After spending the past 30 years in the woodworking industry, Rich Good has seen high-tech equipment change the market. Tools once available only to the industrial sector were becoming more accessible to small business owners. Rich knew he needed to take advantage of this next generation technology to take his small business, Good Wood, to the next level.
“I started out making antique style decorative items like wooden ducks, Santa Claus figures and things like that,” Good said.
“This grew into children’s puzzles and toys, which then moved to the creation of one-of-a-kind rocking horses and other unique gifts.”
As business began to increase and demand became higher for his product, Rich soon realized he would need more sophisticated resources to meet his long-term business goals.
“I wanted to continue with gift products; however, the business had grown to the point where I was having difficulty creating items to cover individual orders and sufficient stock for various tradeshows where we exhibit.”
My Epilog equipment does exactly what the company claims it can do and has absolutely met my expectations.Rich Good
About a year ago, Rich began looking for tools that would increase his production levels while still providing his customers with unique wood burnings, relief carvings and fretwork art. He chose a small CNC carving machine that could carve images into wood. To his dismay, the equipment didn’t live up to his expectations, and was nowhere near as capable as advertised. “Since the equipment I first purchased didn’t live up to my expectations, I found myself researching equipment that would allow me to create all that I planned on doing,” Rich said. “I did quite a bit of research on equipment that could perform the tasks I needed it to: carving, burning and fretwork. It soon became apparent that a laser was the one tool capable of doing it all.”
As a small business owner, Rich needed to ensure that the next system he purchased was able to meet his application needs and increase his productivity.
While a capable machine could increase his product line and profit margin, a system that couldn’t truly produce could wreak havoc on his business. He was wary, but remained open to finding the right equipment to meet his needs.
“I continued undecided for nearly a year,” Rich said. “I looked and reviewed information on several manufacturers, including Epilog. I felt Epilog was the only one who provided quality suggestions in terms of what to ask yourself before moving forward with any laser, such as the amount of use, the types of items you want to create, and whether you want to specialize in one type of item or have an extensive product line.”
After determining a laser would be the right choice for his business, Rich began to learn more about other laser engraving service providers in his area. “I did some local research and found there were a lot of engraving business doing awards and plaques, but there were few working in the area in which I was interested - creating burned and fretwork images in wood from personal photographs,” Rich said.
Rich’s research concerning lasers was promising. Still, he needed to see a system in action before making such an important decision.
“Epilog was the only company that attempted to bring demonstrations to a convenient area,” Rich said. “Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the first few demonstrations sponsored by my Epilog distributor, Class Act Engraving, but when I finally did have the opportunity to attend one I knew when I left that a laser was the tool I had been looking for.”
After much dedicated research, Rich decided if he was going to purchase a laser, it was going to be an Epilog. Affordability, machine capability and professionalism were among the key reasons Rich went with the company.
“Epilog was the only manufacturer offering demonstrations locally,” Rich said, “and Jeff, my distributor, took the extra time to answer each and every question I had.”
Rich says his Epilog system has not only met, but exceeded his expectations.
“The effect of the laser has been even better than I anticipated,” Rich said. “I’ve always loved the idea of being able to create photographic images in wood, and while I’m quite skilled in creating wood burnings from a photo, I was amazed that with the proper art and design work coupled with the proper settings, my Epilog creates a perfect duplication of a picture. Epilog equipment does exactly what the company claims it can do and has absolutely met my expectations.
Whenever in doubt, Rich tells us his after sale support was nothing less than the best. “I was very concerned regarding the difficulty in learning to operate the system; however, that concern quickly disappeared as I learned tips and techniques from Epilog’s Virtual Training Suite and live technical assistance from Epilog."
Rich said his distributor was just as helpful after the sale as he was during the research process. “Jeff always answers my questions and provides suggestions and directions when I have gotten stuck in an application. He has even referred potential customers to me from the Pittsburgh area who have contacted him seeking a shop in the local area for project work.”
“Sometimes there are unexpected opportunities,” Rich said. “For example, this past Christmas we began creating three dimensional tree ornaments, which are immensely popular at craft shows, and using vector, cutting only, artwork, we’ve made some stunning designs for the shades of electric lanterns.”
Rich is working on new projects with his wife, Christeen, who designs, creates and retails jewelry. The two are working together to create personalized wood and glass pendent designs. Rich says the potential opportunities so far have been limited only by their imagination.
As a successful business owner, Rich was kind enough to share some of his best practices for getting the best return from his investment.
“Typically, the customer emails us a photograph, and we do any touching up and artwork preparation,” Rich said. “When the customer approves the image, we proceed with the creation of the art work, and most of our items sell from $40 to $80 including shipping.”
While every small business owner faces unique challenges, all can agree that it is paramount to incorporate the right equipment to grow the organization. Rich indicates his investment in Epilog equipment has had a positive impact on the direction in which his business was moving. “I truly believe if I had not elected to purchase the Epilog laser I would have moved in a completely opposite direction and discontinued the business completely,” he said.
Learn more at www.goodwoodrbg.com.