We bought a Glowforge. It kind of feels like I did it on a whim, but in all reality, I spent a good dozen hours watching videos and researching products, ideas and expenses before I jumped in. I’m going to tell you a little about why I decided to buy one for our businesses and show you a few of the products we’ve made so far.
Why a GlowForge
Simply put, it’s an affordable class four laser that I can stick in my office. I can vent it out the window and don’t have to have a huge shop to make the little things we’re whipping out.
When we were researching laser cutters, we basically started on a whim. We wanted a certain design for a product that we were going to put in our subscription box and the price was out of this world (see below). That began our search into an option that would allow us to make the product ourselves AND add additional products to our line up on our other ecommerce shops.
Get $500 off a Pro, $250 off a Plus and $100 off a Basic with our Discount Code.
But It’s Expensive
One of the most common comments I’ve seen in groups about this machine has come from those considering purchasing a Glowforge – “It’s expensive!!”
It’s true, but for a machine that I can use to increase my profits, I know it’ll pay for itself over and over again. Having purchased equipment many times more expensive, I know the GlowForge offers a lot for the price. In 2012 we bought TWO apparel printers that rang up at $16k a piece. With this machine coming in at just around $6k, the math makes sense.
Just like with our apparel printers, there are many higher end laser cutters on the market. There’s also a few that are just a few hundred bucks on Amazon, but they weren’t what we needed. At all.
What Can You Make With It?
Gosh, the list is so long. We’ve made, so far:
- Leather Hat Patches
- Acrylic LED Signs
- Signs for our boys room
- Signs for our girls room
- A puzzle
- A storage box
- A leather keychain
- An acrylic keychain
- Christmas ornaments
- Cake toppers
- Wooden keychains
- Wall sign with a poem
- A bride’s wedding hanger
This list is ongoing and ever growing… for real.
Once you have one of these machines, you’ll find yourself in the same situation. I am writing this just one week into owning this machine and I can tell you that you’ll be making endless things too. Just because you can.
Products We’ve Made and Will Make
Before we get into products, I want to touch on expenses one more time. One of the reasons we started looking into this machine was because there were several products we wanted to include in our box that were not affordable.
For January we wanted to include a hat and a beanie with leather patches and labels. The manufacturer of the patches wanted $30 a hat if we ordered a completed set. The patches themselves were just over $3 each from other providers on Etsy. The problem we ran into was that the patches were mostly coming from overseas and couldn’t get here in the timeframe we needed.
We needed just over 300 hats or patches by January’s subscription box. If we had paid the $30 a hat, it would have been over $9,000 just for hats. Probably closer to $10k after shipping. We had $15 a piece in another product, not including the shirt and design. For the hat, the tool, the apparel – we would have spent over $50 for a box that we were getting $39 plus shipping. By time we paid for shipping and boxes we would have been in $60 and upside down $14 a subscriber.
Rather than spend $10k on hats, we opted to spend $6k and buy a machine that would allow us to make hats for about $6-$7 each.
We prototyped hats and tested the market on one of our fb pages. We’ve sold $550 worth in three days with no ads. This proves the market wants this product. Once the lineup of hats is done this week, we are going to start the ads and we expect the Glowforge to pay for itself with hats alone – not including the products we will be including in our subscription boxes.
It’s possible that this machine will create a sub niche six figure a year company. We fully expect it to. In that case we will probably hire an employee and buy a second laser and work them both full time.
With that said, we’d have a whole line of products being made with our Glowforge. Just like when we bought our apparel printers, this machine will allow us to differentiate ourselves from our competition.