We do a lot of local events allowing us to interact face to face with customers, and repeatedly we get asked "where do your toys come from?". More often than not the response to our answer is a bit of a shocked look followed by a big smile.
We started Bannor Toys in 2011 in our basement workshop. It was small and only had a couple pieces of equipment. A tiny table saw, a little drill press, beginners scroll saw, and Jesse's grandpa's sander. But it worked for us and what we were doing at the time. At the time, we had no idea that Bannor Toys would turn into what it has!
In early 2012 Jesse quit his corporate job to focus on the toys full time, Stacey was already working at home running a small in-home daycare and helping with the toys more on the office/bookkeeping/design end of it. As orders kept coming in at a steady pace we quickly realized we were outgrowing our small workshop and decided to move to a bigger workshop building on our property. The building was already there and just sitting empty since we had bought the house.
The workshop is currently where our toys are made. It houses 2 large drill presses, 3 miter saws, 2 dust collectors, a huge belt sander, 2 scroll saws, a router table, a large table saw, a small CNC machine, a laser engraver for our personalization, stacks of sand paper, loads of wood, and piles of dowels. While there is more equipment we are always dreaming of buying and adding to the shop, for now our process is just that, ours, and it is manageable between the two of us (and a couple wonderful helpers come the holiday season!).
You see, the toys you buy from us really are made by us. We started this company with a very small amount money we had in the bank account a vision for what it could be, we continue to use that model as our company grows. We don't have a business loan or the overhead that a lot of companies have, and that is proudly reflected in our ability to offer 100% handmade and organic wooden baby toys at an affordable price.
While some days it feels as if our shop is too small when the toy workload overflows into the house and we are up tell midnight working on finishing toys, but we wouldn't have it any other way. Bannor Toys was started because there was a lack of true, honest, good companies making organic toys for children. We have no intention to ever get so big that we can't be the true, honest, and good company we have become.
So if you see us out and ask us where our toys come from, when we tell that they are 100% handmade in Des Moines, Iowa using all organic materials and our own two hands; we will take the shocked response and smile when you realize what a treasure that is in todays world of imported, plastic, noisy toys.