558
7 min 12 sec

5-Year-Old’s Frustration Leads to Modern Day Piggy Bank

When a 5-year-old earns money taking out the trash for neighbors, his mom realizes that piggy banks are more style than function. She then reinvents this classic tool as a “piggy box” that won’t get stuck in the mud.
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What It's About

Piggy banks that don't require you to break the bank!

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

Words of Wisdom

If Esther learned one thing during this process, it was the importance of securing a lower minimum of quantity from manufacturers. As she said, "it's hard to know whether things will move and how quickly they will move, and if you have a product that's bigger in size, those storage costs really add up!​"

Fun Fact

Remember those piggy boxes that were glued together and couldn’t be sold? Esther says she’d hate to throw these glued and unsellable boxes away. If any of our listeners who have kids would like a free Piggy Box, head over to thepiggybox.com and email Esther. First-come, first-served!

Notes from Chris

Episode 558
Jacob Diaz was five years old and already a side hustler. After the city dumpster trucks would empty the large garbage cans, he would walk down the street and bring them in for the neighbors. Soon he was hauling in twelve cans in every Thursday night—the beginnings of his garbage can empire!

For a kid, he was really raking in the dough from his neighbors, and his parents figured this was a great chance to capitalize on a “teachable moment.”

His mother, Esther, went out and bought three piggy banks. One for “spend,” one for “save,” and one for “give.” The idea was to instill the values of careful saving, generous giving, and hard work. And it worked—Jacob was filling up all three of his piggy banks at record speed.

Except the teachable moment started to fall apart when it came time to retrieve that money. The piggy banks, well, weren’t willing to give it up. Esther even tried to get the dollar bills out with chopsticks in what she calls “Mr. Miyagi style,” but to no avail.

The cash was stuck. Like, really stuck—and it didn’t really make sense to teach good stewardship by breaking the piggy banks to get it out. The short-term trick? Medical forceps. They got those bills out through minor surgery on the pig. The long-term solution? Build a better piggy bank.

In 2013, Esther started putting together her idea: a 3-drawer box. Give, save, and spend would each have their own drawer and money organization slots for dollars and coins. No more tiny piggy bank holes or not being able to count your money—it would all be easy to access and easy to count.

Unfortunately, the initial Piggy Box design was bulky and unable to be reduced in size. This increased the warehouse space needed and resulted in a bunch of damaged product during shipping. Esther’s new design will be in production soon, and she can’t wait to slice these costs dramatically. She doesn’t want to hog all the storage space!

But that brings up another problem: minimum order quantity. Esther just put up with large orders and high costs in the past, but she knows she shouldn’t have to—especially now that she’s able to put some more time into finding a manufacturer now that the business is running.

She’s taking her time to find the right partner for her next run, hoofing around to different manufacturers to sop up their proposals. Lower MOQs will help her business be more successful because she’ll be able to spend less on big batches of product and more on marketing and sales (and some big upcoming partnerships we can’t name yet).

But while the additional profit she brings in has been great for Esther, the greater joy of the side hustle has been growing it with her family. Trips to UPS with her son, family assembly lines for State Fair demonstrations—creating these special moments for her kids has been, by far, the most rewarding part of it all. This little piggy has certainly gone to market!

 
  MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • The Piggy Box: Tired of breaking piggy bank after piggy bank trying to reap the rewards from all of your hard work? Get yourself a piggy box over on Esther's website!

  • Wix: The online website building platform that Esther used to set up her website for The Piggy Box
  • Alibaba: The platform that Esther used to locate a manufacturer for her piggy boxes
  • Buzzfeed | 17 New Parenting Products That Are Impressively Clever: The Buzzfeed article that featured The Piggy Box—they're #12!

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
"Try to secure a lower minimum of quantity from manufacturers. It's hard to know whether things will move and how quickly they will move, and if you have a product that's bigger in size, those storage costs really add up!​"
—Esther Diaz #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau