Local laser-cutting business embraces its fashionable calling

It started with a job change.

Vadim Daskal's wife was leaving her Harvard research position to teach at Ohio State.

Mr. Daskal's laser-cutting business was doing just fine in Boston: Harvard and MIT were asking for specific, high-tech medical devices, such as ophthalmological tools, and he was making good money creating them.

But he was game for a challenge. So he sold his company and started fresh in Central Ohio in 2008. He hired students from the Columbus College of Art & Design, secured warehouse space behind the Anheuser-Busch plant on the city's north side and began building Laser Cutting Shapes.

The company occasionally makes medical and high-tech devices for places like Smith & Nephew and Toto. But the majority of his customers have different names now-like Barneys, Zac Posen, Vera Wang and Michael Angel.

Daskal, an engineer by trade, is clearly embracing his artistic side-focusing on using his fine-tuned skills (and machinery) to cut materials like leather, chiffon and paper-and design-minded people from around the world have taken note.

Vera Wang uses Daskal to cut flower patterns out of chiffon for wedding gowns. Tocca, a fragrance, hired him to cut the luxury packaging that encases its boxes. BHLDN, the sister-brand of Anthropologie, paid him for a line of flowery, intricate wall hangings.

"How did this happen? I don't know," Daskal says. "We don't shape the market; the market shapes us."

One of his prouder accomplishments is his specialty stationery line, Papel Couture. International clients have hired the luxury brand to create custom, detailed wedding invitations, cards and more.

Papel Couture made the invitations to the Library of Congress' event honoring singer Carole King with the Gershwin Prize. Another creation? The custom Karl Lagerfeld Moleskine notebook cover.

"What we do is very new," Daskal says of the work, adding that Barneys hired the brand to cut its holiday cards as well.

The company has competed so quickly in such a specific market by using machinery and techniques that most other laser-cutting businesses just don't have, Daskal said. And their customers appreciate the difference.

"They work with somebody and they say, 'The quality's not there,' " he says. "They couldn't get what they want, and they find us."

So what, exactly, prompted the transition?

Simple, Daskal said: "I really love art."

He buys it, collects it and is into the local art scene. He loves sculptures from James Mason, the man who conceptualized the Topiary Park, and the works of Athens artist David Hostetler.

And he hopes others see his work in a similar light.