CJ Bigsby, Sage Dental Arts, Young, AZ
Years in industry: 13
Lab opened: 2009
When CJ Bigsby decided to leave his job as a technician and open a laboratory in his home in 2009, it was mostly because of time. "In my experience, many labs are more concerned about volume than esthetics. I was tired of high-production environments and wanted to have ample time to spend on each crown," says Bigsby, Owner of Sage Dental Arts, Young, AZ.
That's a bit ironic since—as the father of eight, most of whom are home-schooled by his wife—the last thing Bigsby has is ample time. But it turns out that he has struck the perfect balance between focusing on high-end esthetics and being a regular part of his children's day.
For example, being at home allows him to step out of the lab to answer a question about what the kids are studying or even administer a spelling test while he works. "Since we're all at home during the day, we have a lot of interaction and my work and home life are very integrated," says Bigsby. "But I also put in a lot of hours because I handle everything, from waxing to final glaze. I thoroughly enjoy every step, though, and right now don't want to give up that power by hiring someone else."
Luckily he does have some help: his wife handles billing, his two oldest sons (14 and 16) pour models, his 12-year-old helps with shipping, and his five- and seven-year-olds assemble crown boxes. "The kids really enjoy watching me work. Maybe they'll stick with it down the road—they are all very artistically talented—but I don't want to push them into it."
If some of the kids do grow up to become technicians, one thing is for sure: they will learn to build porcelain. "I am implementing technology and already have a scanner, but I don't think I'd ever go all-digital. I'm a firm believer that you have to layer porcelain in order to achieve optimum esthetics," he says.
One other change Bigsby won't make: moving the laboratory away from home. "If I should decide to grow the business, we would build something on our property. I never want to be more than 10 steps away from the house."
Be sure to check out the profiles below of 9 other home-based laboratories whose owners are proud of their businesses and eager to show off their facilities.