Today we’d like to introduce you to Eric Scotti.
Hi Eric, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I initially started Blue Collar Products by Design (BCP) back in 2016 as just a side business to earn additional income for my family. I was a full-time employee with the state; traveling over 3 hours to and from work roundtrip each day.
As the years went by, the daily commute worsened and began to really take its toll, but my BCP product lines were continuing to grow and gaining popularity. So, with the support of my family, I made the decision to leave my state job and pursue my entrepreneurial dreams.
Many people called me crazy; for leaving a secure job in 2020 during the height of a worldwide pandemic when many businesses were closing their doors, but those who have that ‘fire’ understand. Since then, I’ve encountered numerous challenges such as material shortages, shipping delays, and price increases; but, despite all of that, I continued to work hard, learn and grow BCP. Today, I am very proud of BCP and all of our achievements and I’m excited because our story is actually just getting started!
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
In no way has this journey been a “smooth road”. It has taken a lot of hard work, commitment, determination, sacrifice, and an occasional stroke of luck to get where I am today. There’s been a lot of trials and tribulations in finding that right market, learning how to navigate through all the logistics, discovering how to successfully market my products, and, worst of all, realizing just how much it actually costs to own a business (both financially and personally).
In my opinion, owning and operating a small business is one of the most difficult professions and most do not succeed at it. It is definitely the road less chosen and is not for those who are NOT willing to take calculated risks. But, if you believe in your dreams and you make the commitment to chase them, the reward can be great.
As you know, we’re big fans of Blue Collar Products by Design LLC. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
BCP is a local, small business that’s owned and operated by working-class people who understand what the consumer wants and, more importantly, what they deserve! From the very beginning, my motto has always been to ‘get back to the basics.’ In other words, I strive to provide customers with long-lasting, quality products built right here in the USA for a reasonable exchange of their hard-earned money. We not only pride ourselves on the products and services we provide, but we are also firm believers in under-promising and over-delivering. Customer service in today’s society is falling short but we believe it to be one of the most important aspects of our business motto.
When I started BCP, I wanted to find niche markets in and around the South Texas area, and the first one I stumbled upon was firewood racks. People use firewood to cook, keep warm, and for ambiance in outdoor living spaces, their hunting leases, etc. We designed a functional, appealing line of firewood racks and then took it a step further and offered personalization. Customers can get two personalized emblems on the sides of our Traditional Style racks. We do a lot of last names, company logos, cattle brands, etc.; with the incorporation of our CNC plasma machine, the possibilities are endless. The CNC plasma machine also allowed us to design and make a wide array of metal art and décor which we sold for many years.
The second niche market that we quickly became involved with was our beehive stands which we fondly named “Bee-C Hive Stands” (BC – for Blue Collar.) Recreational beekeeping has really become very popular, especially in Texas, since land owners can now claim an agricultural exemption if they maintain five+ hives on their property. Through collaboration with my uncle and dad, both recreational beekeepers, we designed an ergonomic stand that helps deter pests like ants from invading the hive. I obtained a design patent on these stands and can proudly say “They are the only stand fit for a queen.”
As I watched my firewood racks and beehive stands gain momentum throughout their market, I was still trying to dial in the real focus of what my business would represent and be classified as. I knew this was a critical piece of the puzzle because it is one of the main components of all online search engines and their algorithms. Essentially, it can mean the difference in reaching your target audience or not. The way we classify our business now is Outdoor Living Accessories.
Nowadays, as an outdoor living accessories manufacturer, we specialize in so much more than just firewood racks and beehive stands. Our product line is very diverse! It includes BBQ Pits, Smokers and Grills, Firewood racks, beehive stands, entrance gates, gas and wood burning fire pits, privacy screens, furniture, and pergolas. We also offer custom welding and CNC services. We are very proud of how far we have come from the days of metal art and firewood racks to now building 1000-gallon smokers on trailers! It’s amazing where a dream and a lot of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice can get you!
Blue Collar Pits, Smokers & Grills ™
Bee C Hive Stands for U.S. Patent NO. D790137
Blue Collar Pits ™
Blue Collar Firewood Racks
Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
As I mentioned earlier, our story is just getting started but we have found the San Antonio area SBA hub facility, located in the HF Garcia Federal Building and Courthouse in downtown, to be a very generous entity with a wealth of knowledge. They offer free online seminars, classes, and virtual or in-person mentorship from successful men and women from around the community.
- Website: https://bluecollarproducts.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blue_collar_pits_smokers/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bluecollarproductsbydesign
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/BCPbyDesign
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUzlC8VaJ2dlOs9wzpk3bLA
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/blue-collar-products-by-design-san-antonio-10
- Other: https://www.pinterest.com/BCPbyDesignLLC/