Home hobbyist business turns into full-time gig thanks to laser equipment
“I wouldn’t have had this peace of mind with a cheap no brand laser machine”.
Chris Scicluna, an industrial designer from Melbourne, started Craftin Clever 4 years ago part-time whilst working as a model maker at an Architectural firm.
Originally making kids toy and craft supplies by hand or outsourcing parts, Craftin Clever products had long wait times and a higher retail price to cover costs.
Investing in a laser cutter with support from Alfex Laser has allowed Chris to expand his product offerings, reduce production time and cut retail prices. These changes have meant Craftin Clever is able to compete in the market place and has allowed Chris to leave his job and work in the business full time.
Before investing in a laser cutter, Chris would mostly hand-make items or outsource parts. This process was not only time consuming, but increased production costs and therefore retail price for his customers.
“Outsourcing laser cutting meant customers would have to wait a lot longer for their product, just because of the process involved. If there was one small mistake in the drawings, it would blow out the time-frame completely” .
Chris knew that if he wanted to have the freedom and flexibility to work his own hours and be his own boss, he would have to invest in his business. “I love the challenge of making things for people. I enjoy seeing my creations come to life and to send them out to customers locally and internationally. I enjoy making quality products and building a name for myself.”
As a one-man business, Chris was looking for expertise knowledge and support he could rely on. Searching for a reputable supplier and a reliable machine, Chris discovered Alfex Laser at a trade show whilst still working as a model maker at an architectural firm.
“When time came to buy my own machine, I knew who to go to for purchasing my machine. I was confident in going through Alfex Laser. Alfex Laser being a local supplier was a very important factor – if I required any tech support or spare parts, I knew I could get them straight away. It’s really important for my small business to get assistance quickly when I need a service or am having a trouble-shooting issue.”
Making mainly stamps, engraving and cutting a detailed and precise finish was of most important for the final product, so Chris needed a laser machine that was known for precision cutting.
Alfex Laser worked with Chris to find the right laser cutter at the right price to build his business. Chris purchased the Epilog Laser Mini 24 to create craft supplies, signage and kids toys.
The small format Mini 24 is the number one choice for engravers worldwide thanks to its highest quality motion control system. This top-of-the-line CO2 laser is known for industry-leading engraving quality and a packed list of powerful features as standard.
The bed size and power was the perfect combination for Chris to use with his main materials of plywood, acrylic, foam, cork and rubber, as well as the option to cut and engrave on plastics, glass, stone and much more.
Chris explains how the advice from Alfex Laser ensured he made a sound purchasing decision, “I purchased a trade in machine that was refurbished by Alfex Laser and saved me a little money, so I could get the right machine for the job. Their support gave me the confidence to buy from them and I’m very happy with the outcome!”
Chris is extremely satisfied with the after sales support from Alfex Laser. “When I need genuine parts, I can get them in a timely manner and tech support has always been very helpful.” explains Chris, “Now that I have my own laser cutter in-house, the production process is faster. I am now producing and selling more pieces, allowing me to reduce the total price per unit. This makes me competitive in the market place”
Being a micro-business relying on this piece of equipment Chris understood the importance of having local support, “Building a name for yourself, your customers need to know they can come back to you if they have a issue with something. I wanted the same thing from my laser supplier. I wanted to be able to talk to a real person in terms of spare parts and tech support if a problem may occur. I wouldn’t have had this peace of mind with a cheap no brand laser machine if something goes wrong.”
Investing in a laser machine has expanded Chris’ business, allowing him to grow from a part-time hobby to a full-time income stream. “Now that I have my own laser cutter in-house, the production process is faster and I can make all the amendments I need quickly.”
Chris has used the time saved from creating products in-house to experiment and test new designs, materials and methods “I am more productive and can turn over more items in house than having to outsource”.
This experimentation has allowed him to create a differentiated product in an otherwise saturated market: “I didn’t really have interest in stamps as the market is already flooded with these items, however I did look into it in a way to make them look different and it really took off. They are now one of my best-selling products”.
Whilst the laser cutter is the most used piece of equipment at Craftin’ Clever, Chris has also invested in complimentary equipment to expand his product offering. “Combining technologies such as 3D Printing with the Laser Machine has really helped me expand my business. I am now currently supplying parts for speed cameras on the side and is a continuous source of income.”
The laser machine is great because I get a lot of interest from customers who want custom parts cut and I can provide this to them at good prices compared to the larger companies who have a 2 week wait and higher overheads.
The investment in the Epilog machine from Alfex Laser was worthwhile for Chris and Craftin Clever. “[Alfex Laser] were always there to assist when we needed a service, troubleshooting issues and generally give good customer service. They really helped me out and have no regrets investing in this machine.
“Alfex Laser’s support has been integral to the success of my business. If I ever had a question or two I could call them over the phone and receive assistance from one of the technicians. I’m happy that I made the choice to invest in a machine with them because of their support and knowledge in the business”.
What advice would you give others
looking to purchase a laser system?
If you’re starting a new business I recommend to steer clear from cheap non branded laser machines, if you want some reliability and backup support. It’s worth investing more $$$ in a well-known brand with an experienced local team to support you and you won’t be left hanging if any issues arise!
Chris Scicluna, Director