Our founder, James, recently sat down for an interview with Starter Story regarding our history, lessons learned, and where we are going.
Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
My name is James Wolfer, and I am the founder, owner, and operator of Valhalla Wood Forge. We are a veteran and first responder run woodworking company that started in 2017.
We focus on making rustic wood decor and high end men’s jewelry. Our biggest seller is custom wedding bands made from unique items such as whiskey and wine barrels, meteorite, and coffee grounds. We also sell a ton of heirloom patriotic wood flags, custom cornhole boards, signs, and other woodworks.
Our rings are absolutely huge sellers in the springtime, as primarily we cater to guys (although we make women’s wedding bands as well!) Guys typically wait until the last minute to get their wedding band, and we do a lot of custom and rush work, so we do the bulk of our sales for rings in April and May with about a 4-6 week rush turnaround.
Our second best seller is our custom, rustic wood flags, which really picks up in the fall and towards the holiday gift season. We offer several sizes and customization options, from small desktop-sized flags to large 5-foot wood flags. Our customizations include military branch emblems, police badges, names, dates and unit logos carved right into the wood. Our flags are sealed with a high gloss so they really seem to stand out from our competitors. Plus, being veterans and first responders ourselves, we understand the culture of our customers, which for these are largely veterans, cops, firefighters, and their family members, so our customer service and customizations are top-notch and really, what keeps our reviews high and keeps customers coming back over and over. For this product line, we have A LOT of return customers and referrals.
2019 has seen insane growth for us, and we’re having trouble keeping up with demand. Typically, for this type of business, October and November are the biggest months, often double or even tripling the normal average month. So, we hired our first employee last month, a full-time law enforcement officer (and veteran) that I’ve worked with before who has both sales and woodworking experience, who’ll be helping us with everything from production to sales.
As an update, October 2019 was our biggest month yet, grossing $8500, with about a 70% profit. We paid ourselves $5000, and reinvested about $1000 into future product lines and another $600 in running Facebook and Google Ads. As of today, November 14, we're already at over $4,000 gross and have had a pretty good ROAS.