It is wrong to say “Manufacturing is ‘dead’ in the United States” Have you heard of 3D printers? Well, think of 3D printing as manufacturing that fits the needs of modern business much better. And by modern we mean this decade and the next.
3D printing for small businesses
Many people see the world of 3D printing as a place of prototypes and experimentation. This is only partially true, because today businesses of all sizes are turning ideas into physical objects through 3D printing. It just got better and easier to do.
For example, the Voodoo 3D printing app now allows Shopify merchants to create and customize items and immediately list those items for sale within minutes. Additionally, Voodoo claims that 3D design skills are not required. Small Business Trends spoke with Connie Cheng, an entrepreneur who says her creative ideas come to life through app integrations. Our discussion below might inspire you to put fear aside and weave new ideas into your brand using this very 2018 technology.
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Connie Cheng is the owner and product designer for Corgi Things, a lifestyle brand for corgi owners and lovers. After working in tech for several years, Cheng started Corgi Things in 2016 as a small, passionate project. The project unexpectedly became a full-time business in 2017. Cheng collaborates with other talented corgi enthusiasts in the community to design and organize all types of fun corgi products. Its mission is to cultivate and spread happiness with other like-minded “corgi” around the world, one Corgi Thing at a time.
Connie currently lives in New Jersey with her 11-year-old corgi, Lucy. You can follow their daily adventures on Instagram at @corgithings.
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Small Business Trends: How Did You Grow Your Business Rapidly? Who are you talking to?
Connie Chen: Corgi Things is for the corgi community. We design products, promote other small businesses, create content on corgi breeding, adoption and rescue, and build relationships with corgi fanatics. The main reason we were able to expand our product offerings so quickly was through print-on-demand services, like the Voodoo app. The Voodoo app has allowed us to test products and get customer feedback – and it’s so easy to use. One thing that really struck me was how easy it was to create the cookie cutter itself. The Voodoo app allowed us to design cookie cutters without having to learn any 3D skills or software.
Small Business Trends: Have You Ever Thought About 3D Printing Products?
Connie Chen: My boyfriend has a 3D printer, so I thought about 3D printing the Corgi Things logo and making it a cookie cutter. But the reality is, we don’t and still don’t have the capacity to bulk print and ship them. That’s why we had to put this idea on the back burner until we were able to find someone in the US who could print and ship for us. That’s why we were so excited to learn more about the Voodoo app, so we could bring our ideas to life!
Small Business Trends: What’s Next for Corgi Things?
Connie Chen: This year, we migrated from Etsy to Shopify, which has already opened up many more opportunities for us in terms of offerings, merchandising and branding. We spent half the year adjusting to the new platform. As for 2019, we are going to present clothes, because our customers have been asking for it for some time now. We will also continue to work on seasonal home decor items, such as garden flags and floor mats.
Small Business Trends: What Can You Share About The Transition To Shopify And How It Affects Your Growth?
Connie Chen: When I started, I created our blog on WordPress. Once we started offering small products like stickers and magnets, I ended up using Etsy because it was the simplest platform and also had tons of organic traffic. Etsy performed well throughout 2017.
We were able to scale quickly on Etsy without having to manage an entire store. Once we started rolling in 2018 our product line had really grown and we were looking for better ways to market our products. Basically we wanted more control over marketing, and it was really important for us to be able to capture more emails and leads.
I’m very happy to migrate to Shopify as it gives us that marketing control, integrates seamlessly with more apps, and makes it easy for us to reach out to our customers.
Small Business Trends: What Else Are You Doing To Grow Corgi Things?
Connie Chen: As a new business owner, there is a lot of marketing that I haven’t done from the start because I didn’t have the time to focus on it. Because of that, we left a lot of opportunities on the table. In 2018, we really stepped up our marketing game, making awareness more consistent.
In 2019, we would like to focus on serving more social ads as the majority of our traffic so far has been organic. By focusing on social media ads, we believe we can continue to grow our audience and reach other like-minded, corgi-obsessed people.
Images: Corgi Things