Tommy Hills and his friend, Nelson Bannon, were looking for a way to start their own business and leave the corporate rat race behind them.
"We thought a system from Epilog Laser would give us flexibility to be creative and try many different ideas,” said NMI Laser Co-Owner, Tommy Hills. “We decided that to really get things started we just needed to dive right in and buy a laser and figure the rest out later, so we secured loans from our 401Ks and took the plunge!"
Tommy and Nelson are now the proud and successful owners of NMI Laser, based out of Traverse City, Michigan. Though they’ve been in business two years now, Tommy and Nelson sometimes feel they’re truly just getting started.
“Other than the advertisements we’d seen in MAKE Magazine, we didn’t know anything about lasers,” Tommy said. “When we started researching different laser manufacturers, we appreciated Epilog’s accessible price and the idea that the systems worked more like printing a document than programming a machine.
Our entire business model and plan is: ‘We have an Epilog Laser and you don’t.Tommy Hills
We also loved the fact that you can work with so many materials,” Tommy explained. “Plus Epilog’s systems are made in the USA, our distributor (Fairway Laser Systems) was great to work with and it just seemed to us the Epilog laser was the best choice of equipment as far as personal manufacturing went.”
Though the systems do work on a variety of materials, Tommy tells us they really like the results of etching on aluminum and cutting acrylic. NMI has recently started to make etched aluminum pet tags and have also had phenomenal attention and success for their abstract acrylic chess sets.
The drive, passion and creativity of the owners at NMI Laser have a huge impact on the success of their business, but Tommy tells us that their equipment plays just as big of a part.
“Our entire business model and plan is: ‘We have an Epilog Laser and you don’t.’ Without the Epilog system we don’t have a business,” Tommy said. “The best part about having an Epilog is that it gives us flexibility and versatility, so that we can be creative in what we produce.”