Rock Rapids entrepreneur harnesses her creativity
ROCK RAPIDS, IOWA -- What started out as a photography hobby has blossomed into a full-time business and turned Lacie Fastert, owner of Lasting Legacies, into a "jack of all trades."
"I do screen printing, embroidery, photography, vinyl details, sell Thirty-One purses -- I don't know, I do a lot of stuff," she said.
Fastert started the photography business in a basement in 2010. Before that, she had entered photography at local fairs during high school and taken a "couple photo classes at Southeast Technical," she said.
Prior to opening her own business, Fastert was employed at a daycare center in Rock Rapids.
"I don't know why I made the change," she said. "I always enjoyed photography."
After establishing herself as a photographer of seniors, families, children and weddings, Fastert began looking for other opportunities.
"When I was younger, I would go to the fairs in the area, and they would always have an embroidery machine on display," she said. "I always said that I wanted one."
She received an embroidery machine as a Christmas gift in 2010, but quickly out grew it. She eventually invested in the commercial machine she uses now, which holds a total of 16 colors.
"Within the past couple of months, I've gotten more comfortable with it -- to the point where I feel like I can do anything," she said. "Before, I was nervous that I was going to ruin a garment or something."
For Lasting Legacies, moving the business into town in 2011 and opening a store front was a step in the right direction, and Fastert said business has only increased since then.
"I have mostly women come in and some younger guys," she said. "I also do shirts and for those, I have wider clientele."
Some of Fastert's most popular products are embroidered towels and blankets.
"They are great for graduations, babies, weddings -- we also do throws for weddings -- with peoples' names on them and the wedding date, or we can do a baby blanket with the name, weight, length, time of birth and hospital name," she said.
She has started adding rhinestone designs to products within the last three months, based on the client's interests.
"I'll do rhinestones for shirts with baseballs for moms or on hats or jeans, on any fabric," she said.
Fastert is still a photographer, and her studio has a wide variety of props and backdrops for customers to use.
"Right now, tutus and big flowers have been really popular for smaller children," she said.
Most of the designs on Fastert's products are developed in-store, where Fastert has plenty of opportunity to exercise her creativity. As an entrepreneur, every day looks a little bit different for her.
She said she normally sets up the embroidery machine the night before so she is able to start on her first piece right away in the morning.
"Then there is usually vinyl stuff that is ready to be printed," she said. By that time, the embroidery machine is done and ready for the next project. From there, I'm moving between machines, editing any pictures I have and helping anyone that comes in for purses."
Fastert is quick to credit her family and her son, Ayden, for much of her success.
"I honestly don't think I could do it without the support of my family and my little boy -- he was a big influence," she said.
Even though Ayden is still young, Fastert said he already spends time helping her in the shop.
"He actually helps weed out the vinyl and helps run the cutter," she added.
Fastert currently employs one other person and said she hopes to continue growing the business and adding more equipment.
"Although I don't know if I can be busier than I already am, I would love to have a few more people working for me," she said, adding that she hopes there will eventually be enough business for her mother to work with her.
In spite her success, Fastert acknowledged self-employment isn't always easy.
"It's a lot of risk, because you never know how much you are going to make a month, if you can pay the bills or how many customers you'll have or if you'll have time to get everything done," she said.
In addition to her storefront -- located at 210 First Avenue -- Fastert can be found at many of the local fairs displaying her work.
Lasting Legacies is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Hastert can be reached at (712) 470-4184 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daily Globe Reporter Alyson Buschena may be reached at 376-7322.