What It's About
A financial planner and woodworking hobbyist whittles a new source of income for his growing family.
Words of Wisdom
Waiting to make a leap into selling a product? Justin has some great advice; “If you have an idea, get it out into the market and test it. My products are completely different than when I started, but I got them out there and improved them in small increments over time.”
Product photography makes a big difference when it comes to e-commerce. The influencers that helped Justin generate the most sales on his products were not those who had the most Instagram followers, but those who could take the best pictures.
Notes from Chris
Episode 1422Financial planner Justin Trewitt loves woodworking. He picked up the hobby when he and his wife bought their first house and needed to furnish it. Uninterested in paying top dollar for furniture, he decided to build what he needed in his spare time. By the time he was done, he not only had the furniture but also woodworking skills that he could use for the rest of his life. When Justin’s wife quit her teaching job to be a stay at home mom, he knew they needed a new source of family income. The financial planner in him knew this was the sort of advice he would give his clients: to replace one source of income with another. Although he wasn’t sure he could replace his wife’s salary completely, he decided to start by selling the wooden accessories he had been making in his spare time. It was also an excellent way to blend his woodworking hobby with his passion for menswear—something he wouldn’t have done otherwise. Etsy was the obvious choice for Justin to experiment with selling his handcrafted work. He started by listing just a couple of products, including a wooden rack for pocket squares which he had made for himself. He also thought a wooden tie rack would do well, so he used scrap wood and tie pegs to piece one together. And just like that, Dapper Woodworks was born. Around the same time, an acquaintance had introduced him to the owner of an ecommerce store that overlapped nicely with what he was making. This store sold luxury suit hangers as well as other high-end men’s accessories. Custom made items such as a wooden tie rack were something the store owner had been looking to add to his range of products for a long time. Up till now, Justin had simply been making items that fit the needs of his few customers who found him online. This was the first time he would be coming up with standardized designs for a broader market. Today, he spends most of his spare time trying to build brand awareness efforts through online and in-person networking. Coupled with some experiments in Google Adwords, Justin has seen his business grow. In 2019, he generated over $32,000 in revenue, with $7,000 in profit. This figure is set to increase in 2020, even as the economic outlook has declined, with him projecting $50,000 in revenue and $20,000 in profit. All of this came from investing under $100 in scrap wood and metal pegs to make his first product. His products are completely different from when he started, and he only got there with small improvements over time. As he says, if you have an idea, you’ll never be able to improve it until you test it in the real world.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Learn more about Justin and see his entire product line at his website, DapperWoodworks.com.
- Substitute Teacher Earns $1,500/Month Making Wooden Signs: In a sign of the times of how popular side hustles are becoming, this substitute teacher hosts Tupperware-style parties where attendees use her stencils to make handcrafted signs. Rise and sign!
- Rustic Wall Hangings Rack Up Worthwhile Profits: A self-taught manufacturer of home decor transitions her part-time curiosity into a full-time woodworking business.
- New Dad Starts Woodworking Hustle While Infant Son Naps: An ad executive and new dad pursues a creative outlet, making handcrafted ladders during his son’s naptimes.
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