Story by Danielle Haddad
Jordan and David Shaw, from Provo, Utah, are far more than full-time University of Utah students and part-time employees. The couple owns a one-month-old-online, custom gift company that has already sold more than 500 items. They created Salt Lake Etching Co. in order to “fundraise the required fees to play women’s lacrosse for the University of Utah and to pay for school,” explained Jordan. David is currently a business student at the U while Jordan is a doctorate student in the physical therapy program.
The idea for the business started with David who discovered that his dad’s graphic design company had a sand-blaster that wasn’t in use. With the help of his father and his need to raise money for a humanitarian trip overseas, they came up with the concept of creating custom etching on bakeware.
Salt Lake Etching Co. is solely ran by the Shaw’s who are responsible for all of the photography, product designs, marketing and website creation. A collective 40-hour week is put in by the two in order to keep up with their growing business. Jordan says their “biggest obstacle is finding enough time in the day to accomplish all that we need to. It can be challenging to balance school, work, lacrosse, community involvement, and our marriage, but right now, we’re making it work!”
The couple takes pride in their company and ensures the best quality of their pieces. “Each piece requires individualized attention to detail. Depending on the intricacy of the design, the products take between 20 to 40 minutes from beginning to end.” They explained. After the piece is hand etched with a professional grade sand blasting-machine, they wash and dry it off to prepare it for packing. The items where items arrive within three to seven business days.
The bestseller thus far is the original 9x13inch glass-baking dish. With the dish being custom etched with his or her choice of design, saying, or last name, it is not mistaken for anyone else’s. In addition to the baking pans, Salt Lake Etching Co. now also offers added coffee mugs, Mason jar mugs, cookie jars, coasters, candle holders and more in order to capture a larger market. Their main market is mostly women who attend large parties or gatherings as well as some men. However, all of the custom products they etch are also easily purchasable for weddings, anniversaries, Christmas, birthdays, and company gifts. Capturing market share in wedding decor and custom gifts is a future goal for the business. “We’d like to grow our business to be a well-branded leader in the personal gifts market,” the two explained. “Custom mason jars add a unique level of personality to a wedding, either as decorations or as a practical wedding favor,” says Jordan.
In addition to running their own company, going to school and working, Jordan and David Shaw still find time to go scuba diving, canyoneering, rock climbing, and backpacking. In fact, their adventurous spirits brought them together. The Shaw’s described their first meeting “while scuba diving in the Cayman Islands only to find that we lived just a few blocks away from each other in Provo, Utah.” After a year of adventuring together, they married in the LDS temple in San Diego, California. The two say that they’ve “always wanted to own and operate our business to allow us the flexibility to keep doing what we love, and what originally brought us together: adventuring!”
The Shaw’s dream for the future of Salt Lake Etching Co. will come after their shorter-term goals of making enough money to pay for tuition as well as club sport dues for women’s lacrosse. The power couple is working harder than ever and remains optimistic about the future and confident about the success they will share after reaching their goals.