Managing Unexpected Growth in New Markets

Episode 282

April 9, 2024

Andy Jensen of Sunstone Engineering joins the show this week to talk about a really interesting marketing case study. Sunstone marketed to almost exclusively engineers in verticals like aerospace and electronics. Then, a couple of years ago, an unheard-of order for small light-duty welders came through from one of their dealers, then another, and another. Overnight Sunstone was thrust into an emerging market. Production and marketing at Sunstone had to pivot and pivot fast. Andy walks us through the changes that have taken place at Sunstone and how they have managed this rapid, unexpected growth.

Managing Unexpected Growth in New Markets Transcript:

Announcer: You’re listening to The Kula Ring, a podcast made for manufacturing marketers. Here are Carman Pirie and Jeff White.

Jeff White: Welcome to The Kula Ring, a podcast for manufacturing marketers brought to you by Kula Partners. My name is Jeff White and joining me today is Carman Pirie. Carman, how are you doing, sir?

Carman Pirie: I am happy to be here as normal.

Jeff White: Yeah. No, it’s great. It’s a sunny Friday. Yeah, you know. 

Carman Pirie: Yep. 

Jeff White: Herd to ask for much more.

Carman Pirie: Yeah and well a sunny Friday and a good opportunity for a really interesting marketing conversation. I just find, today’s show there’s, you know, not every manufacturing marketer is going to encounter this opportunity slash challenge. So it’s a rare insight in some ways into it. And but for those that maybe do, I think this will also be an interesting kind of learning. So I just think it’s a fast-moving story. I’m looking forward to getting into it without giving up too many details. 

Jeff White: Yeah, I don’t want to say too much because it really is a phenomenal and interesting marketing case study to be certain and it continues to unfold. So.

Carman Pirie: Yeah, but I suppose we have to say something because it is a podcast and know yes, we can’t not say anything. 

Jeff White: Right. 

Carman Pirie: Right.

Jeff White: So. Well, why don’t we just introduce our guest and get right into it? Alright. So joining us today is Andy Jensen, Andy is the director of marketing at Sunstone Engineering. Welcome to The Kula Ring, Andy.

Andy Jensen: Oh, thank you. I’m excited to be here. This is going to be fun. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah. Andy, it’s awesome to have you on the show. I want to start by introducing our listeners to you and Sunstone so you can do that in whichever order you like tell you could tell about the company and how you ended up there, or tell us about you and then the company after whichever you like.

Andy Jensen: Sure. Sunstone is a manufacturer of specialized welding equipment. That sounds really boring when I say it that way, but it’s actually very exciting because we are we manufacture welders and we don’t manufacture welders that you see, you would see like at an at a ship manufacturing, you know, all these sparks going up and everything. Our home is micro-welding, so our spot welds are 0.1 to maybe three millimetres in diameter. So we’re really, really, really, really small. And that lends our equipment to be used in the manufacturing of aerospace and electronics, computers, automotive, batteries and jewelry manufacturing. So, you know, it’s kind of exciting. Look, you know, we sell to all the big names in aerospace, which I’m not supposed to name, but, you know, we sell that every time something is launched in the space we go, we clap your hands, go. I think we had something to do with that. We have no idea what we did with that. But yay, that’s pretty cool. So. So that’s, that’s what we do. I got, to Sunstone about four years ago. My neighbour is the CEO, so I’ve known him for years and years and years and I had just finished a startup and, and that startup was, was so that was a nine-year overnight success really successful. And so I was looking for my next gig and I just heard my neighbor a little bit frustrated with what was going on with his marketing team. And I just looked as though I could do that. And then here I am. So I’ve been here for four years.

Carman Pirie: Yeah, For those job hunters out there, having the right address helps, I suppose. You know? Yeah. You mentioned the launching in the space. We have an ongoing kind of funny anecdote from the podcast that we had somebody on the show that had made that the company made something that was launched in space, but they forgot to take a photo of it. This one-off thing before it was before it left. Okay, Yeah. There’s no do-over, is there?

Jeff White: Like the greatest regret.

Carman Pirie: Andy kind of hinted at this kind of unique, if you will, kind of pivot that happened to Sunstone and so I want you to take our listeners through that What kind of what happened one day to kind of reveal to you that there might be something new out there?

Andy Jensen: So a little bit of background information maybe. You know, our customers are engineers for the most part are engineers. You know, 90-something percent men just that’s the way it is. And then on the jewelry side, we do sell to, you know, bench jewellers and jewelry manufacturers. So there are more women on that side. But mostly we’re male male-dominated industry. So our our corporate colors, you know, as a bright, lively orange. We, you know, most of the people here are we’re men and that’s the way it was. We sell both directly and through dealers. So one day one of our dealers placed an order for 300 of our smaller pulse arc welders, this is a small pulse arc welder. You know, it has. I think, you know, the next energy it can produce is 30 joules, and it’s used mainly by hobbyists and jewellers for minor repair work. It’s not, you know, we sold, I don’t know, 3 to 10 a month maybe, but this anyway, this dealer calls in, he goes I need 300 of that. That particular model is called the Orion Impulse. And well, he didn’t call it. He just, you know, email. I need 300 of these. And of course, the the dealer representative said, well, that’s going to be a typo. Maybe he means 30, but not 300. So he calls back and goes, you know, is this this right? Yeah, we need 300 of those. We didn’t have 300 of those. We had maybe, you know, five or ten on the shelf ready to be pulled. So we really had to scramble to figure out how are we going to build 300 of these, because he needed them immediately. But the bigger question was why? Why does he want 300 of these? And so we started asking him, and he’s a little guarded about what’s going on, which I understand. But it came down to he says, well, it’s this whole permanent jewelry craze, like what’s permanent jewelry? And the first thing that came to my mind was piercings. Are we a throwing chain now through the nose? I don’t know, what are we doing? Yeah, but anyway, permanent jewelry is where you take a fine chain and you put it around your wrist. Like any other bracelet. But instead of using a clasp, you close that chain permanently with what’s called a jump ring. And that jump ring is, welded shut. And it just so happens that the best tool to close that jump ring was our little Orion impulse. So this craze is taking off and people are starting to get printed jewelry all over the place and they watch it and people are beginning to realize that, hey, I can start being a permanent jewelry artist and I can sell a bracelet that costs me maybe $10, and then I can sell it for 80. So there’s a big margin in there. And so this took off. It wasn’t long after he placed that order for 300 that one of our other dealers called in and wanted 100, and another dealer called in and said, I need this. And suddenly the phone started to light up and were scrambling to meet demand and demand from the market that we had no understanding of. These are not men who were calling in who wanted to start up a permanent jewelry business, rather, these are institutions, and beauty salon owners who want to get into business because their clientele is the same clientele that will want to have a permanent bracelet or permanent anklet. So that’s why we were scrambling to make all that work and trying to understand who this market is.

Jeff White: What’s the Orion impulse worth? Oh.

Andy Jensen: Well, it’s worth a lot. But it sells for around $2400. 

Jeff White: Wow.

Carman Pirie: You had mentioned before that you were doing work with. You knew that you had a kind of jewelry vertical. If you will, before, but it was more in kind of niche repair and probably wasn’t much of a focus at all when you talked about, you know, doing focus on jewellers or doing focus on aerospace, you probably put a little more energy on aerospace.

Andy Jensen: Actually. Yeah, Aerospace has always been it’s intermittent for us because of all the dynamics behind your aerospace engineers. But jewelry has always been a very steady, steady market industry for us. We do very well because we have other welder models that have both pulse arc and laser technology that really help jewellers build repair track jewelry. But these are bench jewellers, These are people who are building rings, bracelets, pendants, those types of things.

Carman Pirie: Completely different persona. Yeah.

Andy Jensen: Yeah. The persona is a mix of men and women who are goldsmiths, metalsmiths, and silversmiths, and traditionally they look at, well I think some of them still do. They look at the jewelry and just, you know, pooh-pooh it like, well, that’s not jewelry, that’s that’s not art or.

Jeff White: Akin to a tattoo than you know, then a high-end bracelet or something.

Andy Jensen: Yeah. And you can argue that they’re their clientele. The person walking into that retail jewelry shop is not looking for permanent jewelry. They’re looking for a wedding band. They’re looking for something to celebrate an anniversary or whatever. So it’s not really their clientele. So we were yeah, we have a really good relationship with the jewelry industry, so it’s great it makes up a lot of our revenue. But this new permanent jewelry thing, the people that we’re selling to are 95%, 90% women between the ages of 25 and 45 who are entrepreneurs for the most part. They’re looking for their own business right now because they are salon owners or are looking for a side hustle to bring in a couple of extra dollars for the household or for themselves. And we didn’t know anything about them. So suddenly our orange logo and our orange look just do not fly with this market really well. And the tagline under our logo says the micro welding experts, you know, these women don’t know what micro welding means. So we have to we have to change all that. But it took us time to understand that we’re so busy trying to keep up with orders. I mean, we had 300 the first month, 300, the next month, 400, 500, and we had to scramble to increase our production. Right. And we live in a smaller town about an hour south of Salt Lake City. And finding labour is a little bit more difficult. Utah’s unemployment rate is at an all-time low. In addition to that. So it created even more problems. And then, you know, you had the with the training difficulties of the pandemic as well, you know, throw a wrench into everything. So we’re scrambling to meet production. We went from an eight-hour day to a swing shift type thing, people coming in at six and then the shift not ending till seven or eight at night. Yeah, but we did really well in meeting that demand. And then we saw other opportunities. We realized that there was competition out there. There’s a welder that’s built overseas that was designed about ten or 15 years ago to be a dental lab welder, you know, to help dental labs make repairs to pontics and dentures. So people are now turning to that welder because it’s really cheap. But it’s also it’s not very safe. I don’t know if there’s any NRTL safety on that. Well, there could be. But, you know, there’s no manufacturer name on the welder and it’s just being picked up by whomever and they’re selling on Amazon and there’s no little customer service to it and trying to get it to work for closing a small jump ring takes, takes some work. But nonetheless, if there is a cheaper option out there, people are going to go for that. So we realized that we needed to come up with a different option to the Orion Impulse, something that’s a little bit more budget-friendly. And so we went to work and quickly put together a new welder in record time. It was amazing what our engineers were doing to figure out how to create something that was budgeted and quickly and how would you get that to market. So while they were working to get that new model ready. We were scrambling on the marketing side to come up with a new name, come up with, you know, a whole look and feel for this new welder and roll it out to the market.

Carman Pirie: So talk to us about that. Did you kind of have created a bit of because you said our look and feel doesn’t really appeal to this new market but it did appeal to some other pretty important customers, one assumes. Um, did you just change did you have you kind of done a bit more of a house of brand strategy? What has been their approach?

Andy Jensen: Well, we first started with the, with the look and feel of the welder. I mean, the impulse has a black case. It’s about the size of, I don’t know, six by six by four. And it’s, you know, a typical industrial black case with a digital touchscreen on the front that’s orange. So you have this orange-black look that isn’t really I mean, it’s my high school colors. I’m very proud of it, I have to say. But for women, you know, who are who want to have a very cute pop-up, you know, they’re going to farmers markets, they’re going to other events, and they’re popping up a table and they’re doing permanent jewelry that they’ll usually put some type of doily or covering over that welder to make it to soften things up to, you know, it’s more of their esthetic and their look and feel for them. So we first started with OK. Black’s not going to cut it, guys, that’s not what people want. So we did some market research, some quote-unquote market research to figure out what color would be best. And we settled on an opalescent pearl-type finish for that welder. And, you know, it looks it looks nice. You put in the sun twinkles here and there and it looks like crushed pearls and everyone’s happy. And then we had to get rid of those…

Jeff White: I apologize for interrupting. But it’s just so fascinating because, you know, your traditional audience for these welders like you said, is going to be engineers. It’s probably in a lab or a factory somewhere as a step, as part of a process. And now it’s part of a performative audience-pleasing, interesting thing at a farmer’s market in front of a whole, of all your friends when you’re getting this thing installed on your wrist, perhaps you’ve never had the, you know, the industrial design, as you say, changes, you know, in the colours, the, you know, the easy thing to do. But are you thinking even further about that, about how to kind of make it as much kind of the focal point of the entrepreneurs, you know, product?

Andy Jensen: Well yeah there were a couple of things there are still a lot of balls in the air as we were rushing to meet all this demand rushing to offer this new clientele the things that they’re looking for which are specialized grounded pliers, tools to help them keep the electrode sharp. You can’t with this market, we have to make it very easy for them to take out the electrode that is on that welder and sharpen it. I mean, if you are an engineer or whatever, taking out an electrode and sharpening it with a Dremel is no big deal. But for this market, it has to be easy and simple. So we had to design something that would help them sharpen that electrode quickly and easily and correctly at the same time. So we’re coming up with all of these accessories and tools to support the permanent jewelry market. And at the same time, knowing that we had to come out with a different welder, that would be more of budget-friendly side. We also came out with a chain, people were asking us to buy the welder and saying. Do you guys sell chains we said no but yeah sure. so we were rushing to find a chain and people are buying chains from us because they go well they’re the micro all the Yes there’s the welders. I would assume that if we buy a chain from them we know this chain is going to be high, quality and is actually going to weld. Whereas if you buy something off Etsy or Amazon, you’re not exactly sure what’s inside that chain. It could be junk metal underneath a really thin plating. So we had all that going on. But in the back of my mind, I’m thinking this our brand is not right. We’re not soft, we’re not friendly, we’re not all the pinks and peach fuzzes that that, that are that we need to be. I knew that in the back of my mind and we had to get there. But before I could get there to make those changes, one day I was on Facebook, one of these groups for permanent jewelry, and I noticed that my CEO was making conversations, and posting things. And it was really exciting like, Oh, this is awesome. I made $5,000 over the weekend at a farmer’s market and someone else did this. And so everyone’s excited. And my CEO goes, Hey, we should have a meeting. And instantly my heart rate went up and my blood pressure shot up. And the CEOs, yeah, we should have a meeting. And he says to me, No, hey, Andy, let’s, let’s, let’s, let’s organize and have this expo for permanent jewelry. And, you know, it’s it was a lot of work, but honestly, event management event marketing is probably one of my favourite things to do. So I said yes. And the next thing I know, I’m on the plane down to Las Vegas and talking to Caesar’s Palace, and they gave us a sweet deal. I mean, we were like six months away from when we were going to do this, six months and Caesar’s Palace made us a wonderful offer. You know, we had to agree to, you know, give away our first five kids and sign away and blood and all that type of stuff, if you’ve ever done that, you know what I mean? But then I’m off and running to get this expo going. And it was a grand success We had. We had 12, 14 instructors and 20 different courses. And we had I was able to get 12 sponsors to actually come and help sponsor the event. We had Codie Sanchez you may know her. She’s a big influencer in entrepreneurship for women, and came and spoke as our guest speaker. And we had just over 500 people come to that meeting. It was a great success, but in the back of my mind is still think we’re not in sync with this market. We’re not. People are coming to us because we have the only decent, real solution for closing a jump ring. That’s why they’re coming to us. They’re not coming to us because we appeal to them. Does that make sense? So we had to change that because we also knew that it wouldn’t be long before someone else jumped into this market and started offering a competitive product. And who might actually be women who know what they’re talking about? So yeah, that was what I knew that was coming. And in the spring of 2023, you know, our first competitor showed up.

Jeff White: Well, now you know, you have a market, once you have a competitor.

Carman Pirie: Yeah, that is the one the one upside, although it’s nice to be the only one swimming in the pool for a while. Hmm. What a fascinating story. I wonder, Andy, did you feel like at any point in this the company was struggling to maintain focus on some of the other more traditional verticals for the business? Like, did it create any kind of tension in that way?

