Welcome to Small Business Saturday, a new feature here on CreativeIncome. This Saturday, we are featuring DropCatch, a Chicago-based, handmande business specializing in magnetic bottle openers. I had a chance to speak with Joe Walsh, who cofounded the brand a little under two years ago with business partner Kent Frayn. He answered a few business-related questions for us that you won’t want to miss.
Q: Describe your typical work day and tell us a little bit about your company.
A: Kent and I are the co-founders of DropCatch and have been building the brand since June of 2013. We have our own space in Chicago that is mixed use for office, assembly, fulfillment, and prototyping; this is where we spend most of our days working. As you can imagine, we also spend time tending to virtual tasks when we are at our respective homes. It is our task to think big picture and focus on growth goals, which ranges from marketing tactics to user experience. We also hire employees who work on assembling the units and organizing fulfillment for daily orders.
Q: How did you come up with your company name?
A: We had several ideas for the company name, but DropCatch is the one that stuck (pun intended)! It has a catchy feel and also relates to our first product, the magnetic bottle opener. We feel as we grow the company, it also leaves room to introduce other products and still be relevant.
Q: How has your business and product offering changed over the years?
A: When we launched with our Kickstarter campaign, the only product was our magnetic bottle opener. Not only have we expanded into other beer related products, but we have also perfected the opener itself. For example, we added magnetic mounting to all of the openers and a nice lacquer finish (as opposed to linseed oil).
Q: What has been your favorite product that you’ve made so far?
A: We are very excited about our magnetic bottle openers, and they are by far our favorite product!
Q: What are your favorite materials to work with/favorite mediums?
A: It is important for our brand and fans that we stick with materials that bring a natural and craftsman feel. We try and include woods and metals in most of our products. Another area we have been exploring is leather.
Q: What inspires you be an entrepreneur?
A: It is very rewarding to work extremely hard on something you believe in and see that work pay off. Not only are we able to create the products we dream up, but we are also able to hear the feedback and positive reaction of our fans.
Q: How long have you been practicing your craft? What training have you had or are you self-taught?
A: We have been practicing our craft for a couple of years now and it has all been self-taught. There certainly are some ups-and-downs as you work through learning new techniques and how to perfect them. Fortunately, we were able to team up with a manufacture to produce our main product and focus on creating new products in our shop. This helps us further our learnings and perfect new techniques/product designs.
Q: What has been your biggest struggle as a small business owner?
A: One of our biggest struggles was taking the initial leap into entrepreneurship! Currently, our biggest struggle is maintaining a consistent product and brand image as we grow our company.
Q: Do you blog, twitter, facebook or participate in any other social networking? How has it helped your business?
A: Yes, please see our social media links below. Social media certainly has helped us grow our business and stay in touch/interact with our fans.
Q: What success tips can you give to someone wanting to start their own online store?
A: It takes a lot of hard work and determination, even when it might not go as planned (for the good or the bad). Always have a plan for the best case scenario (ie. how to scale effectively if a huge surge happens at once) or the worst case scenario (ie. you overstock inventory and it is not moving as planned). Entrepreneurship is like a roller coaster of highs and lows in your business. Stick with it and if you believe in your brand, it will succeed.