Meet Stratton

August 10, 2021

My TREP$ shop was Stratospheric Creations because my first name is Stratton and I created a variety of products. For Christmas I got a Dremel, a tool that spins a drill bit very fast. When you put a diamond coated bit on it, it can carve stone! That is how I got my original idea of making rock carvings. I thought they would make great paper weights or just interesting desk decor. However my mom said not everyone would have a use for rocks with patterns carved on them, but she thought some of the designs on smaller rocks would make nice necklaces. So I made some necklaces by drilling holes into small rocks to make pendants and then used hemp for the cord. I used my knot making skills to add beads and make the closures.

And so my product line began to expand. However, when I began to actually carve the rocks it became obvious that the process was very tedious and time consuming. I needed another product that was high quality but easier and cheaper to make.

Whittling is another hobby of mine and I wanted a Dremel for wood projects as well as rock carving so I knew I could find something to make using wood. Over the years several trees have fallen in our neighborhood from storms so I knew I could find all the material I would need. We searched online for ideas and the tealights seemed like a perfect project – simple, yet sophisticated! My Dad and I cut pieces of fallen tree trunks. We cut various sizes of width and height. If the bark was secure, we kept it on. We sanded each piece and drilled 1.5 inch diameter holes in them for the tealights. I now had an economical product that could help keep the cost down for my business.

Making my products was fun because my dad taught me how to use tools like an air powered die grinder and drill press in addition to my Dremel. I learned how to hold my Dremel better and got pretty good with all the practice. While it was good to get a lot of practice I found it is fairly difficult and time consuming to make a lot of things.

At the TREP$ Marketplace I think that I did decent and I actually sold stuff so that was nice. I learned that it is harder than I would expect to run a business and I can see how much work is put into things to make a profit. When I set up my shop it became clear I had not prepared enough because I had a lot of different prices in my head but my price tags weren’t even made yet. As customers arrived I learned I am not very good at dealing change, even though I am good at math. Overall I had fun at the market because I had a good product and plenty of customers bought my product.

Next time I would plan ahead better since I learned there is limited time to set up. I would also pick a product that I can make at a low cost but still high quality so that I can make the price greater than the cost. And finally I would keep better track of my expenses so I could know what kind of profit I made. The drill bits I used on the rocks were expensive and wore out quickly and I realize now that my price needed to make up for that cost.

Meet Kate