My name is Zuzia, and I make laser-engraved rolling pins from my home in Warsaw, Poland. My shop is called Valek Rolling Pins. My secret mission: to bring some fun to baking.
When I got a laser engraver, I started thinking about all the cool things I could make with it. I enjoy baking cookies and birthday cakes, but decorating them is a whole different thing. I never really managed to make my pastries look fun and delicious without spending the whole weekend on it, so I decided to follow an idea from my sister Julia and try making high-quality, laser-engraved wooden rolling pins with cool patterns.
The first rolling pin I made was for my niece’s birthday. She is absolutely nuts about cats, so I knew that would be my first pattern. I spent a great amount of time engraving, testing and baking (over and over) to fine-tune the process and design. After a lot of experimentation, I discovered both the ideal recipe for my cookies and the perfect rolling pin to work with, made from Polish beech wood and gorgeous just by itself. Finally, I needed a way to package my rolling pins. Obviously nothing specifically existed for that, so I designed my own triangular package from scratch, which I also cut with my laser. I wanted the packaging – and the experience of opening it – to be unique. Don’t we all love opening gifts?
Since I opened my shop last December, I’ve sold nearly 2,000 laser-engraved rolling pins. It’s been a lot of work adapting my production method to match such a huge demand; I had to go full-time, get a second laser, and regularly ask my boyfriend, brother and friends to help out. I’m completely exhausted, but it’s really rewarding. I do everything from home, so I had to transform a wall-mounted pant-hanging rack into a rolling pin storage system. I basically have a wall full of rolling pins!
Etsy has been an amazing way to get my small idea to travel from Poland all around the world, and to get a whole lot of super nice, heartwarming messages from complete strangers. It’s especially gratifying since I never finished design school (too expensive) and I’m kind of self-taught. In the future, I hope to finally get my own workshop somewhere near Warsaw; I’d love to build a space in the woods where it’s all beech, birch and pine near the Wisła river. It’s really lovely there.
All photographs by Valek Rolling Pins.