CLINTWOOD, VA – January 6, 2023 – With the popularity of customized laser engraved/etched items continuing to grow, Valerie Mullins made the decision to jump into the field, creating different and unique products from pictures to jewelry when she opened Delightfully Designed, LLC in Clintwood, Va.
Delightfully Designed, LLC was a recent recipient of a $10,000 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) Seed Capital Matching Grant.
“VCEDA’s seed capital matching grant program was created to assist local entrepreneurs in the creation of jobs,” said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel. “Delightfully Designed has already created one full-time job and is looking at the possibility of adding another part-time assistant, according to Ms. Mullins, its owner.”
“I wanted to create a successful business that could create a good income for not only my family, but other families as well,” Mullins said. “The laser etching/engraving business is gaining popularity and the benefit of the laser machine is that it can create so many different and unique products, keeping up with trends and fads.”
The ability to personalize gifts – from pictures to custom jewelry – makes the business something to appeal to all types of customers — young and old, to businesses or individuals, she said.
Currently, she is able to cut and engrave wood, acrylic, leather and other materials. In the future, she hopes to be able to purchase a fiber laser allowing her to expand the Delightfully Designed product line to include custom engraving/etching on metal. Her husband, Jeremy, also assists in the design process and contributes to the lasering as well.
“We can accommodate all types of individuals, or businesses, with gifts and items to make it personal to them, making a lasting impression,” Mullins said. “Ornaments, pictures and LED lights are our biggest sellers.”
Prices vary depending on size, but Mullins noted the laser etching/engraving is suitable for everything from memorials and keepsakes to sports items. Acrylic etched charms and dog tags are also available.
Mullins currently works out of her garage and markets the products available through her Facebook group page, Instagram and at various vendor events she attends. She is working on a website to be able to sell products directly from there, or to accept customizable orders.
She plans to use the seed capital funds toward making the space in which the laser is housed in her garage to a climate-controlled space so she is able to create the products she makes in any weather conditions.
“The VCEDA seed capital grant will really serve to increase our productivity,” Mullins said. “Making our space climate-controlled helps our equipment to function properly and makes us more comfortable while working at the same time.”
Mullins worked with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Southwest Virginia Community College (SWCC) in developing her application to VCEDA and received a letter of support from the Dickenson County Industrial Development Authority.
“The SBDC at Southwest Virginia Community College was pleased to work with Valerie Mullins in preparing the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching fund grant application and to learn her business was the recipient of the dollar-for-dollar matching grant,” said Margie Douglass, SBDC program manager at SWCC. “This unique online business not only serves our local population with personalized items but has the capacity to serve customers nationally and internationally.”
“The Dickenson County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) is proud to partner with VCEDA and our local Small Business Development Center to assist local entrepreneurs with both educational and financial support to create and sustain a successful and prosperous small business plan,” said Dickenson County IDA Executive Director Dana Cronkhite. “Delightfully Designed is a unique business to Dickenson County that offers an opportunity for a local artist to share her gifts with our community by partnering with local businesses. We are proud to support the creativity of Mrs. Mullins and are eager to see her growth as an artist and businesswoman.”
Delightfully Designed, LLC may be reached through its Facebook page, or by calling Mullins at 276-565-8823, or by emailing email@example.com.
About Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and Southwest Virginia’s e-Region: The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988 to enhance and diversify the region’s economy and help create jobs, markets Southwest Virginia’s e-Region and its focus on electronic information technology, energy, education, emerging technologies, and entrepreneurship. VCEDA is a unique economic development organization that manages funds for economic development projects from a percentage of the coal and natural gas severance taxes paid by coal and natural gas companies that operate in the region. Located in southwestern Virginia, the region includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton. www.vceda.us or www.e-Region.org.
About the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority Seed Capital Matching Grant Fund: VCEDA region for-profit businesses, within qualifying business categories, one year and under with less than 10 full-time employees are eligible to apply for dollar-for-dollar matching grants up to $10,000 from the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund. Applicants work with the Small Business Development Centers at Mountain Empire and Southwest Virginia community colleges to prepare the applications to VCEDA that include detailed business and financial plans. Businesses must be located in or plan to operate in the VCEDA region in southwestern Virginia that includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton.