Hello, my name is Philip Mast and I live in Goshen, Indiana. I run Hedge House with my sister, Katlyn, and two Amish builders, Elva and Harley Bontreger. Katlyn handles customer communications and just about everything else, allowing me time to work on new designs and photography. Elva and Harley work from their shops on family homesteads in nearby Lagrange County.
I started Hedge House by designing pieces that I would want in my house. My process starts with a sketch. Next, I finalize details and work with Elva or Harley on the prototype. Once we have the finished product, it goes to our studio (which is a 100-year-old schoolhouse on Goshen’s west side) for photos. We stage the photo scenes with handmade items purchased from our favorite Etsy shops. The schoolroom’s tall ceilings and expansive windows create an open, fresh feeling that complements the furniture. Our pictures are our primary means of communicating with the Etsy audience, and I think they’re what make the shop unique.
Another piece of our process that sets us apart is that we relate to our builders on a personal level. Katlyn and mine’s grandparents are Amish, and Gramps often rides out to the builders’ shops with us to brush up on his Dutch and reconnect with his heritage. We like that our work with Elva and Harley enables them to maintain the Amish tradition, and we’re proud that our furniture is built on a small scale, instead of in a factory.
Custom requests exposed us to a broader range of what people are looking for. I try to incorporate these needs and preferences into our style and techniques. Several custom orders have become permanent fixtures in our shop, like the Rosarita table and bench. We originally created the bench for a customer who was looking for something to match her existing table and brought this idea to us. She was thrilled with the finished product.
Running a creative business has allowed me to do what I love. It’s always been a dream of mine to make a living from my creative pursuits, and furniture combines two of my passions: design and photography. Etsy has been a great way to ease into the world of small business ownership. It’s exciting that our customers are able to be a part of that.
All photographs by Hedge House.