For the first time in a couple of weeks, I’ve actually had the down time to sit and put “pen to paper” to compose the gallimaufry of random thoughts and realizations I’ve had of the Glowforge since I’ve received it and since I’ve started a business with it.
I should probably start about 6 years ago. I had a “good” corporate job, a great salaried paycheck, and the disposable income to do most of what I pleased. But, I wasn’t happy. My Sundays were pretty much consumed with dreading Mondays. I wanted needed more. So, I took a leap. I made a change. I exited stage-right to take some time for myself and hit the road: Big Bend National Park, the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Moab, Yellowstone and many places in between. I was solo and making my own trip up on the fly. Sights upon sights on day hikes and sleeping under the stars at night. I had the bare necessities and a camera. Everywhere I went, I was taking pictures that I’d share of where I’d been and what I saw. People started to ask for prints and I started to provide them.
I enjoyed some pretty moderate to just above-moderate success in the field; I went to Africa with a pretty famous sports TV personality, worked with some great companies on shoots and the best part, was able to hit the road and freelance anywhere and everywhere. In 2014, I was on a rocky outcrop overlooking Swiftcurrent Falls in the Many Glacier region of Glacier National Park. Waiting for light leaves a lot of time for one to think and one of those thoughts had drifted to a postcard that I had recently mailed.
The postcard wasn’t your typical postcard. It had been written upon, dissected into a mostly fitting ensemble of jigsaw puzzles pieces and dropped into an envelope to wait for the recipient to put back together and see both the words and postcard image come together. Puzzles… I can sell a few prints here and there, a few covers here and there, but what about puzzles?
A lot of people loved the beautiful images.
A lot of people love puzzles.
And a lot of people love beautiful images of places that they know.
Why wouldn’t people love a combination of all 3 of those?
So I researched and researched and had pretty much decided on a large, bulky, industrial hydraulic press with accompanying, expensive dies to make my own puzzles. And then I saw a friend posting your initial marketing video. It seemed to be the perfect solution.
Fast forward to 2017 (after a ton of market research, product research, assembly research, packaging research, waiting for materials and hardware, testing materials and hardware, process improvements and so much more) and it all started to come together. The Glowforge arrived and I was finally able to start prototyping. My initial concept was to just expand my current business and be capable of providing puzzles.
On my first sales trip out to a retailer that I already have a good relationship with, a customer was absolutely insistent on buying the sample that I had brought along. I decided then and there to abandon the idea of just expanding available offerings and use the Wimberley Puzzle Company as the forward-appearing face of it all rather than the photography business I had established over the years which meant starting with a brand new brand.
That was only just a few weeks ago. In the time since I launched the website, addressed my meager mailing list and spent a (very) few advertising dollars, I’ve been almost non-stop. Direct website sales, retailers needing more stock, a media inquiry… its pretty crazy. But this is what you guys (Glowforge) enabled.
Everyone has different reasons for buying this machine - some just for fun, some for building or expanding a business, and some for some amazing scientific testing (@joe @volivaa). The above is just my story… and I’m one of just thousands of customers; I can only imagine how exciting it is for y’all to see what people make today and what they will be making tomorrow. No matter what the reasons are for someone buying it, what you guys have done, brought to market from concept to reality, is something really amazing and you guys (@dan @bailey @aeva and all of the @staff that I can’t tag because @staff doesn’t work) should get the accolades for that.
And just so it’s on topic with #glowforge-project-examples - here is what I do with the Glowforge.
(Laser cut puzzle and laser engraved bag. And the real strength of a laser isn’t cutting puzzles but being able to make each puzzle different, without dies, and incorporate any whimsical shape that I can come up with)