It all started when…
I was getting really burned out working as a Behavioral Health Counselor at St. Joseph Medical Center here in Bellingham, Washington. I had been doing that type of work for 13 years and I was getting close to the end. That was in 2008...
We set up a small sewing shop in our one car garage in November of 2008. We even bought a used heavy duty sewing machine, a Pfaff 1245. Right away we started taking in covers for boats, airplane and even big semi trucks for repairs. It was fun to try something new and it made us a little money on the side.
Spring of 2009 rolled around and we began to get calls to go take a look at peoples boats at the nearby marina. The problem and the opportunity quickly presented itself and we responded to it as best as we could at the time. Right away people wanted repairs done on everything from sail covers and bimini's to full enclosures being made for their boats.
Things remained busy through the next couple of years and by the end of 2011 we had accumulated a large array of fastener's such as turn buttons, snaps and plethora of other boating related hardware. We were even rolling out big rolls of fabric in our cul-de-sac
My wife, Ana, and I took a trip to the Philippines in February of 2012. One day as I was walking down one of the beaches an idea came to me about the business. Why not offer products and service on Ebay and Amazon. We had several coffee cans of snaps and other fasteners. What if I took pictures of them and put them online for people to buy?
Within a couple of days we sold three sets of three piece turn buttons with the eyelet and backing plates. That was the first thing we sold. Wow! This is cool! Maybe if I take more pictures and put other stuff online more people will buy it. So I did and right away we were selling on Ebay, Amazon, Esty, Bonanza and our website.
It wasn't easy because I was still working at the hospital and were receiving more and more orders from online everyday. So many that the Postal Service began recommending that we have a special pick up each day. So we did.
By March of 2013 The one car garage was getting kind of small and we needed more space. We rented a storage facility near the house and the owners agreed to allow us to run the manufacturing part of the business from there. We had one electrical outlet and two 8' X 15' tables and a small refrigerator full of beer and Ginger Ale. We were ready to get to work, well except for a couple of new challenges.
The storage space was great! We could work outside and repairing boat covers was much easier. Then came November of 2013. It started getting cold and the storage space didn't have heat. We tried rigging up a ceiling with plastic sheeting but in the end we created more of a fire hazard than anything close to keeping the place warm. Even with a big kerosene heater. We shut down most of our production for the next few months but still sold the parts from the house. Times were lean but we were happy.
We needed a larger space. We needed a commercial location. One day during the Summer of 2014 we spotted a vacant spot down near the marina. It had 3000 square feet on the street level and another 2000 square feet of storage space downstairs. I had no idea about business but I figured I could learn. I'll just keep an open mind and learn everything I can. I had a lot to learn and boy, oh, boy did I get a lesson.