Stylistically Innovative

By Lee Gregg, WD Communications, Winnipeg

"My husband came home from work one day and announced that he wanted to start a laser business," recalled Alice Taylor "I thought he was crazy."

Five years later the crazy idea has made Alice and Malcolm Taylor the successful owners of Innovative Laser Works, a company that engraves highly detailed graphic images onto any flat surface, such as granite, acrylic, glass or wood.

"As I worked on the business plan, I was sure the numbers would show it wasn't a viable business," said Alice "I spoke with the memorial industry who thought it was a great idea. I went to the Women's Enterprise Centre (WEC) who thought it was a great idea and were prepared to provide financial support. I finally went to a bank who not only thought it was a great idea, but were willing to extend a business loan to see it happen."

While working with WEC on her business plan, Alice was encouraged to visit the Canada/Manitoba Business Service Centre (C/MBSC) "The Business Centre was very helpful," noted Alice. "I rented videos that showed me how to work out my profit margins, I researched start-up and marketing information, and I attended the Manitoba Business Start Program business seminar."

Through the C/MBSC, Alice was introduced to the Aboriginal Business Service Network (ABSN) and was invited to compete in their business plan competition. She surprised herself by winning and used the award money to open up a 2,000 square foot storefront location.

The Taylors were the first entrepreneurs to bring the large format laser to Manitoba and have recently expanded their services to include edge lighting. These decorative pieces are made out of vector-cut acrylic, then laser engraved and set into a wood base. Light emitting diodes (LED) are placed in the base and illuminate only where the laser engraved. A beautiful example of this technique can be found at the Parklands/Mixed Woods Gallery at The Manitoba Museum.

The company's services include memorial plaques, monuments, donor boards, promotional items, industrial applications, signage, and edge lighting Clients have used their services to etch photos, images and words on doors, tabletops, fireplaces, plaques, floor inlays and mirrors. In fact, the Taylors are open to any idea their customers bring to them. As Alice likes to point out, their name is "Innovative".