Andy Jensen: Yes, absolutely. Permanent jewelry really boosted sales for us. As you might expect. We’re not a large company. We’re a small company. At that time, my team consisted of me and another gentleman who has since left to go to follow another dream. And so between the two of us, we’re really just scrambling to get things done. There really isn’t. There really wasn’t much time to stop and think and make changes. But to answer your question, yes, we started looking at, you know, what percent of our revenues are coming from what industries. And from my perspective, I started looking at comparing the, you know, lead generation volume coming from aerospace, for example, in 2023 versus 2022. And that number was not good because we had lost focus. We were still going to aerospace events, we were still from the PPC side, still targeting those keywords and working that. But our sales team is, you know, they’re picking the low-hanging fruit to sell a welder to NASA or whoever is, you know, a six, seven, eight-month process. They’re going to send you samples that need to be welded. Then you have to demonstrate that the world is solid, and is going to work, and then you have to go through all the approval processes. And once that’s done, yeah, they’ll buy a welder. But that’s a difficult sell. Whereas with on the jewelry side, our salespeople remain able to close up a sale over the phone here, grab a credit card I’ll ship it out today. There’s a lot of emotion in permanent jewelry, right? People are thinking, I buy this welder, and I can start my own business and I can make money, which is true. So that emotion helps drive the sale. And all Sunstone has to do is make sure we have quality products, great customer service, and help that person in any way we can. So yeah, we were losing focus on these other markets.

Carman Pirie: So has there been a has that kind of equalled that evened out a little bit now that you’ve kind of ridden that roller coaster ride up? Um, some other competitors have shown up, and I’m assuming you’re still obviously getting quite a significant amount of traction in the permanent jewelry market. Um, have you been able to even out the focus you find in the last little while?

Andy Jensen: Well, yes, for two different reasons. Maybe three reasons, maybe three and a half. I don’t know. We’ll see what happens. The first reason is we also came out with two new industrial welders that are just from my perspective. They are sexy and just wonderful machines. The Aeon HF is an HF welder. That is probably one of them. It is absolutely the best machine we’ve ever developed from the ground up. It’s not your grandpa’s HF Welder, this thing is beautiful. It comes with a, well. For all of our welders, one of our trademarks is that we always use a digital interface. We do not use knobs that make you look like you’re something out of the Soviet Union era. So we’re using a digital interface and this welder is incredible. So when that welder was released last year, that opened up some doors for us on the Aerospace side. Then the end of November, and December, we released another welder an AC welder, and we redesigned the whole AC welding technology. We just went back and questioned everything and came up with this beautiful AC welder. And that’s opening doors for us too. So that’s helping to get us back on track with the industrial side. So that happened. At the same time, we realized that we needed to invest in time and energy to get back into the industrial side. So we are hiring a marketing manager that will focus only on permanent jewelry and then I’ll move over and focus on industrial. That’s going to be a stretch for us and we need to find the right person for that position as well. I don’t think it can be a man. It is to be a woman. But, you know, we’re an equal-opportunity employer. So we’ll see what happens. And that’s going to help that’s going to really help. I look forward to getting back into the industrial side because you do have some remarkable solutions for that market. 

Jeff White: I think there’s a lot of power in bringing new products to market, showing that you’re still invested in that side of the business. And you know that the engineers who have mattered to you before at Sunstone continue to matter. And, you know, you’re you’re able to focus on those things. I want to ask a question and I’m not sure how this is going to come across.

Carman Pirie: So this is why we edit the podcast, ladies and gentlemen.

Jeff White: Yes. So, Rich, if this sucks, you can he could get rid of it. But, you know, one of the things about trends is that they don’t necessarily last forever, especially when it comes to things related to fashion and popular culture and all of that. How are you thinking about mitigating when permanent jewelry isn’t as much of a thing anymore? How are you going to deal with that?

