Each month, we like to spotlight our merchants who have founded businesses they love. This month, we’re highlighting another one of our own employees. Volusioneer Laura Snyder began building clocks out of records when tasked with cleaning out her dad's collection. Learn more about her process and inspiration here!
Tell us about your business Lemony Clocks. When and how did you come up with the idea for this business?
I came up with this business about halfway through the training class I was in when I started here. I was in training, and they mentioned we would get a free store.
At the time, I was already selling my Dad's record collection to record stores, because he was making room in his house. At first, we were getting a good return — $50, $60 a crate — and we would split the profit. But, then I got offered a bad deal: $30 for 3 crates.
I felt discouraged, I thought, "Whaaat? Why would they offer $30 for this many records? Don’t they know how special these are?" I had to find a way to make this right: this was my dad’s record collection!
If they offered $30 for that many records, I bet I could make $15 for one if I made it into a clock.
Sitting in training class, I kept thinking, well…if they offered $30 for that many records, I bet I could make $15 for one if I made it into a clock. Then I Googled videos on how to make clocks work, and my brain pretty much exploded. I started making prototypes and playing around with clock parts. It was so much fun!
Why the name "Lemony"?
I called it Lemony Clocks for two reasons:
- I was given "lemons" so I made clocks out of the situation.
- I thought, "I'm taking these old scratched records and old clocks and making them something lemony fresh!"
How do you measure your success as a business owner?
It's not measured through sales...yet. But, I feel like since I started this business I’ve gone from the black and white Kansas farm scene in Wizard of Oz to the Color Scene where Dorothy gets to Oz and everything is in bright, vivid color. She meets Glinda and gets those bright, red shoes. It’s awesome.
I feel like since I started this business I’ve gone from the black & white Kansas farm scene in Wizard of Oz to the Color Scene where Dorothy gets to Oz and everything is in bright, vivid color.
I was going through one of the hardest times of my life when Lemony Clocks started, and having this hobby/store really helped me get through that. Besides finding a way to cope with those feelings, I found confidence. I never realized how important it is to have a creative outlet, so finding this way to express myself and to get all of the stress out through being crafty feels like I found success in that way.
One of my friends messaged me on Facebook and said “I didn’t know you were getting into manufacturing?!” and I thought to myself “I didn’t know that, either!". I’ve learned things about marketing, SEO, how to make and repair clocks, how to paint and how to build a store. I feel like all that I have learned has been my version of success.
What were some of your struggles when starting your business?
1. The Glue
In the beginning, I bought dozens of clock parts from overseas that broke easily, and I inadvertently was huffing E-6000 glue. I kept getting headaches and giggling about dumb stuff, and didn’t know that was the cause. My dad texted me one day and was like “I hope you’re using a mask with that glue, that’s what people got high with in the 70s”.
I immediately quit using that glue when I realized what was going on, and then switched to a glue that wasn’t as strong. So that was quite the struggle: trying to find a good glue that wouldn’t make me woozy, but was also good enough to make the numbers stick.
2. The Clock Parts
When you buy stuff overseas, it’s cheap...but cheap isn’t always the best thing, because the parts I first bought weren’t sturdy. The mechanisms worked great, but the hands bent like Gumby. What I decided to do was buy the kits, then throw out the hands and instead buy some clock hands from Amazon that were sturdier. So I have inexpensive clock mechanisms, with different clock hands that fit.
3. Negative Feedback
Some people told me that it was sacrilegious to make a clock out of a record. That was hard to hear, and it took some time to really process that. I almost quit making clocks because I felt like such a bad person for defacing a piece of history.
There are going to be people who dislike my business, and that’s OK.
All in all, I decided that it was ok to make clocks out of records. There are going to be people who dislike my business, and that’s OK. I have a rule though: I’ll make clocks out of 45 RPMs (singles), but not the 33 RPMs (full album). I think clocks look better as 45s, and since they’re just singles and not the entire album that feels better on the conscience.
What's the best part about owning your own business?
The best part is I get to have an idea and then do it however I want. I can be weird and put excited cat faces in vintage clock frames, and people actually like it and want to buy it. That makes me feel good. I love my business. I love getting to express myself without being afraid of what people might think.
Why did you decide to open an online store rather than sell on Etsy?
I started Etsy after I started my Volusion store, and only sold one clock from that. I’m doing better selling things in person and then telling them about my Volusion store. I want to focus on my community and sell clocks that are special to funky Texans like me. I want to sell things at Farmers markets and festivals, and let word of mouth and SEO do its thing.
What are you plans for the future? Do you envision this business becoming your career?
I’m having so much fun making clocks that I haven’t really thought about having any solid future plans for it. I don’t see this business replacing my career. Maybe when I’m a little old lady I can do this for my main job: just make clocks and sell them online and then go play Bingo with my buddies.
Want to watch even more of Laura's story? Check out the video below!