Startup Sunrise – Artisans and Makers Q&A Recap

On April 3, 40+ individuals attended the Artisan and Maker edition of Startup Sunrise – a monthly gathering of entrepreneurs and the community that supports them. There was excellent conversation, authentic questions and answers, and a great sense of appreciation for the support provided to business owners of all types.


Local Artist: Jordan Jaacks

Jordan Jaacks, a musician and entrepreneur, conveyed through his song that while starting a business involves making money, its essence lies in the relationships and connections formed with people.

Nate Boscaljon : Owner of Boscaljon Design Co.

After studying engineering and beginning a career as a financial advisor, Nate sought to upgrade their home furnishings by building a coffee table, which eventually evolved into a business. They initially sold their creations on Facebook Marketplace, leveraging the platform effectively. Balancing their advisory job with woodworking, they faced the crucial decision of either rejecting orders or committing full-time to their business. Both he and his wife quit their jobs with only one month’s salary worth of orders in the queue. Despite challenges and the unknown, they have successfully sustained and continued to grow their enterprise over the last 3+ years.

Josh Rieck : Owner of J. Rieck Music

Josh began his journey by mowing lawns and working at a CD store before delving into guitar making while pursuing visual arts and music in school. He pursued undergraduate and graduate degrees in music while continuing to craft guitars on the side. J. Rieck has thrived with support from the local community, expanding from a 200-square-foot to a 2,000-square-foot retail space and a 1,500-square-foot workshop. Despite facing challenges during the pandemic and encountering three years of unreliable data, J. Reick Music maintains an optimistic outlook fueled by his determination and passion.


How do you balance the business side versus the making side?

Josh highlights the challenge of balancing business and production, especially during periods of growth. He emphasizes the significance of employees who contribute to the business’s work, which in turn serves as their marketing strategy, primarily driven by word of mouth.

Nate credits his wife for propelling their business forward by managing administrative tasks such as to-do lists, client management, and taxes. While Nate enjoys public-facing aspects of the business, his wife handles marketing responsibilities. They have allocated specific days for different tasks, like dedicating Sundays to YouTube and Wednesdays to computer work, although they often lose track of the days and are working on establishing a more structured schedule.

What is your current product mix?

Nate’s business primarily thrives on Etsy, where they achieve repeat sales, particularly with customized products. About 90% of their business involves custom orders.

In contrast, Josh’s business model is diversified, involving rentals, repairs, selling both new and used products, as well as custom builds. Retail sales constitute the majority of their gross income, with rentals being a profitable venture, recouping investment costs within three months.

What project are you most proud of?

Josh finds designing a new instrument from scratch particularly fulfilling, enjoying the creative freedom it offers. He appreciates not being bound by specific guidelines or clients.

Nate takes pride in problem-solving and overcoming challenges in his projects. He tends to forget about completed projects once they’re done but finds satisfaction in successfully pulling them off. He specifically recalls figuring out the construction of a king-size bed in Yankton, considering it a significant achievement as one of the first challenging projects they tackled.

Does Instagram turn into real, paying customers?

Nate, despite having a large Instagram following and viral videos, notes that this social media platform doesn’t necessarily translate into direct business. Instead, it expands their network and facilitates collaborations with brands. Josh observes that while Instagram attracts some repairers, it also fosters unrealistic quality expectations. He finds its influence on the crafting industry intriguing.

Every business has a place here, what can we do better to be more inclusive of industry?

Nate emphasizes the importance of community support, citing his experience with CO.STARTERS, which provided valuable insights and a supportive environment. He highlights the need to shift the narrative away from solely focusing on tech companies and funding, recognizing the significance of traditional industries in sustaining the economy.

Josh emphasizes the value of selling ideas and supporting trades, expressing his determination to defy negative predictions about his business’s success. He prioritizes the importance of supporting trades and emphasizes that success doesn’t necessarily mean making millions of dollars.

How do you innovate in your industry?

Nate views innovation in his industry as a blend of art and science, exemplified by his personal style choices reflecting his entrepreneurial mentality of doing what he wants. Meanwhile, Josh emphasizes a balanced approach of art and science, focusing on strategic investments in technology to drive innovation in his business.

What is one thing you wished you had learned sooner and what has been your biggest opportunity?

Nate reflects on the importance of trial running things he worries about instead of storing up anxiety, wishing he had known this earlier. His biggest opportunity lies in finding more consistency and standardization in his business, as relying solely on custom work lacks stability.

Josh acknowledges his tendency to want to handle everything himself and regrets putting his name on the business, realizing the importance of delegation. His biggest opportunity involves integrating the pleck machine into his business, which could significantly impact operations. However, he faces challenges in balancing investments between machinery and human resources.


Join us for one of the best monthly entrepreneurial gatherings in Sioux Falls and reserve your free seat at our next Startup Sunrise – Biotech, May 1 (8-9:15 am)