Update: I Have Acquired This Miniature Building Supplies Production Business To Scale It To Great Heights

Published: April 26th, 2023
Jared Waters
Founder, Mini Materials
Mini Materials
from Portland, OR
started March 2015
market size
avg revenue (monthly)
starting costs
gross margin
time to build
210 days
growth channels
Word of mouth
business model
best tools
Etsy, Instagram, Facebook
time investment
Side project
pros & cons
42 Pros & Cons
18 Tips
Discover what tools Jared recommends to grow your business!
Discover what books Jared recommends to grow your business!

Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

I’m Jared Waters, the new owner of Mini Materials. I purchased the business from the two co-founders in May of 2022. I sell miniature building supplies like mini bricks, lumber, and everything you need to get started in the mini world.

We use on-demand manufacturing to modernize a stagnant niche industry. We have used 3d printing, laser cutters, and substrate printing to add over 30 new products in 6 months.


Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?

A lot has changed since we last spoke besides ownership. The business has moved from Virginia to Portland, OR. We’re ramping up product development with at least one new item a week, and have started 2022 with two strong months.

Marketing is always a challenge, but we’ve focused on growing our subscriber list as emails produce consistent custom engagement along with regular posting on Instagram.

Paid advertising has been hit-and-miss for us over the last 6 months, and we are refocusing our strategy there. For example, Facebook ads used to be a large driver of new business, but the Return on Ad Spend over the holiday season was breakeven or slightly negative.

We’ve added 3D printing to our manufacturing, and have been successfully able to compete with cheap imports from China.

Our greatest strength is product development. We have a new product developed in as short as two days.


What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?

Being the first year of the business after I acquired the business everything has been a learning curve. The biggest challenge has been in marketing.

We hired a marketing agency with lackluster results. Now we’re focused on creating core content and bringing our unique products through content-driven initiatives. Another focus has been the development of the custom market. We just completed a big paid push to concrete manufacturers marketing our product as promotional tools. This was a decent investment that has yet to make a positive return so the search continues for the best way to reach this market.

What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

I’ve learned a lot in the last year. It’s been a bit like drinking from a firehose. The biggest thing is I’ve learned our greatest strength is product development. We have a new product developed in as short as two days. It’s been great to go from idea to first sale in 48 hours. We use a combination of in-house expertise and a few strategic partners to keep our headcount low (2 full-time employees).

In my previous job, I loved marketing, but that has been my biggest struggle. Our audience thrives on unique content, and creating that can be so time-consuming. Also, it is odd when you have something blow up (we were featured on Entrepreneur Tik Tok with 40k+ views) and have it make no impact on sales while smaller efforts have had much larger results.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

Our five-year plan is to take on the existing miniature with modern designs, and high-quality products and has fun doing it. I’m excited to be able to offer custom creations that can be created at the same speed and price point as poor-quality goods made in China at a better margin.

Long term the plan is to double revenue in the next three years.

What’s the best thing you read in the last year?

One book I love is “How to license your million dollar idea”. As an entrepreneur, I have tons of ideas, but so many don’t make sense for me to bring to market.

This book offers a practical way to give life to some ideas without the time and effort of building a business around an idea.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their businesses?

Our focus is really on mastering what we manufacture. I see a lot of trend-chasing, particularly in the craft/hobby area, but we want to focus on our core strengths. Do that and success will follow.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We’d love to hire a part-time marketing person who is skilled in both paid ads and organic. If you love what we’re doing, reach out to us.

Do you have any advice for those looking to sell or buy their business?

A few tips beyond the basics of being profitable is to create a business with transferable knowledge and systems. For example, Mini Materials uses out-of-the-box fulfillment and marketing software like Shopify and Klavyio. Some entrepreneurs have a custom website without the support of an e-commerce system like Shopify even though it isn’t needed for their product.

For someone without the knowledge to maintain a complex site that becomes a negative rather than a positive. Keep your systems as simple as possible.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

Want to start a woodworking business? Learn more ➜