April 11, 2014

Friday Feature - Imagine If Boutique {Sale}

Today's Friday Feature is an amazing artist that I am excited about! She is amazingly sweet and makes the cutest eco friendly, child safe toys! I am so impressed by woodworking and the toys she makes are unbelievable. I will soon be a customer myself. She will be offering a sale this week just for you! See below for the coupon code. But first let's learn a bit about Kendace and her store, Imagine If Boutique.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
I’m a bit of a walking contradiction and that dates back to my eclectic childhood. We’re all do-it-yourselfers, and if-you-don’t-know-how-buy-a-bookers. There was no men’s work and women’s work in our family – just work, which is great because it opened up a whole world of abilities and experiences. I learned how to lay tile, sew, cook, clean, do yard work, build forts, and probably most importantly, how to use all of the equipment in my Grandpa’s woodworking shop. I was fascinated with everything in it from the big band saws and lathe, to the drill press and bench sanders, all the way down to the smell of the sawdust. There really isn’t much better than the smell of fresh cut natural wood.

2. Tell us about your business. What do you make? What are you all about?
Simply put, I make wooden toys. They are a natural, eco-friendly, open ended line that are my design from the ground up. Each one is sketched and designed by me, cut on a scroll saw, and hand sanded and shaped to be brought to life. Finally they are hand stained with a food grade stain I mix myself from cake decorating supplies (even the shimmer is edible!) and sealed with beeswax. In the future, our goal is to become 100% plant based in our stains – so look for that in the coming months! I’m all about being able to create a product that not only satisfies my need to create, but will be treasured throughout a child’s life. Chew on it while teething, bring it on adventures and discoveries as a toddler and young child, display it on a bookshelf into young adulthood, and pass it on. They are designed to be heirloom quality with a purpose! In short – I want to change the world one playroom at a time!

3. When and why did you start your business?
Imagineif’s roots run very deep. I still own many of the wooden toys my mom made for me as a kid and they are very, very special. Then lets fast forward into my own parenting experience; more specifically, late summer of 2013. I have a wild (almost) four year old boy who is really more like the Tasmanian Devil. Naturally, like many little boys he was very drawn to foam projectile weaponry and like many moms, I was not. Within days these things were in a million tiny pieces all over the house. Little did I know that was just the beginning of the saga. Queue sinus infection. Add antibiotics. Happy baby. Fast forward two weeks... Sinus infection number two, and my handsome little prince smelled like he was rolling in a compost bin. Add antibiotics. Happy baby. The third time it was far worse - the infection came back with a vengeance and it was brutal.... By this time I was completely mind boggled. What on earth was making him so sick? 
Long story short - by the time we closed this chapter we were in it one trip to the ER, three rounds of antibiotics, and one very uncomfortable 3 year old. The result? A piece of foam bullet lodged inside his nostril causing a nasty infection. Queue thought: What can I give my kids to play with, that they won't destroy, wont cause them to end up in the hospital, AND that will encourage them to play actively? 
I bought a few tools and began developing my first designs. I wanted something that would last. Something that if it ended up between his teeth (it would), or dropped (or chucked at a bug in the yard) wouldn't earn us another injury or ER visit. We needed something that could stand up to whatever my little monster could dish out and how better to find it than to take the matter in my own hands and create something that would spark his little imagination. At the time, I had been trying to launch a sewing business. People started to notice the wooden toys my son and nephew adored so much, and Imagineif was born! 

4. What inspires you?
My journey of being a self employed indie made business owner comes from so many different sources of inspiration. First and foremost, my kids inspire so much with their playtime. Some of my favorite ideas are actually my four year old’s random requests when he wants Mommy to “make me a prize”. I love animals and travel so you’ll see lots of things in my shop that are influenced by places I’ve been or cherish. I myself have a wild and crazy imagination and probably more important than that, is the feeling of knowing children love my products, and moms can feel great about loving them too. 

Get 20% off  www.imagineifboutique.com using code “babymoon”
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