Savannah, Georgia-based husband and wife team Andreas and Elisha Argentinis combine their technical and creative skills to offer some of the most sought-after custom handmade jewelry. Their company, Metal Pressions, is a top seller on the Etsy handmade marketplace, boasting an impressive nearly 7,000 individual sales and close to 1,700 reviews, the overwhelming majority of which are five-star. This type of success doesn’t happen by accident. Rather, it’s a direct reflection of their hard work and profound dedication to craftsmanship.
A lifelong crafter and artisan, Elisha delved into a number of different art forms before being introduced to hand-stamped jewelry about 10 years ago. This form struck a unique chord in her and her passion helped propel her skill as she rapidly developed and fine-tuned her own style. Three years into her “accelerated hobby,” while raising their children, Elisha convinced Andreas to lend his technical website development and marketing expertise to Metal Pressions. Since then, they’ve become quite well known for their quality custom jewelry, even offering a web tool on their site that helps clients create their own unique designs.
In early 2015, on a trip to New York City, Elisha and Andeas decided to become serious about their budding interest in CNC milling machines and attended the MJSA professional jewelry makers trade show to look at equipment. In their spare time, they decided to stop by Etsy headquarters to thank them for the positive impact the marketplace has had on their business. Upon hearing of the Argentinis’ interest in CNC mills, the folks at Etsy introduced them to the Othermill that they had recently purchased for their in-house workshop and offered to lend it to them.
Andreas recalls, “I think within the first couple of weeks of getting the mill we were doing billable work with it. By the time we were ready to return the mill to Etsy, we had made more than enough to buy our own mill. Instead of looking at more expensive tabletop mills, we decided to stick with the Othermill as we developed our operating skills. The Othermill has proven to be amazingly versatile and it’s at such an affordable price. I’ve never had a better ROI on a piece of equipment!”
Even though neither of them had previous experience with CNC mills, they recall the experience of getting started as being quite accessible. Andreas shares, “Honestly, it was harder to learn how to set up the graphic files than run the mill itself. The interface isn’t intimidating like some of the larger, more expensive CNCs we have been looking at. As with any piece of equipment, there is a learning curve, but for the Othermill, it was pretty short. It also doesn’t hurt that they have very responsive customer support. That definitely made it easier to get up and running.”
During the past six months that they’ve been employing it in earnest, they’ve mostly used it for machining custom imagery into precious metals. Andreas explains, “Our primary method of customizing jewelry is done by metal stamping, popularly known as hand stamping. That means every character or symbol is an individual tool we strike into the metal. The results are beautiful deep impressions, but when a customer calls in with a custom image, the tooling can be very expensive. The Othermill allows us to offer custom imagery at a much more affordable price, with comparable results to metal stamping.” He adds, “Before, a custom tool could cost hundreds of dollars and take weeks to get made. Now we can price custom symbols and text at a fraction of the cost of a tool and get the job done in days, not weeks.”
One particular project where the Othermill proved instrumental was when Twitter contacted them to make gifts for the cast and producers of the hit television series Empire. Andreas shares, “Twitter partners with various brands and shows, and in this case, they needed gifts for the pre-season kickoff party at Carnegie Hall. The catch was that they needed the gifts in just a week or so. During that time, we had to send out various samples to them to approve before we even got the order. Thanks to the Othermill, we had samples delivered in 48 hours after they reached out to us. It was the ability to prototype so quickly and show them half a dozen variations of concepts we hashed out that ultimately got us the order. It was really exciting, and while we have made gifts for lots of famous people before, we have never gotten to make items for so many A-list clients in one fell swoop.”
With clients like Twitter and countless orders coming in every week, Elisha and Andreas are prime examples of what happens when you mix talent, resolve, and passion to follow your dreams. There’s no sign of them slowing down, and considering what they’ve been able to accomplish by adding an Othermill to their tool arsenal, we can’t wait to see what they make next. As Andreas notes, “Everything is still handmade, but we can use the Othermill in conjunction with our handmade techniques to give our customers more customization options.”