It was summer, my girls were still little then and my son was just a baby. As a single father, I didn't have a lot of money to spend on summer camps or vacations so we tried to stay close to home. We had an old oak tree in our back yard that was perfect for a swing; so one morning the girls and I set out to make one. Like most hot summer days spent with three children under the age of six, this day was filled with lots of pestering, some whining, some fussing and a fair bit of tattling, right up until our swing was done that is. I hung it from a high branch and almost before the knot was tied the girls were on it and suddenly everything seemed right in the world. It sounds silly I know but like the sun coming out from behind the clouds the whining was replaced with laughter, the fussing with shouts of joy, and the tattling with love for each other. I sat down on the porch and watched the girls taking turns pushing each other on the swing while my son played in the grass at my feet. For the first time, in a long time, things felt right.
Just about every activity that summer somehow involved that swing and I don't know when it exactly happened but the girls were swinging as usual and one said “daddy you should make swings and sell um.” Great wisdom often comes from the mouths of children and this advice felt so right that we decided to give it a try. We bought some more rope and wood, made up a dozen swings and took them down to the local farmers market to sell.
We sold out that very first day! Before long we had rented a booth and hung a swing from the rafters. We spent every Saturday and Sunday morning down at the farmers market nestled between the fruit and vegetable stalls. Children stood in line to take turns swinging while the adults gathered around with far off looks in their eyes reminiscing with each other about the swing they had at their cabin, or their grandparents house, or their backyards when they had been kids. It was then that we came up with our tag line “Helping to create memories that will last a lifetime”. We sold a lot of swings that summer.
That was almost 12 years ago now and things have changed a lot in that time. The girls are getting ready to graduate high school and it seems like my son grows an inch almost every night. Our little business has grown and changed too. We formed a partnership a local company that takes trees the city cuts down due to construction, weather damage and even disease and instead of throwing them in the dump (as the city had been doing) they have developed a process to save the wood and mill it into usable lumber for our swings. We moved out of our little shop in the garage and into a big warehouse. We bought large woodworking equipment and even built our own kiln for drying wood. We grew our business slowly though; insuring that we focused on the values that were important to us. Quality craftsmanship, designs that were not only functional but beautiful, and most importantly ensuring that our business had positive impact on the environment. While we have learned and grown a lot in the last twelve years, somethings have stayed the same. Our desire to share the experience we had that first summer with our backyard swing and our hope to help create memories that will last a lifetime.
Thanks so much for your support,
Bill, Mackenzie, Brien, & Calvin