Every great business idea starts by creating a solution to a problem, and that’s what Electric Iris owner Natalie Ashton is printing up.
“This is specifically a turner tray for geese,” Ashton said – a solution for farmers hatching poultry. “The incubator that I make trays for is really good at hatching chicken eggs. But if you want to hatch a larger egg like a goose or a turkey, you are going to have to open the incubator and roll them around by hand several times a day.”
The products she makes using 3D printers allow farmers to incubate bird eggs of all sizes, with less maintenance time, and a more successful hatch rate.
Her idea not only sells, but it crowned her the co-winner of last year’s gauntlet business competition, earning Electric Iris nearly 30 thousand dollars in cash and in-kind prizes to expand.
“A year ago my business was in my basement. It was something I was having to do 24 hours a day. It dominated my life,” Ashton said.
6 months ago, 10 News was there as she was moving into the Virginia Innovation Accelerator in Buena Vista, and now, she’s already expanded at the center.
Ashton told us that with her 7 printers running together, her production has skyrocketed. Before, she told us she was only able to make 15 products as opposed to thirty, and that’s if she’d stay up until 3 a.m. working.
With her 7 printers going full bore, Ashton said she can make about 30.
“I now have the capacity that I can start to look at retail and wholesale relationships whereas when I was just in my basement, it was just me a few printers. I couldn’t explore those opportunities,” she said.
Thanks to winning, Electric Iris is where she thought it would be at the end of 2024.
Ashton told us she is already developing a new product to enhance incubation capabilities and plans to have full-time employees in the near future.
“This is literally beyond my wildest dreams,” Ashton said.
Learn more about Electric Iris and view products on their website by clicking here.