Shop Etsy

Quit Your Day Job: Chris and Laura of The Wood Garden

May 24, 2011

by Mary Andrews

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Tell us about your previous working situation and how you discovered Etsy.
Chris worked in a variety of dead-end industrial jobs for about 10 years before getting into woodworking. It started out merely as a hobby — he made wooden trucks for our son, who was very small at the time. He soon realized that he loved creating things with his hands and wondered if we could use this hobby to make a bit of extra income.

After finding little success with local craft shows, we discovered Etsy — in fact, we were doing a Google search for wooden jewelry one day and stumbled upon an Etsy shop. We loved the idea of a world-wide market for handmade goods and decided to open a shop ourselves, selling safe and natural wooden toys. Chris would make the toys, and I would do all the customer service, marketing, and photography. Sales were very slow for the first six months or so, but have steadily grown over time. We’ve been on Etsy for over two years now, and for about the past eight months we’ve been living exclusively off this business.

How did you prepare to transition into full-time Etsy selling, knowing you’d need to support a family of six?
We didn’t prepare for this — the decision was basically made for us when Chris was laid off from his last industrial job back in September of 2010. With three children (and a new baby on the way), we were really disappointed. However, the timing was perfect because the Christmas shopping season was just about to start. Our shop’s sales went through the roof in October and November — I remember one day when we had 22 orders! We realized then that it might be possible to support ourselves with Etsy alone. We were making more money in those busy months than Chris had been making at his previous job as a forklift driver, so we just went with the flow. After the Christmas rush was over, we started advertising to keep the sales coming.

We have never had a very high income, so our needs were already simple — we haven’t had to adjust our lifestyle. We only drive one car (which is 15 years old), we cook all of our meals at home from scratch, and we buy used clothing. So the modest income of our shop is able to cover all of our basic needs.

What’s been your most popular item or line to date?
Our items which are for babies (rattles, teething rings, and bowls and spoons) sell better than our toys for older children. I think this is because these items are safe and environmentally friendly baby shower gifts.

What is your favorite part of the woodworking process?
I love taking the finished toy and rubbing our homemade, organic beeswax polish into it. The color and grain of the wood suddenly appear more intense and beautiful. Natural wood is so lovely!

What are your best marketing tips?
We’ve been doing some advertising online, which has been helpful in finding new customers. But to be honest, for most of the time our business was growing, we didn’t advertise at all. We simply had a good product that people wanted at a fair price and we made sure we presented our toys and dishes nicely in the shop. All of our initial customers found us directly through Etsy. We don’t even have a Facebook page, use Twitter or anything like that. Many of our shoppers are repeat customers, which is one of the reasons our sales keep growing.

So my marketing tips would be:

  1. Make a product that people want.
  2. Make your shop look professional.
  3. Make your customers happy so they come back!

If you have those three things in place, I don’t think it’s really possible to fail.

What have you found to be an unsuccessful promotion?
A few times we’ve done giveaways on blogs that brought us zero sales. That isn’t to say that promoting on blogs isn’t a good idea — but if the blog doesn’t have a large readership who is also your target audience, it probably isn’t worth it. It’s very important, we’ve learned, to focus on your desired customer base when advertising. Casting your net wide isn’t really a good idea.

Made any business mistakes you regret?
We are pretty laid back people most of the time, but it isn’t always beneficial to be laid back where your business is concerned. We now wish that we had been more on top of bookkeeping when we started. We pretty much left all of it until it was time to do annual taxes, and then the amount of work was overwhelming and stressful. Our receipts weren’t even organized! I highly recommend getting a good bookkeeping program or setting up your own spreadsheet when you first open your shop. Record every sale and expense as it happens and file away every receipt properly so you won’t have to play catch up later.

What’s the hardest part about running your own business?
The fact that you never get a break! When running an Etsy shop, there is no such thing as a weekend off. During the busy holiday season, we were working so hard, seven days a week, that we both got pretty burned out. On the other hand, at this time of year when things are quieter, we can take a day off any time we wish and take our children out for a picnic. It’s also pretty hard, of course, that there is no regular paycheck. Some people would probably feel really nervous about the unpredictability, but we have grown to like the sense of adventure this brings. Maybe this is one place where being laid back is an asset!

What is the biggest challenge you face during your daily schedule?
It’s really a challenge to juggle child care, housework, and my business responsibilities. I want to give my full attention to everything, but of course it isn’t possible. Ultimately, my children come first, so there are days when I leave a few packages unwrapped until the following day so I can take my kids to the park or read them a bedtime story. The work will always be there, but children grow up so fast, and I don’t want to miss any more special moments with them than I have to.

Chris also finds it challenging to stay focused on work while being at home. If he comes in from his workshop (which is our garage) to get something to eat or drink, he gets stuck here for an hour because the children or I need his help with something, and then the work schedule he’s made for the day is messed up. The reverse is also true — although our family’s needs take our attention away from the business, sometimes when sales are brisk it’s easy to let work take over our lives and neglect housework, exercise, and family time. It’s hard to achieve a balance. I think in the future I may schedule regular working hours and “off” times to make things easier.

What do you enjoy most about not having a day job?
So much! It’s really nice that Chris no longer has to commute — it saves time and money. We love being able to make our own schedule, and it has been enjoyable beyond words for us to be together all the time. Since our children are homeschooled, all six of us are here at home together during the day. It feels right for us to be together, living, working, learning, and now the kids are getting old enough that they can sometimes help with the business too.

What are the advantages and challenges of working with your significant other?
There have been some tense moments over the years when we just couldn’t agree. Eventually, we found everything went much more smoothly if we each controlled certain areas of the business, instead of both of us having an equal say in everything. For example, I decide where we advertise and what our ad will look like, but Chris decides when we should invest in a new tool or how much wood we should buy. Overall, it’s been magical for us to get to do this together.

