YackrackUS – Original Spintray For Peloton Handlebars

Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter,maker,artist…

I have been a tinkerer my entire life. My mom would buy things at yard sales for me to take apart and explore with. I assume it was cheaper to let me take other people’s things apart instead of our own. I didn’t realize how big of a part this was in my life until recently. I’ve been asked about my story a few times and now and I am starting to realize that my fascination with product manipulation has been with me my entire life. I remember as a child watching adds for unique products and thinking about coming up with that one idea that could change my life. I spent a lot of time as a kid trying to find that idea. Eventually, as I got older my tinkering ways slowed a bit and the skills became a tool I used to fix more than creating. Whatever job I had, I always found a way to be involved in creating, fixing, or solving. I can’t exist in status-quo, sometimes at my own demise. Selling has been my money-maker that pays the bills and in 2010 I got a fantastic job at a local company doing outside sales. That job changed my life, my income was dramatically more than I had ever made and I thought I was set for life. The bad part of that job was the extra time I had. That job didn’t consume me so I was always working on something else, building things, fixing things, projects for other people, I was involved. In July of 2019 that extra bandwidth changed my life. I had purchased a Peloton exercise bike in 2018 and after a year of riding regularly and losing the weight I set out to lose, I began to get bored while riding. I wanted the riding stats but I was no longer interested in the class rides. I soon found myself playing Xbox on the bike and began thinking about how I could manipulate the bike to allow me to do other things while i was getting my ride in. I started to design a monitor mount so I could open my options up a bit and quickly realized it would be difficult to design and hard on the bike. I went back to work on the idea. There was one evening specifically when I was sitting in the room just staring at the Peloton analyzing it. I remember this moment vividly. This was the moment that the Spintray was born.
I ran (yes ran) to my woodshop and began to cut out the idea that just appeared in my mind. I was in a hurry because I was afraid I was going to forget the image. I rough-cut the idea out of a piece of 1/4″ plywood that would later become the Spintray. I took my plywood template to a local plastic shop the next day, I wanted to test different materials and clean up the design a bit. Within a couple of days, I had a functioning Spintray our of clear 3/8″ Acrylic. I took a photo of the bike with the Spintray on it and posted it to a Peloton PNW group to see what people thought. This was one of the most nerve-racking moments of my life and became one of the most important moments of my life. The response was incredible. Next to the birth of children, this moment was a true highlight in my life. Just a few weeks before I started doing retail arbitrage on Amazon and I was familiar with the Amazon seller system and knew this would be a viable outlet for the Spintray. I also had an Etsy store and I was preparing to list there as well. Now that I had confirmation of my idea, I needed to find a company close to me that was capable of making Spintrays at a decent price and in volume. I found this company in Portland OR. About 3.5 hours away from me. I placed my first order, built my listings, and went back to Facebook. I decided I was ready so I posted a video of my wife using the Spintray on the main Peloton rider page and crossed my fingers. That post lasted 16 hours before the admins pulled it, but it was enough. As people began asking about it, I would send them the link to the listing and the rest has taken care of itself. We are 10 months into this journey, I quit my day job in March, and I now do Spintray full time. I purchased my own machine and now do all of my own production.

How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?

I have purchased items on Etsy and knew that it was a great outlet for me to sell my items. I opened my first Etsy store some time ago with the intention of selling custom furniture. That never really turned into anything but I knew Etsy was a good platform, I just needed the right product.

What products do you sell, what type of materials are used in your creations, how do you design your products, what makes your products stand out ?

