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Written By ALYSSA PARKHILL
LOCAL JOURNALISM INITIATIVE REPORTER
Local brothers Thomas and Marcus Dietrich have thunk up a brilliant business idea that will not only help the community, but also keep their hands busy.
It was March Break when the two brothers, aged 16 and 14, noticed the many neglected and run-down mailboxes in their neighbourhood while on their drive back from the movies. Conversation moved from counting the mailboxes that looked like they were on their last legs, to what they could possibly do to help. Lucky for them, they knew how to build and operate tools safely, thanks to their dad.
As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and the economy being greatly affected, both Marcus and Thomas unfortunately lost their summer jobs. Just a short time later, their summer vacation was also cancelled. Things weren't turning out the way they hoped. So, they took matters into their own hands.
“We then decided to just do our own thing and go the entrepreneurial route of starting The Mailbox Studio. As March break turned into April, we focused on designing three product versions and built prototype samples for the purpose of having a few pictures in hopes of eventually making a webpage,” explained Thomas. “Before we could launch our webpage, we had received several orders from friends and neighbours just through word-of-mouth.”
They created flyers and got their dad to drive around to residents who may be in need of a new mailbox in Caledon. As soon as news began to spread about Mailbox Studio, business was booming.
“It was only then when we truly realized the demand for what we started. We were getting not only requests for local installations but surprisingly had customers willing to pick up from out of town,” said Thomas. “We got orders from as far south as Lakeshore in Mississauga, as far north as Collingwood and even from Kitchener and Scarborough. I'm still not sure how that happened.”
They began with three main services - the Classic, the Country Lane and the Estate.
“For all three products, we offer address numbering and also local (weekend) installations. Installations have always been restricted to weekends because we both are not old enough to drive and must rely on dad's availability,” explained Thomas. “We have also now started offering other services too as a result of several customers' requests who actually did not need a roadside mailbox, but who really appreciated our efforts and liked our woodworking skills.”
Some other popular requests the brother-duo got were simple address posts with metal numbers, as well as professionally done carved wooden signs and plaques.
Both Thomas and Marcus are attending high school, and are managing their business on the side. They continue to put their education as their main priority, without forgetting or neglecting time for their business.
“School has become a priority, especially when trying to focus on Grade 11 physics at the moment for me. The business is surprisingly still doing well but has slowed compared to the summer months,” said Thomas. “Construction is happening mainly on weekends now due to our availability but we're currently still happily accepting orders.”
The Mailbox Studio is a seasonal business and will be stopping production come winter time. They plan to reopen and continue growing their business in the spring.
The brothers have had the opportunity to experience the world of business and entrepreneurship and are excited to see what more they can do to grow and even broaden out to new areas.
“In the future we may want to figure out how to get our mailbox models and services to customers outside of our local area,” said Thomas. “At one time, we even got the question if we can ship to Ottawa. Unfortunately, we didn't quite know how to go about shipping anything, but it certainly got me excited to learn more about how other businesses work. Perhaps, with a little help, we might just keep it growing.”
The Mailbox Studio has seen tremendous success and unlimited amount of support from their community. Being able to do something they love to do, while meeting new and different kinds of people has been a nonstop thrill for the Dietrichs. They've gotten a demand of orders and even help from total strangers who donated tools to the brothers.
“It has not just been fun for us but surprisingly it became an experience beyond what we ever imagined back during March break,” remarked Thomas.
For more information about Thomas and Marcus Dietrich's company The Mailbox Studio, please visit mailboxstudio.ca.
Post date: 2020-10-15 10:53:18
Post date GMT: 2020-10-15 14:53:18
Post modified date: 2020-10-15 10:53:20
Post modified date GMT: 2020-10-15 14:53:20
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