Shopify vs Etsy: Where Should You Sell Your Laser Cut Products?

Etsy vs Shopify

If you’re planning to selling your laser cut products online online, one of the bigger decisions you would need to make is the channel. Should you sell in your own website under the banner of your own brand or on a known marketplace? Both platforms essentially deliver on the same objective – to get your product out in the market and to get you started on earning sales revenues.

How each one performs really depends on a number of factors. In this blog, we’ve covered how to enhance photos of your laser cut products and how to write engaging product descriptions. These may be factors to help your product sell better in both platforms.

What’s more important to ask is how each platform aligns with your business goals. Are you trying to test the waters with your products to see how the market will react to it? Then Etsy would be a good option for this. Are you trying to make a name for yourself and grown your own brand? Then Shopify is the best venue for such.

Let’s dig a little deeper with three points comparison that most online sellers are concerned with: exposure, customization and price.

Comparing Etsy and Shopify:

  • Exposure – Etsy is already a massive brand with its own following. According to Etsy, the creative marketplace has 24 million buyers around the world is shopping for unique items from them. Shopify, on the other hand, is a platform that lets you set up your own ecommerce store. Meaning, you are starting as a new brand that may not have the same recognition as other big brand names. This also means you need to exert extra effort on your part to deliver traffic to your own website. In this regard, Etsy is the clear winner.
  • Customization – Etsy doesn’t give you much control over how your product will be displayed – except of course for the photos and the descriptions of the products. If you’re pretty savvy with web design and have preferences over the way your products are displayed, then Shopify may be the better option for you.
  • Pricing – Now this is the crux in the decision making for most online sellers in either platforms. The difference in pricing depends on how much you will be selling. There is no membership fee in Etsy but it does cost $0.20 to list an item for 4 months or until it sells. However, there is a 3.5% fee on the sales price. Shopify has a three-tiered pricing option: Basic is at $29 with a 2% transaction fee, Shopify is at $79 with a 1% transaction fee and Advanced Shopify is priced at $299 with a 0.5% transaction fee. So at the on-set, you already see that the basic difference is in your upfront cost. Etsy charges very little to get your products listed while you need to spend more on Shopify. Calculating overall cots will depend on how much is sold. Low volume businesses actually save more on Etsy but when the orders start coming in, expect to spend more with the high transaction cost. We found this article comparing fees for Etsy vs Shopify Fees based on volume and item price: Shopify vs Etsy Fees

Etsy and Shopify each have strong offerings to laser cut makers who want to start selling their products online. If you want to start building a following or trial your business idea, we suggest going for Etsy. If you’re already confident about your sales and think it’s time to level up on building your own brand, then make a move towards Shopify. There is no right or wrong answer when asking which is the better platform for selling your laser cut items, it’s really just a matter of strategy.

How to Successfully Sell Laser Cut Products Online

selling laser cut products online

Custom laser cut products can be a huge hit if you find the right market for it. While many brick-and-mortar stores and even big box retailers might love to put your products on their stands, the cost of selling through these channels are not always the most profitable. Your margin may shrink depending on what these merchants charge per sale — these may be based on a commission or a consignment fee. Starting your physical store for selling is even more costly. There is one channel where you can find success without a lot of fees or overhead costs eating into your profits: online selling.

Benefits of Online Selling: 

Aside from the revenue factor, other benefits of selling online include:

  1. Accessibility – Essentially, an online store is open 24/7 and anyone, anywhere in the world can access it to buy from you. On the flip side, you as a seller, can operate the business anywhere in the world as long as you have internet access and a reliable fulfilment partner like Ponoko.
  2. Measurability – There are many web analytics and ecommerce tracking systems now available to give you access to information you need to make smart decisions on the fly. Find out everything you need to know about your user demographics, website sessions, conversions, cart abandonment, time on site and more — data which is actionable and can help you achieve even more sales.
  3. Scalablity – When you know which products sell best, you can easily increase stock levels, direct marketing efforts towards specific products, diversify your product range or cross-sell and upsell as necessary.
  4. Flexibility – Making changes to your online store is usually very easy. This may mean adding deals of the day, putting products up for sale or on clearance, adding new products, changing prices and more. Unlike physical retail stores, there is no need to print expensive display materials to show your potential buyers these changes.
  5. Visibility – Online marketing and search engine optimization can give your marketing budget more mileage. You can do very specific targeting of your market — from geo-location to interest. With your store already being accessible from anywhere in the world, the right marketing investment can give you even more visibility to an audience that can actually convert into sales.