Do you have any specific words of advice for parents considering a similar path?
Try to involve your kids in your work whenever possible; make the business a family affair. They’ll love to feel so important and useful, and this also provides a way for you to spend more time with them when you are busy. If you have a baby, invest in a baby carrier so you can wear your baby around the house while you work. Wearing my 7-week-old in her wrap is the only way I accomplish work during the day!

What goals do you have in store for the future of your business?
We hope that sales will continue to grow so that we can keep doing the work that we have come to love and believe in. Our dream is to someday own a piece of land in the country where we can have a family homestead and a nice big workshop. If we are really lucky, maybe we’ll have our own wood lot, so we can cut our own wood, making our business even more local and sustainable. We can picture our children helping us with the business and the work we want to do with our hands: growing food, raising animals, sewing, crafts, food preserving. We see our Etsy business as a crucial part of the family-based, handmade life we want to live.

Anything else you would like to share?
Owning our own business is a heck of a lot of work, and the pay is not nearly as much as many other jobs, but it is so rewarding and satisfying to be able to support ourselves. We have a greater measure of control over our lives than we would if either of us were working a traditional 9-5 job. The job market is so uncertain these days, and we feel owning our own business has given us a feeling of security that we never had before. We’re so glad we found Etsy!

If anyone is interested in our family’s journey toward a simpler, more self-sufficient life, please follow along on our blog.

 

Thanks for sharing your story, Chris and Laura. Check out their work in the Seller’s Items below.

 Previous Quit Your Day Job posts

222 comments

  • LabyrinthLeather

    LabyrinthLeather said 6 years ago

    This is so awesome - Congrats guys, you are inspiring :)

  • woolies

    woolies said 6 years ago

    AWESOME shop - as a fellow team member on the NaturalKids Team, we're very proud to have The Wood Garden on our team! Congrats! (can I quit my day job yet???) :)

  • xenonproducts

    xenonproducts said 6 years ago

    This is a great inspiration for people that are willing to promote their products. I will like to help by offering a great Glue we have been manufacturing for more than 3 Decaded for a very low price. If interested you can reach us at 888-869-3666.

  • iamhome

    iamhome said 6 years ago

    beautiful work! we are soon to be godparents, we will look your way soon.

  • iamhome

    iamhome said 6 years ago

    beautiful work! we are soon to be godparents, we will look your way soon.

  • HouseOfMoss

    HouseOfMoss said 6 years ago

    Amazing! Your work is absolutely stunning, and so classic. Congratulations on your success!

  • joyceweaver

    joyceweaver said 6 years ago

    A great write-up! Ya'll are just too cute and congratulations!

  • thiswayup1

    thiswayup1 said 6 years ago

    Awesome feature! Congrats, what a lovely shop

  • aileenrae

    aileenrae said 6 years ago

    Love your shop! What a wonderful family business. Good luck to you both!

  • OsoVictoria

    OsoVictoria said 6 years ago

    Congratulations on your success! You make such wonderful items.

  • adrianaallenllc

    adrianaallenllc said 6 years ago

    What a charming shop! I love both your collection and your worldview! Best of wishes!

  • Hoshika

    Hoshika said 6 years ago

    I love the natural colors!! congratulations♥

  • fireflynotes

    fireflynotes said 6 years ago

    Congrats!! I know what it's like trying to run a small business with kiddies! Not easy! It would be my dream to someday make my handmade business my family business. Your work is so amazing those toys should be in every toy shop across North America!! Good luck!

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 6 years ago

    Wood is a really beautiful natural material and I think your enthusiasm for it just shines through this article. Its great that Etsy has helped to empower you as a family, congratulations on being featured!

  • RubyBeets

    RubyBeets said 6 years ago

    Fabulous! what a great story!

  • DomesticNotions

    DomesticNotions said 6 years ago

    Amazing work .. Thank you for sharing your story ; )

  • jorgensenstudio

    jorgensenstudio said 6 years ago

    those rattles are so simply beautiful. just lovely!

  • SweetBasilFibreWorks

    SweetBasilFibreWorks said 6 years ago

    An inspiring story & I wish them all the best!

  • BingoBox

    BingoBox said 6 years ago

    Lovely shop - beautiful work - congratulations on a life well lived !

  • SpaGoddess

    SpaGoddess said 6 years ago

    Inspiring indeed:) Congrats to you!

  • bellasparty

    bellasparty said 6 years ago

    Beautiful work! Love everything!!

  • ThisTinder

    ThisTinder said 6 years ago

    Such a great interview! I love that you guys wrote about how your needs were never that extensive in the first place so something like this is really doable. I really identify with that and think it's important to point out that life can get a whole lot easier if you're happier with less! Congrats! P.S. Your kids are so cute!

  • vKnit

    vKnit said 6 years ago

    Wonderful story! Thanks for sharing with us all! :)

  • OliveandFern

    OliveandFern said 6 years ago

    I applaud you and your family for living simply, having your own business and raising a beautiful family...its hard work, wonderful results!

  • SimplyAvonlea

    SimplyAvonlea said 6 years ago

    I loved reading about your shop and family! Your items are timeless and classic. Love that Heirloom Truck and the Duck pull toy!

  • peaseblossomstudio

    peaseblossomstudio said 6 years ago

    What a wonderful and inspirational story of family life!

  • baconsquarefarm

    baconsquarefarm said 6 years ago

    Wonderful story and you have a beautiful family, hope you attain the family homestead someday and we wish you continued success always, great shop too.

