Three Trees Workshop

How do you decide what to make?

Cynthia EppComment

When we first talked about starting this business, we threw out tons of ideas of what we could make--things we’d made before, useful or fun things we wished we had, suggestions from other people. Pretty soon, we’d listed dozens of possibilities. We quickly realized we needed to whittle down that list.

At the same time, we were trying to figure out how to approach the business in general. It was pretty easy to nail down the basic values of our two-person business--integrity, sustainability, transparency. But what was our purpose? We talked about this a lot. We kept coming back to the idea of wanting to encourage people to truly engage with the world around them--with natural materials that come out of the earth, with the important people in their lives, and with daily activities of cooking, eating, and sharing space.

Somewhere along the line, the big-picture goal emerged. We want Three Trees to inspire creativity and connection in people’s lives.

Three generations gathered around our handmade Chinese checkers board.

We narrowed our original brainstormed list to just a handful of products that supported that goal. Then we asked a bunch of you to vote! Our first products came directly from the voting.

Over the past year and a half, we’ve continued to think up ideas and receive suggestions for potential products. We weigh each possibility by how well it supports our mission. We’ve ended up with wooden toys that encourage kids to use their imaginations as they play, handmade board games that facilitate face to face interactions, and kitchen and serving pieces that celebrate and enhance daily routines that are easily overlooked, but which enrich our lives when we slow down and pay attention.