817
9 min 19 sec

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Tarot Again

When her initial idea to make chocolate proves to be more challenging than expected, an illustrative Seattleite finds something mystical in her hand-drawn packaging.
Crowdfunding Manufacturing Product Transition Story

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What It's About

Seattle native reads success in the cards after transitioning away from chocolate.

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

Words of Wisdom

Here's some great advice from Wren:

"Put the most effort into what feels best in your business, and at the same time, stay on top of analytics and accounting because those things will give you the most information as to how to proceed at every step. Always, always, pay yourself first (i.e. money in savings), as my Grandfather would say."

Fun Fact

When Wren printed her first batch of decks, she contacted a domestic printer who connected her with a printer in China. But when she received her decks, they were all stuck together. Her cards have a special silver lining on the edges, and the supplier must have packaged them all while the ink was still hot. So, Wren spent several hours in her living room peeling apart each card one-by-one. Luckily, she was still able to get orders out on time!

After that mishap, she found a new, more reputable printer through Alibaba.

Notes from Chris

Episode 817
Wren McMurdo had a challenging dilemma. As a full-time Content Specialist for an ethical skincare brand in Seattle, she had also started a side hustle making chocolate confections. She developed a recipe for herb-infused dark chocolate coconut patties—and soon it was stocked in local stores.

Wren found herself dreading the arrival of new orders—not a good situation to be in! She realized that she didn't especially enjoy the work of being a chocolatier. Although she liked creating the recipe, designing the product, and getting it into stores, being a chocolatier also involves making the chocolate. And she spent a lot of time in what she refers to as “less-than-appealing commercial kitchens.” It was a lot of work, and she was too particular about her product to pass production off to a co-packer.

Wren had designed a series of little illustrations to slip inside her chocolate treats, which were called "Dark Days Moon Patties” inspired by the dark moon phase of the lunar cycle, considered by some as a sacred time for rest and reflection. After a delirious night of frustrated patty dipping, she looked at those illustrations and realized that they were perfect for a Tarot deck. This epiphany illuminated a new idea!

Abandoning her chocolate making, Wren decided to focus instead on making Tarot cards with the same "dark days" theme—calling her new project Dark Days Tarot. And rather than creating the traditional rectangular shaped tarot card design, she chose to follow her own path and create square-shaped cards for non-binary readings.

After completing the artwork for her first deck, she was encouraged by friends and former customers to launch a crowdfunding campaign to support her in manufacturing her decks. She utilized Kickstarter’s marketing resources and spent $600 on hiring a small marketing agency. The agency sent out emails to people who backed similar projects, which in turn, brought in several backers.

Through her connections, she also received a prominent mention from a well-known Tarot Card Reader who promoted Wren’s campaign on her site. At the end of the campaign, Wren had fully funded her project (more than $13,000) and was able to move forward with finding a printer.

In 2018, Wren grossed $60,000 in sales and profited $25,000 after all of the production costs and outsourcing of various content and support. She currently brings in about $2,000 in profit each month.

Wren attributes her risk-taking to much of the success she’s experienced lately. When it’s a side hustle, she believes you can take more risks. Since she has a full-time job and income to support her, any risks she takes with her side hustle will minimally impact her. She recommends for anyone launching a side hustle to take a step back and review your social media and various other marketing efforts, and asses what they are actually doing for you. If a certain outlet is not performing well or pulling too much of your energy, it may be time to reconsider.

Coming up next, Wren is creating a new Earth-inspired deck called Mother Tarot which will be launched in Winter 2020. She hopes it will complement the sales of the moon cards, launching the business into a new phase of orbit.

 
  MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Dark Days Tarot: Learn more about Wren's dark days tarot decks over on her website!
  • Kickstarter | Dark Days Tarot: Check out the Kickstarter campaign that helped Wren get started
  • Alibaba: The marketplace Wren used to find a manufacturer for Dark Days Tarot
  • Tailwind: A visual marketing app that Wren used to help her market Dark Days Tarot
  • Wix: The online website building platform that Wren used to set up her website for Dark Days Tarot

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
"Take some time to really drill down which marketing efforts are working for you and lose the rest. Don’t be afraid to hit the delete button on the ones that aren’t supporting you!"
—Wren McMurdo #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau