BOSQUE FARMS — A new business in Bosque Farms started in the home of Sean Storms.
Storms, along with his business partner, Chris Williford, are both disabled veterans who were looking to find more stable work after bouncing around doing odd jobs, such as security following their discharges from the military.
The result was Turtle Rocket.
“We just decided that it was dumb (working odd jobs) and said, ‘lets just see if we can do something on our own,’” Storms said.
Turtle Rocket is an entirely online business offering 3-D filament and resin printed miniatures, models and anything else capable of being crafted within the size restrictions of the machines.
The company officially opened for business in January, just a few months before things began to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We, unfortunately, launched in January and ran our first ad in February,” Williford said with a laugh. “I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I saw the news about COVID.”
The business was gaining momentum in its first few months through their work with balloonists, paramedics and firefighters.
Storms said they were working with a number of balloonists planning to attend the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, as well as making retirement gifts for those they knew working as paramedics and firefighters.
• Turtle Rocket
• Owners: Sean Storms and Chris Williford
• Type of service: 3-D printing, miniatures
• Address: Online only
• Website: turtlerocketminiatures.com
Then, things began to shut down, and as a business that was deemed non-essential, they were barred from shipping out any orders. While they could still accept orders, they weren’t allowed to send them out, effectively halting their business.
“We took a bit of a hiatus from everything because nothing was coming in,” Storms said. “Then in the last month or so, just with the ease of restrictions across the country we’ve started to get people who are gaming again.”
As a result, the company has been able to begin advertising again and has seen orders increasing.
All of the money for the startup costs of the business came out of pocket for the pair, which gave them flexibility as they navigated the unprecedented circumstances of the last six months.
“We weren’t hit as hard as other businesses since everything was out of our pocket,” Williford said. “We didn’t have any loans to pay back or anything like that, all we had to do was maintenance on the machines.”
The idea to begin creating miniatures came from Williford, who plays Dungeons and Dragons and wanted a 3-D printer to create his own miniatures. While he was researching and looking at patterns, he noticed that some minis sell for a lot of money.
“I was like, ‘if we do this right, we can actually make a good bit of money by printing and shipping out minis,’” Williford said.
Storms had no experience with Dungeons and Dragons before Williford got him into it. When Williford told him his plans, Storms asked to be a part of it.
“One night, he told me his plans and said here is what I’m going to be doing and I just piggybacked off it,” Storms said. “I said perfect, how much is a printer and how much do you need?”
Because everything Turtle Rocket produces is made to order, all of their products are highly customizable. Minis can be tweaked to better reflect the character of the customer placing the order, be it through a change of weapons or gender.
Long term, they hope to be able to sell minis with detachable weapons, allowing the customer to swap between different looks as necessary.
In addition, they do completely custom orders, such as cosplay masks or many of their hot air balloon models, which are often based on the balloon of the customer.
Turtle Rocket can be found on social media by searching “Turtle Rocket” or online at turtlerocketminiatures.com.