Mary (Brydon) Sawyer, SPHS class of 1987 and her husband Chris, SPHS class of 1983, traveled to London in 2013 with their twin children to visit family. While there they visited Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum, and there they had a family portrait taken and their photo memory was etched forever inside a block of heart-shaped crystal.
We visited Mary at her gallery recently so she could share her story with our readers in Southern Maine, and see what the buzz is all about.
“As soon as I had a crystal in my hands, I was captivated and couldn’t get them out my mind… WHY can’t I get these in Boston or Fenway Park?!” Mary exclaimed. “WHY can’t I get my favorite ball player in crystal?”
That was the start of daily brainstorming sessions and extensive product research. Mary contacted the general manager of Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum in London, who was more than helpful and encouraging. For 2 1/2 years Mary, a career CPA and small business advisor, researched and planned bringing this new technology to Maine and New England. On September 17, 2015 on their 21st wedding anniversary Chris and Mary drove to Edison NJ to purchase a 3D camera and sign the contract with 3D Crystal Company LLC to engrave 3D photo crystals for their customers in Maine. “While there in NJ the engravers took an anniversary 3D photo and engraved the momentous occasion into a large 3D heart crystal for us”, Mary said. “Chris came up with the business name Southern Maine 3D (SOME3D for short, and a clever tag line ‘a new dimension in photography’). I built the website and from the ground up, together we marketed the new part-time business venture, bringing 3D photo crystals to Southern Maine. “
Chris and Mary participated in various events to showcase the crystals over the past few years and made hundreds of crystals, honoring people, pets and moments.
In July of 2017, Chris was diagnosed with stage IV kidney cancer, and Mary stopped working and soon after merged her tax and consulting business with a Portland firm so she could care for the Love of her life. Eight months later, in March of 2018 Chris lost his courageous battle with cancer. Their children graduated high school 3 months later and Mary proceeded to pick up the broken pieces and tried to find meaning in her life again. She went back to work part-time at the new firm and tried to fill the deep void.
“It wasn’t the right time for our 3D crystal business before, God makes everything happen in his perfect timing” said Mary. “If we had delved full time into this business 4 years ago, I would have lost it, or not been able to leave my job to care for Chris in his final months and days”.
Just a few months ago, in February 2019 Mary received a message from her engraver in NJ offering her the business assets and training and ongoing support. It was an offer she could not and did not refuse. This was the perfect time, and perfect scenario: to buy an established business from someone she’s worked with and trusted for 4 years. So in May, Mary bought another 3D camera, 2 laser engraving machines and 6 pallets of crystal inventory and moved into a beautiful gallery and 3D photography studio. “We’re located in Baxter Place, 305 Commercial Street in Portland’s historic Old Port, adjacent to the new Courtyard by Marriott hotel.” She and her first full time employee, Henry Cyr SPHS class of 2017 trained with the NJ sellers and for the last 4 months have practiced and created crystals of all shapes, sizes and subject matter to fill the new 1,500 sf gallery. In July Jill Koufman joined us full-time, and Sophie Sawyer and Jeff Leighton started part-time.
“People have to see these to appreciate them”, says Mary. “Come chase a rainbow to our crystal gallery and create a beautiful photo memory that you or a loved one will cherish and proudly display for generations to come!”
On September 17, 2019 exactly 25 years from marrying Chris at Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth, Mary opened the doors of the Southern Maine 3D crystal gallery and 3D photography studio, it was also exactly 4 years since Chris and Mary drove to NJ to buy the 3D camera and start the business. “Chris has been and will continue to guide me and help make this business a success, all in God’s perfect time. We had a beautiful party with beautiful friends who have helped encourage and support me in my next chapter. I am so grateful.”
“Stop in to Southern Maine 3D and say Hi and see these beautiful crystal gifts for yourself, and call or message me if you want a VIP tour.”