I’m really excited to welcome Nemunas Pakalnis to the blog today, to talk about his awesome handmade boomerang business. Just 5 years ago, Nemunas started selling boomerangs that he made himself from scratch – fast-forward a few years and it’s now a full-time job. In the past 3 years alone, he has made more than 1,400 boomerangs! Impressed yet? Check out the interview below to learn more…
Man Crafts interview with Nemunas from the Boomerangs Shop
Hello! Before we talk about your DIY business, tell me a little bit about yourself – where are you from and what are your interests outside of DIY and crafting?
Hello! I am Nemunas Pakalnis. I was born and live in Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania. Excluding crafting boomerangs, my interests are pretty usual: travelling, jogging (I especially like jogging in the mornings or when I am visiting other countries, because I see it is as a different and more exciting way of sightseeing), snowboarding at winter and playing basketball.
You run a really cool online shop – can you tell me a little bit about what you sell?
I make and sell fully returning wooden boomerangs through my online shop and my Etsy shop. I craft them of the finest aircraft grade Baltic birch plywood available and some of the artwork is painted on by professional artists. One of the main ideas of my business is to not only produce boomerangs for outdoor activity, but make them functioning pieces of art as well. For example, it could be hung on the wall and serve as beautiful interior decor at your home or office when you’re finished playing with your boomerang.
Making boomerangs is quite an unusual hobby, how did you first begin making them?
I first started making boomerangs about 6 years ago, after my father (who has a PhD in physics and a big passion for aerodynamics of boomerangs) taught me a lot about the science behind boomerangs. Because I understood why boomerangs fly back, I eventually learnt how to produce a real returning boomerang myself. The challenge then was to make it precise, well finished and resistant to impact.
Tell me about your work space, where do you make all of your boomerangs and what is the process involved?
I have two places that I work in. The first one is located in my back yard, where I have a lot of space for work such as raw sanding. This creates a lot of dust and noise because of the use of power tools, so it needs to be done outside using safe equipment. There’s also enough space for testing new boomerangs! It might look like labour intensive work, but I just put on my headphones, put my music on and actually enjoy it! Surrounded by nature clears up my mind, so for me it is sort of yoga-like time.
The second place is located in ‘Green Garage’ (www.greengarage.me) which is in the centre of Vilnius, where I finish crafting my works by smooth sanding, lacquering, polishing and painting. Occasionally, professional artists decorate my boomerangs there too. There’s also a CNC Laser Cutter which I use for custom orders to engrave logos, text or illustrations on the boomerangs.
What’s the best thing about running your handmade boomerang business?
First of all, I love my business and it does not feel like I am working, more likely it is like a full time hobby. 🙂 (even though sometimes it does take more than 8 hours per day from you!). Secondly, I really like having a conversation with my customers from all around the world about my boomerangs, their use in other countries or just get feedback from the customer about their first impression of my boomerangs. Also, I love that I can plan both my work and free time as I want, which is a big advantage – and a big responsibility at same time too.
What advice can you offer any readers who are hoping to start their own creative business?
Be positive! If someone would have asked me 4 years ago whether I could successfully manage a business of producing boomerangs and selling them globally – it would have been hard to believe.
Be patient! It took two years for me to start making a profit from my business.
Always strive for improvement! This relates to more than the intensive construction part of the job. For example, making boomerangs takes only one third of the whole time. A lot of time is spent on planning, advertising, updating my website, photographing new products, having conversations with customers, packaging etc.
And finally, let’s end on something fun – tell us one interesting fact about yourself or your shop!
The most thrilling places where I have played with my boomerangs include the Durmitor mountain range in Montenegro, the beach of Tel Aviv in Israel and a fishing boat in the middle of a lake in Lithuania.
Thanks so much to Nemunas for sharing a little insight into his boomerang business – it’s pretty amazing stuff, right?! Make sure you have a look at his website or Etsy shop to see more of the amazing boomerangs he crafts. You can also check out my previous Man Made interviews here. Happy reading! 🙂 – Mike