I was drinking water, attempting again to intake the daily recommended eight glasses, contemplating who I should interview next for the “Bosses” section of my blog. The usual contemplation...what entrepreneurs would I want to speak with next, what businesses had I come across that struck my fancy, what owner(s) would my readers respond to? I looked down, and I suddenly knew - Mason Jar Lifestyle. The mint silicone lid on the top of my glass jar stared back at me with a big "DUH", so naturally I reached out.
I had actually met Maggie and Ryan several years before while working at My Gym Children's Fitness Center in Arvada. Their daughter was in my preschool prep class and that year as a holiday gift to the teachers, Mason Jar Lifestyle brought all of the staff mason jars with silicone lids, metal straws and straw cleaners. We were obsessed...and almost three years later, I still have mine.
I knocked on the door and was invited into a very full warehouse. Colorful silicone lids in organized white bins, shelves full of shiny glass mason jars of all shapes and sizes, and all of the accessories for a mason jar you could ever imagine - some that I couldn't! The space was full, and I wanted to look at everything. Before I could get to exploring we sat and chatted about their journey from operating out of a room in their house, just the two of them - parenting three little ones, to a fully stocked warehouse with employees in Wheat Ridge.
Maggie: We started the business when our youngest was six months old. We wanted to start a business and were really interested in eCommerce for flexibility of being with family.
Ryan: We had looked at a lot of difference business models... retail, real estate... weighing the pros and cons of each
In the end they decided that eCommerce was the way to go. It would provide them the lifestyle they sought while allowing them to be the business owners they aspired to be. Next the lists were formed; they knew that eCommerce was the type of business they aimed to have, but what would the niche product or category be? They made extensive lists and discussed each option. While still in the list making and brainstorming phase Maggie took a break and went shopping. In the store, she noticed the mason jars and their limited accessories. Of the accessories provided, there was a soap dispenser lid, and as she looked around, she decided that she wanted more. Taking the dispenser lid home to Ryan, she knew that there could be so much more...and she was right!
I often wonder which of us are bit by the entrepreneur bug at birth; knowing in our bones that we are supposed to blaze a new trail, and which of us have it hiding in us, waiting on the right opportunity. As it turns out, Maggie and Ryan are both. Growing up, Ryan had taken to wood working. By the age of eleven he spent the majority of his year creating small nativity scenes to sell at an annual fair. He first sold them for one dollar and later two. Probably greatly under-priced, “but for an eleven year old” Ryan remarked, “$10 a hour is a big deal”. His business strategy? Sell a ton at a really low price. Maggie on the other hand has always enjoyed wearing many hats, and as a mom, she does it very well. Previously an event planner, Maggie says that being an entrepreneur “satisfies my drive to do so many different types of things… you do everything from creating a business model to cleaning bathrooms”.