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.”
Does your company recognize employees for their hard work with an annual awards ceremony? Or maybe you work at a school and need to order custom trophies for academic and athletic competitions? These days, your options are no longer limited to the standard metal trophies, wooden plaques, or lifeless paper certificates that have been around for ages. With 3D printing, you can embrace your creativity and design unexpected, totally custom trophies that truly could not be fabricated using traditional materials or manufacturing methods.
Check out this roundup of some of the most impressive custom trophies we’ve made here at Voodoo.
1. A Faux Metal Greek Goddess for Atalanta
When global food importer Atalanta needed help creating custom trophies to honor their top salespeople, they requested something that looked similar to an Emmy, but featured their namesake, the Greek goddess Atalanta.
Last month, Voodoo teamed up with Mic, the leading digital news company for society’s Change Makers, to bring to life a 3D printed statue of Colin Kaepernick kneeling as part of the company’s Black Monuments Project. The four-foot tall statue consists of 17 individual parts 3D printed in our Brooklyn factory, and was displayed at the Mic office in 1 World Trade Center on February 28th, the last day of Black History Month.
Imagining a Better Future
To celebrate Black History Month, digital media outlet Mic introduced its powerful Black Monuments Project. The initiative reimagines the world we live in by honoring black historical heroes in hopes of confronting our country’s legacy and turning the impact of monuments in all communities into one that is positive.
Mic envisions a country that celebrates its previously unsung heroes and makes space for positive change to come. For the Black Monuments Project, the Mic editorial staff chose 54 black heroes—one from each U.S. state and territory—who deserve to have monuments erected in their honor. The group includes a mix of both widely known figures and those who are less familiar, representing fields ranging from politics to sports, from music to science, who have made a significant impact on American history.
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
This article originally appeared on TechCrunch on June 26th, 2016.
The recent ubiquity of 3D printers and innovations in prosthetic design, manufacturing, and distribution offer a viable solution for the millions of people living with limb loss around the world. In the United States alone, close to 200,000amputations are performed each year, yet, with prosthetics priced between $5,000 and $50,000, having one can almost be considered a luxury. Traditionally, the process of getting a prosthetic limb can take anywhere from several weeks to months. Since prosthetics are such personal items, each one has to (or should) be custom made or fit to the needs of the wearer. However, as 3D printers become more affordable, with some available for under $200, the possibility of anyone being able to design and print a prosthetic limb in their home or local community is rapidly becoming a reality.