What It's About
How a shared hobby turns into a niche, high-end pen side hustle with International attention.
Words of Wisdom
From sharing the six-hour creation process, showcasing his latest designs and sharing updates from the workshop floor, Jason learned how to tell the story of his pens. Taking inspiration from other luxury Instagram feeds like @Newtonpens, @Ryankrusac, and @Nibspotter, the J&N Woodworks Instagram has a level of class that would never seem like it’s being run out of a homely Texas garage.
Social media is a strong driver of traffic—use it to your advantage by posting quality pictures of your product and reaching out to influencers!
Some of Jason's work was recently picked up by British GQ, and The Gentleman fountain pen line he offers was featured in their May issue—which was just published. In anticipation of this, Jason moved into a larger shop with plenty of room to expand. This affords him the ability to explore new methods of creating his products, which he hopes will push his brand to the next level.
Notes from Chris
Jason Miller’s side hustle started 16 years before he ever needed it. Hunched over a woodworking table with his grandfather, Jason learned the art of making luxury wooden writing implements from a true craftsman. But, like many childhood hobbies, Jason’s woodworking fell by the wayside and was replaced by the trials and tribulations of real life. Studying architecture at college, followed by going directly into his full-time job as a retail architect, there wasn’t much time left for creation. One day, during a particularly stressful period, Jason decided he needed an outlet. Something he could do that would release those pent up stresses from the working world and bring him some joy. Drinking red wine was looking like a strong contender, but in the end, he decided to go back to what he knew—woodworking. Jason started off by asking people he already knew if they’d be interested in buying any of his pens, and he had immediate interest. Using only his laptop, his phone and a small workspace in his garage, Jason set about creating social media updates that were as unique and handcrafted as the pens themselves. And he used a Squarespace site—combined with his own eye for graphic design—to create a website to promote the pens. J&N Woodworks was born!
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- J&N Woodworks: Check out all of the intricate pens Jason creates—in mediums from wood to marble—on his website
- GQ | May 2017: The popular fashion and lifestyle magazine that featured Jason's pens in their May issue
- SquareSpace: James used Squarespace to setup his website for J&N Woodworks
- Hootsuite | How To Use Instagram For Business: Learn how to use Instagram to bring traffic to your side hustle
- GE Engineer Sells Hand-Crafted Slate Artwork to All 50 States: A GE engineer uses his skills to make and sell hand-crafted slate artwork to all 50 states. In addition to bringing in a great side income, it’s also given him more courage and security to make decisions at his day job
- Hand-Stamped Feminist Jewelry Earns $25,000 Side Income: She’s loud, she’s proud, and she’s wielding a hammer to smash the patriarchy with her hand-stamped feminist jewelry line
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