Spintray for Peloton, Spintray for Echelon, Spintray for Sunny Health. These are made of 3/8″ acrylic in various colors. I had purchased a Peloton exercise bike in 2018 and after a year of riding regularly and losing the weight I set out to lose, I began to get bored while riding. I wanted the riding stats but I was no longer interested in the class rides. I soon found myself playing Xbox on the bike and began thinking about how I could manipulate the bike to allow me to do other things while I was getting my ride in. I started to design a monitor mount so I could open my options up a bit and quickly realized it would be difficult to design and hard on the bike. I went back to work on the idea. There was one evening specifically when I was sitting in the room just staring at the Peloton analyzing it. I remember this moment vividly. This was the moment that the Spintray was born.
I ran (yes ran) to my woodshop and began to cut out the idea that just appeared in my mind. I was in a hurry because I was afraid I was going to forget the image. I rough-cut the idea out of a piece of 1/4″ plywood that would later become the Spintray. I took my plywood template to a local plastic shop the next day, I wanted to test different materials and clean up the design a bit. Within a couple of days, I had a functioning Spintray our of clear 3/8″ Acrylic. I took a photo of the bike with the Spintray on it and posted it to a Peloton PNW group to see what people thought. This was one of the most nerve-racking moments of my life and became one of the most important moments of my life. The response was incredible. Next to the birth of children, this moment was a true highlight in my life. Just a few weeks before I started doing retail arbitrage on Amazon and I was familiar with the Amazon seller system and knew this would be a viable outlet for the Spintray. I also had an Etsy store and I was preparing to list there as well. Now that I had confirmation of my idea, I needed to find a company close to me that was capable of making Spintrays at a decent price and in volume. I found this company in Portland OR. About 3.5 hours away from me. I placed my first order, built my listings, and went back to Facebook. I decided I was ready so I posted a video of my wife using the Spintray on the main Peloton rider page and crossed my fingers. That post lasted 16 hours before the admins pulled it, but it was enough. As people began asking about it, I would send them the link to the listing and the rest has taken care of itself. We are 10 months into this journey, I quit my day job in March, and I now do Spintray full time. I purchased my own machine and now do all of my own production.

How was your experience in learning to craft, are you self-taught or did you have a mentor, how long did it take for you to be satisfied with your creations

I have never been afraid to dig in and learn anything. I believe that If I was given enough time, some internet access, and the right tools, I could create just about anything. Most of my creativity and ability are self-taught but I never pass up a chance to add skills or learn something new. I have a problem with obsession when I discover something new but I just compare that to taking a class on a new subject.

Spintray for Peloton
Spintray for Peloton 5
Spintray for Peloton 4

What was your original goal when you opened up an Etsy shop? What impacted your decision to start selling online? Do you consider online selling as a side-job, full-time job or extra income to pay for your hobby?

My original goal with online selling was to just create an outlet to fund my ever-changing hobbies. Online selling is now my only source of income and is responsible for supporting my family. I started with Etsy and Amazon (retail arbitrage), that knowledge just helped me learn how to list and sell my own items.

Did you have any fears or reservations before opening up your Etsy shop? Were you worried about profitability or product competitiveness? What are some concerns and questions you had before you got started? How did you overcome them?

My original Etsy listing was removed because I left a Peloton logo exposed. I was pretty upset about it at the time, I felt like It could have been easily resolved with an email. I left Etsy for several months because of it. I now regret waiting so long, I reactivated my Etsy listing and it has quickly become a solid performer in my product selling outlets.

How long did it take for you to get your first sale? Did you ever thought you would make a lot of sales in the first year? What was a goal you were hoping for? How many sales an average you get per week?

I started with the customers and worked back to my selling platforms. I knew the product would sell, I had no idea I would sell as many as I have. I never considered numbers in the beginning, I just wanted to get the product out. I will break $1 million in sales before my 1 year anniversary. This is total across Amazon, website, and Etsy combined.

Do you have a job outside Etsy? If not, are you able to commit full-time to online selling? How does your typical day look like? How do you manage time?

I had a full time job until March of 2020. When the COVID stay at home orders began, my business began to really take off. I had to make a choice at that time between my day job and my dream. I chose the dream.

How does your manufacturing process looks like for e.g. your best selling product? Do you create products ahead of the orders? Do you customize your products, if so how? What are tools that you are using in manufacturing process?

I manufacture my own products and try to stay ahead of the orders with stock on hand. I use a CNC router for most of my production and I am continually prototyping on new bikes to take my product into the new brand spaces. We handwrite a thank you and a motivational quote on every Spintray. This is something that will forever be part of our operation. We write on the paper coating that is on the tray so the product itself is untouched.

What is the biggest impact on profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?

My profitability is dramatically impacted by material. My primary material is clear acrylic which is now being used for shields/sneeze guards in every public structure imaginable. It has been difficult to source and has been incredibly expensive lately. I have been able to pick up many profit gains by scaling, maximizing operational processes, and packaging. A lot of money can be lost or made in packaging and shipping and I believe I have maximized both.

