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Happy New Year! Honestly, 2022 was such a year of growth for me. There were so many amazing things that happened, and I am beyond thankful for all of you in your continued support. As I reflected on the past year and all the changes I have seen in my biz and my personal life, I realized that there are so many lessons learned that I want to share with you all. So my goal in 2023 is to get back to the basics and share all of my knowledge that I have learned along the way. Because there are so many things that I didn't do right or could have done differently that would have saved me so much time if I just knew what I knew now!
Much of my audience knows me for my epoxy-free tumblers. That's what kind of set off my biz at the beginning on Instagram and TikTok. And as much as we creators love to, well, create, we also want to be able to sell our creations. And epoxy-free tumblers (or epoxy!) are super popular and a great way to use your creativity in several different styles!
Getting ready to sell your tumblers isn't as simple as making them, posting them online or on a storefront, and waiting for people to click order. There are so many things I learned along the way when creating my tumblers and starting my tumbler business that I want to share those things with you now.
5 Tips to Starting Your Tumbler Business
1. Do Your Research
I started with tumbler making back in 2020. We obviously had plenty of time on our hands that year, and I really wanted to try something new and creative. But I essentially did no research on the different ways to make tumblers before I decided I wanted to start creating tumblers. All I knew was epoxy, and I thought that was the only option. So I bought a ton of supplies and items to create epoxy tumblers only to find that epoxy wasn't safe for me and for my family because I didn't have the correct space in order to use epoxy. So I ended up wasting a ton of money on epoxy supplies before I found epoxy-free Grande Finale (which used to be Brite Tone).
If you aren't sure if you should be using epoxy or epoxy-free, here is a quick rundown on the dangers of epoxy:
Epoxy should not be used if you don't have proper ventilation. You should be doing epoxy-style tumblers only if you have proper ventilation or outside. And by proper ventilation I do not mean your home's HVAC system. You need very specific ventilation requirements in order to use epoxy safely.
You need to have proper Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to use epoxy. Gloves, a gas mask, and covers for your clothing.
You cannot use epoxy if you live in an apartment. It can go through the ventilation system and the walls, and be a danger to those around you.
Epoxy is dangerous for you, your kids, and your pets if you are to breathe it in.
If you're looking for a safer option, I highly recommend using Grande Finale.
2. Practice, Practice, Practice
Many people think that they will start making tumblers and they will just get it. That every style can and will be done easily on your first go around. That's not true! I highly recommend practicing ONE style and perfecting it before trying a bunch of different styles or worse, accepting orders on a style that you haven't practiced yet!
For me, it was my rose gold marble tumblers and my opal beach tumblers. I worked on those over and over and over again to get them right. And when I did, my sales went through the roof! It not only gave me time to practice a particular style, but it also gave me time to practice the basics over and over again. And once I got those two styles correct, I was able to charge even more for my tumblers because of my expertise in creating them.
3. You're going to be spending a lot of money in the beginning- here's some ways to save!
Tumbler supplies can add up, especially when you are just starting out and trying to get some supplies at hand to practice. I know that in the beginning I gave away a TON of tumblers that weren't up to my highest quality. And it hurt, because you feel like it's starting to bleed you dry. But it's well worth it in the end when you start being able to buy supplies in bulk and are selling your tumblers at a higher cost.
However, in the beginning I highly recommend doing some of the following:
Pick up supplies on Facebook Marketplace or other places from people who are destashing their tumblers or their tumbler supplies.
Buy items second-hand- if you're lucky, you might find things like a tumbler turner, vinyl, a Cricut machine or tools, or other items secondhand or places like Goodwill.
Don't go bougie- Don't start out with boutique glitters and supplies when you are learning. Buy the cheap stuff first.
Use those coupons from Michael's and Hobby Lobby and Joann's. And don't forget that they price match, so check for sales and be on the lookout online for items!
Stock up during sales- the end of the year is a GREAT time to stock up on supplies at places like Michael's. They are trying to rid their inventory and its the perfect time to stock up.
4. Be Realistic about Your Turn Around Time
If you're coming into tumbler making with basically no knowledge, you're going to need to set yourself up with time to practice. Until you get the basics down, it's going to take you a long time to get your processes and practices in place. Figuring out what works for you in terms of sanding, how long it takes, gassing off, etc is learning process.
Even though you're going to be totally pumped about making tumblers, be realistic about your turnaround time. Don't start taking orders until you know the basics like the back of your hand.
And, on top of that, understand that last minute orders kind of aren't a thing. If someone comes to you and says, "I need a custom order done by tomorrow" you're just going to have to let them know it's really not possible. Even if you're taking two weeks to process orders, don't take a rush order if you can fulfill it. Nothing is worse than an angry customer or a rushed tumbler that doesn't look great.
5. Give Yourself Some Grace
I started this biz in 2020. I had *just* had Ella, and like most of us, I found myself with a ton of time on my hands. But I was so excited and pumped about this new venture that I really put my whole heart and soul into it- and I ended up not being as present for Ella during her baby days as I could have or should have been.
I totally understand wanting to take this new adventure balls to the wall. I am the same way- I get so excited about something that I can't seem to stop. And once I started seeing success, I found myself just going going going instead of taking the time to stop and be with my family.
So although this is an exciting thing to start (and you're going to love it!) I can tell you the biggest thing I learned is this: tumblers are just tumblers. They aren't your life. Family is your life, and don't let your biz take over your life. Set boundaries, set working hours, and stick to it. Only take the number of orders you can manage, and allow yourself to be with the ones you love when you can.
I am so excited for you to take on this new adventure, my friend! 2023 is going to be filled with tons of tutorials and DIY projects, so be sure to sign up with my newsletter to get a list of supplies you need to create your first epoxy free tumbler AND to be notified whenever I have a new project, tips, or tutorial to share with you!
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