Giveaway #1 can be found here
Giveaway #2 can be found here
Veronica and her husband James own and operate Painted Turtle Wooden Toys, which can be found both on Etsy and on their main business website. And, they are our third business to exemplify Conscious Family values.
Can you tell me a little about you, as a person, and then a little about how you, the business owner, came to create Painted Turtle?
About James (aka the woodworker): Perfectionist to the hilt and completely dedicated to his craft (and his son—he’s a stay at home dad!). Loves the feel of working with wood, knowing that the toys he makes are completely safe, and performing his own brand of extreme toy testing (aka running rattles over with the car to see how durable they are).
About Veronica (aka the office administrator): Office worker by day, Etsy seller by night! Loves natural parenting, hearing back from customers about how their babes like their new Painted Turtle toy, and has learned to live with wood shavings and sawdust sprinkled around the house.
When we were pregnant with our first-born and spoke with other parents about the toys they liked and used the most, one of the big topics of conversation was the lack of certainty with regards to the materials used in the more commercially available wooden toys. It was with this in mind that, in 2009, a hobby turned into a business.
What were you like as a youngin'?
Veronica: insatiable reader of books; lover of old musicals; and producer, writer, director, and star (with my younger sister) of wild plays put on at home for an audience of our parents & grandparents. Creativity and entrepreneurship was greatly encouraged in my home.
James: Depends on what age ;). If we are talking the start of school to pre-teen part of my life, then I would say generally polite, quiet, observant and a lover of the outdoors. I had an insatiable need to explore and to create. I was putting hammer and nails to wood at a very young age.
If you had to pinpoint one turning point in your life/career, what would you consider that defining moment/event?
Veronica: I would have to say that there wasn’t just one….there were two. The first was immigrating to Canada to go to university and therefore, meeting James. The second would be getting pregnant. The first one is obvious: without having met James, there would be no Painted Turtle Wooden Toys. And the second—having that little peanut inside of me—was the catalyst that sparked the creation of this amazing venture.
James: My defining moment came years before starting what I do now. During university, the stress of doing something I disliked in an institution that supported those with good memorization skills over those with the ability to actually apply knowledge, led to a bit of a breakdown. It was during the following semester in my Buddhism studies class that I came to realize that I didn't have to please everyone else and that I should live my life for myself. I acknowledged that I didn't have to have a "traditional" career, and that if working with wood was going to make me happy, it was better to spend the years of my life in that pursuit. It took a few years to get here, but the journey was worth it. This defining moment also had an unexpected side effect. Being self-employed has allowed me to live out another dream of mine - being a stay-at-home father.
You offer more natural products, so tell me why these things are important to you both personally and professionally.
While eating locally and living sustainably was important to us right from the start, it really came in to focus for us when our son was born. "Future generations" was no longer just an abstract concept for us. The safety of what we and our son are consuming is at the forefront of our minds when making choices on what to buy and what to eat. Similarly, we create products that we would trust our son with. We are able to avoid the risks of factory "lemons" because each piece is hand worked and inspected throughout the entire process. We buy wood from a local and sustainable saw mill, so we feel confident that those forests will still be there when our son gives his first child his or her own rattle.
What do you hope your clients get from your products?
A few things, though most significantly (we feel) is peace of mind. The peace of mind that the toy the most precious person in their life is playing with, isn't going to hurt them. The peace of mind of not having to worry that mouthing or chewing the toy is going to be breaking loose a whole cocktail of chemicals and heavy metals.
Tell me a little more about you, some random or fun tidbits.
Veronica: I speak Spanish, English, and some mediocre French; my family is Chinese-Panamanian; I have 23 first cousins, most of whom have their own kids too; and I have a passion for acting in theatre.
James: I am a stay at home dad; aside from toy making, I love being outdoors; I studied geography at university but ended up as a woodworker; and I have deep philosophical thoughts and ideas while I am hand-sanding a large order.
Ok, the giving away! This wonderful couple is offering a beautiful wooden rattle for one lucky reader!
Be sure to go to their etsy shop (linked) to read about this handsome rattle! Who knows, your babe might be the lucky winner!
RULES FOR ENTERING:
To enter, you MUST complete #1 on the list. After that, feel free to enter as many additional times as you would like (#2-#5). You must leave an additional comment for each entry for it to be valid. Please don't forget to leave me some way to get in contact with you if you are the winner.
- Like Painted Turtle's Facebook page, leave a comment on their wall saying that I sent you, and come back/comment here to let me know you did. :)
- Like my Facebook Page, then come back and let me know you have. If you are already a liker, let me know. :)
- Share this giveaway on your own blog, then come back here and comment, sharing the link to that post in the body of your comment.
- Share this giveaway on your own Facebook wall, tagging my or Painted Turtle's FB pages (or both even), then come back here and comment, letting me know you did.
- Go to their main website and browse around, come back here and let me know what item you like the most.
Entries must be received by April 30th at midnight. Drawing will occur in the first week of May. Good luck!!!