LaserFlair entered the UK Blog Awards

LaserFlair entered the UK Blog Awards

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I stumbled across the UK Blog Awards in the spring when I was thinking about applying for business awards this year.

As I’d started blogging in summer 2016 and had been included in Feedspot‘s Top 40 Laser Cutting Blogs  in the world and their Top 100 Laser Blogs to do with any laser applications, I decided to go for it and throw my hat in the ring.

What are the UK Blog Awards?

They started in 2014 and provide a unique opportunity for individuals and companies to be recognised for their social media achievements through blogging, vlogging, instagramming and snapchatting.

These awards are open to everyone, no matter how big or small their following. It doesn’t matter whether blogs are for business or pleasure, and small businesses are as welcome as large ones.

Categories include Digital and Technology (the one I entered), Arts and Culture, Travel, Food and Drink and Parenting and the list grows every year. There are nineteen categories for 2018.

How it all works

Submissions closed on 20th November. Public voting for favourite blogs is underway now and closes on 22nd December. Finalists are announced on 2nd January and the expert judges then have a chance to vote. Winners will be announced at the awards evening on 20th April 2018.

Why I blog

I started blogging to show more examples of projects I’ve worked on, with customers’ permission of course. When I started writing my Project of the Month news shots, customers told me they found the case studies inspiring and gave them ideas.

I also use the blog to share artwork design tips for customers and news, like Feedspot rating my blog and winning an ASB award in September.

How you can help

If you’d like to vote for LaserFlair’s laser cutting and engraving blog, you can do so here.

You can read my application if you like, or just scroll to the bottom of the page to vote. You need to enter your name and email address. Select the Digital and Technology category (the only option as I only entered in that category). Finally, click the SUBMIT button.

All votes are very much appreciated! Thankyou.

LaserFlair wins ASB award

LaserFlair wins ASB award

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On Friday 29th September, the Association of Scottish Businesswomen held their 2017 National Business Awards, celebrating the talent of business and professional women across Scotland. It was a lovely evening, attended by 230 guests at Glasgow Grand Central Hotel. There were over 50 finalists across 12 award categories including exporting excellence, innovative start up and best team.

I’m absolutely delighted to announce that LaserFlair won Most Enterprising Business of the Year. In the photo, Wendy Maltman the ASB President, is on my right. Jackie Brierton, CEO of GrowBiz Perthire on my left, presented the award.

ASB award certificate

A year of new things

This year, I have been focusing on shouting about LaserFlair more. I made a decision to push myself out of my comfort zone to try new things. Then I had to make them happen. If I didn’t, who else would?

It took me four years to decide that I really did have interesting things to blog about! Every project is a case study just waiting to be shared with a customers’ permission. Blogging has become a great way of describing what I do and how I do it. Recently, Feedspot rated my blog in their Top 40 Laser Cutting Blogs on the internet, and also their Top 100 Laser Blogs.

LaserFlair’s website had a complete overhaul in February. I moved it WordPress from Yola so my blog would be hosted within the website and drive traffic to it. I’ve had lots of complements on its fresh new look, and the new logo too.

I’ve thrown myself into social media properly at last. Not only have I found it a great way to share my blogs and pictures of what I’m doing day by day, it’s been a great way to follow what customers are doing. I’ve made lots of great new contacts too.

While I have taken quite good video footage of the machine at work, I knew that putting a video together of my workflow for my website was beyond me. So I commissioned one showing my process from artwork preparation and machine set up to making my own plywood business cards.

Finally, I decided it was time to put myself forward for a business award. This ASB award was the first one I applied for. I had an interview in July with the judges. After that, I knew I was a finalist, and the winners were announced at the dinner.

The biggest surprise

And the biggest surprise of all? Apart from winning the award, I’ve realised how much I’ve enjoyed these activities that I didn’t think I’d like at all. I’ve learned new skills, made lots of new contacts, gained new customers, and had fun doing it.

It turned out that my biggest challenge was overcoming the barriers I put up in my own mind against my own success.


More information about the ASB awards can be found here.

why I started LaserFlair

Why I started LaserFlair

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‘So how did you get into this then?’

Just about every customer asks me this when they visit the workshop and look around. Today, LaserFlair is 5 years old, so it seems like the perfect time to tell you our story.


The R word

Redundancy. In a word, that’s what forced me to consider setting up my own business.

My background is chemistry, not art school as many customers assume. My first favourite job was with Akzo Nobel in large scale pharmaceutical manufacturing. There, I optimised customers’ processes in the lab and transferred them onto the plant, training the operators, liaising with Quality Control and Quality Assurance. I volunteered for redundancy when the workforce was halved in 2004.

My other favourite? New Product Development Manager at Curtis Fine Papers in Guardbridge, Fife. I was responsible for turning the sales teams’ ideas for new products into reality and we launched six new products in two years. But in August 2008, the credit crunch bit and the mill closed down.

A couple of  short contract jobs and another redundancy later, my husband suggested that I should start my own business. I knew that manufacturing was what I wanted to be doing. But what? And how?


Good advice

That year, I signed up for a couple of stained glass classes and loved it. One evening, I asked my teacher if she’d ever made a business out of it. Her answer was very interesting.

She had, but there were two problems. Firstly, she didn’t like any of the commissions she made. Secondly, she realised that if she charged for her time as well as materials, she would price herself out of the market. As a result, she didn’t enjoy it and wasn’t getting paid properly for doing something she loved. She gave it up and continued doing what she did love – making her own projects and teaching the skill.


Dipping a toe in the water

It was my husband that discovered laser cutting and it looked interesting. During my research, I stumbled across Jenny Smith‘s laser cutting taster classes. She’s an artist in Edinburgh and has a laser cutter that she uses it to generate her pieces. Her classes are attended by artists, crafters and teachers from schools and colleges that have bought machines. Jenny showed us how to create the artwork and use the machine. I could see the potential and I was hooked.


First steps

We moved to a house with an outbuilding that I could turn into a workshop and bought a laser cutting machine. The photo above shows a local farmer offloading it from the lorry into the workshop in its crate. It was a very tight squeeze!

Initially, I created a range of personalised gifts for new babies, weddings and birthdays that I sold on my website, but I soon started to get enquiries for contract manufacturing. This development suited me perfectly and was a good fit with my background of product development and project management. I couldn’t have planned it better myself!