HOW IT’S NOT TRASH STARTED.
Today, we have Marji Medina from It’s Not Trash, a reclaimed wood design company. Marji was working as a VP in sales consultant for a hospital for quite a while but was not satisfied with it. Coming from a woodwork family, she missed getting her hands dirty with physical labor which resulted in her furnishing her first apartment with making her own pieces. After that, she created a side business on Craigslist which made an extra hundred dollars a month.
Around 2014, her wife, as she calls her, (never actually married) was getting a 2nd degree and everything was so tight. Coincidentally, people kept on telling Marji she needed to make her own furniture designs. She thought of taking broken stuff like IKEA designs and fixing them, she tears them apart and makes her own. This brilliant idea was supposed to only fund their wedding but within 4 months they were already making over $3000 a month. In a year, she was able to fully fund the wedding and fully pay her wife’s college fees. Surprised that it worked out so well, she quit her job and fully committed to the furniture business.
DEVELOPING HER SKILLS & BUILDING CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS.
She was the ‘tomboy’ kid who made stuff with her best friend. They would pick up wood and create little things that increased her woodwork skills. Up to now, her love for fixing things is almost a problem because she always wants to fix everything.
In her college years, Marji did door to door sales which she ended up doing for 13 years. She says she can’t trade that experience for anything. It taught her so much that she later implemented in her business. People love buying her products because they feel like they just bought them from a friend as Marji is so friendly, and informative to her clients.
HOW SHE SOURCES HER PRODUCTS
In the early beginnings of the business, she loved driving around and throwing the wood in the back of her truck when she saw broken things. However, right now she doesn’t have enough time to either drive around or even build as much as she used to. Her staff have now taken the role of doing almost everything but she always oversees them. She doesn’t go to get wood anymore unless she’s sure of getting a truckload. This has resulted to her buying wood from Home Depot for some of her stuff. She has established a great relationship with guys who work at Home Depot who always call her when they have stuff to dispose.
HOW CUSTOMERS FIND THEM & THEIR IDEAL CUSTOMER
It all started from Craigslist when she was fixing broken stuff and sell the finished pieces. Later, she added on a Facebook and Instagram. She didn’t have a website till a year later since web optimization cost an arm for small businesses.
She jokes her ideal customer is someone who doesn’t send her a West Elm bed on repeat. She wants someone who is willing to take multiple pictures and have them all mashed together to create something new and just let her burst with creativity to deliver something amazing.
ADVICE TO ANYONE ENTERING THE RECLAIMED BUSINESS.
First, understand that it’s not the best-writing author but the best-selling author. It’s not about waiting to have everything in place before getting started, it’s about starting immediately and doing the best you can with what you have and getting better as you fail.
Secondly, you are never going to get more money than the market can bear. Figure out how much it costs to make your widget. Find something you can make with a profit margin within a timeframe that is going to pay you what you’re worth hourly.
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