Specialty Gifts and Personalization
A collection of our different projects.
It started with a good idea....The story of my life - filled with good ideas. We are all just a dream away from the next great idea - I'm channeling "sham-wow" right now. Those TV commercials almost beg me to order just for pure curiosity. Sorry, I've wanted a "Garden Weasel" since I was 5 years old. I have yet to get one too.....
I'm an Army Veteran, and I was called up to go to Iraq as a reservist while working for an excellent private sector company. I was away from home for about 14 months, none of which was spent in Iraq - Thank you God. But with all my band of brothers (and sisters) down range, I had a lot of time to think. Too much time in some respects - idle minds are the hands of the devil.
My wife was pregnant with my son at the time, and I wanted to create a toy or something that could be a keepsake. Something made of wood. I got my head wrapped around quality wooden puzzles. My daughters had loved putting together puzzles, but they sometimes didn't last long i.e. the cardboard gets wet, torn, tattered, etc.
I turned my time and effort to figuring out what I would do and what it would take. I started investigating lasers, and I had the chance to take leave and visit a product show of sorts, and I was sold (think garden weasel here). These lasers could cut, engrave, make bread, slice bread, make butter, etc. Okay, maybe not all that, but with a good imagination and creativity lasers are very versatile.
My time with the Army came to an end, and I was able to fly out to Golden, Colorado and visit with the nice people from Epilog Laser. I was impressed, and I had a good idea of what I wanted, and what I wanted to do. I decided to make 1/4" cherry or walnut puzzles with different shapes in them. Also, I wanted a nice wooden back and the ability to customize the front of the puzzles too. I started with basic puzzles that I could put names on, and I even laser engraved one with a photo of my young son. The product is very nice. Friends and family alike thought we had a good idea - well it's only a good idea if people buy them. That was the problem - almost regardless of price I couldn't sell them. People would pick them up and talk about the quality and lasting forever, but the product and I could just not sell them. We decided to branch out in a few different directions. You see a culmination of some of the more popular creations. We've done a fair amount of custom work over the years to the delight of many customers!
We have going strong for about 10 years selling mostly in the Midwest United States at Fall and Christmas Bazaars as a hobby. To continue the hobby in the south, we have started to branch out to niche retail markets; we do drop ship programs with retail online outlets, and we recently turned to Etsy and social media.
This is a fun journey for us, and we are a family business - all four of my children, elementary school to college age, are involved in some aspect of what we do. I can't count the teaching moments we have had in this journey. It's work and fun, and I hope my children grow up with the entrepreneurial spirit. What's life without living a little?
I hope you enjoyed the story of where we are. It's been a marathon not a sprint. We've endured moving 10 hours away from family; my wife is a Miracle of God surviving cancer, and here we are today!