  • allisonmooney

    allisonmooney said 6 years ago

    What a wonderful shop and story!! I

  • pitterpattertutus

    pitterpattertutus said 6 years ago

    Wow! I adore your stuff! As kids my dad made us wooden toys also, and we still have them. I love the idea of having your family working together to create heirlooms like these... Bravo and Brava!

  • zelmarose

    zelmarose said 6 years ago

    Beautiful work and wonderful interview. A true exampleof do what you love and the rest follows.

  • earthgrowncrayons

    earthgrowncrayons said 6 years ago

    So lovely!

  • vmtbwe89

    vmtbwe89 said 6 years ago

    Great success story. I look forward to taking some of your advice.

  • DaHukaHouse

    DaHukaHouse said 6 years ago

    Nice work! Best wishes.

  • MoonParade

    MoonParade said 6 years ago

    LOVE this story, and the gorgeously made products, too! This family reminds me much of my own. I can definitely appreciate the challenges and joys of running a business from home while raising young children. Congrats and best wishes to you all.

  • SimpleJoysPaperie

    SimpleJoysPaperie said 6 years ago

    Such talent! My husband is a woodworker so I know the work, time and talent that go into quality products. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. Best wishes for your continued success! :)

  • ColorMeHolly

    ColorMeHolly said 6 years ago

    Great work! Love the dollhouse.

  • 1274PeriwinkleLane

    1274PeriwinkleLane said 6 years ago

    Thanks for your inspirational story!

  • lacepetals

    lacepetals said 6 years ago

    seriously, beautiful items! what an incredible family.

  • pliloc

    pliloc said 6 years ago

    I like this story because it is a demonstration of so many qualities that have been lost in the modern world. Resourcefulness, Creativity, Courage, Togetherness. While there are no guarantees of the condition of the road ahead, There is no doubt your family will forge ahead, all the while treasuring the adventure. Cheers!

  • paramountvintage

    paramountvintage said 6 years ago

    incredible craftsmanship. woodworking is one art i have always admired and wanted to learn.

  • DowntownGirlDesigns

    DowntownGirlDesigns said 6 years ago

    lovely creations!!

  • kaiulani

    kaiulani said 6 years ago

    You have a beautiful shop! It's hard finding natural wooden toys so I'm glad I found your shop :) Congrats!

  • VitalVintage

    VitalVintage said 6 years ago

    A lovely story and a beautiful shop. Congrats!

  • DowntownGirlVintage

    DowntownGirlVintage said 6 years ago

    Lovely shop!! thank you for sharing your story :) very inspiring.

  • 2MonkeysBowtique

    2MonkeysBowtique said 6 years ago

    What an inspiration!

  • MeowBarkArt

    MeowBarkArt said 6 years ago

    What a beautiful mix of artistry & simplicity. It's clear that you spend so much time on each item. Best wishes for your future successes!

  • sofialgarvia

    sofialgarvia said 6 years ago

    Loved your story and I wish all the best with your work and with your lovely family! It's amazing how you're able to accomplish so many jobs - parenting, housework, homeschooling and still have time and creativity to create such beautiful wood items! Congratulations!

  • WaterfallDesigns

    WaterfallDesigns said 6 years ago

    Loved hearing your story! Congrats and your toys are great!!

  • TheBloomingThread

    TheBloomingThread said 6 years ago

    I love that your business involves your entire family! even your little ones~ wonderful interview and great listings! :)

  • quirkyshop

    quirkyshop said 6 years ago

    Great job!

  • DeepBlueNotion

    DeepBlueNotion said 6 years ago

    Wonderful story and amazing items! I wish you continued success!

  • TheRetroRescuer

    TheRetroRescuer said 6 years ago

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I love your honesty about raising young children and running a home business with your spouse. I know you'll get your homestead soon. :)

  • WhisperingOak

    WhisperingOak said 6 years ago

    Your product is beautiful. What a great interview. It is hard to balance family life and work. You are doing a great job. Congratulations.

  • lalucita

    lalucita said 6 years ago

    So inspirational! What a great interview! Congrats.

  • THIMBLEandACORN

    THIMBLEandACORN said 6 years ago

    This is one of the most inspirational FS interviews I have read! I love seeing a happy family creating and living simply and enjoying the world around them. I love your blog too, I am going to forward this post and links to your blog to my fella and some friends!

  • THIMBLEandACORN

    THIMBLEandACORN said 6 years ago

    *oops, I meant "quit your day job" interviews!

  • GloryBDesign

    GloryBDesign said 6 years ago

    Simply wonderful! The quality of your work and your life really shows! Congratulations on FS!

  • SpiceofLifeDesigns

    SpiceofLifeDesigns said 6 years ago

    Delighted to see a family that has so much in common with my own featured - I wish you much continued success and hope to someday join you with husband being able to quit his day job.

  • AccentsandPetals

    AccentsandPetals said 6 years ago

    Thank you for the inspiration and tips especially in the line of advertising. BTW, beautiful family photo, cute and adorable kids.

  • RedMarionette

    RedMarionette said 6 years ago

    Your goals sound absolutely divine! Your products are lovely! I just officially quit my day job to work on Red Marionette and I love reading about others in the same situation. Its inspiring to know there are others who work just as hard and cherish the time even more than reporting to a day job! Thank you for sharing your story!

  • SoliDeoGloriaSDG

    SoliDeoGloriaSDG said 6 years ago

    Good luck on making this a huge success - you are such a lovely family!

  • StudioDevinat

    StudioDevinat said 6 years ago

    Beautiful & inspiring story. I dream of a lifestyle where we both design from home & are able to be with our children. Thanks for the baby carrier tip, it will come in handy very soon!