What inspires you when you’re creating? How do you get ideas for new products? What are some methods or tools you use to get creative?

I reach out to my customers and ask what problems they are having. I have a gift in the problem-solving space, I’m not necessarily creative, I’m just good at solving problems. Once a problem is identified, I look at the market. How many people have that problem? If the potential is there, I begin working on the solution. The solution has to meet many checks before it can go into production. Does it solve the problem? Does it look good? Is it cost-effective? These are the primary questions I go through after prototype and before production.

Do you ship your product internationally? How do you handle postage pricing? What is average time it takes from the order to the delivery? Do you use free shipping? If so, why? How do you package your products?

I do ship internationally but I am working on VAT registration in the UK so that I can ship in bulk and use a fulfillment house there. It is much more cost-effective to do it this way vs individual order fulfillment from here in the US. I ship everything in the US FedEx 2-day. Originally I was delivering my products to a local shipping store, they mentioned to me that I should contact the FedEx rep in my area and talk to him. This was one of the best moves I ever made. He sat down with me and we went over the product and packaging and came up with the best solution for my product. To this day, it was one of the biggest bottom-line improvements I have made. I ship free normally but with the recent increases in material, I have to now charge for shipping.

Spintray for Peloton 2
Spintray for Echelon
Spintray for Sunny Health SF-B1805

Are you worried about competitors? Does it impact your business in any way? If there are a lot of similar products, how do you make your own stand out?

Competition is a sensitive issue. I created my product, filed for a design patent and I regularly see other Amazon sellers replicate my product and bring it in from overseas. My best course of action is to just maintain strength in my brand. I don’t want to waste my time and energy worrying about competition because I think it hinders evolution and innovation.

How do you deal with disputes or bad rating/feedback? How do you manage presale and post sale communication and customer satisfaction?

I try to over-deliver. I want to respond to a customer and solve a problem in a way that is unexpected. I try to go over the top whenever I am given the chance. If my product doesn’t work, I still want that customer to talk about me, my business and my product so I make an effort to wow them even when the sale is lost.

Has selling on Etsy changed your life in any way? If so, how? Did you ever thought you would get this far with your shop? Have you ever been stressed dealing with customers and manufacturing products? How did you deal with that?

Selling online has changed my life. It is my life now. I never thought that my full-time job would become online-selling. I have had some stressful moments and I am just coming out of a period of time when I had no access to the material. I feel like stress while working for yourself is different than stress imposed on you by an employer. Yes I have stress but it is nothing like the stress I have had while employed. My problems can be solved by my own ingenuity and not within the confines, politics or bureaucracy created by other companies.

How important is social media for your shop? What are some common tactics you use to promote your products? Do you spend money on ads outside of Etsy? How do you generate excitement/hype around your products?

Social media is the lifeblood of my business. It is in social media that my product gets discussed, shared, endorsed, and pitched and leads to the vast majority of my sales. I spend to advertise on Etsy and Amazon only. I spend no other money on advertising.

What are some things you don’t like about Etsy? If you could talk to the CEO of Etsy what recommendations would you tell him to improve sellers and customers satisfaction?

I think that Etsy is much more accommodating to sellers and behaves like the seller and Etsy are in it together. If I had a chance to talk to the CEO I would tell them that Etsy needs to crowd Amazon in the new goods space. Amazon is terrible to its sellers, it allows foreign sellers and controls too much of the customer interaction. I believe that Etsy has the SEO and product placement backbone to compete with Amazon. If Etsy was a viable option for Amazon sellers, I bet there would be a slow migration. Sellers need to be able to build a relationship and a brand with their customers and Amazon is not a partner, Etsy is. There is a big opportunity here.

What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?

Etsy’s product placement is setting me up for success. I am still learning how to set up the store to offer my customers choices and options in a clean and efficient way. My challenges have been offering those variations without causing confusion.

What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering to sell on Etsy? How can they avoid beginners mistakes?

I am a believer in trial and error. I think that the best way to start selling is to start selling and just pay attention. Use the platform to ask the customers about the transaction. I think that the customers are vested in your success. They will suggest what they think you should or could change to improve. Listen to them.

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