Thanks for the beautiful response to yesterday's post. I appreciate all of your comments so much. As an aside, someone just emailed me with a question that they thought I hadn't replied too. It turns out when I respond to your comments some of you aren't notified. I hope you haven't felt ignored! If you post a comment peek the next day for my response. I try to respond to most comments within a day. Thanks for all the love.
Onto one of our loveliest giveaways yet!
I met Bill, the craftsman and founder of Minnesota-based company The Original Tree Swing at
the Living Green Expo in St. Paul this spring. In a bustling hall
filled with splashy displays, plenty of noise, and so many distractions
his toys were an oasis of calm. We chatted at the show while my kids
played with the toys he had on display and then we connected again
early this summer.
Because he is such a small company, has such wonderful products, and a positive ethic I had to share him with you! Bill works with sustainable wood and simple organic designs. His work spoke to me – and to my children. I interviewed him last week.
Clean: What inspired you to go into this line of work?
OTS: We started The Original Tree Swing in late September of 2009. I had become recently unemployed like a of other people and had
decided to go back to school in the fall of last year. One of my
transcripts did not get in on time and I was unable to attend the fall
semester. I was beside myself, I had no idea what to do with myself
until the Spring semester started. My partner (Joyce) told me quite
simply that she would give me two weeks to develop 4-5 wood toys, build
a website, launch a HTML email marketing campaign. So i did. By the
Spring of 2010 I was having so much fun I just kept going.
Clean: How do you believe you and your business are bringing good into the world?
OTS: We make toys for kids of all ages. What could be better? We try to
design toys that challenge children to use their imaginations,
encourage them to play outside, help them to develop gross and fine
motor skills, and stimulate the senses.
There are a lot of
great toy companies out there creating amazing toys we try to
differentiate ourselves by: designing and manufacturing our products
in the US, by only using wood that has been cut down due to damage,
construction, and disease, (NEVER is a tree cut down so we can make our
products.) reclaiming or recycling as much as possible, i.e. 95% of our
boxes and packaging material is recycled from our local independent toy
retailer and other local business.
Clean: What else should we know?
love what we do and hope to be able to keep doing it in the future. In
the last 10 months we have picked up over 50 retailers in the US,
Canada, and Europe. If there is not a location near one of your
readers but they know of a great independent toy retailer let us know
and we will contact them. If any of your readers have great ideas for
toys we would love to hear them. Let us know what you feel is missing
in the natural toy market and we will look into making it.
While The Original Tree Swing does not sell retail, they have an extensive list of retailers you can see here.
Bill has offered an amazingly generous giveaway – goodies for five winners! Three sets of Memory Stackers (the little people seen below, each with a number on their belly for matching games) are up for grabs, as are two Bowl, Spoon, and Board play sets (pictured above). Bill gave a set of each of these to us and the quality is fantastic. So gentle, open-ended, and magical. To be entered in the drawing simply leave a comment below. For a second (or third) entry become a fan of The Original Tree Swing and/or Clean on Facebook. (One entry for each). Five winners! Good odds, folks.
I will close the comments on Monday morning, August 9th.