In honor of Shapeways’ commitment to makers and empowering small business owners, this week we are featuring Shapeways shop owners on the blog discussing how they started, and are growing, their business with Shapeways. Jeremy Burnich is a based in Pittsburgh, PA and runs the Joy Complex shop, which focuses on jewelry and accessories. He has recently launched a new shop, 3D Race Tracks, focusing on his love of motorsport. Jeremy will be leading a class at Tech Shop Pittsburgh on how to open and run a successful Shapeways Shop on Sunday, June 22nd. If you are in the area you can sign up here.
What prompted you to open your Shop on Shapeways?
I wanted to make a Valentine’s Day present for my wife. The present I made – a pendant, modeled from a recording of my voice saying “I Love You, printed in silver – became a taking point for people at her work. So I thought, why not make it and similar designs available for everyone?
How has having a Shop on Shapeways affected your life?
I finally enjoy waking up in the morning and “going to work.” I hope to earn enough to quit my day job. I definitely know, for the first time, that I love doing what I’m doing now. This realization wouldn’t have happened were it not for Shapeways and I’m grateful for it.
What is your favorite part of having your Shop on Shapeways?
What I like about it most are some of the custom pieces I’ve made for people all over the world. It’s so fascinating to think that there are people in Saudi Arabia or China or Germany (to name a few) wearing a necklace or earrings that I designed. It sort of blows my mind!
I also am touched by some of the requests I get and the meaning behind them. There are so many compassionate and caring people out there with good and pure emotions that they want to share with their loved ones. The fact that they chose me to help them make a piece of jewelry to give as a gift to someone they love, well, that’s gives my work meaning doesn’t it?
What was it like to make your first sale on Shapeways?
I jumped out of my chair, smiled, and hugged myself. And then I said, “don’t get too excited. It’s just a hobby. Just one sale.” That last sentiment is slowly fading after many many sales. But whenever I get the “Shapeways Yippie! Email” I feel just as pleased as I did with the first sale.
What’s next for your shop and where do you find inspiration for new designs?
So much is going on I don’t know where to begin. I’m developing new items. I am currently exploring Islamic geometric patterns, historical Incan designs, and of course new sound wave designs.
Recently two of my friends had their first child. I wanted to get them something unique to celebrate this occasion. I asked and they were able to get their doctor to record their son’s heartbeat (he hadn’t been born at the time). I turned four of those heartbeats into a pair of earrings for the new Mom! What’s even more special is that they live in Sydney, Australia. It’s so amazing that I was able to get an email from a friend in Australia of a recording of an unborn baby’s heartbeat and turn that into a 3D file that Shapeways then printed in sterling silver! Could that even have been done 5 years ago? Amazing!
I am also scheduled to teach a class at TechShop Pittsburgh on June 22
on how to start and run a successful Shapeways store! I am very excited to share my experience with Shapeways and hopefully inspire a whole new crop of Shapies in the Pittsburgh area.
I have also opened a second store – 3D Race Tracks – which is all about combining 3D Printing and my passion for Grand Prix motorcycle racing (and motorsport in general). I’ve had a couple of sales already and look forward to even more!
How are you working to grow your small business?
One thing that I want, which every shop owner wants, is steady sales. To that end I am leveraging my experience with sound wave jewelry and the heartbeat earrings I made by working with a local prenatal imaging company to offer a line of pre-natal heartbeat jewelry designs to their clients. We’re still in discussions, but we are both hopeful that the service will be popular and steady! Let’s hope it takes off and I will expand to other cities as well!