Albertas Mickėnas, AKA “Catnip Electronics,” has been on Tindie since nearly the beginning, opening for business in December 2012. Since then he’s had over 1850 orders, and has sold nearly 5000 (yes, five thousand) of his I2C soil moisture sensors. As such, I was glad to get in contact with him for this blog.
Mickėnas got started with Tindie after seeing a post advertising this new site as a sort of “Etsy for electronics.” He decided to put his foot in the door, and got an order, followed by many, many more.
He started out as a programmer, but he was hired at a local stage theater where they used a huge red display to show subtitles. They needed someone to change the display to show the Georgian (not the U.S. one) alphabet. As western fonts were hard coded into the device, this involved getting into the hardware, where he found an ATmega128 microcontroller inside. From there he says it was a matter of “tutorials, forums, Stack Exchange and loads of unfinished projects from this point to today.”
Albertas mentions that he doesn’t really have a theme to his store: “I just do my projects and sometimes I put them for sale if I feel there will be any demand for them.” Obviously he’s been right more than once, and has just come out with a Modbus RS485 version of his popular soil sensor. This device will allow for longer cables to each of these sensors, making them useful in professional environments without kludging something together (as some have done). Of course there are other interesting projects on the Catnip Electronics store, so be sure to check that out.
Mickėnas is quick to note that the best thing about selling on Tindie is that, “[The] audience is technically capable, intelligent and eager to learn. I like answering my support requests!” Like many sellers, he’s also a customer, so if you have a shipment bound for Lithuania, perhaps he’ll be using your product as well!