There you have it, five amazing benefits you can get from selling online. We’d love to hear from successful online sellers about their experience. Please share your experience in the comment below.


Ideas for Creative Agencies & Brands – #44

Laser Cut and Etched Family-Centric Promotional Items

laser cut family birthday calendar

Promotional items that have a personal touch can become valued trinkets for the recipient, and you can’t get much more personal than with a focus on family. The diverse capabilities of laser cutting and laser etching make customized family-centric products quick and easy to achieve. As we’ll see in the following examples, materials can range from the familiar to the experimental using a number of different techniques.

Pictured above is a laser cut family birthday calendar from Zetka in Poland, who provide options for custom text and different materials and finishes. The family tree is also a popular theme, with an interpretation in ply from Dansky Arts & Crafts (below, left) and hand-cut paper from Twenty Fingers (below, right).


Continuing the theme of family connections, the puzzle pendant necklace pictured below from AJ’s Custom Jewelry is hand-stamped, but the same idea will translate nicely across to laser cutting and etching. The focus is all on the names of each generation with Jimagination Creations’ text-based family tree (below right).

Moving from text to images, the beautifully simple use of silhouettes from Cheek By Jowl are one of many versions on the same theme offered by these clever designers.

laser cut family silhouette portrait


Photographic images can make for striking laser etched family portraits. The engraved wood example from Twiki Concept (below, left) has so much more presence than an everyday photo print, and the set of laser etched leather coasters from Sweenks (below, right) enable the family photos to become a useful everyday product.


Puzzles are another great way to make use of photos; many print services provide custom puzzles as an option, and it really isn’t difficult to go one step further to make custom laser etched puzzles from family portraits. Pictured below is a puzzle laser cut and etched in ply from Factory eNova. Learn how to make a custom laser cut puzzle with this handy guide.

laser cut family enova

The final examples are a little more experimental. For those with extra time or just the urge to be creative, an organic laser cut puzzle portrait such as this one from MoaDesu (below, left) lends itself well to being finished with a coat of bright paint or even laser cut from different materials. Food products are not a part of the selection in the Ponoko Personal Factory, but it’s still interesting (and fun!) to see the exploration from Coby Unger (below, right) where famous portraits have been laser etched onto Matzah, a crisp flatbread traditionally eaten at Passover in the Jewish community.


Adding a personal touch by featuring families and family activities in laser cut products can lead to some really creative outcomes that are more likely to be retained (and maybe even cherished) by the recipient. Let us know if you’ve seen other great ideas for laser cut family themed products in the comments below; and for more ideas for Agencies and Brands, see the other posts in the series.

Design Lessons From The Most Coveted Award For Creativity


Could something as simple as a pencil shaped award be a benchmark for creativity and beacon for the future of advertising and design? Absolutely.

The D&AD Professional Awards are the ultimate creative accolade, with the best talent from around the world entering the competition and attending the annual event. But to understand the evolution of this prestigious honor, and the globally recognizable pencil that’s become its symbol, we must go back to the beginning. Way back, in fact, to 1962.

Giving Pencils (Literally)

In the ’60s, there was no Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign or Dreamweaver. Nope. Back in the day, graphic designers took a pencil to a crisp white sheet of paper. That’s where the magic happened.

When the Designers & Art Directors Association of London (as it was named then) recognized outstanding creativity, D&AD winners were presented with actual-size black pencils containing gold and silver leads designed by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths. These elegant pencils were packaged in an ebony case designed by Marcello Minale. Problem: The pencil award set was too fragile and too costly to produce. There had to be a better way.

Designing A Symbolic Representation

In 1966, Lou Klein, a newly appointed D&AD committee member, volunteered to design an alternative. Klein was an American who had come to London and, in the words of one industry historian, “Shook up the moribund British advertising and design scene with a splash of U.S. graphic swagger.”

Klein took some of this swagger and designed the object of desire—the all-wood black and yellow D&AD Pencil. Since then, some additions have been made to the D&AD Pencil family: the D&AD Wood Pencil (equivalent to bronze), a D&AD Graphite Pencil (equivalent to silver) and a D&AD White Pencil for creativity with a cause.


For the last 50+ years, D&AD has been inspiring a community of creative thinkers by celebrating and stimulating the finest in design and advertising. And because D&AD Pencils are never handed out unless the work is good enough, winning one gives recipients massive and eternal bragging rights.