  • MarquetteBeachHouse

    MarquetteBeachHouse said 6 years ago

    I *loved* reading your story! We homeschool our kids, too, and our dream is for my husband to one day be able to quit his day job and have a less stressful life. I've always thought maybe it was just a fantasy to think he might be able to quit his job. Your story encourages me because you've made it work! :) Going over to check out your blog now... Amy :)

  • ZhongFuJewelryDesign

    ZhongFuJewelryDesign said 6 years ago

    Your collapsible doll house is such a great idea!

  • thisfineday

    thisfineday said 6 years ago

    Beautiful bowls and baby rattles!

  • ikabags

    ikabags said 6 years ago

    Awesome feature! Congrats !

  • bhangtiez

    bhangtiez said 6 years ago

    Beautiful story & such a fun shop of top quality craftmanship. Congratulations & keep up the amazing-ness!

  • GardenDaisies

    GardenDaisies said 6 years ago

    Congratulations on the feature and thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story and ideas on quitting a day job :) Very inspiring and the best of luck to you.

  • rivahside

    rivahside said 6 years ago

    I really like the beautifully clean, simple lines of your items. Heirloom quality! Your family priorities are inspiring. I wish you much happiness and success in your family life and business!

  • NeedlesnPinsStichery

    NeedlesnPinsStichery said 6 years ago

    Great story! I was happy to read that you lived modestly as this is the way we have lived our lives. Good luck in the future and thanks for sharing! :)

  • HeavenlyNaturalSoap

    HeavenlyNaturalSoap said 6 years ago

    wooden toys make the best long lasting toys that will last through many children :)

  • SophieAndEmma

    SophieAndEmma said 6 years ago

    I really enjoyed reading your interview. I was happy to hear that I'm not the only person in the world who doesn't use Facebook to promote! Congrats on the success of your shop. Your family is beautiful. I love the photo!

  • hoosiermamma1

    hoosiermamma1 said 6 years ago

    Lovely Work! I will definitely have you on my list for future Christmas shopping. Your story is very inspiring because I dream of having the nerve to jump off the fence and craft full-time. Your bravery amazes me! Good luck to you and your beautiful family.

  • OutNumberedNovelties

    OutNumberedNovelties said 6 years ago

    Congrats on finding something that makes you happy. I love to see fellow woodworkers doing well for themselves. It is great to hear you are able to support your family and do it buy doing something you love to do.

  • RedOnionWoodworks

    RedOnionWoodworks said 6 years ago

    Congratulations on your success! I wish you lots of luck balancing work and family. I know how hard it can be. Your blog also looks great, so I'll be following along.

  • Marumadrid

    Marumadrid said 6 years ago

    Little big heros, wooden toys are! :)

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 said 6 years ago

    Continued success to you! Enjoy those little ones.

  • MossFrogDesigns

    MossFrogDesigns said 6 years ago

    This is absolutely beautiful! I adore the little rolling fox! Congrats on all the success!

  • WoodenParadiseLLC

    WoodenParadiseLLC said 6 years ago

    This is a wonderful inspriation to us! We just got directed to this site today and I am so excited to get our business up and running on here! We create many different wood projects such as shelves, tables, jewelry boxes, bandsaw boxes, etc. Keep an eye out for us, as I am inspired by you to get this up and running! Thanks alot!

  • theyellowroses

    theyellowroses said 6 years ago

    Congratulations! You have a beautiful family & a great story! Enjoyed your blog as well!

  • SewHappybyJennie

    SewHappybyJennie said 6 years ago

    Love your shop and your story. A simpler way of life would be so nice.

  • TicketyBu

    TicketyBu said 6 years ago

    Thanks so much for sharing your story, and what an amazing one it is!

  • HandToMouthStudios

    HandToMouthStudios said 6 years ago

    Nice, down-to-earth, thoughtful. Refreshing stuff . Real, helpful people. Thanks.

  • justhatched

    justhatched said 6 years ago

    So happy for you and all of your success! What a great interview - I know I can relate to a lot of what you said. Your items are beautiful and I'm sure much more success awaits you on Etsy :)

  • theenchantedcupboard

    theenchantedcupboard said 6 years ago

    So happy and proud to see you here! A member of the NaturalKids Team you are a shinning star!!

  • PaisleeJoy

    PaisleeJoy said 6 years ago

    Lovely story, very inspiring! Congrats on your success!

  • NobbyOrganics

    NobbyOrganics said 6 years ago

    Your products are wonderful! Very inspiring story!

  • readyruthieoriginals

    readyruthieoriginals said 6 years ago

    Your stuff is so beautiful! Very inspirational

  • readyruthieoriginals

    readyruthieoriginals said 6 years ago

    Your stuff is so beautiful! Very inspirational

  • littleloveblue

    littleloveblue said 6 years ago

    beautiful work

  • gilstrapdesigns

    gilstrapdesigns said 6 years ago

    I think that this so great you all are doing a great job for yourselves and for your family and all of those babies and little one's around the world.

  • CarlaRaeVintage

    CarlaRaeVintage said 6 years ago

    Your things are beautiful. I admire your lifestyle. Congrats.

  • theoldewoodstove

    theoldewoodstove said 6 years ago

    Very inspiring- your work is awesome!

  • 1luckysoul

    1luckysoul said 6 years ago

    I loved How real you sounded, I can tell you are a very down to earth family, I hope your business helps with all your dreams, I am going to buy something from your store, I have a 11month old neice.

  • ArmadilloDreams

    ArmadilloDreams said 6 years ago

    Reading this blog post was very inspiring for me, being a fellow wood worker. I long for the day when I can quit my day job and do wood working full time too. It gives me a lot of hope knowing that someone else was able to do it. To also be able to read how you and your family got there was awesome! I really appreciate you sharing your story and hope to follow in your footsteps! Congrats!!!!

