Tell us about yourselves!
Tell us how you came to be doing what you're doing.
Armadillo Dreams started in late 2010. We started the shop after Dustin discovered a passion for woodworking during the summer that year while building a backyard chicken coop. We always wanted more wooden toys for our children, but didn’t have a lot of money. Amanda had already been selling on Etsy for about 5 years with her shop (Wild Plums: http://wildplums.etsy.com). We combined Amanda’s artistic skills and knowledge of Etsy with Dustin's passion for woodworking and Armadillo Dreams was born. The shop started very small selling only toys that were already made. We later switched to having everything in the shop “made to order”, versus trying to keep a large inventory around. This allowed us to really concentrate efforts on expanding our catalog and grow the shop to where it is now.
No matter how big Armadillo Dreams gets we plan to keep operations small and home based. My woodshop is in our backyard (a large converted shed). We also have a two car garage that was remodeled into a family room that serves as an indoor work area. A lot of work also takes place on our dining room table. We like it that way.
3 Tell us a bit about the process of making your toys.
- Our wood toys are handmade out of poplar, sanded very smooth using up to 5 different sanding processes, and are finished with natural beeswax cream to seal the wood. Painted wood toys have a wash of AP certified non-toxic watercolor paint applied. We use a watercolor wash instead of completely coating them so you can still see the wood grain and for a more natural texture. All lines and details are wood burned so they'll never fade away. Edges are hand sanded to round them slightly and make them friendly for little hands. Each wooden toy is made from a different piece of poplar, so grain and slight color variation may occur. Our wooden toys are hand detailed and each has its own personality, but will look very close to the original. All of our designs are hand drawn so you won't find wooden toys like ours anywhere!
Where did the name, Armadillo Dreams, come from?
It’s an inside joke between Amanda and I that goes back quite a ways. In essence it’s represents freedom to us, both in the sense of being independent and financial freedom.
What would you like to see yourselves doing in 5 years from now?
I would like to see Armadillo Dreams continue to grow and eventually become one of the largest toy sellers on Etsy and even one of the largest handmade toy sellers on the Internet in general. We have been taking a lot of steps recently to accomplish this and we still have a lot more planned for the rest of this year and beyond. We will soon be selling through multiple online marketplaces. We just started a shop on ArtFire (http://armadillodreams.artfire.com) and an eBay shop (http://stores.ebay.com/armadillodreams/). Soon we will be selling through our own e-commerce website on http://armadillodreams.com as well. We are also in the process of starting a family blog. Our blog name is Wild Armadillos, which is a play on my wife’s shop Wild Plums (http://wildplums.etsy.com) and our shop Armadillo Dreams.
Outside of toy-making, what sorts of things do you enjoy?
7 What’s the best thing about having your own business?
The thing we love the most is that our businesses can work around our lives, versus our lives having to work around day jobs. Especially with two young kids this is really huge for our family! We often work during nap time or in the evening/night so that we can be with our kids during the day. Having two stay-at-home parents is amazing. We love it and our kids love it!
Well, now that you know a little bit about them, here is what Dustin and Amanda are offering a lucky winner: this beautiful little chicken family set! And there are several way to win:
- Leave a comment below (maybe stop by their Etsy shop and tell me what you liked best!);
- Like Armadillo dreams on Facebook;
- Follow Armadillo Dreams on Twitter;
- Link to this giveaway on your blog, Facebook page or on Twitter (one entry for each)
- Become a follower of Patch O' Dirt Farm (let me know if you already follow!)
So there you go; seven possible ways to enter! Please be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry. This giveaway will be open throughout this week and will close Sunday, July 29th, sometime in the evening. The winner will be announced on Monday the 30th.
In addition, Armadillo Dreams is offering a 10% discount to readers of Patch O' Dirt Farm for the rest of July! Just use the promo code PATCHODIRTFARM at checkout to receive the discount.
Sorry for all the weird number stuff happening in the post! I seem to be having issues that don't appear in the edits, but appear when published...I'm trying to work it out, so bear with me!