Product Assembly: Put Your Love in the Toy
As we have said before in other posts, we believe Flat-Pack is the best way to ship. We believe this mainly because it has much less impact on available resources and the environment than shipping assembled products. We feel it is a step toward stewardship of the earth we live on, and the air we breathe. Flat-Pack for us is a way to lessen the impact of our product line. For other information on the impact, please read our earlier blog posts.
There also are other reasons for making our product in this way. We all live in a fast-paced, modern society that is traveling at such a speed there is barely time to think. Many people are so plugged into the technology of the age, that it is easy to lose sight of what is right in front of us; our families, the fact that it is spring, the simple joy of spending time together without being on the computer or watching TV. So much of the richness of the life that is right in front of us passes by unnoticed, and is forever lost to us and those around us.
When we made the decision to go to Flat-Pack, the process wasn't easy. I didn’t want to turn to computerized routers because my product line was and is handmade. We took one product at a time and created the pattern we felt would assemble every time by anyone in their home, without them being a skilled woodworker. We would spend days, nights, and weeks, until we got what we were looking for.
The next step was to take it to someone (most of the time my wife, Susan), and say, "Here it is, it works like a charm." Sometimes it did, but sometimes it didn't. It was back to the shop until the problems were worked out. This process took a very long time. We were trying to get the product line to a place where we were able to make available to people, and give them a rich opportunity: to do it by themselves, an opportunity to see what it feels like to actually have created a product.
We envisioned people doing this together. Children, especially, are really interested to see how things are made. We envisioned people including their children in the process (when it wasn't a surprise for the child!). Children love this kind of thing, and love to help in the process. To see a group of parts on the floor, turn into an assembled product for them—right before their eyes—is something they will always remember. They also will remember, that you did it together. Even if it is a surprise, and the child's parents do it, and tell the child, "We made it for you", it will be extra special. Our goal was to make this easy for you to do.
When we first started our business in 1988, we went to 25 or so, large craft fairs. Many had 25,000-30,000 people. Sometimes we would have a live assembly and it ALWAYS drew a crowd. People who have never been able to make anything are quite often in awe of someone who can, and watching them do it is even more of a treat. We have created an entire product line so that you can do it yourself and share in this special feeling of accomplishment.
The way our world is today, it is easy to become disconnected with nature, our food, wild animals, the seasons, the stars, the moon, etc. Some may not know where their food comes beyond the grocery store. But everything has a source. If it's meat, it came from an animal. Someone cared for it. It was killed, and became your food. There is a story behind it being on the shelf, in the grocery store. The same goes for vegetables. They were seeds, planted in the soil. Someone cared for them. They grew, matured, and now they are in the store. It's beneficial, to not lose sight of the SOURCE. Wood is the same. It once was a tree. It was cut down, and milled into lumber. When we remember or become aware of what it takes to get what we have, it’s more likely that we will appreciate it and care for it.
When you receive one of our products, that we have cut, shaped, sanded, and finished, we are hoping you will be able to see the story behind it, and that someone cared about what they were doing. When you spread out the parts of one of our products, we are hoping you see the labor and care that went into each part, the grains of each different piece of wood, the way it feels, and that each piece is truly unique. At Elves and Angels, we are trying to share this with you and your family, in the products we make.
We want you to be able to experience the rest. We think you will like it.
Recently, I came across a children’s Wooden Kitchen, that was very well made, and it said it "snapped together" in 3 or 5 minutes. I was intrigued by this claim and bought one to see how this could be. The product came, and it was a fine piece of work. I snapped the plastic fasteners together, and sure enough, it was done in a short amount of time. I thought for about a half an hour, about maybe, doing it that way myself. But, when I was working in the shop after that, and had an uneasy feeling...that wasn't ME, that wasn't Elves and Angels!
We offer a beautiful line of children's wooden furniture and toys that can be handed down from one generation to the next. They are very easy to assemble. They have very simple instructions for you to follow. And now we are now providing live assembly instructions through our website. This Flat-Pack product line is easy on available resources, and the environment. There is no charge for the experience of doing it. All of us at Elves and Angels hope you enjoy it. If it just snaps together, you miss the rest.