  • PolClary

    PolClary said 6 years ago

    You're such an inspiration, and so creative! Amazing work.

  • MysticalRaindrops

    MysticalRaindrops said 6 years ago

    What a beautiful story! I always say, "Family first". I too, homeschooled my kids and did sewing, gardening, preserving, caring for animals and all. Now I have TWO Etsy shops. One with my teen son in fine art painting, and one with my sewing and knitting. Good luck with your family.

  • soapblessingscom

    soapblessingscom said 6 years ago

    I will be praying your dreams come true because those are beautiful dreams.

  • TheWhimsicalBlossom

    TheWhimsicalBlossom said 6 years ago

    Beautiful work! Congratulations and thank you for the inspiring interview!

  • Girlservant

    Girlservant said 6 years ago

    good advice, its also good to do something you love..you have a beautiful family too :)

  • Girlservant

    Girlservant said 6 years ago

    good advice, its also good to do something you love..you have a beautiful family too :)

  • Creazionidiangelina

    Creazionidiangelina said 6 years ago

    I love your work and your story, you have a beautiful family! Fantastic shop :)

  • gloriousgirlbeads

    gloriousgirlbeads said 6 years ago

    You truly are living the American Dream - to work for yourselves, live modestly, have your children near you throughout the day and a sweet baby swaddled on your back to feel your every movement. To have your children involved with the business & to learn first hand about honest hard work......yours is truly the sweet life and I admire you all ♥

  • thevelvetheart

    thevelvetheart said 6 years ago

    I love your products! What a fulfilling job too!

  • ulucan2007

    ulucan2007 said 6 years ago

    bravo indeed heart worming true life story, start from 0 and your joy and determination will make you even more succesfull. all the happines to you.

  • LisasLittleCreations

    LisasLittleCreations said 6 years ago

    Wow what an inspirational story! I'm amazed and it's encouraging to know that your family is living the dream. So happy for you and your family- Congrats and I wish you lots of success!! :)

  • avaLuna

    avaLuna said 6 years ago

    Love the collapsable dollhouse! What a great idea! Congratulations.

  • ALittleWorld

    ALittleWorld said 6 years ago

    Amazing shop! Congratulations!

  • CheekyVintageCloset

    CheekyVintageCloset said 6 years ago

    fun read, here is to more success:)

  • rolanddesigns

    rolanddesigns said 6 years ago

    I love your wooden items... and such a lovely family 1

  • Cakau

    Cakau said 6 years ago

    Wonderful story, thanks for sharing:)

  • mysticorb

    mysticorb said 6 years ago

    What fun to read! I had to laugh at all the things we have in common. We find it can be challenging to balance our home life and work since we work from home too. When my husband Jeff emerges from his shop for a moment, there are always lots of things to distract that need to be done. The only way I get anything done with Bracken, our 7 month old, is by putting him in the baby carrier I wear. So I smiled when you said that. Sometimes we feel we need more hours in the day! But working from home is the best and so rewarding. Love to your family!

  • EleganceFarmHome

    EleganceFarmHome said 6 years ago

    Lovely family and super nice shop!! Congrats on your much deserved success. And hope you get to homestead; we would love to do that too!!

  • GemdropsoftheFalls

    GemdropsoftheFalls said 6 years ago

    Great items! I babysit grandchildren 4 days a week and understand the difficulties in balancing their attention, housework and making jewelry. Your story is inspiring and seems like fate. Congratulations!

  • KIMMSMITH

    KIMMSMITH said 6 years ago

    Fabby read and gorgeous creations! Congratulations!

  • RubiesAreForever

    RubiesAreForever said 6 years ago

    Congrats on Getting There! I look forward to following your blog ;)

  • JirisArt

    JirisArt said 6 years ago

    Beautiful work, I am so proud of you. You are doing great job, it's a great encouragement to many. Those that can skilfully work with their own hands are freed from all men. Thank you.

  • empapersdeutsch

    empapersdeutsch said 6 years ago

    This is one of the sweetest QYDJ profiles EVER!

  • FigJamStudio

    FigJamStudio said 6 years ago

    Great story, very inspiring!! Thank you!

  • SweetMagnoliasFarm

    SweetMagnoliasFarm said 6 years ago

    It's a big leap ..but it's well worth it ! Congrats at your found success and here's to the future ! Blessings..Sara

  • DuryeaPlaceDesigns

    DuryeaPlaceDesigns said 6 years ago

    Beautiful shop and an inspiring couple! Congrats!

  • BabyKissesBoutique

    BabyKissesBoutique said 6 years ago

    Wow! Great Story!

  • spbear

    spbear said 6 years ago

    I liked your article, it gives hope that people are looking for quality handmade items. You are encouraging- because I opened my (The Special Bear Shop) shop this past February and I have not gotten one order yet. So needless to say I must be doing something wrong.I know my bears are special and I do a very good job making them. I have a lot of customers from word of mouth and several repeat customers. If you or anyone else have any suggestions about my shop better,PLEASE let me know. May you continue to have may customers-your products are very nice. Thank you

  • YarnyThingys

    YarnyThingys said 6 years ago

    You have such a beautiful story...thank you for being an inspiration to so many of us! May blessings continue along your journey.

  • Prettyhandmade

    Prettyhandmade said 6 years ago

    I am truly inspired, thanks for being so honest :-)

  • TheMightySquirm

    TheMightySquirm said 6 years ago

    I love your products and your story. My daughter is getting involved in our business too, and it's a blessing. Thanks for sharing!

  • FashionTouch

    FashionTouch said 6 years ago

    what a happy family! So glad for you all! wishing you lots of success and grown into a large company!!!

  • MyBlahWeekend

    MyBlahWeekend said 6 years ago

    Lovely story! Good Luck!!

