Posted by Expert Gadget Reviewer on Saturday, 6 November 2010

While some things have stayed the same in our little Hathcock family life (I'm still the messy one, Scott's still the clean one, he's still out of work, etc.) lots of other things are changing for the better!  First off, before you get all "OMG I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED ON SHARK TANK" because of what I'm about to write, let me just say that it has nothing to do with Shark Tank other than the ball started rolling when I was prepping for the show/pitch.  In no way did the outcome of my Shark Tank pitch have to do with this amazing news.....

I am moving manufacturing of the toy boxes (and eventual bedroom collections) OUT of my garage and into an Amish furniture manufacturer in Ohio!  Here's why this is unbelievably great all around - for me and for my customers/retailers:

  • I'm from Ohio so the thought of putting money back into the state and keeping manufacturing here in the US thrills me beyond belief. 

  • Ray Yoder, Jr., owner of L&J Woodworking, is equally as excited about this partnership as I am.  His shop, which employs 17 workers, is known for quality and Ray is a gem of a person. We actually have a lot in common as he started his business from his small workshop years ago. He'll be doing something few Amish furniture makers do which is make modern furniture

  • Each piece will still be eco-friendly, look the same as if I made them in my garage using eco-friendly Baltic Birch ply, and will be built by skilled craftsman who've been building furniture A LOT longer than I have. The finishes on the pieces are incredible!!  He's also able to do some things that I can't do.  Like use a router.  Damn thing scares me to death.
  • I can only build three toy boxes per week. Any more than that means I don't see my kids, my husband, I don't shower, and I am in a constant state of building.  Ray and his team can build 50, 100, even 1000 per week, if need be.

  • The average wait time for a new order (until the order ships out) is normally 12 weeks.  People are waiting 3 months for a toy box currently.  With L&J manufacturing, clients/retailers will only have to wait 4-5 weeks for a handmade, US-made, eco-friendly toy box

  • The pricing will remain the same because he can build them for roughly the same cost as what I pay to build them in my old garage.  Most furniture companies have to resort to manufacturing in China, Brazil, etc and shipping the goods back to the US.  I'm so happy that I can keep the pricing the same, continue to have a quality product, AND keep it in the United States. :)
With the manufacturing in place, I'll finally be able to stop turning retailers away from all over the world. I've had to keep my retailer list small because I feared I would run my business into the ground since it was just me building everything.

I can't quite believe Mod Mom is where it is today.  I'm so grateful for your support and encouragement over the past 3 1/2 years.  There were a few times when I thought I wouldn't make it, physically and emotionally.  And I'm so glad I didn't throw in the towel.  

When I was standing there in Ray's office saying goodbye, his eighteen-yr-old daughter came in to tell me how much she loves my designs and that when she has children, she wants one for her kids.  It's so amazing to know that the designs resonate with so many people across all different walks of life.  It makes me realize that my crazy idea to build furniture in my garage wasn't so crazy after all.  Well, maybe just a little crazy. 

A shot of the shop from the road.

Just a shot of a tiny portion of some of the work that is ready to ship out. 

One part of the massive workshop + massive warehouse.  The staining station.

See the tall thin looking things in the back.  All of his equipment is powered by steam. No electricity.

They finishing station using a sprayer.  My finishing station is in my living room next to the couch.