Meet the Maker: Prospect Goods

This is part of an ongoing Maker Mentors guest blog series that features interviews with established makers.  Join the updates or recommend a maker for the blog.
What does your business do?
Prospect Goods in an online shop which specializes in fancy Pinatas, Tassel Garlands, and 36 Inch Balloons.  It also carries a carefully curated line of jewelry and gifts. Prospect Goods is probably best known for it’s fancy, Diamond Pinatas!
When did you start your business?
I started Prospect Goods in May of 2013.
What kind of work were you doing before you started your business?
I’ve had all sorts of jobs.  I graduated college right before the crash, so at times I had to be really scrappy and grab anything I could find.  My favorite job was working as a project manager for an advertising agency, but I’ve also worked a lot of retail, a lot of reception, and a lot of labor jobs.  I was managing the Front Office and Bistro departments at a Marriott just before starting Prospect Goods.
What was the biggest challenge in getting started?
My biggest challenge was creating the Pinatas.  For the first year, all Prospect Goods sold were Pinatas, and all Pinatas are handmade by me.  It is a very physical process.  At the beginning, it took me about four hours to make each piñata, and I was constantly sore.  Learning the best processes and techniques, as well as how to plan ahead took a lot of time to develop.
What product are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of my Silver Diamond Piñata.  It was my first sale and has become my best seller.  That Diamond Piñata and I have really come a long way!  I’m also very proud of my new shaggy papering technique.  The Shag Pinatas are so airy and interesting in person.  Pictures really don’t do them justice.
How did you find your first few customers?
I posted four pinatas to Etsy, and within two weeks I had my first customer.  My second and third customers were wholesale accounts.  One from a local business that I had approached and one from a business that had just googled “fancy pinatas” and found me.  A few months later I switched over to a “real” website (via Squarespace).

WOMEN'S CLOTHING ON ARTFIRE
What marketing tactics have been most successful for you?
I am blessed that I have a niche product and fairly good pictures.  Prospect Goods has been blogged about quite a bit.  The bigger blogs always bring a lot of traffic.  Since I hardly spend any money on advertising, I rely almost completely on Social Media to get my brand out there.  Pinterest drives the most traffic to my website.
Who are three creatives that inspire you?
Jami Curl of QUIN Candy is so amazing!  Her candy shop is revolutionizing the candy world.  Her Social Media presence and voice is so genuine, and her branding is incredible.  I totally look up to her.  Nectar & Stone has one of my favorite Instagram accounts.  Their feed is so well done.  I like how she has so much of herself in her posts, but she doesn’t do selfies all the time.  I want to infuse Prospect Goods with my personality without it becoming the Abby Show, so I reference Nectar & Stone to show me the way.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I’ve just recently structured every party of my workday out on iCal and it’s changed everything for the better.  From 7am-9am, I answer emails and work on content creation.  I lump everything from updating my website, to writing blogs, to reaching out to potential customers, to cleaning up my Pinterest page in this time when my mind is the freshest and I’m at the computer.  From 9am-2pm I work on building products.  I hand make the majority of the items sold at Prospect Goods, which means I’ve got to stay on top of production and ahead of orders.  Five hours of production allows me to get a lot done but isn’t too hard on my body.  From 2pm-4pm I catch up on emails again and process orders, then end my day with a trip to the Post Office for shipping.  This schedule has made me a lot more productive, and has actually increased my free time.  Every few months I’ll schedule a big photoshoot on the weekend, and I only work half days on Fridays.
What is one thing you wish you knew before you started your business?
I wish I knew how to make Tassel Garlands. Honestly, it took me a year and a half to discover how to properly do that twist.  The Tassel Garlands doubled my sales when I added them last Fall.  They are crazy popular right now and they’re also at a really good price point.
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