Recreating The Awards Ceremony

The Pencil Award has become so synonymous with D&AD that the organization has started incorporating it into its annual event design. For the May 2016 event, D&AD tasked Hawthorn, a creative technical event production firm, to put the iconic D&AD Pencil back at the heart of the awards event design.


Hawthorn took an “in the round” approach to the event design, according to this Event Industry News story, “taking factors such as guest experience, use of space, entertainment, furniture and set design into consideration.” For even more emphasis upon the D&AD Pencil, Hawthorn built an innovative yellow and black hexagonal central stage and awards table to further incorporate the classic pencil shape throughout.

Get all the event details by reading “Hawthorn Place Iconic D&AD Pencil At Heart Of Awards,” and check out this video to get an overall glimpse behind the scenes:


Establishing The Foundation In Good Design

So what’s the lesson? Awards don’t have to be the standard plaques or generic trophies from a catalog. They also don’t have to be elaborate. Simplicity can make a huge impact. The D&AD Pencil Award works because it is aligned with the basic fundamentals of design: Picking up a pencil and drawing. Simple as that.

By developing this concept into a larger representation and adding the organization’s logo (which is typographically interesting, of course), and voila! An award is born that is different from anything else, aligns with the DNA of the presenting organization and symbolically represents the fundamental creativity of an entire industry—proving that an award you’d truly love to have on your desk actually does exist.

Cashing In on the Wedding Industry: Photo Booth Props

How Others are Finding Success Making and Selling Laser Cut Photo Booth Props

laser cut wedding photobooth props evi 1

Photo booths at weddings are an increasingly popular way to engage guests with the spirit of the celebration, and with good reason. The photobooth provides a way to have a little carefree fun, all while creating lasting memories on the happy couple’s special day.

No photobooth is taken seriously unless it has a good selection of props; and through laser cutting, it can be easier than ever before to make high-quality custom props for wedding guests to use in their photo session. Let’s take a look at a few of the fun ways people have used laser cutting to produce photobooth props for sale on Etsy.

Laser Cut Text Props

Pictured above is a collection of laser cut text props by Evi Amaira Custom Decor. Laser cut text works really well in this application because it is very easy to create relatively complex shapes, as can be seen in the fancy fonts used here. Two other approaches to text are shown below, where the messages have been laser etched into the timber surface and then finished to make the text really pop.



In these exaples (above) from Studio 38 Torquay, the text has been laser etched and then filled with enamel paint. The surface is then coated with a clear matte varnish that prevents flash glare from ruining the photos. Here is a closer look at the laser etched text with enamel paint:

laser cut wedding photobooth props studio38torquay-2a

Laser Cut Object Props

For those whose actions speak louder than words, clowning around in front of the camera often comes naturally – but for others, it can help to have fun graphic object props at hand. The laser cut wedding photo booth prop sets from Evi Amaira (below, left) and Styline (below, right) can help to create that distinguished, formal feel or perhaps add a little spice to the party.


Laser Cut Photo Booth Frames

Another great idea is to go one step further and supply a laser cut photo booth frame for guests to pose with! The example on the left from PhotoBoothProp is in the style of a polaroid print, and the wood has been painted in preparation for dry-erase markers so guests can personalise their messages to the happy couple. Featured on the right, another approach to the photo frame prop from Scrapadabra includes the names of the matrimonial couple highlighted in ornate script.


Photo booths are a lot of fun and set up an opportunity for wedding guests to share their joy with the happy couple in creative ways. Using your Ponoko Personal Factory and some clever laser cutting, the wedding photo both experience can truly become a dynamic memory maker for that special day.


New Materials to Inspire Innovation: Matte-Finished Clear and Two-Color Acrylics

New acrylics for laser cutting

We love acrylics! And we’re releasing two this month. Clear acrylic with matte finish is new in the US while our popular two-color black-on-white is now available in New Zealand. There are a lot of great projects you can do with this flexible material.

Clear Acrylic With Matte Finish

This is a cool thermoplastic that has a matte finish on one side and glossy finish on the other. When you order this material for a project, by default the material will be placed matte side up so the laser engraving will be on the matte side. If you wish to engrave the gloss side instead, please let us know via a note in the shipping instructions.

laser cut acrylic


Here’s a great example of the material laser cut as a business card:

Clear acrylic with matte finish laser cut as a business card


Two-Color Acrylic – Black on White

This two color acrylic has a thin layer of matte black plastic on the top – engraving reveals the white acrylic underneath for a dramatic effect. The example above is a card wallet made with this cool acrylic.

two color acryic for laser cutting

How do you plan on using these amazing acrylics? Let us know in the comments below.

