CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Seven years ago, Kris Shultz saw an ad in a magazine at work for a laser engraving and cutting machine. Today, she uses two of these machines to run her own laser engraving business, Etch N Time.
(Photos and video by Prince Brooks of 32 1/2 Productions)
Located just outside of Clarion along Miola Road, Etch N Time is a laser engraving and CNC routing business created by Shultz, a computer programmer by education and purchasing agent by trade.
Shultz told exploreClarion.com “I like to make people smile, and I’m somewhat artistic so they kind of mesh together.”
“Where I used to work, I did purchasing, and magazines would come in, and they had ads for these (laser engravers) and I thought they were super cool. I said, ‘Well, I’ll get one and try it,’ and it’s launched into now I’m self-employed, and it’s good business for me,” Shultz added.
The name Etch N Time reflects the fact she can preserve people’s memories through her work.
“The name Etch N Time came from preserving people’s memories forever. So basically, you’re etching something in time so that things can be passed down for generations.”
Working out of her garage, Shultz can engrave designs onto wood, metal, granite, marble, glass, and even powdered-coated tumblers. She can also cut all these materials except for metal.
She said that she has always been artistic, and besides her interest in laser engraving, she is a woodcutter. The computer aspect of laser engraving also came easy, as Shultz has a background in computer programming.
The way Shultz etches or cuts begins with her loading up a program on her computer, which gives instructions to her machines on what to do. All she has to do is align the laser beam with a part called a “focus.” To get a deep cut, she usually runs her work through twice. The laser engravers also come with settings to change the strength of the laser. The more wattage, the thicker the materials she can cut through.
She uses two lasers made by the company Epilogue.
“Two epilogue lasers that are just about the ‘top-of-the-line’ when it comes to laser equipment,” she said. “The first one has a bed size of 12 inch by 24 inch. My bigger laser has a bed size of three foot by four foot, so I can engrave bigger materials.”
With these lasers, she creates all sorts of products, including cutting boards on which she etches a handwritten recipe submitted to her by a client. These cutting boards have proved one of Shultz’s best-sellers. She etches a lot of tumblers as well and recently became a Brumate dealer.
“You’re making things that last forever, especially the handwritten cutting boards because hopefully those get passed down generation to generation, so you’re etching something that’s immortalized in time.”
Response to her work has been extremely positive.
“I get a lot of very good feedback from it,” said Shultz. “My reviews are top-notch. I always get emails and messages from people after Christmas.”
“I make sure it’s something I would want to receive, quality-wise. If something doesn’t look right to me, I will remake it until it’s up to the standards that I like,” she said.
Because of her reputation for quality, which has spread mostly through word of mouth, Shultz has sent cutting boards all over the United States and to other countries, including Australia and some nations in Europe.
Though business has been good for Shultz, she does not stop coming up with new designs and materials to work on. She says because she is self-employed, she needs to ensure orders keep coming in.
“You don’t know if you’re going to have any orders next week. It’s not like two weeks from now you’re going to have a paycheck going into your bank. I don’t know what money I’m going to have next week or next month, but I have grown for seven years.”
Christmas tends to be the best time for Shultz sales-wise. Additionally, she participates in Crafter’s Day during Autumn Leaf Festival, which she says is also good for sales.
“Last quarter of the year, basically from August, September is the start of people heavily Christmas buying. I also have a lot of people that will buy for the rest of the year, this month (January),” she said.
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