the MakerGeeks.com story
Hello, my name is Joshua b Smith and I own MakerGeeks.com - MakerGeeks.com was born out of a hobby that got way out of hand. I have always been interested in building and making even as a small child, whether it was taking the door knob off the family home at age 5 to find out how it worked or devouring the newest BASIC programming guide in the back of my Boys Life magazine to the epic plans of robots and lasers that overflowed my tree house fort work-bench; yup... you could say I was bit with the MAKE bug early and often!
However, in 2009 I got hooked on Arduino programming and building and flying home-made quad-copters. On a forum that I was a member of for the Aero-Quad group I met some great people and one of them got me interested in 3D Printing - we talked a lot about what makes a good 3D Printer and over the months I decided to make a Mendel90 RepRap machine from scratch. I wanted to source all my own parts (well back then you had to, there was no MakerGeeks or anyone else selling these parts here in the USA) so I could build the machine from the ground up and have some ownership in the design. After about 6 months of building and tinkering I was HOOKED, OK... beyond hooked actually and I wanted to be able to share this new passion with others - and to make it easier to find these parts, printers, advice and filament - remember, when MakerGeeks started there really was no US based option for 3D printing save a few small hacker-space shops that also sold their wares online.
So, MakerGeeks.com was born and we have been selling, printing and talking with all you great makers out there ever since... we started with just a few kits and a few rolls of filament and now we have one of the largest selections of 3D Printing filament, 3D printing kits and 3D printers under one roof here in the USA. We are also an official retailer for the Duplicator 5S and Duplicator 4S dual-head 3D Printers, MakerBot, PrintrBot, FlashForge, Taulman 3D, NinjaFlex as well as an official retailer for Arduino and countless other brands of companies both here in the US and internationally.
Before I started MakerGeeks.com I worked on the North Slope of Alaska's oil fields in Prudhoe Bay, AK doing ultra-sonic and radiographic testing on the pipeline. I had always been very interested in the sport supplement and nutrition market so when the opportunity came to start an e-commerce company and sell sport supplements online, well... I jumped on it with both feet. I knew nothing about business and even less about web sites or building them... however, after reading many... and do I mean MANY books on the flights to and from work (I lived in Arkansas and flew to Prudhoe Bay, AK every 3 weeks) on the subjects of web programming, selling and business topics I started my very own web-site!! I sold everything under the sun, from vitamins to pro hormones to workout gloves and books, you name it my site had it.
Well, in just 4 short years my 'little' web site was humming along nicely and Inc. Magazine named my store the #40 fastest growing business in the US for 2007 in the retail sector; and as if that wasn't enough they also named me as one of their "Top CEO's in America under the age of 30". For someone who started out in a spare bedroom with about $50 of startup capital this was a true blessing to be honored in such elite company... it was a rush that's for sure and an awesome experience!
While I was building and running my e-commerce store there was one thing that kept bugging me about the industry I was now involved in, it wasn't the most honest or trustworthy marketplace. Being a maker I thought hey, I can manufacture a better supplement using the highest end ingredients, newest equipment and keeping up with all the FDA regulations that are supposed to keep our nutritional and sport supplement products safe; instead of trying to find ways to sidestep or 'work around' the regulations!!
In 2008 I started a nutraceutical manufacturing company with a very singular purpose: to prove that Godly principles of honor, trust, respect and doing the right thing because it's the right thing can be successfully applied in business and in the sport supplement field.
At this time a large chain store approached me about selling off my eCommerce division, a deal was worked out and my very first company was sold and off to the races in good hands... and is still out there in the wild helping and promoting good health and better sports nutrition to this day! (I still like to check in on that company from time to time!)
After a few years of tinkering and enjoying the industry of making and 3D printing I started MakerGeeks.com and with nearly 15 years of being in business for myself I have truly found my passion in MakerGeeks.com. Being able to be in business and doing something that you would do all day long with a smile on your face even if you weren't making any money is truly the Favor of God and I'm so blessed to be a part of this industry and help all the great makers I meet everyday!!
MakerGeeks.com is a Christian and Christ centered company and I believe that God is in everything we do. From the product we choose to sell to the clients and partners we have to this very web site - and to that end we give Him all the glory for our success and love Him dearly and serve Him gladly. I believe in the blessing of the tither (the biblical principal of giving gladly at least 10% of your income to the Lord and His house). It has always been my goal to become a 'reverse' tithing company and individual in which my company, Megan (my wife) and myself would give 90% to the Lord and His work and keep and live on the 10% portion. Great men of God like R. G. Letourneau, the father of modern earthmoving, and Henry Crowell the founder of the Quaker Oat Co., Coleman Outdoors and countless other companies both gave much more than they kept to the Lords work. With the Lords mercy and grace I strive toward that end as well.
I'm so excited to work with you and see what you are making today, be blessed!
Joshua b Smith @ MakerGeeks.com "Make Happy!!"