Impressions - February 2012 - (Page 47)

AZ Etch Works Shop spotlight Turning Tragedy Into Triumph AZ Etch Works, a successful multi-process decorating firm, was built out of one woman’s willpower to overcome extreme obstacles. By Jimmy lamb, Contributing Writer AZ Etch Works At A Glance Company Name: AZ Etch Works E-mail: Phone: (217) 509-2164 Address: AZ Etch Works 101 W. Wood St. Camp Point, IL 62320 Founded: December 2007 No. of Employees: 1 Decorating Methods Offered: Sublimation, Screen Printing, Vinyl Printing, Glass Etching Company Website: Enduring a near-death motorcycle accident and the 2010 burning down of her new shop didn’t keep AZ Etch Works’ owner Kenna Connover from achieving her dreams of running a profitable decoration business in Camp Point, Ill. f or Kenna Connover, owner of AZ Etch Works, Camp Point, Ill., her sublimation business journey started at the front end of a big red truck. It was a face-to-face meeting of the painful kind, as it pitted her — riding a motorcycle — against the unforgiving force of a dieselpowered Goliath on a chilly March afternoon. She lost the duel, and the resulting collision put her out of work and into a wheelchair. The year was 2008 and Connover had recently relocated to her hometown of Paloma, Ill., after several years of living in different areas of the country, mostly in Arizona. During her time in the Southwest, she had dabbled in glass etching as a hobby, eventually turning it into a parttime business while still working a day job to pay the bills. But after 15 years of single motherhood raising two girls, she returned home to remarry. “I brought my etching business with me,” Connover says, “hoping that it would lead to bigger things, as I had always dreamed of working for myself full time.” Having spent many years in the commercial printing industry, she had been exposed to many types of product decoration processes including sublimation, but wasn’t certain about the correct way to diversify her existing operation. And then came the big red truck. “You know, nine out of 10 people don’t survive a collision between a motorcycle and a truck,” Connover notes. “I was lucky to be alive and even luckier to have the great family that I have.” GETTING BACK ON HER FEET During the next 12 grueling months of recovery, Connover put her downtime to good use, choosing to focus on where she wanted to go in life rather than lament- ing her bad luck. “I figured I might as well make the best of it and started contemplating a realistic business plan that I could pursue once I was back on my own two feet again. “Sublimation was something that really interested me,” she adds. “I had come across it in the past, but didn’t really know what it was or how it worked. I just knew it was a method for putting pictures and logos on stuff you could sell. So I decided to learn everything I could about the equipment, the techniques, the products and the potential for making a profit.” Eventually, Connover was walking again and eager to get to work on her new business venture. Her first stop was an industry trade show where she confirmed that sublimation was the right business choice for her. “I saw it, I liked it, I bought it,” she says. Using mainly word-of-mouth (she and February 2012 | Impressions 47

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Impressions - February 2012

Impressions - February 2012
First Impressions
From the Show Director
Product Gallery
ISS Conferences
Flocking Meets Fashion
How to Choose a DTG Printer, Part 2
Working Wearables
Shop Spotlight
Embroidery Technique
Embroidery Production
Screen Printing Graphics & Design
For Screen Printers Only
Digital Decorating
Online Directory
Business to Business
Ad Index

Impressions - February 2012