There is something special about a personalized product that is uniquely your own.
For Jane and Gordon Arychuk, creating those things “is an honour.”
ArTech Engraves has been in operation since October 2018. In that time, Jane and Gordon have engraved countless Christmas ornaments, cutting boards, travel mugs, cake toppers and pieces of home decor.
One new addition to their product line is a set of wooden hearts engraved with family names to be hung on rearview mirrors.
“It has been interesting to go to the grocery store and see all these cars with rear-view mirror hearts,” Jane said.
Creating a new, post-retirement business, wasn’t something Jane had been planning.
She recalls Gordon investing in a laser engraver years ago as a supplement to his work as an artist. When she and some other family members dabbled with the machine, making gifts and designs for friends and neighbours, they saw the potential for more.
After retiring as president of Aurora College, Jane flew south for a Calgary training course on how best to use the Arychuk’s Trotec laser machine. When she returned, she and Gordon got to work on designs for the upcoming holiday season.
Since the pandemic hit, she said they have been as busy as ever – even without craft sales and markets.
After a surge in orders around Christmas, Jane said the business has stayed busy.
“The pandemic has really encouraged people to shop local, and I hope that as the North, as Canada, as the world opens, that people are now aware of what is available locally and will continue to use local business,” she said.
She called supporting local business a “symbiotic chain,” as local businesses, in turn, often purchase locally as well, by sourcing materials close to home and providing products for other local shops and organizations.
When they started the business, Jane said some of the biggest learning they had to do was around marketing and social media. As it stands, the business runs just off of Facebook.
Beyond mugs, plaques and door signs, one product that Jane takes pride in is honouring those who have passed. ArTech has worked with families to create crest plates, plaques, garden signs and bench plates.
“When people come and pick that up, and get emotional, it gets to us too,” Jane said. “We’ve spent so much time with that person and those images that we almost have a relationship with that person as well.”
She and her husband are constantly creating new partnerships and collaborating to make customers’ visions come to life, but they also have the creativity and freedom to explore their own project ideas.
There are always new designs, Jane said, but people come to them for our old stuff as well and ask about traditional designs of moccasins and drums, for example.
Right now, engraving Yeti travel mugs makes up about half of the business.
“The best thing is that we enjoy it,” Jane said. “We enjoy creating different things for people, working with them, creating something Northern, something to symbolize family, something that’s special and only for them.”