Bannor Toys: Handmade Wooden Toys

It seems like every other small toy company has a catchy name that has something to do with trees or nature.  As we work through our third year as a company I have begun to reflect on why we ended up naming our toy company after ourselves essentially.  The first reason is that I (Jesse) am handy, but not overly creative :)  But as I look back through the last few generations of my family, we are a people of hard work.  My grandfather worked for the railroads way back when and then with lumber and a radial arm saw for decades until he retired.  His son works for the same building company now.  I have uncles that worked in furniture making facilities and factories, and my father has worked for almost two decades in the printing business.  You won't find him in a BMW, lunching with high end clients in sales meetings.  You will see him in the same type of uniform he put on some 15 plus years back, working his way up to a head pressman, running giant printing presses that are so large you could fit a small house in the square footage of the press.

If you ask my grandfather, uncles, dad if they are proud of their positions I think they would simply say, "I'm doing my job."  I don't see it that way though.  I see men that work hard for a paycheck that pays the bills, and takes care of their families.  Whether they realize it or not, they provide a service and product that enriches the lives of others.  Their jobs support other peoples jobs.  If you didn't have a man running the saw there would be no need for the man driving the truck or pushing the broom.  They are indeed thankless jobs, as a toy maker I have the luxury of seeing the fruits of my labor when moms and kids smile with our toys.

I used to have an office job.  It was a pretty god job, the pay was ok, the hours were reliable and decent.  Maybe it is because I'm a bit eccentric, maybe it is because I get bored - but it just didn't feel natural to me to sit in a cubicle surrounded by 500 other cubicles.  Not to say that is a bad thing, I also have family in mortgage and insurance and they are every bit as valuable as those of us who do labor or "hands on" work.  I just felt a calling to DO and to MAKE and that is why I ended up back in my woodshop. 

So I guess what I am saying about our company name is that unlike others it doesn't bring to mind visions of your kids playing in freshly cut grass with wooden toys on a warm spring day.  But I do hope that someday our name not only reflects the quality toys that we make but the calloused hands, the sweaty brow, the hard work, and the dedication that I have for what I do and for all the hard working Bannors that came before me.  Of course I want moms to think of beautiful toys, happy moments, and baby smiles when they think of our company because that is what we live to provide.  But I also hope that some day our family name is held by everyone in the same high regard that I hold it today.

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