Meet the Maker: An Interview with Your Laser Lounge

I'm sure I have said this before but I absolutely love discovering new businesses! So with this in mind I thought I would share a small business with you that I only discovered a couple of months ago after seeing a piece of their work on social media. I think it's safe to say that after ordering a bespoke piece from Vicky and posting a photo on my feed, it went viral! Everyone went bananas for it and I almost feel bad for inundating her with so many messages and questions over her work. It seems only right to introduce her to you properly and see her beautiful work for yourselves...


1. Tell us a little about you and your business.



I'm Vicky, I'm 34 years old and live in a small town near Portsmouth with my husband and 3 beautiful boys. I run Your Laser Lounge, where I design, cut and decorate lots of lovely home decor items as well as the odd personalised engraved piece.



2. What inspired your business name?


This is a bit boring to be honest- I wanted the word laser in it as I'd invested in a laser cutter and this would be where all my new creations would come to life. The lounge part came from the fact that I had an old sofa I visualised friends sitting on and chatting to me as I worked away (and if you could see my workshop now you'd realise how ridiculous that dream was, there is no room to swing the proverbial cat, let alone host some sort of mumpreneur coffee morning) And lastly, 'your' it used to be The Laser Lounge but that domain name was already taken and Your Laser Lounge was suggested instead.



3. How did you first discover your passion for your craft?


I've always loved being creative, from art at school to making outlandish fancy dress costumes in my late teens. Then it all seemed to take a back seat and came second to work, running a house and taking care of my children. Then in 2012 when my second child, Beau, was 1, I felt something was missing, I liked my job, I loved my children, but I needed something just for me. So I started looking into what crafts would be good to turn my hand to for fun and maybe a business. I thought about cake making as I enjoy making cakes for friends and family, but decided this wouldn't work as it wouldn't be flexible around the children. I also love sewn items, embroidery hoops, little felt ornaments and the likes, but then remembered I can't sew and got a U in GCSE textiles. Then I stumbled across paper cutting, this appealed to the designer in me and I realised I could make use of the design skills I'd picked up whilst doing my degree.


I spent my savings on a Silhouette Cameo and got designing, and thus my first business, Beau Paper Cuts was born! Business really took off and it was easy to get seen as Facebook hadn't yet discovered it could charge page owners to allow their followers to see their posts, they just used to show everyone everything. There were very few paper cutters around, a few months later Paper Panda started selling paper cutting kits and then hoards of people started doing it, which is what made me search for something more- how could I grow my business? Originally I bought the laser cutter to be able to speed up production and offer a wider range of paper products, but I loved designing the wood shapes so much that took over. 



4. How long has your business been running?



Beau Paper Cuts has been going for 7 years and although I don't push it, I do still offer paper cuts and am looking to make this a part of Your Laser Lounge, which has been running for 4 years now.




5. What inspires your creations?


My children mainly, I love creating new designs for their rooms, although it's getting harder with my older two now that they're 8 and 10. But my baby Mylo has many years of my creations adorning his walls to come.




6. What is your proudest achievement to date?


A big achievement for me was in 2014 when I was able to quit my day job and work on Beau Paper Cuts full time. This meant I could spend more quality time with my boys whilst doing a job I love.



7. What is the biggest lesson you have learned?


Not to overload yourself and to know your limits. In the early days I really took on so much more than I could handle and I burnt myself out. Now I have learnt to take breaks from my business as I would do at a normal job and to have lead times that work around my children. It's not easy switching off but I find it really does help to reboot the creativity and always return with new makes.



8. What is your favourite make?


I think my favourite regular make would have to be my arrow plaques, I love these because it was the first thing I made for Mylo's nursery when I was pregnant with him and they're so striking. I've also made a few logo plaques (including one for The Sewing Alchemist) and I love doing these as I have a logo to work with and have to think about what layers there'll be a what materials will work.



9. What is the best feedback you have received?


The greatest compliment I ever got was when a customer of Beau Paper Cuts messaged me to show me her husband had surprised her by getting a tattoo of the family tree I'd made her.



10. Is there anything you regret?


I try not to dwell on regrets, but if I could go back, I would have pushed Facebook and Instagram more when they were more user friendly to build my following on both platforms.



11. What are your goals for the future?


As Mylo gets older and starts pre-school I'm going to expand my product range and build my hours back up to full time. I'd love to be in a position to bring some people on board in future so I can concentrate more on creating new designs.




12. What is the best part of being a maker?


I really enjoy what I do and get so much job satisfaction, I've got a lovely group of friends (The Faraway Tree, Wedding Invitation Creations & Lovely Lollies) who are local makers too and enjoy meeting up with them for lunch or coffee. The flexibility of working for myself is a godsend with 3 children to work around.



13. What is your least favourite job to do?


Packaging up! I'd love to offer pretty packages, wrapped in personalised tissue paper and beautiful foil stickers but the reality is most of my stuff is big and fragile, resulting in lots of bubble wrap and fragile tape. It feels good when everything's packaged up and dropped off though, so swings and roundabouts.



14. What advice would you give your old self?


Be more organised! To be fair this is probably my current mantra.



15. What advice would you give other makers?


Never give up, write down your goals, break them down and get them done. It doesn't happen overnight, but if you work hard you will get there.




To find out more about Vicky and to see more of her amazing work follow her here:


www.facebook.com/YourLaserLounge


www.etsy.com/uk/shop/YourLaserLounge


www.instagram.com/your_laser_lounge




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