Name: Joe Seymour
Joe Seymour grew up surrounded by electronics. His dad’s company sold test equipment to technology giants like Motorola and Zenith, as well as to educational labs in schools. When they sold the family business after 43 years, Joe, his brother and his father decided to start a new venture. Inspired by how many kids they’d seen fall in love with electronics, the family team created E-Blox, a company making building blocks with a fun, electronic twist.
Joe will be selling E-Blox at the Bazaar at this year's SOLD OUT QB Connect 2017 in San Jose.
Joe, tell us about your business.
In our previous family-run business, we saw a need for equipment that helps people learn. We started developing products to help get kids involved in electronics, engineering and technology outside of schools. For example, we created soldering kits that were used in schools across the country. We saw how many kids are into building blocks. We thought, why not inspire them to use their own creativeness to make circuits? That’s how E-Blox started.
E-Block are bricks that kids can use to make and learn about electronic circuits. E-Blox let you build a structure and then create circuits that light up, make sound or create motion.
How do you market and sell E-Blox?
We sell E-Blox in a number of ways. We have wholesale distribution, and some retailers have already picked it up. We've hired reps to go to brick-and-mortar specialty toy stores, too.
We attend a ton of shows to get exposure and to find out how we can improve our product. We recently attended the Toy Associations' toy preview show. Big box companies like Walmart, Target and Amazon all were there. We talked with a number of big companies, and we’ll be featured on some of their websites within the year.
We also sell online through our own site and through some third party sellers.
What’s it like to work for yourself and for a family business?
Running your own business is tough. It’s easier to work for someone else because you can go home at night without worrying about the big picture of the business. When it's your own company, every waking hour you're thinking, you're engineering, you're wondering, how can I improve something?
I love working at a family business, but before I started working with my dad, I made sure that I had other offers in the industry. It wasn't going to be that I’m the son of the founder, so I’ve got a job. I wanted to contribute and help the business grow.
By the way, everyone at E-Blox, which we incorporated in November 2016, came from our previous family business.
What advice would you give to a small business owner?
Always look at feedback as way to improve, and don't get discouraged by negative comments. Try to turn challenges into something positive. Use everything that happens to make yourself, your business and your product better.
What do you hope to gain from QuickBooks Connect?
I’m looking for more product exposure and feedback. We've been going to roughly three shows each month to find out what people think about E-Blox.
When we go to public shows, we love seeing how kids use E-Blox -- it’s great market research. When kids build their first circuit and then listen to an FM radio, they're blown away. It’s really satisfying and fulfilling to see parents and kids happily interacting around E-Blox.
Want to ask Joe more about how he inspires kids with E-Blox? Don't wait for QuickBooks Connect -- start talking right here in our QuickBooks Community. Leave your questions for Joe in the reply space below!
What a great product, Joe! I love it when kids can have fun while learning that doesn't involve a screen. I look forward to meeting you at QuickBooks Connect!