Gordon William’s “Espruino Puck.js” product has sold over 100 units just on Tindie in the first two days. I got to catch up with him via email to talk about what his new product is all about, and what has made this product such an instantaneous success.
First things first thought, you probably want to know is what the Espruino Puck.js is, and what inspired Williams to actually make it. According to him:
When I’m talking to people about Espruino I often hear them say that they’d love to get started with microcontrollers, but they don’t know where to start with hardware. I really wanted to make a non-scary embedded device that could be made to do fun things without any knowledge of hardware – and hopefully Puck.js does that, while also having IO pins available so that you can wire it up to things if and when you want to.
At this time, Williams has sold about 140 of these pucks on Tindie, and many more on other platforms. He attributes his Tindie success to the fact that 700 people asked him to email him when they were available, so getting the word out about your product beforehand is definitely something to consider!
Given his multi-platform business, and the fact that he’s a UK-based seller, he had this to say about Tindie’s unique advantages and disadvantages versus others:
Tindie is nice and easy, and because Tindie hold the payment for you until you ship, it’s more friendly for customers – if you’re like me, it might be 1 or 2 days before you get time to pack and ship devices. There’s also a really easy API, which means it only took me an hour to come up with something that printed invoices and address labels for each customer (if only this came built-in! 😉
However, Tindie is only in US dollars, and there’s no way of handling tax for different countries. Unfortunately for me in the UK this means I have to raise the price by 20% for everyone because I am unable to add the VAT I have to charge to only European customers. It makes my invoicing script a bit more exciting, and I’d be pretty sure it deters some people (as does the US-only currency).
If you’re selling from home (at least in the UK) you don’t need to charge tax though, and for people doing that Tindie would be pretty much perfect.
As for how he got started selling Espruino boards, Williams graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in computer science. After that he went from full-time employment, to contract work, and eventually transitioned into selling Espruino boards as his full-time profession. As some variation on this is a dream of many people making and selling indie hardware; it’s awesome to see his success story.
Although taxes can be tricky in his case, after selling here for 18 months, he says that the best thing about Tindie is that it’s “just really easy to list and fulfill orders.” He adds that “If you’re sending things out from home and you’re not using Tindie yet, give it a try! It’s pretty easy and there’s really not much to lose.”
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