Awards, Gifts and Engraving
Basement operation turns storefront success with unbeatable teamwork and the help of Epilog Laser Systems.
Sandy Formanek and her husband and business partner Gary purchased their Epilog Laser system with the vision to create something nothing less than spectacular.
“I admit, it’s kind of vague what the plan was for using it,” Sandy told us. “I only know that the business, which originally started in our basement as Laser Design & Graphics, has evolved into something different than the beginning idea.
The laser has adapted to the new ideas and direction my company has taken,” Sandy said. “My business has been transformed, and my Epilog Laser system cleared the path for this great transformation.
“I think there was a bit of fascination with a laser, which lured us to it,” she said. “My husband agreed to support me if I had technical issues. And he assured me that my creative side could explore the new ideas of such a toy ... okay, now I call it a toy, but it is really more of a ‘work horse’.”
Sandy and Gary tell us that prior to selecting their Epilog Laser system they had no knowledge or background in the industry, but had a few key features in mind.
“The versatility of the laser was intriguing,” Sandy said. “We wanted a rotary attachment so we could do round objects such as wedding glasses, and we also considered the size of the laser table so we could work on larger projects. It was important to have a laser with higher wattage to be able to complete projects faster.
“We ended up selecting Epilog because the equipment is made in Colorado, so technical support was a long distance call not an overseas call,” Sandy tells us. “We also had a great local representative who covered our area and provided very good support.”
While Sandy and Gary work with a variety of materials, Sandy tells us some of her most interesting projects have been with wood.
“Customers can have unusual requests,” Sandy noted. “I have learned to say ‘sure, that could be done, bring it over’, which has gotten me involved in some jobs that take more time than anticipated, but it has also given me some unusual and fun projects. It’s also given me some new friends and great stories.”
To date, Sandy’s completed some very unique projects, including a cardboard fish lighting project for the ABC program, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
"The individual pieces were cut in rings from cardboard, then glued together to form fish that ended up hanging in a theme room as light fixtures,” Sandy explained. “The small fish had 75 rings, and the large fish had 150 rings. The house-build was an amazing project and Awards, Gifts & Engraving was honored to participate in it.”
Sandy was also particularly proud of the small laser engraved signs for the instrument panel on her neighbor’s airplane, which he built it in his basement.
“The laser has adapted to the new ideas and direction my company has taken,” Sandy said. “My business has been transformed, and my Epilog Laser system cleared the path for this great transformation.
“I did not imagine all the possibilities when the Epilog was first purchased,” Sandy tells us. “It reminds me of a mentor in my past who said that she would know to retire when she no longer learned new things – I must say each customer brings new learning opportunities to my laser table.”
While Sandy gives much credit to her Epilog Laser system for helping create a successful and exciting business, the most credit is given to her husband and partner. After working together for the past seven years the couple have recently purchased a storefront and changed the business name to Awards, Gifts & Engraving.
“I had no idea that doing this work could be a challenge and so much fun, all at the same time,” Sandy said. “My husband Gary is still my rock and my amazing in-house techie. The laser is fundamental to the business, but none of it would be possible without Gary.”
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