It's crazy to look back and see how far we have came!
It all started when I decided to make DIY Wedding Gifts to add a personal touch and wanted something unique I couldn't buy anywhere. I made a decorative sign with a quote on it. The process of making the sign was fun but very time consuming because it was hand painted. The gift turned out awesome and was perfect for the couple, but I just knew there had to be a better way.
Right around the same time, my husband had found out about an option using vinyl and a vinyl cutter. This option would be more efficient and give us a lot of other options other than just decorative signs. I was skeptical at first but, after showing me all the opportunities we would have, I finally decided to go for it.
Lundt Lettering and Design was founded in June of 2014.
We started out with a 34 inch free standing vinyl cutter. It was awesome and provided us so may options. We used it for about 8 months before deciding that the "starter" cutter we went with was something we were quickly growing out of. In January of 2015 we decided to upgrade to a top of the line, 54 inch vinyl cutter that had all the bells and whistles. For Christmas we got a new office printer that gave us the ability to print up to 13x19 vinyl decals. This was a great option to expand our business to more than just cut vinyl.
In May of 2015, I (Jessica) was able to start running the business full time. We are very fortunate to have the repeat customers and new customers that have helped us get to the point where I am able to focus on the business full time. I now have the time to devote to working on new product ideas and building the business even more. Nathan continues to work full time, but helps on his days off and after work as much as he is able to.
Soon after our one year anniversary of starting the business, we decided to make another investment in our business and added two more huge pieces of equipment to our lineup. We had determined that we wouldn't be very competitive with our small printed decals, so we decided to take the plunge and get a wide format printer and laminator. With our new printer we can print up to 54 inches wide on a variety of types of vinyl, print full color banners, and we can also print on fabric. Eventually once we are ready to expand our product line, we will be able to offer full vehicle wraps. Our printer also gives us the ability to be more efficient and offer full color high quality graphics. Our printer is a cutting edge, latex printer that is eco-friendly and will offer us a wide variety of options to assist our customers for may years to come. The laminator offers our customers an option to prolong the life of their graphics. In addition to investing in the printer, we also purchased a screen printer. We enjoy the ability to do larger orders that our screen printer gives us, but learning the screen printer has been more extensive than we anticipated. We are taking time to learn more about it as much as possible!
In October of 2015 we added two part time employees! We are excited to have some people joining our team, and they were invaluable during the holiday season.
During the Christmas buying season, we enjoyed helping our customer's ideas come to life for those perfect, one of a kind presents for their loved ones.
In March 2016 we decided to expand our business in a completely different way. We added a new side of our business providing vinyl supplies. Our vinyl supply business, Lemon Lime Supply Company was born.
We knew our printer had the capacity to help us grow even more, and this was exactly what it did. We opened our vinyl supply side of our business with a focus on printed vinyl sheets. We provide printed 6x6, 12x12, and 12x24 sheets of vinyl in a variety of patterns. The possibilities are endless for patterns and we are adding as many patterns as possible all the time. In addition to our printed vinyl options, we also carry a variety of solid colored vinyl sheets in adhesive vinyl and heat transfer as well as specialty adhesive vinyl like glitter, chrome, and carbon fiber.
As we got our supply business going, we found it took some time to get used to running two separate sides of our business that are very similar but very different at the same time. Once we figured out the way to be most efficient we found that having both sides of our business was a benefit all around. We are able to understand our supply customers and what their needs are since we work with vinyl as well. In addition, learning new software techniques on creating new designs and patterns has given me (Jessica) a new found love of learning as much as possible about graphic design. This has helped to open a whole new world of capabilities to design more options and help with custom designs in a way I never thought I would be able to.
In September 2016, we added an additional employee to our team to help with the increase of orders we had now that we added our supply business. We also added an additional vinyl cutter to our equipment lineup to help us be more efficient with orders. Our new cutter is more precise, and can cut out about 50% of the manual labor needed for our supply business. We continue to use our other cutter as a backup so we can be running both cutters at the same time if needed.
We continued to grow and stay busy enough to add an additional employee in November 2016 when we weren't able to keep up with holiday orders. Our new employee helped us out tremendously through the holiday season. Once we got past the holiday rush we were able to take time to teach her how to run our equipment. She now handles a majority of our order production for our supply business.
