November '22

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 2 • G R A P H I C S P R O 6 7 "It definitely expanded the possibili- ties of what I could do, and I was able to play around more with the creative side of things. Because I wasn't hand-cutting and hand-burning everything, I could really lean into it," Gates says. Before her career took a creative turn, Gates was an environmental microbiol- ogist by trade who played around with wood burning as a personal interest and passion. When the pandemic hit, she had plenty of free time on her hands, so she was able to focus on the things that brought her joy. She began documenting her creative journey on social media and "that's what drove the sales and visibility of my shop to allow me to go full time in this," she adds. Gates only had the Glowforge for six months before she decided to invest in an industrial laser and get serious about building her business."e real nail in the coffin for me was when I started selling wholesale," she says. Gates went from doing strictly direct-to- consumer, one-off pieces, to selling whole- sale on a marketplace called Faire. "I quickly realized I had to get my pro- cess a lot quicker to keep up with whole- sale demands. Within maybe three weeks to a month of consistent selling on that Faire wholesale site, I was investing in an industrial laser," she says. When she purchased her under Laser in December 2021, she had to get a com- mercial space for the first time to accom- modate it because it was four times the bed size of her Glowforge at 5' × 4'. Adding a laser engraver allowed her to expand into wooden bookmarks, which is one of her biggest sellers. Wood-covered journals are her best sellers across the board.

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