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December 18, 2023 | Katelyn Keenehan

Meet Knoxville’s mother-daughter acrylic duo

Nancy and Ginette are active members of the Maker City in Knoxville.

A mother-and-daughter duo in Knoxville has tapped into a unique market for acrylic and wood art. They started GiNa Maker Studio about a year ago and have already seen great success. Behind the name, ‘Gi’ represents Ginette, the daughter of the duo, and ‘Na’ stands  for  Nancy, the mother.

Their artistry revolves around a Makeblock laser, enabling them to cut or engrave various materials. They help design customer customs on online software, send it to the laser, which cuts the shape, and then Ginette and Nancy paint it for the finishing touches. They create a wide range of items, from jewelry to ornaments, engraved cutting boards, coasters, suncatchers, and more.

“I’ve crafted for most of my life,” Nancy said. “I was really into making my own cards and that kind of thing. Before I moved here, I always had some kind of hobby.”

Ginette said she has been dabbling with cutting acrylic on smaller machines for several years. When her mother moved to Knoxville from Florida, they decided to get a larger laser together and go into business.

The duo started by watching YouTube videos to understand how to operate the equipment. They also consumed social media posts about successful maker strategies, product sales and fails, and techniques.

“We do this full-time now, but the first year was very hard,” Ginette said.

“We had to build inventory and ideas to get ready. And if you’re going to be doing markets, then you have to have enough merchandise,” Nancy added.

One of the biggest challenges makers, and entrepreneurs in general, face is standing out in a crowded market space. Not only are they working to establish themselves as acrylic artists in the Knoxville market, but they also want to expand operations to sell more online.

Much of their success comes from understanding what appeals to their customer base. For example, they capitalized on the rise in Taylor Swift‘s popularity, creating ornaments to represent the Era’s tour 2023. Additionally, they began creating multi-layered stadium coasters for different ballparks across the U.S. and ’emergency jeep kits’ that cater to the jeep culture of placing rubber ducks on dashboards, along with ornaments for the holiday season.

However, out of all the pieces they work on, Ginette said making jewelry is the most enjoyable for her.

“I really do love doing the jewelry because it’s fun and creative,” she said. “People are always coming up to me with ideas or custom pieces they want to order. It’s always a good challenge to figure out how to make people’s visions possible.”

This mother and daughter are also active members of the Maker City in Knoxville. They both said it’s been a great resource for them to meet other makers, learn about running a small business, and get ideas from other like-minded individuals. They even used their laser to execute a design by Courtney Hendricks, which served as the centerpieces for the Maker City Summit.

If you want to see more designs by GiNa Maker Studio, check out their website. Right now, they have dozens of ornaments and Christmas gift ideas available for purchase.

Also, make sure to check out the Holiday Gift Guide through the Maker City to support local artisans and makers this holiday season.

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