Hold on to your wallets, friends, you’re about to be wowed.
Lisa McSpadden is a very local artisan. Leavenworth is her hometown. She’s also a homeschooling mama to two beautiful boys, which inspired her one-of-a-kind handmade toys. In fact, she started making toys as a way to barter for diapers when her boys were small. She belonged to a group called Diaperswappers in which members traded items for cloth diapers. So it all started when she decided to make a few wooden toys to trade. As the shop has evolved, Lisa has begun using her own imagination and creating things she sees in the whimsical parts of the world. She says, “Being in nature is my best tool.”
Simple Gifts Toys started off as a hobby. It gave Lisa something to release her creativity when she wasn’t working. When she and her husband decided it would be best for their family to have her at home, she stepped up her game and turned the hobby into a viable business.
And a viable business it is. What started out as creating toys and tools her boys needed for learning has become an incredible opportunity for you to get your hands on some of the coolest toys we’ve ever seen. All of us here at Backroads Market crush super hard on Simple Gifts Toys and wish our kids were still young enough to need them.
Simple Gifts Toys
Lisa’s wood-burned and hand-painted toys include everything from puzzles to play food to doll toys. Lisa’s favorites include the dragons and trees she creates, and how not? Talk about sparking a child’s imagination! We can’t say enough about how cool they are.
Simple Gifts’ customers love the perpetual calendar, play food and apothecary sets, and Lisa admits those toys also make it on her list of favorites. In her own words, “What can I say? Woodworking is fun!” That enthusiasm shines through in her creations.
Lisa loves the flexibility in scheduling, making what she loves, and the empowerment of running her own business, but finds it’s very challenging to find balance between home, homeschooling, and the business. Every aspect of her life is time-consuming. There are a lot of aspects to running the shop that her customers don’t see. Beyond the creation of the piece (designing, purchasing supplies, cutting the wood, sanding, sanding again, wood burning, painting, making the wax, polishing the toys), there’s also maintaining inventory/supplies, customer service, ordering, advertising, shipping, photography, managing finances, doing taxes, understanding safety compliance, business filings, understanding site policies, etc.
Yeah, success has its downsides, too. Especially when Lisa starts working at night and suddenly realizes it’s time for morning cartoons. Um, dedicated much?
Downsides or no, Lisa feels her business has truly blessed her family. It allows her to work from home and homeschool her boys. “I can say that our family, while we have our struggles, is healthier, happier and,” Lisa says, “lucky to have a this business that provides such a major portion of our income while I’m available at home.”
Lisa is looking forward to Backroads Market on October 7 where she will get a chance to meet people and hear their feedback. She’s also excited about supporting this awesome local initiative to bring such a great event to her hometown.
Aww, thanks, Lisa.
See you there!