Small Business Success in Johnson County, Missouri
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THREE TREES WORKSHOP
128 SE 125TH RD, WARRENSBURG, MO 64093
OWNERS: NATHAN & CYNTHIA EPP
1. Briefly describe Three Trees Workshop and the products/services offered.
Three Trees Workshop is a family owned small business in Warrensburg, Missouri. We make high quality wooden games that are shipped throughout the country and around the world. We make chess boards, Chinese checkers, cribbage, mancala, boxes, etc., using solid wood, with an emphasis on bringing out the natural beauty of the wood through high quality craftsmanship. Custom engraving is an option on many of our products, enabling customers to personalize their games to celebrate special occasions.
2. How did you get started as a small business owner?
In 2014, we were moving back to the US from Mombasa, Kenya, and were pondering our next steps. After a decade of transition and travel, we were eager to settle closer to family, especially since we were then expecting our first child. It seemed the perfect time to act on a dream we'd had--a full time creative business based on Nathan's love for woodworking and our desire to make beautiful, useful things. And Three Trees Workshop was born.
Since then, we've enjoyed designing unique, beautiful products, and interacting with wonderful people in our own community, all over the country, and around the world who have inspired us to keep on creating.
3. What was your mission at the start of Three Trees Workshop and has that mission evolved over time?
Our mission has been, and continues to be crafting high quality games that bring people together, allowing them to connect with each other and our world.
4. How many employees does Three Trees Workshop have?
5 (including the 2 of us, Nathan & Cynthia)
5. What is unique about Three Trees Workshop?
Our focus on high quality materials and craftsmanship means each game board is truly a unique heirloom quality piece; you can't find games like ours in a big box store. Our ability to personalize games with the engraving is also a unique feature. Our focus on environmental sustainability; we strive to conduct our business with as little environmental impact as possible. We also partner with a nonprofit organization called Trees for the Future to plant 5 trees for every handmade product we sell. Customer service; people can call or email and get in touch with a real person who knows and cares all about the business and our customers' experience!
6. How much time did it take for Three Trees Workshop to earn a profit?
7. What has been a significant challenge that you have faced and overcome as a small business owner?
Finding a balance between work and family. This is really tough when you're working for yourself and working from home. There's always more work to be done and it can be hard to set firm boundaries around "work hours". It's really important to us to do that, though, so we do our best to leave evenings and weekends free for family.
8. As a small business owner, how do you measure success?
Customer satisfaction with product quality and customer service. Word of mouth referrals. Profit and growth, but not at the expense of quality or our sanity!
9. What do you like most about owning a small business?
Flexibility; ability to conduct our business in a way that aligns with our values; satisfaction in doing our best and taking pride in what we do.
10. What piece of advice would you offer to new entrepreneurs?
Don't try to be an expert in everything--seek help from others in areas where you need support. We've benefitted tremendously from professional expertise in accounting, photography, web/graphic design.