It All Started With A Glass Of Beer: How Matthew Cummings Began The Pretentious Glass Co.

After Matthew Cummings focused on his side hustle, it gave him a sustainable business making $750,000 a year. Cummings is a glass sculptor who decided to create a line of beer specialty products that would go along with the fine arts business. Initially, his only investment was a $500 bill that he allocated to his products’ logo and some photography. He then put his products on Etsy, and the rest was history, as they say, it.

Etsy is an online marketplace where artists and artisans sell their handmade and vintage goods. Cummings started his online business nine years ago, his glass studio only had one sale at a time, and gradually, his sales at the site increased. Eventually, he started earning 98% of his current income through the website. Pretentious Glass Co, the glass business of Cummings, has reported a sale of $750,000 in 2020 alone, which is double his $375,000 earnings in 2019. Even before the Pandemic, he already has excellent sales at $375,000 and about $100,000 – 120,000 a year profit from his art galleries.

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How Matthew Cummings Started Pretentious Glass Co.

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Cummings started selling on the website in early 2012 when he was looking to generate additional income and start selling some of his fine artworks. He was looking for a more financially stable income, and selling on Etsy seemed to be the answer. Pretentious Glass Co. produces wobble glass which has about $25,000 to $40,000 monthly overhead costs.

The idea of handcrafted beer glasses was an idea from a get-together Cummings had with his artist friends. They meet every month in a courtyard just outside his studio in Louisville, Ky. Cumming then wanted to surprise his friends with beer glasses that he created on his glass blowing studio; each glass has fingerprints of his friends on it. Most of his friends laughed and loved the glass, and one of them uttered, “This is so pretentious,” which is where he got his business name.

Scaling His Idea

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After Pretentious Glass was born, he started researching for glass designs, and just after six months of research, he was able to create prototypes and test them with his friends. His beer glasses range from $30 to $65. The most expensive beer glass is an English beer mug with a textured diamond pattern that sells for $65. He listed the products on Etsy because he thinks that putting up a website on his own is a lot of work. He also lacked the knowledge of e-commerce, and Etsy already has an extensive market reach which can help his target market reach his business quickly. He chose the tags like glassware, craft beer, and whisky so that buyers interested in drinking would see his listings.

Growing His Etsy Store Into A Massive Business

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Cummings got a fair share of luck when his product was featured on Etsy’s special occasion’s list, where he earned a lot of attention from Etsy users and got sales to boost from the feature. Etsy sends out emails to their users about featured products, and Cummings’ products are among these products mailed out to customers. Cummings believes that using Etsy as a platform to sell his products made him avoid first-time business owners’ mistakes. Etsy also has a community of sellers where he gets to seek and share advice with his fellow sellers and even get help from Etsy experts.

Cummings is one of the current 5.2 million sellers on Etsy who are actively selling products. The number of people dealing in the second quarter of 2021 has increased 67% compared to last year’s second quarter. Sellers have used the platform to save on the costs of building websites themselves and access different online tools. Etsy also helped the sellers reach a lot more people than if they sell on their own. The listing price of 20 cents per product and about 5% commission on sales, or about 12 to 15% if the deal came through the offsite advertisement.

Most sellers on Etsy use the site to do a side hustle, but a considerable percentage of sellers do make a living off the website. In a survey of Etsy in 2021, about 30% of the sellers on the website are selling on Etsy to make a living, and it is their sole source of income. Average sellers on the website have generated about $2,355 in sales last year or $196 per month.

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Sources: Wallstreet Journal, City View Mag, CBS News

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