Hello, my name is Dan Dundin. My sister Meredith and I make little houses and forests for our shop, 2of2. We operate the business in Lambertville, New Jersey, and New York, New York.
Mer and I have dreamed of this collaboration since we were kids and worked together as babysitters, ice-cream scoopers, and lifeguards. Back then, we never could have imagined the blood, sweat, and tears that would go into building our business, but we also couldn’t have known that it would bring out the best in us. 2of2 has helped us reach new depths of our creativity and work ethic; it has taught us to be fluid and to trust ourselves. Most of all, it has showed us the value of loving what you do.
We employ many different processes in creating our designs. They range from the very organic, such as carving the trees, to the very technical, like the way we wire the lighting in the ghost house. These very different processes happened by accident but have been quite serendipitous. Not only do they ward off monotony, but Mer and I each excel at different tasks; her nimble, delicate touch is perfect for assembling the very exact little structures, while I have an eye for the free-form design.
I think what sets our shop apart is our two distinct points of view, in each piece there is some of Meredith and some of myself. Whenever I have a new concept design, I run it by Mer and she will, without fail, improve upon it with something I would have never thought of. It’s a true collaboration and I feel this juxtaposition – the mix of masculine and feminine, rustic and modern, simple and involved. That is what makes our pieces speak to people.
My favorite creation was the very first ghost house I ever made. It was rough and a bit messy – I had cut each little piece of balsa and basswood by hand. I think it took me the better part of two days to build, but when I turned on the light I was smitten. I showed it to Meredith and she immediately suggested I make more so we could see what a whole “neighborhood” of them looked like. Up until that point, my work had been creation for creation’s sake, but upon seeing this village of little glowing homes the Etsy seed was planted.
Etsy has always been a favorite place to look for the perfect gift, because of both the vast array of wares and the opportunity to support a small business. Once Mer and I decided to try our hand on Etsy, we found that it is so much more than just a shopping venue. It’s a network of like-minded people – people who love to create and collect, and people who support one another. This community kept us motivated when we were new and traffic was slow, and they continue to inspire us to grow and improve.
Meredith and I do what we do for so many reasons: the fulfillment of having something tangible to show for a long day of work, the freedom of being our own boss, and above all else, as a tribute to our late mother. It was during her battle with terminal cancer that Mer and I dreamed up this little business; our creations were able to put a smile on her face in an otherwise dark time. We still thank her for every triumph, big or small, that comes our way.
All photos by 2of2.