  • zehland

    zehland said 6 years ago

    Great story. Thank you for sharing it. You are an inspiration!

  • WeAreCrafty

    WeAreCrafty said 6 years ago

    Inspiring stuff, thanks for sharing!

  • elmodabrides

    elmodabrides said 6 years ago

    Congratulations. Thanks for a great interview. Very insightful and honest. LOVE you products! Wishing you continued success x.

  • ardnajela1812

    ardnajela1812 said 6 years ago

    It is Inspiring! Thanks for sharing your experience!

  • mudijudi

    mudijudi said 6 years ago

    fabulous product!! that is key, I think..

  • ManuelaS

    ManuelaS said 6 years ago

    Great story, really inspiring. Your products are amazing, thank you for sharing everything with us. :) I wish you all the best!

  • SwankyTexasVintage

    SwankyTexasVintage said 6 years ago

    You two have certainly helped me get more inspired! And your wooden products are beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing your ups and downs.

  • SwankyTexasVintage

    SwankyTexasVintage said 6 years ago

    You two have certainly helped me get more inspired! And your wooden products are beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing your ups and downs.

  • InspiredDesignsbyKim

    InspiredDesignsbyKim said 6 years ago

    Very cool! Love the natural wood grains! Congrats on the feature!

  • asileoriginals

    asileoriginals said 6 years ago

    Congratulations! I think what you are doing is fantastic!

  • StudioSo

    StudioSo said 6 years ago

    Great inspiration. Thank you for your honesty and good tips. Congratulations on your thriving business :-)

  • Judeco

    Judeco said 6 years ago

    Wow! The article is fantastic! You guys are really living the idea of quit your day job. Your toys are wonderful. Good Luck!! My husband just got laid off and your story is an inspiration for us not to give up. Thank you!

  • TheScrapBasket

    TheScrapBasket said 6 years ago

    So happy for your family! Very inspiring story. Wishing you all the best in the future!

  • OceanPatch

    OceanPatch said 6 years ago

    How wonderful that you can all live and work together as you choose! What a beautiful product and a beautiful family!

  • birdiesaid

    birdiesaid said 6 years ago

    This is very inspiring! Especially with four children, wow. I have one and feel like something like this would be hard. You have just proven me wrong. Awesome work!!!

  • jsimplebeauty

    jsimplebeauty said 6 years ago

    What great inspirations you have given me. I hope to one day be as successful as you. I love your story and your beautiful wood work. Keep it up!!

  • peasantandraven

    peasantandraven said 6 years ago

    What a great story! I love your adventurous spirit...a nice legacy to pass on to your children.

  • artistoquebec

    artistoquebec said 6 years ago

    Your work is really interesting and the children who receive what you create are lucky children because they are in contact with beauty at an early age. Your story is inspiring.

  • hennyseashell

    hennyseashell said 6 years ago

    Awesome story. happy to read....thanks for sharing your precious moment with us :)

  • BonTons

    BonTons said 6 years ago

    Great story, thanks for sharing

  • LeChapeau

    LeChapeau said 6 years ago

    What a wonderful story! Thank you Laura Jeanne for the positive words of encouragement! I checked out your blog...it's really good! I wish all the best for you and your lovely little family. Kindly, Joanne

  • handmadefamily

    handmadefamily said 6 years ago

    what a wonderful story. thank you for sharing.

  • chocolatedogstudio

    chocolatedogstudio said 6 years ago

    Incredibly lovely woodwork. Love the blog. Couldn't figure out how to leave a comment. Thank you for sharing.

  • meilingsketchbook

    meilingsketchbook said 6 years ago

    Your story is so inspiring! Thanks for sharing it with us. I will definitely heart your shop for my future purchase. Wish the best for you and your family!

  • KellyEMarra

    KellyEMarra said 6 years ago

    Beautiful Work! Congrats!!!

  • LavenderField

    LavenderField said 6 years ago

    I love these items!

  • LizsWares

    LizsWares said 6 years ago

    Congrats and I love your work. Laura, you are one lucky gal. I hope to meet a man who is creative.

  • SPAZIOVINTAGEITALY

    SPAZIOVINTAGEITALY said 6 years ago

    Great work!!!

  • CoryneMichelle

    CoryneMichelle said 6 years ago

    I too take care of my little one during "shop sours" Its very challenging to accomplish as much as I would like but in the end its much better than missing out on it by having her away in day care. Great job you guys! Your shop is great and has a wonderfully organic and old timey down home goodness feel to it. I wish much success to you in the future... I hope all your homestead dreams come true.. sounds terrific! ;)

  • SewKraftyMichelle

    SewKraftyMichelle said 6 years ago

    I haven't even opened my shop yet, and I am so inspired! We, too, homeschool our kids (5 girls), both my husband and I have started our own businesses, and we desire to homestead one day as well!! I've subscribed to your blog, and can't wait to read more!!

  • thepillowgallery

    thepillowgallery said 6 years ago

    I love your story- what cute kids!!! and your work is really amazing! I wish your family much success :)

  • EileensArt

    EileensArt said 6 years ago

    You deserve it all. Your shop is wonderful. You have a very beautiful family there too. Bless you all and good luck always.

