Name of business: TK Laser Engraving
Type of business: Custom laser engraved gifts
Location: @tklaserengraving on Instagram
Contact information: 209-225-6414; firstname.lastname@example.org
Specialty: Custom family monograms
History of business:
Turlock native Kevin Esquivel knew he wanted to start a business, but he couldn’t decide exactly what he wanted to do. He and his wife, Triana Ramos Esquivel, would brainstorm ideas together until one day finally deciding to start their own laser engraving service.
What began as a simple idea is now a successful business model, with the Esquivels preparing to celebrate their one-year anniversary as the owners of TK Laser Engraving on June 1.
“My mom kept telling me to start a business, but with so many things to do out there it was hard to choose which business to start and what my passion really was,” Esquivel said. “What really motivated me to do laser engraving was my wife, because out of all the ideas I pitched to her, this was the one she liked the most.”
After the couple decided on which business venture they would pursue, Esquivel set out to find a large-scale laser engraving machine that could meet the needs of a variety of customers. Soon enough, the pair began creating what Esquivel calls “fancy monograms,” which feature a vine-like design and the initial or name of the customer’s choosing, and gave them out to friends and family for free. The only catch was that they had to post pictures of the monograms on their social media accounts.
“It just took off from there, just by giving free signs to a couple of my friends. Within one week we were getting busy, and we learned a lot the first month,” Esquivel said. “We didn’t really know anything about woodworking, so we’d go on YouTube searching how to make everything look flat and even. When we first started we did struggle, but since then we’ve gotten so much better.”
The form of early advertising worked well for the Esquivels, who recently welcomed their first son. One year later, TK Laser Engraving now offers everything a laser engraving machine can make, from business signs and logos to gifts like personalized cutting boards, coasters and tumblers.
“I never tell a customer no when they come to me with an idea,” Esquivel said.
The best part about the business so far is that everything can be done from home, Esquivel said — all the more important as the coronavirus pandemic took place during their entire first year of business. Esquivel also likes meeting people, which happens frequently as he creates signs for gyms, Realtors and more. The husband and wife also frequent pop-up shops, meeting other business vendors and even some who have the same ideas as them.
“It’s so crazy how many other small businesses are out there,” Esquivel said. “You meet so many new people and see their designs, and some people even have the same designs as you. No one’s hating though, and we’re just all on the same page and here to make money.”