Little Sapling Toys Blog

Making a Country Living

Country Living Magazine contacted us over a year ago, expressing interest in featuring us in their Making a Country Living column. In July, they gave us just about a week's warning that we would have a photo shoot in our home! A freelance photographer came up from Chicago and we spent a hot August day in clothes fitting for a December issue. A phone interview, fact checking, waiting and waiting and... it arrived in the mail today! Read the text below.

 

Cabinetmaker Nick Christensen wasn't looking to switch careers in 2007 when he crafted a wooden rattle for his newborn son. But the rattle proved so popular- with baby Rex plus family friends- that Nick and his wife, Kimber, decided to test the waters with other toys: teethers, stacking games, and more.

STARTING OUT After the couple's attempts to place the wares in boutiques near their Northern California home didn't pan out, they opened an Etsy shop, under the name Little Sapling Toys, in the spring of 2008. "We got an order the next day," says Kimber.

GOING STRONG Within six months, sales had grown so robust that "we realized this could be a full-time business," explains Nick, who quickly left cabinetry behind. The brand is currently sold at 120 stores, as well as on Etsy and littlesaplingtoys.com. Last year the Christensens- now a family of four- moved to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where they set up operations in a 3.000 square-foot space.

GIVING BACK For every purchase, Nick and Kimber donate a seedling to Trees for the Future. And through an area job placement organization, they've hired two employees with autism. "We're so glad we can provide stable positions to people who do amazing work," says Nick. "They just needed a chance."