Andy Jensen: Yeah, we definitely saw a surge at the beginning. Everybody wants to get in. Everybody wants to get in front of jewelry. So we saw that surge. We’ve written that surge, and now we’re on the downward side of that surge. But there is a new market, not new, but there’s a new realization coming on the beauty professional side. It takes a while for people to figure out like, well, wait a minute, this might work for my salon while we’ve been selling to salon owners and estheticians and those types of people, the vast majority of that market is still unaware of what permanent jewelry is and what it can do for their salon. Imagine what you’re doing. Look, most, I’m not an expert when it comes to the business model for a salon. But if you go into a salon and you get your hair coloured, it’s going to you’ve got to sit underneath a machine for, I don’t know, 15 minutes for that gel to set and your hair to get coloured. during that time what is the beautician doing? Well, there’s an opportunity for them to start talking about while they’re getting their hair done to actually put the bracelet on. It’s another $80 that they can apply to someone who is like looking at that going, That’s exactly what I want. You know, there was just a blurb in People magazine just last week, two weeks ago. I can’t remember the celebrity who got a permanent bracelet. But there she is in People magazine. You can imagine what that’s going to do on the consumer side. People are going to go, what is this? And they’ll want to get one. So we’re seeing a resurgence, you know, happen here probably the next month, and we’re going to take advantage of that. And I really think that there’s going to be this S-curve in terms of demand, and that’s what we’re going to ride into the latter part of 2024, regardless of where it ends up that we’re going to be on the upside of where we were prior to permanent jewelry. And that’s because we’re leading the market. We’re trying to grow the market. The Permanent Jewelry Expo, PJX is helping the the industry come together and gel. We’re educating. We’re trying to bring everyone up to best practices. And we’re also working with the Permanent Jewelry Association to try and get some type of certification involved to, you know, make it more professional. We’re just leading in terms of technology. How can you close, the jump ring faster, easier and better? We have a new model coming out here soon that will help people do that. I’m really excited about that. Don’t tell anyone about that, though. And so we’re doing everything we can to lead the market and grow the market and that’s exciting. I feel like Sunstone has really positioned itself as a leader, not just in terms of providing welders, but helping everyone get into the business if they want to, and providing all the support they need, all the tools they need, the training they need and be a bigger part of the industry rather than just, oh, we just sell welders, we want to be a part of that. And making that happen is changing our brand. So we’re moving from Sunstone. The micro building? Yes, tours to Sunstone, permanent jewelry, that’s our tagline, just permanent jewelry. And of course, we’re moving away from orange now. I love orange, but it may not be the most popular colour on that side of the wheel.

Carman Pirie: I keep wanting to. We’re going to have to drag this podcast to an hour and a half if I’m going to have something happen. But. 

Jeff White: Um, I do think it’d be worthwhile to revisit this.

Carman Pirie: Yeah. I think it’s really fascinating, this notion of we have this early adopters, this early surge, and that’s a certain type of buyer that’s attracted to us for a certain reason. I think it’ll be interesting to see if the kind of the that, that the big thick part of the market. This kind of just takes a bit longer to learn and kind of figure it out but then you know is arguably obviously much larger in size and be interesting to see how that brand plays. It was occurring to me as I was looking at the name Sunstone. It’s like, man, at least the brand name kind of still works. Like, you know, like Sunstone works for that space. There’s a brand name, um, which that’s got to be there. But the happiest of accidents for you.

Andy Jensen: Well, yes, I’m glad we didn’t have some acronym name, like, you know, ACME Welding Supplies. 

Carman Pirie: Which, you know, there was a greater than 50% chance of that being the case. Let’s be honest, Andy, I guess this is maybe an odd question to ask as we close the show, but I guess, you know because this ride is still going and it sounds like it’s going to be going for a while, but is there any one thing that so far along that you’re like, maybe I would have done that differently or maybe I would have done that sooner?

