730
6 min 21 sec

Family Business Connects Household Cardboard to Geometry Lessons

When a mom starts a furniture business, it inspires her kids to try their own hands at business from an early age.
Education Family Manufacturing Product

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What It's About

You've heard it said before, a family that side hustles together...

Business Model
Product
Skills Required
Product Development & Research
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Much of 3DuxDesign's early success comes down to having a clearly defined market and product. They were not afraid to go niche and be specific about their product and who it was for, which makes potential marketing activities—such as events to attend, or podcasts to be featured on—much easier because they can clearly identify places where their target audience are likely to be.

Fun Fact

3DuxDesign's name comes from conjoining the abbreviations 3D, three-dimensional, and UX, for user experience. They chose this name because it felt like it matched the goal of what they wanted to achieve; to help kids design a better future.

Notes from Chris

Episode 730
Community pediatrician Marci Klein is no stranger to side-hustling. A few years ago, she started a project called Modify Furniture, which enabled people to customize and order affordable furniture online. The venture helped her earn a little extra money for her family. But, more to the point, her success had a positive impact on her children, Ayana and Ethan.

Seeing what their Mom had achieved, the kids felt compelled to become makers and innovators themselves. So, the three of them embarked on a family business journey together.

Ayana took the lead role in developing the idea for their product. After an architecture summer camp at Columbia University, she designed an interesting way to help kids learn the basics of geometry and engineering. The vision was to use simple plastic connectors that children could work with to build a range of objects shapes—and these plastic connectors would come from common household packing cardboard.

To develop the prototype for these connectors, brother Ethan took the lead by making mockups using computer-aided-design (CAD) software and printing them on a Dremel 3D printer they’d bought at Home Depot. Thanks to this home set-up, prototyping the product was much simpler than it could have been, and it took them around two weeks to generate a design they were willing to sell.

To test the viability of their product—which they’d later sell under the name 3DuxDesign—they rented a stall at local library and farmer’s market events where they knew there would be lots of parents and children.

These events served as free or nearly free focus-grouping for the team. They listened to feedback and the conversations that took place around the product to inform their next steps. And they took note of the interest of educators and parents from a learning point-of-view. They didn’t see it as just another toy, but as a great way for their kids to explore their creativity while actively learning.

This led the 3Dux team to look at their business from two different angles.

The first was selling directly to the consumer. They created a Shopify website so parents could buy products online and attended regular events and markets to sell their kits. Most of their sales come through in-person transactions, but they also have a growing Amazon presence. For this audience, they priced their products in accordance with other birthday gifts and toys, with a maximum price point of $25 per kit.

The second angle was educational. To attract this market, they attended educational trade fairs to connect with teachers who could use them in their curriculum, as well as pitching their products to museums to use their children-focused areas. This resulted in them creating a standalone educational pack, which comes with a large range of connectors, lesson plans, and materials to help children learn by doing.

These two markets have enabled 3Dux to sell over 3,000 kits since launching in 2017 with their kits featuring in around 60 different educational programs worldwide. The money earned from sales is put back into the business with no one taking a consistent salary—at least not yet.

Marci says the best part of this business has been seeing her kids become more confident as they encounter different situations that arise, especially with potential customers.

 
  MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • 3DuxDesigns: Check-out 3Dux's awesome kits and sets on their website
  • 3DuxDesign Video: Learn more about 3Dux from this great video!
  • Modify Furniture: Learn more about Marci's first busines over on her website!
  • Shopify: Marci used Shopify to set up her site for 3DuxDesigns, and they're offering a 21-day trial and exclusive discount for all Side Hustle School listeners!

SEE ALSO:

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

Yours in the revolution,

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Resources

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Quote of the Day
"It's critical to truly be passionate about what you want to accomplish. Start with a clear mission, define your product, your customer and how you plan to connect the two."
—Marci Klein #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau