We had the good fortune of connecting with Kiet Kuru and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kiet, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
The thought process behind starting my own business stems from a desire to bond with my then teen daughter to create unique and functional laser engraved keepsakes. It started out as a hobby, where our initial goal was to help fundraise for school programs and local clubs. Because our small business was driven by a passion to prototype and create new products while experimenting with different media, it helped us develop a broad portfolio of products and eventually established us as the local go-to artisans for custom and quick turn keepsake orders for many occasion. Custom orders also help broaden our product offerings over time.

Even though we have an online presence and sell on a few platforms, a majority of our business continues to come from repeat customers and their network of friends. What sets us apart is our willingness to take custom orders and providing assurance via digital mock-ups for final approval. The personal attention we provided is the very reason we kept getting repeat orders that continue to fuel our passion to create. As such, we are not afraid to be copied because we would have moved onto newer or different designs!

The key ingredients for our success are: 1) find your Passion, 2) find your niche, and3) provide unparallel service to guarantee repeat businesses!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
We love to create keepsakes that are also functional and personal. Our main focus has been in laser engraving on wood and acrylics. What sets us apart is our passion to design mostly from scratch and welcome unique requests from customers. We thrive on creating one-of-a-kind pieces for special occasion and especially last minute orders from local customers. Because of that, we get a lot of repeat customers and referrals from organic marketing.

We started laser engraving as a hobby via a private makerspace enterprise called Techshop. It was a great way to be introduced to the world of makers, entrepreneurs and artists. Unfortunately, it was where we also made our biggest mistake by investing in an expensive lifetime membership for the family to use that makerspace that declared bankruptcy a year later. Despite the loss, we gained access to a non-profit, collaborative workspace in Chandler called Gangplank where we pitched and got a grant from the City of Chandler to purchase a laser machine for us in return for training the public to use it and upkeeping it. So, there can be many setbacks, but if there is enough passion and perseverance, things will work out in the end.

My daughter and I started our laser engraving local business before she heads to college. Now, it remains an e-retail business, uniqkool.com, offering an ever increasing portfolio of original crafts for many occasions. We also work with local clubs, school boosters and non-profit organizations to help fundraise, another organic marketing venue of us. We are adding more tools to our creative arsenal to expand our Uniqkool branded products! Very excited for new possibilities!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
A week visit to AZ for outsiders, especially from the E Coast, would definitely entail a drive from the Valley to the Grand Canyon, showcasing different landscapes and vegetation due to elevation changes. Will go up Payson and Flagstaff to Grand Canyon and return via Red Rocks Sedona.

Locally, will at least take them to Old Town Scottsdale, Downtown Chandler and Gilbert with many hip eateries and entertainment. Take them to one of many Casinos around the Valley, and patronize so small businesses like JP Comedy Club in Gilbert, or SanTan Brewery And Distillery for a tour. For diversity, take them to Asian marketplace like H-Mart, Ranch 99 in Chandler and have All you can eat Korean BBQ – Manna BBQ in Mesa, or Thai Yuphas in Tempe or Vietnamese, Saigon in Chandler.

If too hot, go ice skating in Gilbert or Chandler AZ ICE Rink. If prefers outdoor, tons of trails from S Mountain to Papago Park to Superstitions Mountain. Anywhere you go, there are plenty of eateries of different ethnicity..

Too many things to do… need to narrow down based on interests!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would want to thank the City of Chandler for granting us, purchase of a laser machine, to use at Gangplank Chandler until it was shutdown due to Covid-19. That gesture helped a few small businesses like mine to stay afloat by using the laser to create artwork for sale, and to recover from their financial loss to Techshop’s bankruptcy.

Website: https://uniqkool.com

Instagram: instagram.com/uniqkooldesigns

Twitter: twitter.com/uniqkool

Facebook: facebook.com/Uniqkool

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwt7tC3GLXafOwRdGyKlBWQ

Other: https://www.pinterest.com/uniqkool

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