One of the fun things about our Shelter In Place orders, is seeing how many people are outside walking and biking the neighborhood. Since we are in the workshop (which has expanded to being out on Heidi and Derek's driveway under a pop-up) we get a good amount of interest from all the sanding, sawing, cutting and staining that we are doing.
"What are you guys making now?" asks the neighbor. Depending on what ideas have developed overnight, we'll stop our rotary sander, aka Mr. Spinny, and give an update. Sometimes the passerby-er will offer up suggestions, like, "How about making Cornhole?" And before you know it, Derek has drafted out a plan to make the next creation.
Today's project also included product testing for our bench that we want to customize for our customers. We played around with what makes my heart happy, Go Bears, and then had to go to the dark side with Stanford. One should note, Derek has a Master's degree from Stanford, and I went to Cal. The rivalry is fierce (not).
In addition to staining our Nevada bistro table, we stained two more Tahoe coffee tables, tested out bench ideas, and got Cornhole made to competition levels.
It's felt odd to start a business duirng this global pandemic, and to start one by accident feels even more strange. Our days are packed and busy, but it's not lost on us how many other people are really struggling. It's those real life struggles that help to center us in gratitude and giving back in the best way we can.
People all over the world are out of work. I read a great article about how we are all in the same storm but certainly not in the same boat. Our boat is afloat, and the mere fact we can hire our own teenagers, to help give them some structure and income, makes us feel a little better.
Our days spent in the workshop are creative and collaborative. Ideas to build something or improve something dominate our conversations. There are jokes that Heidi and Derek's pillow talk centers around routers and jigsaw blades.
Just last week, as we sanded and stained and cut wood, the conversation shifted to how these craftsman-earned skills are "old school," that so many of our homes and household goods began centuries ago in a workshop. That our grandfather used the tools we are using to build furniture back in the 1930s feels remarkable.
We are grateful to be in the workshop. We are grateful to be working. We are grateful for the reception of Breuners Furniture. We are grateful for you.
Charlie is Heidi and Derek's 14 year old daughter. She has been a huge asset to have in the workshop, sanding for hours while sitting on the ground.
I walked over one day to find Charlie sitting on this new workshop stool, happily sanding in the sun. I commented about the stool, "Wow! I love the new stool, where did you get that?" It was an easy guess that Derek made it, out of the coffee table scraps. I looked at him, "Please tell me we can make more of those, they are fantastic!" Derek laughed and informed me that the stool was litterally made from the leftover wood from one of the coffee tables. Still, I loved it.
Our Mom did a drive-by later that same afternoon. She too noticed Charlie perched in the sun, sanding on her workshop stool. Mom said, "That is so cute, I love it." Derek looked perplexed and thought, "Yeah, but that's just something I threw together..."
And then a neighbor was walking by with her three young boys, all riding bikes. "That's such a great stool!" By now Derek thought we were all in cahoots.
So that's our product development process. Make something out of need, with not a lot of planning, and then get feedback. Charlie's workshop stool is now one of our latest product offers. Check out the product page for more info.