Andy Jensen: Yes, hindsight’s 20-20, right? I mean, you look back and go, man, Andy, that’s you’re kind of slow, you know, realizing that or. Andy, How come you haven’t done this? I mean, look, I want your audience to know that I am not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to marketing. I do my best. But I came from a Fortune 500 company background where I had 14 people working for me. And so we had all our bases covered and, you know, if somebody messed up, they’re fired because I was their only job, right? But here I wear a lot of different hats. You know, one minute I’m updating a website and the next minute I’m writing a blog and the next minute I’m helping down in the shop, shipped something to a trade show I don’t know, whatever that is. We have to wear many hats because we’re not a large company. So looking back, there are times when I should have pivoted faster and I’m probably in the back of my mind, somebody was screaming, Hey, this isn’t the right look. But we were having a lot of fun and a lot of success and building a lot of customer loyalty through the type the level of customer service that we provide. We’re a very friendly company and we want to help people succeed and get the most they can of our products. Yeah, things that I wish we would have done differently or wish I would have done differently. You know, back in the day when we were when the surge was coming, I kept looking at permanent jewelry as well. This is great. We’ll take these 300, 600 sales. And that’s that’s great. And here you go. I have to get back to marketing over here. And that was the kind of the feeling at least on my end, was, yeah, well, sure, we’ll do this, will do this. But our real bread and butter is over here. And looking back, I was totally wrong. Fortunately, I think our CEO had a bigger vision and he realized that this is going to be something bigger. And I remember we had a pretty intense meeting one time where there were a lot of us in that room. And he just said, guys, this this is it. And we need to we need to pivot and focus on this for right now. And that’s when I said, okay, and that’s what we did. And we’re very successful at that. And, you know, the pendulum swings both ways. We need to fill an important position to make sure that we continue to build our permanent jewelry business and continue to build the industry. Remember, we’re only talking about the US and Canada, and we’re getting a sense that things in the European Union even last week were at a show in Miami. A lot of people are coming up from South America and asking questions about this permanent jewelry thing. There are cultures in the world that are much more than value jewelry more than the U.S. culture perhaps. Right? And this could be big for those cultures. And it’s just a matter of awareness. So we feel like the rest of the world is going to follow Australia and New Zealand in particular seems to have some interest going on right now. I know that is kind of kind of interesting. So we feel like there’s going to be a lot of interest internationally, so having somebody there who understands that market better than I do is going to be very helpful.

Carman Pirie: Andy this is a fascinating story. I thank you for sharing it with us. I forward to continuing to watch it unfold with you all the best with it. This is going to be fun.

Jeff White: And I really applaud, you know, yourself and your CEO to see this opportunity and be able to kind of work through that because, you know, you could have ignored that first order and that’s just impossible. We can’t do 300. This is ridiculous. What are you talking about? And keep going. But you saw the opportunity, you took it and now you’re leading the industry and building it is a thing. And I mean, I never even really thought of it. Just how international expansion could continue to drive this for years and years. So that’s that’s really fascinating. Thanks for joining us.

Andy Jensen: Thank you. I think it’s fun to talk about. Anytime you talk about marketing, I really enjoy that. I realize that. I don’t know anything. I don’t think any marketer who thinks they know it all is not a good marketer. I try and stay humble and go, What do I learn today? What can I learn from somebody else? And that’s why I enjoy podcasts like this. Being able to share what little I know, maybe someone else will go. That’s that’s that’s a good idea. And we’re here to help each other, except for competition. I don’t want them to watch us at all.

Jeff White: I’ll make sure they don’t. Thanks so much. 

Carman Pirie: All the best.

Announcer: Thanks for listening to The Kula Ring with Carman Pirie and Jeff White. Don’t miss a single manufacturing marketing insight. Subscribe now at That’s K-U-L-A partners dot com slash The Kula Ring.

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Headshot of Andy Jensen


Andy Jensen

Director of Marketing at Sunstone Engineering

Andy Jensen is a savvy marketing communications professional with a resume that includes remarkable success with Fortune 500 companies, startups, and small businesses. Andy is known for building successful brands in dental technology, microwelding, and permanent jewelry. He resides in Utah where he enjoys hiking, biking, and travel.

The Kula Ring is a podcast for manufacturing marketers who care about evolving their strategy to gain a competitive edge.

Listen to conversations with North America’s top manufacturing marketing executives and get actionable advice for success in a rapidly transforming industry.

About Kula

Kula Partners is an agency that specializes in maximizing revenue potential for B2B manufacturers.

Our clients sell within complex, technical environments and we help them take a more targeted, account-focused approach to drive revenue growth within niche markets.


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