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Meet Justin and Michelle Dosser of J & M’s Working Wood in Chula Vista

Today we’d like to introduce you to Justin and Michelle Dosser.

Justin and Michelle, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
It all began with an inkling, an itch if you will. We had just moved from one house to another within the same military housing community. A house that had many walls that seemed so bare and unwelcoming, and a budget for decorating that was well beneath what we see on HGTV. My husband, the perpetual optimist out of the two of us, was the one to vocalize the idea … “We can make these things ourselves.” Now I am not going to lie, the first project was a piece of cake. However, it was future projects down the road that had me questioning, “can we really do this?!?”

So there we were the two of us, making our very first project that proudly hung on the wall right as you walked into our home (it now hangs in the office of our current home). This project was FUN!! And we could do it together (double bonus)! In the midst of this project, was when I wholeheartedly agreed with my husband that DIY projects were in fact awesome.

From that one simple project, more complex ideas came to fruition; folding tables, a shelving unit, bedroom furniture!! Honestly, you name it, and Justin could build it. It was while we lived in Great Lakes, IL that the itch to start a business began. A Facebook Page for the pieces we were making was created, and several posts to local sales pages got the ball rolling with the first few orders. We were busy! But most importantly, we were HAPPY making these things together.

Fast forward 9 months. Three cross-country trips later (for me), a deployment (for him), and a move into a new home (for us). We were ready to get back in the garage and start working again. Only this time we were going to do it bigger and better. A few months after we were settled into our new location, and launched our Etsy page. This created a lot of traffic and we started gaining the recognition that was much deserved. Business picked up, and regular orders started coming through (yay us!). But we were still wanting MORE.

So here we are. Scratching that itch of wanting MORE. Building our little business from friends and family asking for projects to be made to launching our very own e-commerce website. Once again, I am not going to lie, scary as this may be it is also very exciting! I am beyond proud of all of the hard work that has gone into this, even more, proud of Justin. This was his baby, his dream, and watching it all come together makes me happy beyond measure.

Has it been a smooth road?
Life in general is all about the unexpected good and bad surprises. This leads to obstacles that can delay your path to success. In my case, since I’m in the Navy, deployments are a huge obstacle, and they make it challenging to grow a business. Starting out new as a entrepreneur , I feel that finances can also play a major factor. We’ve all heard the saying “In order to make money you have to spend money.” So budgeting and material cost are things you have to keep track of. Learning all aspects of business helps one to be a successful yet a better businessman. As a craftsman, I’ve had to learn everything there is to help not only promote my business through social networking and advertising but to also grow it!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the J & M’s Working Wood story. Tell us more about the business.
My business consists of Custom Challenge Coin Displays made with quality craftsmanship that’s 100% handcrafted. I create these displays with confidence and make sure that every piece of wood I use is precisely cut. I’m am most proud of not only serving my country, but just how far I’ve come. It started as a fun hobby but now has grown to something far more! As I have received customer feedback thus far it has been very positive. What sets us apart from other competitors is the uniqueness and creativity that I put into every display! The quality and finish that I apply to each one shows craftsmanship versus it appearing to be store bought.

Where do you see your industry going over the next 5-10 years?  Any big shifts, changes, trends, etc?
As of today, I have been found by 3 companies that are interested in my company being a supplier for them. In the next 5-10 years, I would love to have as much business as I can to then hire employees and make this a full time business. I have such a passion for being a craftsman and using my hands to create beautiful elegant displays for people to put on their office desk or wall!

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