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.”
She uses 3D printers to create products that allow farmers incubate birds eggs of any size, with less maintenance and a higher 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 that I had to do 24 hours per 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 explained to us that her production has increased dramatically because she now has 7 printers. 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.
Ashton claimed she can print about 30 with her 7 printers running full bore.
“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.
Electric Iris is now where she expected it to be at the close of 2024, thanks in large part to her win.
Ashton revealed that she is working on a new product for incubation and hopes to have full-time employees within the next few years.
“This is literally beyond my wildest dreams,” Ashton said.
Click here to find out more about Electric Iris or view their products.
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