Q – Give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
At Porch Box® we build outdoor, wooden, home delivery and storage boxes that compliment a home’s exterior. Each of our handmade boxes are built at our workshop in Longmont, Colorado. With the mission of building boxes that endure through every kind of weather, are sturdy enough to outlast your home and classy enough to make your front door proud, our boxes protect what’s inside the box from what’s outside the box. If you’re looking for a home delivery box that stands out from the crowd, get a Porch Box® and make your front door proud. We ship anywhere in the continental United States.
Q – Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
Eric and Heather are a husband and wife team working alongside each other in every aspect of the business. With a background in finance, Eric enjoys designing and building boxes. Heather’s first career in education and project management, means she can handle most anything that comes her way.
Q – What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
The very first Porch Box® was developed on a warm summer afternoon when Heather was out of town, and Eric and our 4-year-old daughter were looking for something to do while our younger son was napping. The two of them wandered into the workshop, found several old scraps of wood, and after a few hours of sawing, hammering and nailing, built the first ever Porch Box®!
It didn’t take long for us to realize how useful that Porch Box® was going to be. It not only held the weekly milk delivery, but it was also a good spot for a pair of gardening gloves and a pruner in the summer or an ice scraper in the winter time. Eventually, we made another box so we could use one box for our home milk delivery and another box for our dog’s leash, frisbee and “Chuck-It” ball toy. Those boxes gave us not only quick retrieval of our frequently used outdoor items, but provided a perfect storage spot for all those little things that were constantly misplaced before we had a Porch Box®.
Pretty soon the neighbors were asking for their own box and then some were donated to the kid’s silent auctions at their elementary school. Eventually, we launched a website and started shipping Porch Boxes all over the country. As of 2021, there’s a Porch Box® in 44 of the 48 continental United States!
Q – What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
There are no “overnight success” stories in business. Sometime it may look that way on the outside, but every business owner has to invest a great deal of time, money and creativity to make a business a success. There are ways to speed up the success, but when you focus on one aspect, that means some other area is giving up a bit of progress.
Q – What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Patience. Perseverance. Gratitude. There are days when you think you’ve done all you can do and you’ve just got to believe in yourself enough to wait for success. There’s no such thing as overnight success. It’s more like a 10-year overnight success story. Be patient with yourself and keep doing the hard work. Listen to the feedback of your customers and grow slowly. When you think you have tried everything possible, keep on moving forward with perseverance. And all along your journey an attitude of gratitude, will bring you the most success. When you lift up your community, your community will be there for you.
Q – How many hours do you work a day on average?
Our average workday in the workshop is 5-7 hours and another hour is spent in the office.
Q – To what do you most attribute your success?
Our Porch Box story is a success because it is something that we love to do. Each of us plays our own part in the business, and we are each good at them. But….We are also cross trained, so either of us can take over or pitch in to help when it is needed.
Q – How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Word of mouth is our best form of marketing. Our product sits on our customer’s front porch and once people see the usefulness of a Porch Box for themselves, the customer tells others.
Q – Where did your organization’s funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
We are self funded.
Q – What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
The best way to achieve long-term success is to know how to say “No.” We have definitely turned away business, because it would push us too far outside our niche, or it really was not a sustainable way to grow the business.
Q – Where do you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
Relaxing on a beach in Maui with some lovely Coconutty drink in my hand and watching dolphins jump on the horizon. We dream of a Porch Box being as commonplace as a mailbox.
Q – Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Eric loves any business that is manufacturing focused. Somehow actually building a product is so much more satisfying than just typing stuff on a computer screen.
Q – How important have good employees been to your success?
We don’t have any employees! Yet!
Q – How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
I can ruminate on ideas for months, and I like doing it for long periods of time, because I feel like it gets me to a much better result than if I made a snap decision. Heather on the other hand likes to make quick decisions and move forward. Sometimes our two ways of thinking things through compliments each other….Sometimes not.
Q – What motivates you?
We motivate each other! Most mornings we get up and do a workout together. There is nothing quite as selfless as pulling your spouse out of bed and making them workout at 5am. So far, neither one of us has ever been sorry that we made a workout happen.
Q – What are your ideals?
We love delivering products that make our customers seriously happy. So many of them call us or send us a note after they get their Porch-Box in just the right spot that it actually helps beautify the whole area.
Q – How do you generate new ideas?
Sometimes it is at our coffee talk after our workout, but more often than not, it is from our customers. Who would have thought that you could hang your hummingbird feeders in a porch box at night to keep the racoons from getting to them?
Q – How do you define success?
Best question of the whole damn interview. And I haven’t quite figured that one out yet….I hope to someday.
Q – How do you build a successful customer base?
Sell a quality product that has your customers telling others about.
Q – What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Sometimes the business puts demand on you, and sometimes you put the demands on the business. Like if you want to go skiing for a day, or maybe a bike ride.
Q – What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
When we made the first sale; ever. We seriously thought it someone was pulling a prank on us, because Eric never really thought anyone would want to buy one of the boxes.
Q – What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Risk tolerance. There is a lot of comfort in having a job where most of the things are taken care of for you. When you are on your own, you have to think about so many things that you never would have thought of as an employee.
Q – What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?
We respect each other and realize that we can do everything on our own but can accomplish anything when we work together.
Q – In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
Q – How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
In the beginning, our family didn’t see Eric very much. He was always in the basement building boxes in his workshop. When we found a bigger space for the workshop, life opened up and the separation between work and life had a clearer line.
Q – What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
Our biggest fear is that people will stop buying boxes. We keep working to get our message out.
Q – How did you decide on the location for your business?
It was close to our home.
Q – If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
The principle authors of the United States Constitution.
Q – Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Eric: Entrepreneurs. I would some days just marvel at all small businesses that were out there, where people were making a living doing their own thing and satisfying a need in the community
Heather: My dad inspired me to live life to the fullest each day and to work hard and play hard.
Q – What is your favorite book?)
Eric: Atlas Shrugged
Heather: The Alchemist
Q – What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
We love taking hikes in the nearby Rocky Mountains, walking our border collie and riding mountain bikes and paddleboards.
Q – What makes you happy?
Eric: Gluten free poppy seed cake and sunshine
Heather: Gluten-free oreos and mountain lakes
Q – If you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask?
What is your favorite color?
Q – Why Porch Box?
At Porch Box®, we fully understand that your home is an extension of your life and personality. As such, we believe that an essential part of your home, such as a package delivery box, should also look just as good as your home. We offer a variety of sizes and finishing options and can even build custom size boxes on request. Our durable wooden boxes can be customized to fit anyone’s style and home with a variety of personal touch finishing options. We offer lockable and non-locking lids, custom paint, bolt down kit, decorative trim, address numbers and hand scripting just to name a few. Each Porch Box® is made out of the same weatherproof renewable materials used to build your house. Our boxes are not only built to endure the elements but to match your style and storage needs as well. We take great pride in delivering a product that’s incredibly simple. As a tech-free product, there’s nothing fancy about our boxes. With no assembly required, a Porch Box® is ready for action right out of the shipping box. You won’t have to worry about connecting it to your wi-fi, there’s no software to install or updates needed down the road. There’s no app to install or batteries to charge. We know there are lots of delivery boxes on the market, but nothing else comes close to the quality, functionality and customizations of a Porch Box®. So, if you’re looking for a quality lockable home delivery box that stands out from the crowd, get a Porch Box and make your front door proud.