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Meet Mara Hitner of MatterHackers in Foothill Ranch

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mara Hitner.

Mara, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Originally from New York, I graduated with a BA in Creative Writing For Media from Binghamton University, and studied abroad in the UK while learning to play guitar and write songs. I moved to LA to become a rockstar, and fell into a “day job” selling ads in a newspaper. 16 years, three original albums, two cover bands, and five different advertising jobs later, I found myself in a highly-paid Account Director position at a global adtech company…and I was miserable.

It was then that I discovered the emerging industry of desktop 3D printing when it was mentioned on the TV show “Elementary”. Captivated by the creative possibilities of this seemingly magical technology (and with zero computer, design or engineering background) I Googled, networked, and attended 3D printing events for six months until I got laid-off from my fancy adtech job. Two days later, 3D printing retailer MatterHackers offered me the position of Director of Business Development. Now I’m thrilled to be immersed in a “day job” I love and feeling like I’m making a difference in the world every day, while still performing in bands on weekends.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The struggle was really figuring out what I wanted to be when I grew up when I was in my 30s and it became clear that I was not going to make it as a full-time rockstar. I looked into real estate, financial planning, non-profit development, and all sorts of other “normal” careers that might utilize my sales skills but not have me hating life. It wasn’t until I found 3D printing that things started to fall into place. (Lesson: If you’re still looking for your “thing” it may not have been invented yet!)

Don’t get me wrong – I worked! As a salesperson all, I knew was that if I wanted to learn about opportunities in a new industry, I should find a trade show, meet every vendor in the expo hall, and then follow up relentlessly until someone gave me a job. So that’s what I did, and MatterHackers was one of the companies I met when I flew myself to a 3D printing trade show in Seattle. They had no position available for me at the time, but I made excuses to keep in touch (including purchasing a 3D printer from them so I could learn more) and volunteered to help in their booth at another trade show six months later. That’s where they offered me a job, two days after I got laid off.

MatterHackers – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
MatterHackers is the largest desktop 3D printing retailer. Major corporations, schools, and small businesses alike come to us because we carry 50+ desktop 3D printers and 500+ materials at, and in our Orange County showroom. Our in-house experts can recommend the best machines, materials, and workflow solutions for any use-case and budget. We also offer lifetime phone and email support for every printer we sell.

I am proud of the fact that we always put the customer experience first. Our sales team does not work on commission because we always want to recommend the 3D printer and materials that will make our customers successful with their projects, not the one that has the best margins or the one that’s on sale. We have a ton of useful and inspiring articles and videos on our website (some written and hosted by me) that tell our customer’s stories, and hearing about the difference they are making in the world keeps us motivated to do our best every day.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
If I am happy and I’m being a positive contribution to the world, that’s success.

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