Sunday, March 26, 2017

Our Story

Our family

It all started one day sitting at my kitchen table with my dad talking to him about how I wanted to decorate our kid's rooms.  At the time my husband and I had 3 very busy little boys, ages 4, 2, and just a baby.  Our oldest loved dinosaurs, our middle son loves trains, and our little man - well he wasn't decided yet.

I thought what better place to start than their bedroom doors, and so I asked my husband to make some wooden plaques for me, and I began to paint them.

I went on to paint a dinosaur mural in my oldest sons room, it was a 8 x 10' mural, with giant long-neck dinosaurs in and around their watering hole, and one giant one with his plaster and painted head sticking right out of the wall.  There were pterodactyls hanging from the ceiling, and my son and I painted a dinosaur canvas together.  There was a dinosaur lamp, and wall hook, all kinds of little accents here and there.  The entire room painstakingly took several months to complete, but it was perfect. 

In my middle sons room I painted an array of transportation vehicles all around the room, and did it all up for him just the same.  

Each of our boys had their own door signs, wall art, and matching pieces made just for them.  They loved their new rooms, and I loved putting them together for them.

Not long after that, I had a conversation with my husband's Grandmother, about how it would be so great if I could do something to make just a little extra money for our family, and so I decided to start sewing.

In 2009, I started making baby blankets, bibs, and baby clothes, and was selling them on Etsy.  I was sewing all day, and all night.  I couldn't keep up, and so my husband started doing most of the fabric cutting for me, we both loathed cutting flannel circles....thousands of flannel circles.  I think I even kept cutting circles in my sleep.  My hands ached, and I can remember you couldn't see even see our kitchen table.  I liked sewing, but the passion was not there, and I knew this to be true when we were so busy doing it, it just wasn't enjoyable any more.

For some stress relief I would draw, or paint, yes even with aching hands because I loved to.  I've always loved drawing and painting from the time I was in diapers myself.  I would go to art camp as a child, and took art all through school.  I never stopped loving it, and I never stopped drawing or painting something at all times.  Over the years, my stack of sketch pads has grown immensely, my collection of sketches, and paintings has grown too, and it wasn't until I became a mom that I realized that what I truly loved doing so very much would become mine, and my husband's profession.

  I had just painted a canvas for a friend that was having a baby, it was a jungle scene with all the animals together in it smiling.  I fell in love with the little creatures that I had created for her.  So I decided to post my artwork in our Etsy shop along with my sewn products, not knowing that it would be my artwork that would sell more than anything else.

Soon I was no longer sewing all day, and all night, I was now creating art day, and all night for not only my own children, but children all over the world.  Between my love for art, and my husband's love for wood-working a true partnership was born.

First photo in front of our new shop.

From what started with just a few door signs for our own children, and our family of 5 in a home where we would create any where in our house that we could find the space starting out in just a small 8x8' office, our basement, our kitchen, to taking over our kid's entire upstairs playroom.

Our 8x8' office in the main part of our house, the kids standing on my desk.

At one point, we started calling the kid's rooms warehouse "J", "N" and so one as designated storage space for boxes, and ready-to-ship items.  The day that my kid's had to eat their breakfast before school on the kitchen floor, was the day I knew we needed a very separate, and larger space.

Our old upstairs office, oh I miss those pretty sparkly lights.

Now 8 years later our family of 7 has built a brand, Toad and Lily,  and we have moved our business into a space of it's own.

Our new shop

We now over over 350+ themes, and over 35+ product lines.  We sell through large retailers, boutiques, and offer wholesale to re-sellers, schools, and churches.  We've helped to decorate commercial spaces for kids, and been involved in children's charities, and fundraisers, having branched out not only within our community, but around the world.

Happy but tired after our first big shipment.

It seems that no matter how crazy things get in our shop; how many orders or emails pile up, the love for it all is still there.

This is just the beginning of our story.

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