The 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag: Law 2

Align With Brand DNA. With An Idea For Netflix.


Is your company “alive?” While a business clearly isn’t human (or any other kind of mammal, reptile or amphibian), it is an entity that grows, changes, responds and evolves based on internal desires and external factors.

It’s often said that company leaders, employees or customers are the lifeblood, or heart, of organizations. Marketers work on creating a brand personality to bring a human touch to business. Continuing this line of thinking, then, it’s fair to say that brands have DNA.

“Every business—no matter the size, age or type—has a distinctive DNA, the internal genetic code that carries all the information about how the business will look and function,” writes Israel Idonije in this Entrepreneur article. “A clearly articulated DNA is important to a business. This is not only the services or products you may offer; this is the overarching purpose of what you do to offer a very specialized experience compelling your customers to come back for more and become your brand champions.”

Designing Brand DNA Into Promotional Products

When creating swag for events, do you consider this brand DNA and design products to enhance your specialized experience? Or do you do a quick product search in a catalog or online?

If the latter, you’re not alone. So we’re letting you in on a little-known secret: There’s more to promotional products than browsing catalogs or websites to find items that align with corporate colors or event themes and then decorating them with the company logo.

Say what?

It’s true. Custom promotional products that are true to your brand DNA can be created, and you don’t need to order a boat-load of them from overseas to make it happen.

To prove it, we took on a challenge to design actual product ideas for event giveaways for some of the world’s best tech brands as examples. The goal is to create truly custom promotional products that fit the example brand like a glove by baking in the DNA of the brand + audience + event.

Additionally, the products designed must achieve a measureable marketing goal, be different from every other promotional product at the event, be different from every other promotional product the brand has used at events before, and it must be packable in carry on luggage (because what good is it if recipients can’t take it home with them!).

Keep in mind there is no endorsement of any products by the brands represented. We’re simply trying to tell a story of what IS possible by using brands and events that you know and understand. So check this out:

Event Marketing Swag Idea: Netflix Date Night Kit

The Brand: Netflix
The Event: International Consumer Electronics Show (CES)
The Audience: Entertainment executives
The Marketing Goal: Create word-of-mouth and boost booth visitors during the event, as well as build brand awareness via repeat product exposure and use after the event


CES is the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technology. Every January, more than 170,000 people from 150 countries flock to Las Vegas to see what’s new in the world of tech.

With such a large event—it covers more than 2.47 million square feet and is now in three locations across The Strip—it takes a lot to get noticed and create buzz during the event. This is where some well-crafted event swag can make a statement, and designer Aaron Bleackley has just the idea for Netflix.

“Netflix wants you to binge on its shows, so much so that ‘Netflix and Chill’ has become part of the national vocabulary,” Bleackley says. “This gift encourages consumers to make an occasion out of sitting in front of the TV with their significant other.”

The custom-designed, laser-cut gift box could contain a bottle of wine custom labeled with “CHILL,” wine glasses, chocolates, candles and a card with Netflix logo and subscription code to a special offer. Who wouldn’t want to settle in for an evening of cuddles and “House of Cards?” We know we would!

This idea works because it ties into the very fabric of what Netflix is all about: The experience of enjoying your favorite movies and TV shows from the comfort of your own home. The date night kit enhances this experience by making it special. And since the box is a custom build and the kit contents are specially curated, there’s nothing else like it available.

Event Success Is Designed

There’s much talk in event marketing circles about “creating an experience.” And rightfully so. The adage that “people may forget what you say, but they won’t forget how you made them feel” is true.

Event attendees won’t remember the marketing messages. But they will remember how they felt attending an event. And much of this comes back to design.

Was the website design easy to navigate and user friendly? Was the event venue and design of the space welcoming, exciting, entertaining? Was the swag given to support the event interesting, different, useful and something recipients want to keep?

In the Entrepreneur article, Idonije says that you want to be more than just another business; you want a branded image that makes you inspiring, strong and recognizable. Absolutely! And brand DNA plays a pivotal role.

“Successful marketing will get people to give your brand a chance, but it will not get them to return or to become devoted brand champions. It is only your brand’s ability to provide a distinct, consistent and applicable experience that will keep your customers connected and coming back.” And isn’t that the goal?

