172
7 min 25 sec

Put a Cap in It: Architect Makes the Write Choice; Starts Luxury Pen Hustle

A Texas-based architect turns a pen-making craft he learned from his grandfather into a profitable side hustle, getting featured in GQ Magazine.
Arts & Crafts Product Retail Social Media

What It's About

How a shared hobby turns into a niche, high-end pen side hustle with International attention.

Business Model
Product
Skills Required
Design & Woodworking
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

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!

Fun Fact

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

Episode 172

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
SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"Create a brand for your side hustle that people begin to recognize and associate with quality. Also, find others who are more successful than you (regardless of their hustle or focus) and learn from them. Surround yourself with greatness, that will push you to go beyond yourself."
—Jason Miller #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau