Who are you?

I am Alice Jacobs, Director of both Flux Laser Studio and Flux CNC Studio based in Glasgow’s The Whisky Bond

What does your business do?

We are Laser and CNC cutting specialists for creatives. We provide digital fabrication services for artists, designers, architects, cutting and engraving a wide variety of materials from thin delicate paper artworks through to chunky wooden furniture and just about everything in between.

After working on other clients’ designs and furniture for almost five years, we have just released our very first furniture collection: Ply-Works.

Where are you based?

Our company started up just as The Whisky Bond was being redeveloped, their manifesto of being a hub for the creative industries really clicked with our ideas and core market, so it was the perfect place to be!

Working within a traditionally industrial sector, we could easily be on a nameless anonymous industrial estate, but being within TWB, the social side and networking side of business is one and the same and helps combat the loneliness of working for yourself!

How did you get started?

Whilst studying Sculpture at Glasgow School of Art, we were being encouraged to utilise and explore digital design and fabrication within our work, myself and peers were making the most of the school’s facilities, but within our final year we looked to the city and saw that there weren’t these facilities or services at affordable prices and easy access post-graduation.

We saw a gap in the market and decided that we had the skills, the knowledge and determination to make it work – and so Flux was born!

What is your background?

Having studied Fine Art Sculpture, my approach to making and design is perhaps not as linear those who have started within the manufacturing or design industry. Sometimes, it is almost as if we speak different languages!

What is your top tip?

When starting up and growing your business, be open-minded. Your business plan is a guideline not a strict blue-print to follow; if the market is taking your business in a certain direction, don’t try and force it in the direction you initially thought it would turn out. We have listened to our clients, expanded our machinery and stocks based on their enquiries and needs, and so far, it seems to be working!

Has anyone helped you get started and how?

When starting up the company, we did initially apply for grants and funding, but found the process very competitive and with application writing not being a strong point of mine, I decided to focus on the business itself. Scottish Institute of Enterprise, an organisation that encourages and helps students and recent graduates put me through an intensive Business Bootcamp, that taught me basics in a wide range of subjects, from accounts through to marketing, and this was an amazing help.

Really the greatest help came not from business advisors but from the tutors and technicians of the art school, Russell Lamb – the Sculpture technician, especially – even 5 years after graduating, his encouragement and advice proved a great help through the ups and downs of running your own business. The first laser machine was named after him and all 5 subsequent machines are named after his colleagues in the Sculpture department at GSA: Sue, Brian, Clara, Alan and Justin!

Where do you plan your business to be in five years time? (Optional answer)

Digital fabrication is an evolving market and the future is not always perfectly clear. We have seen the applications of laser and CNC processes become more commonplace and I can only see that growing over the next 5 years. We hope to increase the fabrication and finishing services side of the business, growing our furniture collection and Ply-Works output, but as we have done with the last 5 years : we will see what the market needs and see how we can fulfil that.

Useful contacts

• For Laser cutting and CNC Enquiries: hello@fluxlaserstudio.co.uk / www.fluxlaserstudio.co.uk

• For Ply-Works furniture orders: www.ply-works.co.uk

• Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @fluxlaserstudio