One of the most asked questions has been “How did you ever start this business?”, like you were either really lucky or a bit crazy. I guess you could say we are a bit of both and have little things called hard work and passion.
We were a bit crazy for having the thought that you could build a business around a little known product like a dirty dried gourd. Something that hid its beauty so thoroughly beneath a layer of mold. Was it really possible to clean them and craft them into something that so many people would love? And just as important, how could it be fun and rewarding? You had to be a bit crazy to believe that first pile of gourds could lead to so many smiles over so many years. I really can’t believe our craziness brought us so much luck.
Lucky that none of the many other billions of people who came before us had this idea for a business. Lucky that during the nineties when all our contemporaries were facing stiff competition from Chinese products, we weren’t. Lucky that we formed a group bond that lasted all these years through good times and bad. Lucky that we got so many of the big things right.
Hard work, long hours and lots of stress came naturally when we set out on this new adventure. It didn’t help that we knew almost nothing at all about growing and crafting gourds. Lucky for us we were crazy enough to think we could, if we worked hard enough, solve all the problems we encountered. I still remember looking at that first pile of gourds and thinking, I want them clean but there is no way I’m going to do it with steel wool and scrapers like all the experts said. That problem took years of experimenting and many models of wash tanks to solve. Kind of funny how hard that seemed in the moment. Looking back that was really one of the easier things we accomplished.
I believe the biggest asset we ever found was our passion to create smiles. Very simply, we want to create a product that brings a smile to your face when you see it for the first time or the tenth time. But just as important, we want to craft that product with teammates who share lots of good times and smiles as they hand craft it. This passion has been the adrenaline that fueled us in the hard times, and that same passion has made the successes so rewarding.
I can’t remember the first time or first thought that started this whole adventure. I just remember thousands and thousands of little steps taken. Each one creating an opportunity for taking a few more steps. I know there are a thousand more little steps in front of us for us to take, each one of them teaching us something new and each one providing a smile in it somewhere.