Our group is made up of Evanne Rodriguez, Rob Matyas, and Kevin Fangio. After pursuing several business venture ideas, we have chosen to pursue making customized ceramic coasters in an array of designs and colors.
So far we have been spending alot of time experimenting with different materials and mediums to determine what makes the best looking coasters. We have also been experimenting with photographs on coasters, because much of the customer discovery we have done has shown us that people are interested in having coasters that are personalized, with pictures of themselves, friends, families, and experiences. We anticipate JMU themed coasters will be popular with faculty and students who are graduating, so we bagan taking photographs on the quad and around campus to use. We've found that bright, colorful, vibrant designs seem to be the most popular and have been the most appealing. We also recieved a request from a JMU professor who asked that we make coasters using his law firm's logo, which gave us the idea to offer coasters to other small businesses in the area using their own logos or emblems. Once we have built up enough inventory, we will begin bringing samples to various small businesses and boutique shops, as well as the Outpost in hopes that some of them will be interested in carrying and selling our coasters.
In the past week we have also set up a joint bank account to link to our square, so that we will be able to receive payments other than cash and manage our finances.
This week our group finished our first sets that are ready to be sold. We experimented for hours trying to figure out the most efficient way to make our coasters while ensuring a top quality product. Our major problem we encountered was the printed design paper peeling off after the coasters dried. We have counteracted this problem by sanding the tiles down before applying our mod podge glue to them. Another accomplishment from the week is that we took our first official orders for coasters with over 10 sets being pre-ordered for delivery next week. We hope to break even soon and start turning a profit for our coasters. As of now, our stockpile consists of generic designs, JMU themed coasters, and a few custom designed ones. We plan on focusing more on the custom made coasters for next week
Over the past couple weeks we have made a ton of progess. We created a facebook page and that got a lot of attention and has already generated around 6 orders from it. During the past week to we broke even and started generating profit. Our biggest sale was 8 sets of coasters which gave us around $160 dollars. Facebook has also attracted the interest of a charity auction at the College of William & Mary, which has asked us to donate 2 sets in exchange for the exposure of our brand. We are continuing to use facebook as a key tool for selling and plan in the next week to have our coasters up on etsy and begin selling to boutiques in downtown Harrisonburg. We have also found that people are interested in our coasters as Mothers Day gifts, so we plan on pushing them over Facebook and to people we know as a fun gift idea.Edit
The past week has been spent fulfilling orders and managing our inventory. We have not made any changes to our business model or marketing strategy. We have also spent time improving our quality control standards to ensure the best coasters are being made. In addition, we have been talking about how to progess the distribution process of Custom Coasters more efficiently. Next week we plan on ramping up the business and making more sales through different outlets.
The past week has been spent more or less the same, processing and fulfilling orders that have accumulated via word of mouth and our Facebook page. We had a bit of a setback earlier in the week causing us to have to
remake several orders, but had a productive week catching up. Thursday alone we made 40 coasters in one sitting, a new personal best for us, which has indicated that our processes have improved.
This past week we spent finishing and putting the last coats of polyerthane on the large 8 set order for one of our professors as well as some smaller orders. We also got 9 new orders we will start working on at the beginning of next week. We found that the Lowes brand tiles do not work as well as the Home Depot brand so we are improving are quality standards by using the best tiles possible.
The last few weeks have been very productive for us, we have fulfilled and deliv
ered around 20 orders, gained several more, and have been very busy trying to make final sets of coasters to sell in the next few weeks. We sent two sets to a breast cancer charity auction at the College of William & Mary, and later found out that both sets sold for over $60 dollars each. The remainder of the semester will be spent fulfilling our final orders and trying to find new channels to sell the remainder of our inventory to.
The final weeks of the semester our team spent a lot of time trying to get final orders in to make the goal of $1,000 in revenue. We got orders from second time buyers which was really exciting for us because it should us how much people really enjoyed our product. We also finished up a few more orders from students wanting to give their moms a creative and unique gift for mothers day. We ended up surpassing our goal by $15 dollars and counting. This was most enjoyable semester for all of us and we will never forget everything we learned. We're also extremely grateful that our coasters were such a success!