So what do you think? Does designing event swag that aligns with brand DNA make a difference in how you connect with customers? How? Let’s get the conversation started. We’d love your feedback and constructive criticism (no haters!) in the comments. Also let us know what promotional products you’ve received that have really made you say “WOW!” Got ideas on what event swag you’ve never seen but would love to receive? Let us know that, too.

Every business does something special, or else it wouldn’t exist. By bringing your brand’s unique DNA into the marketing campaign design, you can create an experience that’s as individual as you are.


This is the second in a series of 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag. For links to each law as they are published, check out the article that started it all: “How To Reinvent Your Event Swag Strategy: 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag.”

Ideas for Creative Agencies & Brands – #43

Marketing to the Travelling Executive


When business executives and head honchos hit the road to seal the next big deal, they love to have all the right corporate gear. Let’s take a look at how laser cut giveaways and laser cut corporate gift ideas can smooth out even the bumpiest of business junkets.

Personalized Laser Cut Travel Accessories

Travel accessories are a great way to use laser cutting to customize products with company branding or personalized info. In the above example from Laser Cutting Lab, a leather passport wallet with laser etched details not only protects this important document, it also sets the exec apart from the other travellers in the departure lounge.

laser cut luggage tags

Briefcases, suit bags, backpacks and checked items all need to be easily identified. The scope for creative laser cut solutions is broad and varied when it comes to luggage tags. The two examples above show how laser etched details can be used effectively, and also how the shape of the tag itself can reference travel-themed forms. Luggage tags can be produced using most of the familiar laser cutting/etching materials such as leather, acrylic, ply and sheet metals.


For the health-conscious travelling executive, laser cut kitchen tools are a novel way to keep that hard working body fuelled up. Imagine squeezing your own cup of fresh OJ before that important meeting! This travel friendly laser cut orange juicer (above) disassembles and packs flat, perfect for the open road.

Work hard, play hard… travel games are a great way to clear the head from all those work stresses while keeping the mind active. The portability of laser cut chess sets like the timber and leather Got Chess (pictured above) is just one example of how traditional board games can easily slot in to the briefcase or day pack.


Document wallets, briefcase inserts, tablet and notebook holders can all be laser cut from leather and then stitched together. This method of construction gives a hand-crafted artisan look, and will balance nicely with any custom laser etched corporate details that are included in the design. In the example above from Laser Cutting Lab, slots for all of the essential business tools are neatly laid out in a stylish folding leather case.

laser cut felt pouch and etch test

Another consideration is to use laser cut felt, as in the example above from David Sjunnesson. Pictured on the right is a sample sheet showing how different engraving settings will look when using felt from the Ponoko Personal Factory.

Laser cutting makes it so easy to add custom details to executive travel gear, made even more accessible thanks to the relatively simple design requirements of products like luggage tags and basic document sleeves. Let us know if you’ve seen some great ideas for laser cut executive travel products in the comments below, and for more ideas for Agencies and Brands, see the other posts in the series.

The Amazing Story Behind A Chocolate Covered Grasshopper Promo


When GotVMail, a provider of Advanced Phone Numbers to tens of thousands of entrepreneurs across North America, changed the company name to Grasshopper, they knew they had to do something bold to introduce the new brand and launch the new services.

In order to generate buzz, increase awareness of the new brand and inspire its audience of entrepreneurs, the Grasshopper team wanted to create a multi-sensory marketing campaign that centered around a unique direct mail piece.

But this couldn’t be just any direct mail campaign. No way. It had to be so remarkable that recipients would have no choice but to tell their networks about the package they received.

So Grasshopper looked to its new name for inspiration. In a bold move, the company sent chocolate covered grasshoppers to 5,000 of the most influential politicians, business leaders, journalists, authors and bloggers in North America.

These weren’t just any grasshoppers. The company found a sustainable grasshopper farm that ensured the insects were fed natural foods. They also sampled a number of different types of green chocolate with which they would coat the grasshoppers.

Each of the 5,000 targeted influencers were sent five chocolate covered grasshoppers, which reinforced the Grasshopper brand and were controversial enough to spark conversation. The packages were delivered via FedEx so they would appear more urgent to a recipient and therefore increase the open rate versus if they were sent through regular mail.

Once opened, the copy on the packaging appealed to the “risk-taking” spirit of entrepreneurs and urged recipients to take an unconventional risk and try a chocolate covered grasshopper. And it worked.

Social media mentions went through the roof. Website traffic and YouTube visits increased dramatically. And news reporters even tried them during broadcasts.

