Shop owner and scale miniature expert Stony Smith has just earned $10,000 in profit from his Shapeways Shop. Stony works full-time as a developer and runs his Shapeways shop (and moderates the Shapeways forums) in his spare time.
Stony’s first sale was Feb 28, 2010. In April of 2011, he was interviewed by Wired Magazine because of his Shapeways Shop. While 10K in seven years may not seem like much – certainly it is not enough to make a living – we must consider that 3D printing, like any other technological market niche, grows esponentially. So if it takes seven years to make the first 10K it may take less than half of that to make another 10K.
The industry itself took over 2 decades to reach the first billion dollars in global revenues and then just a couple of years to reach the next. Lately it has been growing at a pace of over one billion $ every year. The same types of growth rates are likely to occur with the most succesfull online (and offline) 3D print shops.
Shapeways interviewed Stony to figure out exactly which are the keys to his success:
Any lessons you have for other designers / shop owners who want to hit the $10K milestone?
Stony : “Do an equal mix of your own interests and interacting with buyers to find out what they desire. You’ll get bored doing just one of them. Those best sellers.. the automobile frames, were a request from a friend. They’re something that I would never have done otherwise. My general standard is that I’ll tackle any request if the item is “interesting” to me. This whole journey has been “That’s cool.. can you do one of THESE?”
How do you want to reach your next sales milestone?
“Even with all this success, I still consider this to be a hobby, and won’t be quitting my day job. I’m more in it for the community. There’s probably a dozen shopowners that I helped get started with making designs. I’d love to make $20k, but that’ll be another 6 years. My only regret/desire is to figure out some way to do some actual marketing, but MY market is rather closed. I’d have to invest a lot of time in social media and train forums.”
How will you use the $10K in sales you’ve earned so far?
“I will use the money to buy more trains!!!! A hobby that funds itself is a good thing.”
Check out some of Stony Smith’s designs in this photogallery