This is the second installment of our Customer Spotlight Series with Nina Cheng, founder of Wild and Woolly. The first part of our conversation covered what it took to leave her job in finance and launch a high-end accessories brand with no previous experience in product development or manufacturing, and how outsourcing her 3D printing needs enabled her to launch her business.
To finish up our discussion with Nina, we talked about fulfilling a high volume of orders with 3D printing, how an organic endorsement from the Kardashians catapulted (or should we say, katapulted) her brand to international success, and her sage wisdom for budding entrepreneurs.
What is your timeline like from developing a prototype, to printing it with Voodoo, to getting the final product in stores?
It depends on how many stores want to order each new size, and where the store is in terms of their budget, but we can make them pretty quickly. If it’s not a huge order and we don’t have anything else lined up, we can probably fulfill an order in about two weeks.
As a business owner, what’s your favorite part about outsourcing 3D printing to Voodoo?
I really like that you guys take care of cleaning and basic post processing. If I bought my own printers, the amount of resources and time I would have to put into QC would probably be too much for me to handle.
On top of that, you guys started making quality improvements that never occurred to me, like torching the inside of the case to refine the surface. It’s almost like torching a crème brulee [laughs]. The technical knowledge and familiarity with materials has really helped because I had no prior experience with 3D printing materials or engineering. Having the team at Voodoo serve as my sounding board has been very beneficial for the growth of the company.
“The Dokku is a thing for your iPhone, your Airpods, your watch, some watch bands, and maybe a dongle or two.” – www.electrictrout.co
In this installment of our Customer Spotlight Series, we sit down with David Stychno, shopkeep at Leon’s Electric Trout Co. His digital storefront includes one-of-a-kind objects found around the world along with 3D printed pieces that David designs and finishes himself, like the quirky yet practical Dokku.
We chatted with David about the evolution of the Dokku, how 3D printing allows for incremental testing and agile product development, and how he strikes a balance between a monetized hobby and paid occupation. Our conversation follows.
Could you tell us about your background prior to launching Leon’s Electric Trout?
I’m a graphic designer by trade, but I basically come from a long line of salesmen. My father was always talking about the beauty of entrepreneurism and the “free market”, so it’s always been something that interests me.
Eventually I ended up in e-commerce designing for a customer analytics company, Custora, and after a few years I started daydreaming about having a shop of my own. Empathy fuels design, and what better way to learn about e-commerce than to actually do it? It took a few years of mulling over what I might sell, and I finally collected enough things and ideas for things that I decided it was time. It’s been beneficial to have a Shopify platform because it allows us to test new software for my day job too. It’s this really cool overlap of a personal hobby that is also relevant to what I do.
This installment of our Customer Spotlight Series highlights the founder of the popular brand, Wild and Woolly. Nina Cheng didn’t always plan on running a high-end accessories business. The first phone case she made was designed not as a marketable product, but as a personal solution: why wasn’t there a case that not only looked good, but also kept cold hands warm while texting outside during a New York City winter? When she couldn’t find a suitable fur phone case already on the market, she decided to make her own using a combination of 3D printing and hand-worked materials. Nina’s prototype received so many compliments that she realized she had a viable business on her hands. In September of 2016 she left her job in finance to launch her brand, Wild and Woolly.
We sat down with Nina to learn more about her design and manufacturing process, her experience working with us at Voodoo Manufacturing, and what’s in store for Wild and Woolly this season. The first half of our conversation follows.
Were you experienced in 3D modeling or 3D printing at all when you set out to make your first phone case?
I had no experience with 3D printing, I was just aware that it existed. At the time, I was researching various possibilities within tech for another startup, so I understood the value of a lean business with low commitment in terms of inventory, cost, and time. With that in mind, I decided to look into 3D printing as my first option because it was so cost-effective.
I wound up outsourcing the task of 3D modeling, which made things easier. I received the first model within a week, and sent it off to get printed. It was clear that this was the perfect production process for me: I bought fur online, I printed the case out, and I sold that case within a day [laughs].
We’re excited to highlight Rex Specs™ in the first installment of Voodoo’s Customer Spotlight Series. This new series will explore the inspiring stories and product development processes behind some of our most innovative customers.
Launched in December 2014, Rex Specs has been creating the most durable, reliable, and functional protective dog eyewear available. Simply put, it’s eye protection for the active dog.
From basking in the sun to extreme sports in the snow, harmful UV rays and debris take a heavy toll on our eyes. It’s not only human eyes that are affected, though – our canine companions also struggle in harsh outdoor conditions, often with long-lasting effects.
When extended UV exposure started affecting Yaz and Tuckerman’s eyes, limiting the amount of time they could spend outside, their humans Aiden and Jesse Emilo went in search of a solution. The duo tested out multiple brands of dog goggles, but none were able to keep up with their canines’ active lifestyle. Refusing to limit their family’s outdoor activities, the Emilos set off on a product development journey to create the first protective goggles designed specifically for working and active dogs. Continue reading