  • TriniGaiya

    TriniGaiya said 6 years ago

    I am truly inspired by your story. I am new to Etsy and I have been doing a lot of reading and a lot of looking at the variety of items on here. Your story struck a cord with me because I have always wanted to have my own craft business and I can totally relate to the little jobs here and there in order to survive. Best of luck to you and your family. Your kids must be so proud of you. LOVE the baby rattles :)

  • AngelLeighDesigns

    AngelLeighDesigns said 6 years ago

    wow, what beautiful products! I have some babies coming into my community, and I will definitely fave you to buy from. Thanks! Also, with 2 small kids of my own, I almost never relate to the quit yr day job stories. THIS TIME I DID! Maybe it will be possible after all. thanks so much! Angela

  • ParkDayAdventures

    ParkDayAdventures said 6 years ago

    You guys truly are an inspiration, what a great post. I was homeschooled my entire childhood, and it was a wonderful experience. It was through the many hours spent with my family and nature that I learned how to sew and create and LOVE working with my hands. A finished product is such an awesome reward. I first attempted my own sewing business when I was in my teens! :-) And my whole family cheered me on. So--what a great thing you're doing for your family, cheers!!

  • TreehouseIllustrator

    TreehouseIllustrator said 6 years ago

    I LOVE that little red fox! :)

  • SharCraft

    SharCraft said 6 years ago

    This is such an enjoyable story of your business and very informative. I am determined to keep sewing and making things.. and this is a very supportive piece. I have found when I search the web for something to buy... Esty usually comes up with many choices... I am canceling my prostore site and Using Esty exclusively starting next month. Esty is the place to be if you are a creative person...Thank you Esty, Chirs and Laura for this great bit of information.

  • earnestefforts

    earnestefforts said 6 years ago

    Congratulations on the article! Your work is beautiful and so is your family!!! Best of luck...

  • DancingLightBijoux

    DancingLightBijoux said 6 years ago

    Your lifestyle choices are wonderful, but it's your work that is just stunningly beautiful. It must feel amazing to hold one of these pieces in your hands.

  • SigalFJewelry

    SigalFJewelry said 6 years ago

    Wow... your story is truly inspiring! I enjoyed reading that you don't have facebook page and twitter!. I admire you for being able to run a business and keep your humble family life, having a quality time with your kids. I wish you all the success in the world! you deserve it!

  • SigalFJewelry

    SigalFJewelry said 6 years ago

    Wow... your story is truly inspiring! I enjoyed reading that you don't have facebook page and twitter!. I admire you for being able to run a business and keep your humble family life, having a quality time with your kids. I wish you all the success in the world! you deserve it!

  • lilliprint

    lilliprint said 6 years ago

    Wow, apart from two good friends of mine who made the front page of Etsy a while back, you have one of the most engaging stories I have ever read here on Etsy. Your sense of flow with life and family is really encouraging and just the pep-advice I needed to hear to keep my gears turning and reach my goals both here on Etsy and in my own life. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story!!!!

  • TheSnowshoeLoft

    TheSnowshoeLoft said 6 years ago

    Loove your story, so inspirational, congrats!

  • UFCMoose

    UFCMoose said 6 years ago

    Makes me want to take up woodworking Scott Myhervold Anthem AZ

  • UFCMoose

    UFCMoose said 6 years ago

    Makes me want to take up woodworking Scott Myhervold Anthem AZ

  • beadloverskorner

    beadloverskorner said 6 years ago

    Wonderful!! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • RetroJunction

    RetroJunction said 6 years ago

    So inspiring for someone like myself who has just opened an Etsy shop. Thank you!

  • SuperGozi

    SuperGozi said 6 years ago

    Very Good worksmanship! such fine wood pieces! too beautiful ;)

  • Dianagamerman

    Dianagamerman said 6 years ago

    good prices are such nice childrens toys. Love the product.

  • Floralpaint8

    Floralpaint8 said 6 years ago

    I love your shop!

  • fromjeanne

    fromjeanne said 6 years ago

    Amazing shop! Congratulations! Great story.

  • SewCarolineSew

    SewCarolineSew said 6 years ago

    Hello I really enjoyed reading your inspirational story. All the very best to you for the future, I wish you all the success, your shop is great!

  • DedeLeupold

    DedeLeupold said 6 years ago

    I loved reading your interview...it actually brought tears to my eyes, for we had a similar story...homeschooling and all of us working at home. We started a business with our girls, "bumblebeads" which I still have here on Etsy, just under my name. There was no Etsy at the time, so we traveled, did art shows and sold to small shops. Now they are all grown up and are taking their own creative paths and teaching their children at home too. I can't believe how fast the time went by. I have never regretted a minute of it. It just felt right. Your shop is wonderful, your family adorable!

  • DianasArtQuilts

    DianasArtQuilts said 6 years ago

    Congratulations on the success in your Etsy business. It was a pleasure reading all about you and your family. I wish you continued success and I hope that you will be able to get your own tree lot, with your children helping, too.

  • TheOldPinkPorch

    TheOldPinkPorch said 6 years ago

    Congrats on your success! Thank you for sharing your story. Your wood working looks wonderful! I wish you continued success.

  • EvaLauryn

    EvaLauryn said 6 years ago

    What a beautiful family! Best of luck to you!!!

  • ZokotWoodcraft

    ZokotWoodcraft said 6 years ago

    Definitely inspirational. I haven't even started selling things yet, but I hope one day to be close to what you've achieved.

  • anaglez

    anaglez said 6 years ago

    Beautiful work and beautiful story of sucess. I love these story of family

  • Elinono

    Elinono said 6 years ago

    thank you for the story I'm feeling a little discouraged at the moment. But your words give me hope.. Thanks again, hope is the greatest gift anyone can give.

  • Elinono

    Elinono said 6 years ago

    thank you for the story I'm feeling a little discouraged at the moment. But your words give me hope.. Thanks again, hope is the greatest gift anyone can give.

  • mpdi2003

    mpdi2003 said 6 years ago

    Very inspiring!!! Thank you for sharing your story!

