What happens when you grow up with a dad who teaches wood work, you want to build a website, and your brother wants to find a product to sell? You make things out of wood and sell them of course. That’s exactly what Jameson Spooner did with his brother Jon. Together they created Tmbr, a company that sells wood products, including phone cases, sunglasses and watches. Their stuff is super cool, I definitely suggest checking it out. Stick around until the end to check out the second ever recorded leisure round (it definitely improved from last time, 😊 but we still have a long way to go).
How did you come up with Tmbr?
“Tmbr, honestly I really wanted to build a website and my brother wanted to find a product to sell…my brother bought a phone case and was like “I bet we could sell this.” We bought about 50 of them and put them on a site. I figured out how to build a jankity site and we sold them all to family and friends. That was in 2011, and it’s been going ever since. Although, it wasn’t until about the last 2 years that it has been a full time job.”
Have you always worked with wood?
“My dad was a shop teacher at a boys school for a long time, my brother and I were surrounded with wood working and tools. He would always put us to work sanding all of his stuff. So that was another reason when my brother bought the phone case it was wood, we decided to take it a step further. We moved from phone cases, to sunglasses, to watches all with in the first 2.5-3 years.”
Did you feel fully prepared before you started or was it grind first ask questions later?
“We still just grind…I feel like we still are learning from mistakes we made back then. For example getting your taxes in your business done correctly or running a business with a partner we didn’t set that up until with in the past year, because we’ve been grinding and working so hard in the business. Eventually we decided we needed to get our ducks in a row, whenever I talk to somebody who is starting a business I tell them to get yourself an accountant, set up your LLC correctly and if you want to do a partnership get that in-line first so you don’t have to backtrack.”
So you never felt like “I know exactly what I’m doing,” you guys just decided to go for it?
“Yeah, totally. I mean I still feel like we try things everyday. We see if something works, if it sticks great, if not then we try the 10 other ideas we have.”
How have you found customers?
“We started on Etsy, so finding customers on there was pretty organic. We focused on keeping those customers (retention) by doing the best we could for those customers when they ordered and follow up afterwords. It hasn’t been as much through social media for us. We started with SEO, with paid campaigns, Google Ads…Right now we are really trying to push social media because I feel like there is so much opportunity out there. It’s always changing, which makes it difficult to keep on top of things. It’s hard because we pay Google Ads $1 and get $3 out of it. It’s been different with social media because you put $1 into it and you don’t necessarily know when you get that $1 back. You might get a follow, but you’re not necessarily going to know when they make a purchase, but we’re really pushing it…I’ll give you an example we have an Instagram ad running, I’ve spent $238 and in the past 30 days we’ve made $2,300. That’s a great return, but it’s not always like that.
Looking at our statistics of who purchases through Instagram, you can really dive into those stats and your demographic of your customer. I know that people in Minnesota, women between the ages of 35-45 buy our phone cases the most, so I can target that person all day long. The more you see the data, you really start to understand who your customer is…Otherwise you’re just spending money and it’s going out the door.”
How many hours did you put in at the beginning? How many now?
“I would work my full-time job then come home and work 4-5 hours. Now I work from 9-5:30 then I come home, hang out with the family. Then I’m back at it from 9-12:30.”
What advice would you give someone going into business with their family?
“It’s not easy. I don’t recommend it. Even though, my brother and I have a great working relationship, but there are times when he bugs me and I bug him. There is one great thing about it, he has some great strengths that I don’t. But overall I would say it’s not the best idea. If you do decide to do it, set up a partnership agreement so you know that you’re 50/50 or 60/40 or whatever you want to go with.”
What’s been the hardest part about growing your social media?
Connor (Runs Social Media): “Finding consistent content that’s engaging. Being able to post 2-3 times a day and still being engaging.”
Jameson: “Consistent, quality, engaging, content.“
*Side note they use Iconosquare to track Instagram
One tip you’re willing to share on how you’ve grown your social media?
Connor: “Iconosquare. Just being able to find all of that data. You get a little bit from Instagram’s insights. It goes way deeper, you grab all that data and see what’s working it’s very helpful.”
You’d recommend Iconosquare?
Jameson: “Definitely, it’s definitely worth the money.”
How often do you post to social media?
“1-2 times on Instagram. Based off the stats 7 a.m. and 5 p.m or peak times.”
Do you hold product here or use a fulfillment center?
How do you convert your followers into customers?
“We try to stay relevant with new stuff. We have like 10 new products in the pipeline. It keeps people interested at least.”
Follow Tmbr on Instagram: @tmbrs Facebook: @shoptmbr or go to their site at www.tmbrs.com…Also I have to quickly mention that they just started a new company dealing with leather products and they are super cool, Haxford you can check them out on Instagram: @haxford.