In our latest installment of “Military Small Business,” meet Brandon and Victoria behind Sub Nautical Maps! With what started as a woodworking hobby turned into a thriving side hustle. Port maps make great farewell gifts, but why not order one from a submariner family? Learn more below!
Name: Brandon and Victoria
Hometown: Austin, TX
Branch of Military: US Navy/Submarines
Current Duty Station: PAX River, Maryland for Shore Tour, originally from Groton, CT for sea tour
Q: Tell us about your business.
We are Sub Nautical Maps, dedicated to creating personalized, one-of-a-kind heirloom/keepsakes of Ports to be given as farewell gifts, to celebrate the completion of a deployment, for submarine veterans who never got a memento for his/her time, etc. We work on things as a couple and just love to get to meet other submariners, past and present, through this to get to create beautiful pieces!
Q: What made you choose this type of business?
It sort of naturally evolved into this. My husband loves woodworking and elevated his craft with a laser engraver. It started as making some farewell gifts with previous boat friends then turned into wanting to share products with other submariners! Once we moved things to Etsy, I started to help with assembly, communications, and designs while my husband works the creation and workshop side of the house.
Q: What motivated you to start your business?
It has been a passion that has turned into a side business to help make special products for the community we have come to love, the Submarine Community! We know, just like everyone else, how difficult sea tours are and the hardships that come with it for both the service member and families at home, and we would like to help make products that help celebrate the accomplishment of making it through these tours!
Q: How do you manage the work/life balance as a military spouse/servicemember?
We treat this more as a hobby rather than a business/job. We purposely do not take on more projects than we can accommodate at a time and also spend more time talking and communicating with our customers so that we can learn their story, understand their experience, and help them customize their product to truly represent the message that they are trying to convey in their personalized product.
Doing this means products aren’t created and delivered in days vice weeks for our customers, a business approach that many would shy away from, but the attention to detail and the clear communication we have with customers, we have never had a complaint about end quality and experience with our customers.
Q: Any advice for fellow milspouses who want to start their own business?
Don’t be afraid to go for it and do something that brings you joy and satisfaction. In the beginning, things are going to be slow and sales low/rare, but in doing something that you enjoy, and in our case, something you can do together with your spouse, it makes it that much more fun! We treat it as a hobby that we enjoy doing together, and that has helped us enjoy the early days!
Q: Favorite thing(s) to do in your current duty station?
- Washington DC Museums and Smithonians. Free and can fill a full day of cool stuff to do.
- The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is by far one of the coolest museums we’ve ever been to.
- Old Town Alexandria, wonderful southern charm town that feels like a Charleston vibe. Plenty of delicious restaurants to choose from and on the water. Great gelato and best of all, free parking on weekends and garage parking that’s a max of $5 daily!
Q: Where can we support and learn more about your business?
Email us directly at Subnauticalmap@gmail.com!
Do you know of a military small business we should feature? Email us at TheSubmergedLife@gmail.com. To explore other small business profiles, click here.