Many entrepreneurs feel inspired to launch a home-based business because of a personal passion or clever idea. A financial emergency spurred Tracy and Tom Hazzard to start Hazz Design and Consulting in 2009. “I was about to deliver my second baby girl any day and Tom lost his job,” Tracy recalled. “Design jobs at our level don’t come quickly so we were a little panicked.” While Tracy was in the hospital delivering their child, Tom networked on the phone and closed a deal. Despite its initial bad timing, that client has remained with Hazz Design to this day.
Previous experiences in home-based businesses helped the Hazzards learn the ropes. Although those opportunities evaporated as the market shifted, they foresee a long lift for their new business.
The Hazzards describe themselves as “design experts and consultants specializing in product, furniture, color/material/finish and 3D printing designs sold through mass market retail [stores].”
Relying on their extensive professional networks has generated a steady stream of clients, and repeat business forms the core of their customer base. They also produce a podcast, “WTFFF?! 3D Printing.” “We spend a lot of time and energy on social media and speaking engagements to promote our expertise, products and services,” Tracy said. Considering the high-tech nature of their work, promoting through social media is vital.
Most of their customers lack an in-house design staff and either have one highly successful product and struggle to expand within that product line, or need to expand into other product lines. “Typically our customers earn around $50 million in sales and our designs propel them to $200-plus million in revenue or a buyout,” Tracy said.
Their flagship project is their Metrex Mesh Office Chair, which sells at Costco for $99. It’s one of only three chairs carried in-store and has been available for nearly four years. “The success of this chair is an extremely rewarding endorsement of our design process and services, but the real personal victory is that our chair replaced a chair from the company that fired Tom in 2009,” Tracy said.
Beyond triumphs such as this, the Hazzards love the flexibility their business offers. With two young daughters still at home, they can work around their children’s needs. In the coming years, they anticipate their client base to shift more towards 3D printing design and designs for online stores. They also want to launch their own branded line of products online, beyond their Etsy store. For more information, visit www.hazzdesign.com.