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Conversations with Eddie Adams

Today we’d like to introduce you to Eddie Adams and Chrissy Brown from Axiom Design and Engraving.

Eddie, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I started in the engraving and sign industry when my grandpa opened a sign shop in his barn after retiring. From a young age, he taught me a lot about design, how to use tools, and most of the knowledge I use today. I’ve worked at many sign and engraving places in Missouri and Michigan, and after feeling pretty burnt out on the corporate aspect of it, I partnered up with my friend, Chrissy. We started Axiom in 2019, working out of my basement and garage, then finally moved into our shop in 2020. I met Chrissy at the first job I got when moving back to Missouri from Michigan, and she’d gotten great at the admin side of the business, and had an interest in doing more than just the typical sign shop type of products, so we struck out to build a business that we’re both passionate about.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It’s been a huge learning curve, for sure. Neither of us had run a business before, and despite our years of experience in this industry, we were still pretty green regarding the small nuances of business ownership. We had just begun hitting our stride and making a name for ourselves when covid upended everything. Businesses weren’t needing name tags or plaques since everyone was working from home, and I got the impression that the uncertainty of everything made people apprehensive about spending money. We had to get creative pretty quickly, so we opened an Etsy store, offering products geared more towards fun stuff, like home decor, toy swords, and customizable gift items. Thankfully that kept us afloat during the pandemic. Now that things are getting a little more normal, we’re trying again to build a reputation in the St. Louis area. We’ve done some pretty cool projects for local businesses and individuals and look forward to doing even more in the future!

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
While we still gladly do the not-as-exciting stuff, like corporate awards and desk plates, we pride ourselves in designing and developing products that make people say, “you can make stuff like this without having a huge factory or something?”

The primary services we specialize in are laser engraving, glass etching, and sublimation printing. We like to combine them to make some snazzy products for our customers, like some of the LED signs we’ve been making recently. I’ve been all about art and learning new techniques for as long as I can remember. My grandpa helped cultivate a lifelong passion for art, using that drive to make cool stuff with your hands! After realizing that design and production would be a more practical career to pursue, I got really into laser engraving and sand etching on glass (one of the many things my grandpa taught me as a kid). Now Chrissy and I are total nerds regarding new engraving machines and figuring out different ways to make things.

What sets us apart from other businesses in this industry is that we try to throw some flair into our products. There’s no way to express yourself creatively when making a bathroom sign. If you need something for your anniversary, your dog’s birthday, or something cool to hang in your living room, we love having parameters set before we work in. All the other shops I’ve worked at never had the need or desire to put much effort into creativity or design, which eventually made the work stale for a guy like me.

How do you define success?
I suppose we both define success as being able to forge the path that makes us happy and to be financially secure while being able to pursue the work that drives us. Throw in a somewhat decent work/life balance, and that’s all we need out of life. Also, one of the most rewarding things about this job is when a customer picks up their order and gets excited about showing off their customized glassware, the gift they had us create for a special someone. Seeing people get so happy from something we made is rewarding and surrounding ourselves with dogs is also key.

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Image Credits
Matt Sims Eddie Adams

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