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Opening Our Virtual Doors to Business

April 07, 2009

By Clint Pachl

Target Meister was conceived on the morning of December 1, 2008 after a provocative target stand conversation with the Big Kahuna (Paul) during the Thanksgiving holiday. Over the next few months, Jen, my parents (Patti and Paul), and I perfected the design and fabrication process of our first target stand. We profusely tested every prototype. Jen and I found suppliers, explored advertising avenues, and started slowly getting the word out. During my free time, I custom built the website. Several months passed and we were finally ready to go live!

Kim the guinea pig

During the site development, I conjecturally tested the e-commerce system using "fake transactions". However, I was uncertain of how the system would process real transactions. I needed a guinea pig to test the e-commerce waters.

A couple of months earlier, I mentioned on Facebook that my family and I were starting a target stand fabrication business. My cousin, Kim, exhibited interest. She had just completed her hunter's safety course and was ready for shooting practice. I thought Kim would be a great first customer to test our live e-commerce store; she agreed. She ordered our portable PVC target stand system, including the carrying bag. Everything worked; the shopping cart, the shipping and payment notifications, the payment system. I was ecstatic! I called Kim and told her she was officially our first customer.

I bolted out to the inventory warehouse (a.k.a. the garage) and began packing up her order and sent it out the next morning. A couple of days later, I had a notion that I forgot the target backing; Kim confirmed this. I felt like an ass. Kim wasn't too worried and understood. After that incident, I implemented a packing checklist. There has been lots of trial and error along the way as this is new territory for all of us.

Clint overworked at his computer

Target Meister has been a TON of effort. I recently put in a 23 hour day. There have been many sleepless nights; mostly too excited to sleep. Target Meister is like a newborn baby that needs lots of care, feeding, and attention. Nonetheless, it has been tremendously rewarding. I'm grateful for the positive feedback from our first handful of customers. We're enthused everyone is enjoying our target stands. It is extremely gratifying to engineer a real product from an idea, put a business process around it, and ultimately sell it to customers who find value in your craft.

Finally, I would like to thank my parents and Jen. Without them, Target Meister would not exist. They have logged many laborious hours, invested money in equipment, tools, and supplies, and radiate immense moral support to keep this beast moving forward. Thanks to everyone for helping forge my December 1st vision into a reality!