy Bumble and Birch) Gates went from doing strictly direct-to-consumer, one-off pieces to selling wholesale on a marketplace called Faire. she purchased her first cutter, a Glowforge desktop laser cutter that was marketed as a plug-and-play setup. "That's honestly why I started with the Glowforge because it was super easy, looked pretty intuitive and I had no laser experience," Gates says. When it arrived, she realized that the company didn't lie about its product. It was easy to set up and it came with mate- rials, allowing her to play around with the laser cutting side of things. "It was so dif- ferent, in a good way, than hand burning. What I was able to do with hand burning could not be compared to what I can do with the laser. Way more intricate designs and I can produce them so much faster too and that was really a big portion of the appeal of getting a laser cutter," she says. Gates has always had a passion for woodworking, so she says it came natu- rally to her to use wood as her medium. She went to a craft store and bought bass wood to create nature-inspired jewelry, bringing in woodsy elements to create a natural feel. at has held true through- out her designs as she has expanded and built up her business. When she bought her first laser, she started making jewelry because that is what she knew how to do at the time. But the laser allowed her to expand into other things, including wooden book- marks, which is one of her biggest sellers, and wood-covered journals, which are her best sellers across the board.

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