Whether its neon, chemical elements or logarithmic coasters, Los Angeles’ newest online novelty home goods store, B+ Shop, has you covered for your geeky accessory needs.
Opened in 2012, the store’s name is inspired by a very simple reason — it matches owner Byron Samayoa’s academic traits.
“My name is Byron and I was never a straight A-plus student,” he said. “I was definitely more of a B-plus student.”
According to Samayoa, B+ Shop is supposed to be out of the box.
“[I want to] bring the awesomeness of science from the sterility of laboratory and field to your home,” he said.
He emphasized that the purpose of B+ Shop is to create a home-ware products store that offers accessories related to specific academic subjects.
“I try to combine the three things I really enjoy — science, math and home-ware design,” Samayoa said.
In fact, this whole venture resulted from how much Samayoa loved those three things. Samayoa said he really just wanted to have a set of coasters with some periodic table elements on it and decided to go ahead and make it.
What pushed him to create a legitimate business, however, was the fact that his last business — a taco truck website — had just fallen through.
“The thought that this would be another idea that I started and left by the wayside really drove me to get it up and running,” Samayoa said. “Regardless, if no one bought any product, I just really wanted to launch this store.”
Though it did take some time to develop products and figure out the logistics, B+ Shop is now up and running smoothly. It’s a long process — each set he makes, packages and ships, involved materials and work from about six different vendors.
“Coming up with the new idea is the easy part; finding the manufacturer who makes a 4x4x1 cardboard tuck box will drive you mad,” he said.
Though the B+ Shop is currently online only, Samayoa does have some plans for expansion. According to him, setting up an online shop was the easiest way of testing if there was any sort of audience for his line of products. He’s also looking to make more items and expand to more bar-ware, glassware and utensils.
“Maybe in the deep future, I think if I got a large collection of in-house designed products and curated products, I’d consider a physical store,” he said. “But, currently with a full-time job, online is what time allows.”
That being said, he is not planning on officially adding anyone to his payroll anytime soon.
“Though on paper I’m a one-man show, I’ve received and continue to receive helpful feedback from my customers and a few close friends who range in backgrounds, who I’ve come to consider my trusted advisers,” he said. “But no plans to have anyone on the books.”
In terms of reaching a wider audience, his current marketing strategy has focused on social media and a couple of DIY fairs. His aim right now has been mainly to get his name out there and reach not only students, but anyone who shares science or math tendencies.
“I’m my own customer, I suppose, and my target customers are grown-up nerds, like myself. No particular age group.”
It seems as if this strategy has been working, since he has a devoted customer base that continuously prides him with positive feedback. Of all the coasters, he said, people seem to like his neon coaster set the best.
“It’s definitely more eye-catching,” he said, “but many of my customers prefer a solid wooden coaster. Just depends on your aesthetic.”
He also said a good amount of the customers he’s had are very excited about science or have friends who are very excited about science and are getting gifts for them, which made him optimistic and enthusiastic about the overall response to his products.
“I’m a science nerd who is testing a hypothesis,” he said. “If I make things I’d buy, maybe other grown-up nerds will too.”
In terms of new products, customers can expect a few molecule coaster sets coming up in the next week or so. Samayoa said that he has plenty of ideas for B+ Shop and plans in the future to branch out to other subjects, including math, anatomy and even English Literature. And as far as glassware is concerned, he promised that he did have something coming up that should complement any home bar.
“Coming up with new products is the best part of the job,” he said. “It’s a combination of letting the mind wander to new ideas as crazy as they get, and then making them practical and problem-solving for fabrication’s sake.”