(Get all of the details about the campaign, including ROI, at “The Grasshopper Re-Brand: How We Did It And How It Went.”)

Grasshopper says the campaign was a success because it touched upon all of the human senses, capitalized on people’s natural curiosity and connected with them emotionally. Using guerilla marketing tactics not only opened the flood gates for interaction and dissemination of the video across social media sites, but it also intrigued even those individuals who did not receive the mailing, thus increasing its reach.

Of course, chocolate covered grasshoppers aren’t for just any promotion. But by taking a cue from its brand DNA, Grasshopper was able to design a rebranding campaign that tapped into its culture of risk-taking and solidified its new company name in the minds’ of its audience. Isn’t that what great marketing is all about?

Laser Cut Success Stories: Akujin Corps Etsy Store

How to quit your day job and find success with niche laser cut products 

akujincorps - laser cut glasses

Robert Overstreet was once a mild mannered IT consultant with a passion for cosplay on the side, but thanks to some clever design thinking and effective use of the Ponoko Personal Factory, his Akujin Corps Etsy store has turned into a serious full-time business.

Akujin Corps specialises in laser cut acrylic glasses for cosplay enthusiasts. The designs are inspired by the dynamic characters from various anime, comics and other media – a wildly creative culture where everyday boundaries blur with fantastical action and adventure.

Let’s take a look at Robert’s journey and reflections on his laser cutting experience with Ponoko.


How did you get started as a designer and seller on Etsy?

To be honest I do not recall how I found Etsy. I expect it was mentioned somewhere while looking for alternatives to eBay.

What was the inspiration behind your product?

I started going to conventions in the mid-1990s. As cosplay started becoming more common over the next few years I noticed a lot of Vash cosplayers did not have glasses or had poor replicas. I searched online and found the official movic replicas selling on eBay for $150-$300 and the poor replicas selling at about $90. I bought up a few pairs of similar looking glasses and modified the arms and started selling them for $20 on eBay. I did not make a lot, but I made enough to afford buying more glasses to modify as well as my anime, comics and games.

What led to you try Ponoko?

Before I found Ponoko my products were very limited. I mostly worked with existing products that I purchased modified, then resold.

In 2012 I discovered Ponoko. Now I could design and cut acrylic and started making unique designs instead of modifying existing products. When business started picking up in late 2013 I had to choose between working full-time in IT for the county or my glasses. Certain circumstances came up and I put in my two weeks notice with the county and have been making glasses since.

What are the top 3 things you love about Ponoko? Why?

The simple design requirements, the great customer service, and a fairly decent number of materials to choose from.

The design requirements are easy to understand and work with in inkscape which is free. Files can be created saved edited without expensive software or conversion.
It is not unusual for me to receive product and let it sit for a few days before I need to assemble a piece from the lastest Ponoko delivery. Sometimes I find my acrylic parts are damaged under the original paper by the manufacturer. When I contact Ponoko about this issue or other issues like product broken in the mail or cut in the wrong color which both very rarely occur, I never have any trouble getting in touch with Ponoko’s customer service who quickly arrange for a replacement. The number of materials to choose from in acrylic alone is pretty great. I have only run into a few instances where color limitation was an issue and in those cases Ponoko was willing to help me with a custom order.

How did you make (and sell) your glasses before Ponoko? How is this different from your Ponoko process?

From 1996 until 2012 I worked with existing products modifying them to create new products. I believe I had about 17 unique products until I started working with Ponoko. After the discovery of Ponoko in late 2012 I went from making a few different products to hundreds of unique items in less than a year.


How long does it take to go from: (i) idea to design; (ii) design to prototype; (ii) prototype to product; (iv) product to first customer (or media attention)? How do these 4 speeds compare to doing this without Ponoko?

With Ponoko, From idea to design takes an hour or two, and design to prototype takes about a week. If the design works out I also end up with a product at this point. If the design does not work out I am looking at another hour or two fixing issues with the design and another week waiting for the revised design to be delivered. Once I have a new product listed on Etsy I usually have my first order within a week. Without Ponoko or a similar service my business does not exist.

What advice do you want to give to other designer/sellers?

Do not take criticism and feedback personally, but do not let people walk all over you either. Customer service is important but you should expect to be treated respectfully by your customers as well.


So now that you know the story behind Akujin Corps, you can find the current range of laser cut cosplay glasses on Etsy.

If you’re inspired by Robert’s success to try laser cutting your own products, head over to the Ponoko Personal Factory and start making today.