Last month we announced our exciting new Fulfilled by Voodoo service, which allows businesses to integrate Voodoo into their online shops, making it easier than ever to process 3D printing orders. We’re notified as soon as an order is placed with an FBV-powered shop, then we print the item on demand in our factory, and ship it directly to the customer’s doorstep, freeing up valuable time for business owners to focus on product development, marketing, and scaling production.
Today we take a closer look at how Ten Talents Trading Co. used Fulfilled by Voodoo to triple their product offering and massively increase their revenue. Started in Fayetteville, Arkansas, this two-man operation creates customized game pieces for the popular board game, Settlers of Catan. We talked to founder David Hendren to learn more about how Ten Talents transformed from a line of ten SKUs 3D printed in a closet and sold on Etsy, to 32 SKUs printed in our Brooklyn factory and sold in high demand on Amazon.
From Closet Commerce to Online Empire
Ten Talents was born out of personal desire. David enjoyed playing Catan and designing replacement pieces for himself, and started to wonder if other people would be interested in the pieces as well. He just happened to own a small 3D printer, so he did what any enterprising young entrepreneur would do: set up an Etsy shop and started designing, printing, and selling a small range of Catan pieces, literally out of a closet in his Arkansas home.
David estimates that he had the ability to bring in about $10,000 to $15,000 per year in sales while producing pieces at home, but demand for his products quickly outpaced his capacity. He still had a day job to maintain, so the only option was to outsource his production.
“To compete on Amazon, you cannot be doing personal production.”
Testing the Waters of Fulfillment Services
David, who by this point had recruited business partner Mike Turner, first turned to a local fulfillment service to help print the orders and get them out on time. They started selling on Amazon, where they were immediately flooded with five to ten times more orders than David had been getting on Etsy. They also began to see copycat shops popping up on Etsy selling similar game pieces – all this with having done virtually no marketing at all.
With their demand steadily increasing, David and Mike knew that their method of production needed to be as streamlined as possible. While the guys credit their local fulfillment company with helping them get started on Amazon, they admit that they didn’t have the best experience when it came to communication and efficiency, so they needed to look for another option. That’s where Voodoo comes into play.
“By switching to Voodoo, we know we can meet whatever demand exists, even at Amazon levels.”
Streamlining, Experimenting, and Growing
Once Ten Talents teamed up with Voodoo, they instantly noticed a difference not only in the quality of their final product, but in the efficiency of the whole printing process as well. David complimented our customer service, emphasizing how it allows issues to be worked out quickly: “The awesome thing about Voodoo is there is essentially no minimum order quantity,” he said. “We can try stuff really, really quickly. And if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. But we can immediately pivot to another idea and give it a shot, especially now that we’ve got all our channels of communication open. It’s just so easy to try new ideas and hope we find a hit.”
Since Fulfilled by Voodoo takes care of the dirty work, so to speak, David and Mike now have much more time to focus on what’s really important: growing their small business. Outsourcing production has multiplied their revenue five to ten times, and they don’t see a limit to how much they can earn, as long as demand keeps up. They’ve also been able to expand their product offerings significantly, going from only selling ten pieces (when David was 3D printing the items himself), to a whopping 32 different SKUs available on Amazon.
“Our mantra has been to make it as turnkey as possible. And that’s exactly what Voodoo provides.”
Now, David is able to bring to life ideas he didn’t have the time or resources to produce before, but they aren’t limited to just Catan pieces anymore. David and Mike are using their newfound time and freedom to experiment with marketing and tap into demand like never before. As David put it, “By outsourcing to Voodoo, our focus has shifted from struggling to keep up, to how we can grow as fast as possible.”
Whether you have a killer business idea for a physical product, or you’re ready to scale an existing passion project with FBV, it’s time to put the ball in motion ― tell us about it here.