  • wisdomacres

    wisdomacres said 6 years ago

    It was wonderful to read your story! The products you make are excellent! We are an older version of your family, and it is so nice to have the children involved and creating some amazing things right from under your own roof (garage included!) Keep on keeping on! God bless you~

  • wisdomacres

    wisdomacres said 6 years ago

    It was wonderful to read your story! The products you make are excellent! We are an older version of your family, and it is so nice to have the children involved and creating some amazing things right from under your own roof (garage included!) Keep on keeping on! God bless you~

  • giftworldz

    giftworldz said 6 years ago

    This was a wonderful interview. I've always wanted to involve my kiddos in my Etsy business and will in the future. Thanks so much for the encouragement and great ideas!

  • RescuedRemnants

    RescuedRemnants said 6 years ago

    Beautiful work and great story! You are inspiring!

  • Vintagerous

    Vintagerous said 6 years ago

    I feel so inspired! It is great to see a Canadian success story! I am so happy that you have carved (pardon pun) a fabulous life for you and your family! I see you on that homestead you dream of sooner than you might think...

  • bresworld

    bresworld said 6 years ago

    I have to purchase a baby shower gift, and now I know just where and what to get!

  • akemanartist

    akemanartist said 6 years ago

    I really love your wooden bowls and I saw your blog, I put it at Stumbleupon, as I am the first person adding that on to that site it might be awhile before it gets more notice.

  • WildPoppyShoppe

    WildPoppyShoppe said 6 years ago

    My favorite 'quit your day job' yet... what a wonderful business, family, and way of life! Thanks for sharing your story!

  • buttonsandbottles

    buttonsandbottles said 6 years ago

    I love the smiles! You can see the joy in your art.

  • jjjArts

    jjjArts said 6 years ago

    What beautiful toys! It was so inspiring and uplifting to read your story, good luck to you guys now and in the future!

  • heartsofjoy2u

    heartsofjoy2u said 6 years ago

    beautiful lovely

  • azsunshine51

    azsunshine51 said 6 years ago

    You are living the dream! Good luck with your shop, and enjoy your family. Very inspiring. Beautiful work.

  • azsunshine51

    azsunshine51 said 6 years ago

    You are living the dream! Good luck with your shop, and enjoy your family. Very inspiring. Beautiful work.

  • edgewaterscreations

    edgewaterscreations said 6 years ago

    Good job and keep up the good work.

  • tharcum

    tharcum said 6 years ago

    You make such awesome products. I will be putting in an order soon. I like the top spinners for my grandchildren. It could make a great party favories as well as a game at parties to see who have the last spinner stop. Keep up the great works. talk to you soon

  • CatlinCoxDesigns

    CatlinCoxDesigns said 6 years ago

    Beautiful family and beautiful craftsmanship, Gods blessing for your futures.

  • NewportMetals

    NewportMetals said 6 years ago

    Absolutely gorgeous, creative, safety oriented, and extremely thoughtful products. Keep up the great work. I’m also waiting for the right time to go solo. I have only been laid off 5 times in the past year and think I will take the plunge soon. Anyway, congrats on your success. Live long and prosper. John

  • BlackDahliaDesign

    BlackDahliaDesign said 6 years ago

    So inspirational! :)

  • BlackDahliaDesign

    BlackDahliaDesign said 6 years ago

    So inspirational! :)

  • redemptionart

    redemptionart said 6 years ago

    Beautiful! I love wood, I am so happy for you guys...best of luck in the future! Aloha!

  • alderande

    alderande said 6 years ago

    Your words were so real to me,everything fits perfectly together. You are whole and your objects are whole too. Thanks for setting the exemple, thanks for daring.... Good luck!

  • MyFaireEvangeline

    MyFaireEvangeline said 6 years ago

    Your story is very inspiring and helps me to have faith in my own brand-new Etsy business. "The first six months was slow" is something I will try to remember!! Thanks for sharing!

  • phillymiss

    phillymiss said 6 years ago

    Lovely story. My children are grown, but I just welcomed my first grandchild into the world so I am looking forward to purchasing some of your items.

  • thehandmaden

    thehandmaden said 6 years ago

    Fantastic story - so inspiring! Thanks for sharing.

  • DJBatesartist

    DJBatesartist said 6 years ago

    I love to see success stories, wood products, families working together, and the beauty of God's creation being used to sustain your family. I think you have inspired me to get back into my Etsy store and try to sell again. Good luck and God bless

  • PasarMangga

    PasarMangga said 6 years ago

    Wonderful story :))) I 'm new on Etsy. I wanted to give up online selling. But, I know Etsy is the best idea for me. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  • PlanetAlt

    PlanetAlt said 6 years ago

    great story...

  • FoxyRoxysAttic

    FoxyRoxysAttic said 6 years ago

    Love this so much! I started my Etsy shop in January and stay home with our 4 children who will also be homeschooled this fall. This was very encouraging and uplifting! Will keep you in my prayers!

  • ElisaGomez

    ElisaGomez said 6 years ago

    WOW....and to think I feel tired at the end of MY day...I dont even have kids! You have a home based business, you have 4 kids AND they are home schooled? I am in awe :)

  • THREEerincadigan

    THREEerincadigan said 6 years ago

    I like that you are honest about your needs not being great. I think it is supper important to find a balance between what you really need and what will make you happy. I too just threw a high paying job to the wind to do this and though I stress at times, it's not at all the same kind of stress when someone else controls your life. You items are beautiful BTW when my best friend in France has her baby I will be stopping by to shop!

  • RenataUniqueGifts

    RenataUniqueGifts said 6 years ago

    Congratulations! You are such an example of "acheving dreams" team! Thank you for sharing your story.

  • rochellealexander

    Rochelle Alexander from DivineRusticCreation said 4 years ago

    Very inspirational and exciting. I too work from home with my shop that I recently opened. I love it and it helped ready your answers to the questions. Congratulations and good work

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