They switched up the project and tried making shot glasses, bracelets, and the like, but the market just wasn't there. Bourgholtzer still had distributors demanding his product, so he did what most blowers had to do: took the movement deeper underground and kept it alive.
"We made more money because the demand was still there and we could charge more because it was harder to get," he says. "I've always been somewhat rebellious my whole life. I've always been a kind, giving person, but I've always wanted to be off the grid if I can, so it was right up my alley."
These days, things aren't quite as hard as they used to be, but there's still a certain level of paranoia that comes with the job. Every time a local patrol car drives by his house, Bourgholtzer gets a bit nervous. He's not just some kid blowing glass anymore. He's a loving dad supporting his family, part of why he makes the trek to his socially acceptable day job every week. He knows he's fortunate to be doing what he loves, whatever form it takes.
"I try to just really enjoy every second that I'm doing it," he says. "It's a passion I've had forever. If I'm in a bad mood and I start working, as long as things go well, I get into a better one. It's almost like a meditation."
J. Michael Glass doesn't do only pipes. He's broadening his scope to do all manner of cool projects, but it's within the smoking community that he feels most comfortable. Maybe that's why, in pushing himself toward higher entrepreneurial goals, he always leaves room to take the community with him.
He has a new website going, designed to help himself and others feel more comfortable tackling custom orders. Those can be tricky, because increasingly-educated customers are just plain picky. No one wants to get done with a piece only to be told, "That's not what I want." Build your own Wyz Guy, or byowyzguy.com, allows customers to tinker with a piece online so as to see the finished product before placing their final order.