Awards & Engraving

March '18

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28 • A&E MARCH 2018 Laser Engraving can even increase resolution. However, all these tools only help me improve a photo to a certain extent. There are times replacing a photo with a better photo is an option. When engraving urns, obtaining an ideal photo can be a real challenge. Those working directly with the family are often hesitant to ask for another photo as the family is in mourning. Families have likely selected a photo that is a favorite, is how they remember the deceased as a child, or perhaps the only one they can find. The elderly may have very few recent photos. As urns can be expensive, lasering a photo on one does not allow any oppor- tunity to fix a problem or error. I find dark-colored wood, such as walnut or dark stains, do not provide the best substrate for lasering a photo. I use scrap wood for tests and the inside bottom of the urn for the final test before engraving the photo on the urn itself. The urn maker and the mortuaries do not recommend dark urns for photos; however, some families insist upon a specific urn. You have to be ready for any situation. MARKETING The most effective marketing method in the memorial segment is target marketing. The vast majority of the opportunity comes from other businesses. Veterinarians work directly with pet owners whose pets pass on. Referrals come from pet stores, groomers, and other pet businesses. For people, refer- rals come from crematories, mortuaries, and urn builders. In picking your niches, make sure you have sample products displayed in your showroom. You might even have a memorial section, especially if you are focused on several niches. Websites are used as catalogs by your customers, even if you don't sell product directly from one. When a customer has a need and is not sure which business can fulfill it, they will often search websites to see who offers the product or service. Displaying products on your website that represent specific niches you offer often results in a call. I believe it is best to display photos of products you have personalized or created yourself. Let customers see your work, your creativity, and your passion. The memorial market is large. Look around your community, your whole market region, and evaluate where the best niches lie. An urn with a full-color UV printed photo. This photo was very low resolution and grainy. It took a lot of work. An urn with custom graphics of a family crest. A grayscale graphic laser etch. Military graphics are common on urns. A&E

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