In January 2017, we took some time away to take a screen printing class. Up until now, we hadn't done much with screen printing and we decided we needed to get some hands on practice so we could finally get our screen printer up and running. We learned a ton from the class and made some amazing networking connections. We still haven't mastered our screen printer, but we are taking some time here and there to practice so we can soon add even more options to what we can offer.
For a while, we have been tossing around the idea of changing our business names. We started out with decorating signs and we have grown and changed so much since then that we didn't feel like our name fit anymore. We have future plans to open up a brick and mortar store offering all of our options so we also wanted to figure out a way for each side of our business to have its own identity but still go together. We finally decided on a new name and officially started using our new identity at the end of January 2017. Lundt Lettering and Design is now Smashing Ink Graphics and Lemon Lime Supply Company is now Smashing Ink Vinyl Supply. Together we are Smashing Ink Vinyl Graphics & Supply.
In April 2017 we upgraded our heat press which will help us be more efficient when it comes to larger orders.
In May 2017, we expanded our product line to include printed glitter adhesive vinyl! It was super exciting to find a product that we could print on and add a completely new and fun option for our customers. Everything is better when you add glitter!
We also became a Stahls' Authorized Dealer. We have been using Stahls' products from the beginning, so it only made sense to become an authorized dealer with them. They offer a wide range of heat transfer vinyl products, and we use their digital printable material for our printed HTV sheets as well.
In October 2017, we had the opportunity to attend the SGIA Expo in New Orleans. SGIA (Specialty Graphics Imaging Association) holds an Expo every year in October where anyone and everyone in the vinyl/graphics industry can be seen in one place. It was a chance to meet with tons of different companies of products we currently carry and learn a ton about new technologies and other opportunities in the industry. We had a ton of fun, made lots of connections, and learned a lot. It was an amazing experience and plan to go every year going forward!
The holiday season was even crazier than we anticipated. We are happy that many of our customers chose to use our vinyl for their holiday crafts and gifts!
In February 2018 we added two additional employees. We now have an additional production assistant and Misty was promoted to production manager. We also hired a customer service representative that helps with customer messages every morning.
In April 2018 we added an additional Latex printer to our lineup. We have been very happy with our printer and we got to the point where we couldn't keep up with just one printer so we added an additional printer. We now use one for printed vinyl sheets and the other for our custom products. We are excited to be able to have two printers to keep us up and running and be able to be more efficient.
In August 2018 we added an additional employee and started the process of moving our business out of our home. We were running out of space quickly and knew we needed to start the process soon so we could get a plan in place to move our business. We were accepted into a business accelerator program in our area and patiently waited until we were able to move.
In October 2018 we attended the SGIA Expo again and Misty was able to come with us. We saw a lot of the same vendors as we did last year, but it was a good experience for Misty and to see what is new in our industry! While in Vegas for the Expo, we were able to take a trip to IKEA and get most of the furniture and other items we would need for our new place. It was becoming a reality!
In February 2019 we were finally able to move our business. Our new space is a 1200 sq ft warehouse space in a city about 20 minutes away from where we live. We were able to get everything moved and setup at the end of February to be up and running by the beginning of March. It was a lot to move and we still can't believe most of this stuff fit in our house! We are now working on getting everything setup the way we need it to be and so that we will be able to have customers shop in person soon! It was a huge step to move our business, but we are excited about the possibilities and the program that we are fortunate enough to be in!
As of September 2019, we have been in our new space for a few months and it is going great! We are getting a great response from our new local customers in the area and we are getting the word out about us being a local resource for great vinyl at a great price!
In addition, we have recently added another member to our team. Amber came aboard in July to help with customer service and will also be our graphic designer. Amber brings great talent to the team and with her vast knowledge in design and her experience with vinyl, she will be a great asset!
We are both very fortunate that our business has already grown into what it has. We can't even imagine where we will be even in a few more years. We love our customers, and we enjoy helping them bring their ideas to life to help grow their business, decorate their homes, remember a loved one who has passed, celebrate a birthday, wedding, graduation, or other special event with a customized gift, make a statement with their vehicles, and help support a great cause. We couldn't do anything that we have done without the support of our friends, family, and especially our great employees, most of who have been on this wild ride with us for a while!
We appreciate that you took the time to learn more about our company. We look forward to helping you soon!