Hello 'Hoos fans!
We're just getting our little wooden play set company, Bilderhoos, off the ground, and it's been . . . weird. I haven't run a business like this before, but I've run a lot of other things (university offices, an ice cream truck, too many websites, Camp Mommy, sand sculpting ventures, that sort of thing) so this seems a natural extension. But now we have 'hoos elves to pay, wood to buy, and numbers to keep track of. I find that by asking for help, it arrives, but asking is key. I also find that I LOVE doing this. I feel the passion! We (my sons, my husband and I who are involved in the everyday workings of Bilderhoos) are part of this new thing called the Maker Movement, and apparently we have lots of company in our endeavor to create something inspiring and really beautiful, by hand, in the USA, with sustainable materials. I am delighted to be on this path.
Our big news (and worthy of a First Issue of 'Hoos News) is that we, as Makers, were chosen as one of the very very few Grommets to be part of The Grommet family of Maker Products with a Story, and so, at 12 noon EST TODAY (July 6th) Bilderhoos will begin a four-day adventure at the epicenter of TheGrommet.com. I'll be online all afternoon today to answer questions from anyone who asks.
Bilderhoos has a nice mention in Crain's Chicago Business by writer Robert Loerzal (@robertloerzal) who put us in his New In Chicago column on July 2: Look for the paragraph that begins It's no secret that kids love to build stuff
We're also mentioned in a sweet article about The Commons at Fertile Ground, in the ThurstonTalk: http://www.thurstontalk.com/2015/06/29/commons-fertile-ground/ We helped Gail O'Sullivan and Karen Nelson facilitate a crowd-funded big Bilderhoos Play Set for their big community garden space a couple of months ago. I really appreciate the warmhearted people at The Commons at Fertile Ground in Olympia, and the things they do for the community are a superb example of wholesomeness.
If you were at our wood shop's Open House waaaay back in January, you'll see we've made a couple of key improvements to the design of a Bilderhoos Play Set since then. New photos here: bilderhoos.com. First, the scale is different: the boards are bigger, sized to fit kids better. Turns out kids aren't as small as we thought. And they think bigger, too. Second, we added a perfectly sized little hand-hold to every big board. Kids use it to lift and carry and also as a place to put their foot into while climbing, and this adds a whole new dimension of fun.
By the way, those bright new photos on our website are of some truly amazing children who wandered over to play on the 'Hoos when we brought it to Bixler Park in my neighborhood (Hyde Park in Chicago) last month. The photographs were taken by Keith Mokris(@keithmokris), my daughter's fiance. Bilderhoos is all about the family, and we're extraordinarily lucky to have Keith, a talented photographer, as part of ours. (Bixler kids, if you see yourself on our website, I'd love to hear what you think of it! I'll put your review on our website.)
Warmly, from my family to yours,