Peak Expectations

California Entrepreneurs Build Rhinestone Apparel Business with EGX-350

Peak Expectations   |   San Jacinto, California

When Terry and Marilyn Peak were downsized out of their corporate jobs, they searched for several months for a new business opportunity. “Our move to promotional products has been an enormous eye-opener for us,” Terry said with a smile. “In corporate life, finance and accounting get blamed for a lot of things. Our new business is fun for us and for our customers!”

Terry and Marilyn founded their promotional products company, Peak Expectations, in 2006 in San Jacinto, California. As their business developed they found that the majority of their orders were for customized garments. To see the latest in garment customization technology, Terry and Marilyn attended the 2008 Imprinted Sportswear Show (ISS) in Long Beach, California. There, they were inspired by the many rhinestone designs they saw. After two days of research, they came home with a Roland EGX-350 desktop engraver.

These days, the Roland EGX-350 helps them turn out fantastic products using as many as several thousand rhinestones per design. “The Roland is great because it can handle intricate rhinestone designs,” said Marilyn. “Other machines aren’t capable of producing such a high level of detail.” In addition to rhinestone work, they use their Roland to produce key tags and other engraved items. “The machine is very versatile, which makes it perfect for our business,” said Terry.

“The Roland is great because it can handle intricate rhinestone designs,” said Marilyn. “Other machines aren’t capable of producing such a high level of detail.”

Marilyn enjoys taking her clients’ ideas and making them sparkle. “When people send me a design or give me an idea, I tend to go into overdrive for them,” said Marilyn. “The rhinestones bring glamour to the designs and my clients love the looks we can create.” Marilyn uses hot fix rhinestones in a variety of colors as well as metallic stones to add dimension and value to her designs.

To create a design in rhinestones, Marilyn begins by drawing or importing a scanned design in Adobe Illustrator, then exports the design into R-Wear Studio, Roland’s rhinestone design software solution. The software creates a rhinestone pattern based on the specified stone size and desired distance between stones. Next, R-Wear generates a 3D preview of the tool path. At this point, Marilyn makes any minor adjustments needed, then takes a snapshot of her screen and sends it to the client for approval. Once the design is approved, it is output to the EGX-350 and engraved on a template. A special brush allows Marilyn to easily insert the stones into the template, then lift them using transfer tape. To finish the garment, Marilyn applies the transfer using a heat press.

Marilyn and Terry appreciate the EGX-350’s compact footprint. “The machine is entirely self contained and sits on a counter,” said Terry. “Other machines we looked at either weren’t as powerful or required a compressor.”

Since the Peaks purchased their EGX-350, rhinestone designs have become an increasing part of their business. They have applied rhinestones to garments and a variety of other promotional products, including bags, ribbons, towels and banners. Their order sizes range from one to several hundred pieces, and with the EGX-350, the Peaks can turn around their rhinestone design projects in 1-3 days. “The flexibility of the EGX allows us to keep our pricing affordable, even for our clients who want smaller runs,” said Terry.

One of the Peaks’ favorite recent projects was a surprise announcement. One member of a local group got married in secret, and to share the news, he asked Marilyn to create rhinestone ribbons for the centerpieces at their dinner. “The ribbons said ‘Nathan Got Married’ in rhinestones,” said Marilyn. “They really got everyone’s attention!”

The Peaks have also created rhinestone designs to show their appreciation to their clients. “We made several bags to thank employees of a bank that had been a steady customer,” said Terry. “They liked our gift so much, they placed an order for more!”

“Our clients are more than just an invoice to us,” said Terry. “We really enjoy providing designs that exceed their expectations.”