Our Farm Market vendor, Eight Trees Company creates handmade baby and toddler products to enhance your little critter's world with joy and love. A TreeHugger's paradise!
Eight Trees Company, LLC (that’s me) began in the summer of 2012 in the small little town of West Baden Springs, IN. I’d always sewn things here and there for family, but in anticipation of my first child, (a girl, Octavia Laura, of whom the business is named after, as her name translates as “the Eighth Tree”), I started making small toys and cute little booties and such. After sharing them with coworkers, I started getting requests to make for them, and thus, a rather typical beginning to a business…
Let’s go back further in my story, say, to 1988. I was 6 years old, and I think that’s right about the time my grandmother sat me on her lap, ran the foot pedal, and let me push the first pieces of fabric through a sewing machine. I was hooked. I can remember hand stitching Barbie clothes with pride, and when my 3rd grade teacher (my favorite by the way), had us hand stitch 9 patch pillows for Mother’s Day a couple years later, I was way ahead of the game. I was sewing before sewing was cool.
When I was 10, grandma decided it would be fun to sell at the Farmer’s Market in Lincoln, NE. She decorated what I called “lady faces” (broaches consisting of the profile of a lady, with a fabric hat and collar…you remember), and I made hair ties and puzzle piece earrings with puff paint. I never made the big bucks, but boy did I have a good time setting up and selling my wares. By the time I was 13, I was selling macramé hemp necklaces to classmates (remember the grunge era?), and I had the handmade selling gig down.
Even though I learned so much from my grandma, there was one thing I absolutely despised as a kid. Every time (and I mean EVERY time) we went to a store and I wanted something, say a stuffed animal or a new purse or even a shirt, my grandma would look at the price tag and say “But we can go home and make this.” Grandma, I don’t want to make it, I want to buy it. I want to fit in amongst my preteen classmates or even excel in showing off my new digs. I don’t want to save money sitting at the sewing machine and crafting something that clearly will look homemade. I want it to look like it was Made In China.
This went on and on for years. Not that I was a materialistic child, but I definitely loved to shop. Grandma taught me to be frugal, but when you’re surrounded by a society consisting of “bigger is better” and “more is better”, it was tough for me to deal with. I can still feel the eyerolls I would give every time I picture her saying “you can make that.”
Parenthood teaches you a lot of new things. Once my husband and I found we were going to be parents, I immediately jumped into action over the thought of all the things I could make. By the time she was born, I had made her a quilt, her dress to go home from the hospital in, burpcloths, and a handful of sweet little toys. As she grew, I made more blankets, more toys, and a few hats here and there. By the time my twins were born two years later, I was making a little bit of everything for all three of them. And when I snapped a picture just a few weeks ago of all three of them in their handmade Christmas outfits, I was beaming with pride, just like I had with those Barbie clothes.
What I didn’t realize, clear back when I was 12 (like I realized much of anything back then), was that, when my grandma offered to “go home and make that”, she wasn’t just trying to save money. She was trying to create something for me. She was wanting something to be proud of; she was wanting to gift me love. As silly and cliché as it all may sound, no matter what we create, and no matter how we do it, the things we make with our hands and our talents are gifted with a piece of ourselves. And every time, as I watch all three of my girls, I know my face just glows when they are cuddled up with a blanket I made them, or dressed to the 9’s in an outfit made by momma.
This is what my business is. Eight Trees Company is generations of gifting love and creating pride. Anything I sell was first made for one of my girls (I commonly refer to them as my quality control), so a product literally comes up from my home and on to my sale table. For the first two years I was in business in Indiana, I brought my daughter to every show, and I’m excited that this year she gets to rejoin me (you may remember her as Strawberry Shortcake on Halloween). My business is my family; the money I make from my creations goes to all of our “extras” in life. And as I set up every Saturday, in the wee hours of the morning, I’m thinking of nothing more than the gifts I’m able to grant my customers (I call you TreeHuggers), simply because…
“I can make that”…
P.S.- Yes, my grandma is still alive and kicking, she’s 93. Her name is Adeline…and so is one of my twins.