I never planned to take a business trip to Vermont with a stuffed panda bear. The bear is my oldest daughter’s friend which she uses when she needs comfort. She offered him to me because I had just explained to her that I was going on an important trip. She understood that I was going to meet someone for the first time, ask if his company could make the wooden taxis and planes for my playmat, and that I really hoped the answer would be yes! Sensing that this was a situation where comfort might be required, she offered me her companion explaining he was very good at helping her when she felt worried. A truly priceless and precious gift.
Armed with my daughter’s faith and support, I set off to drive to Middlebury, Vermont, taking pictures along the way to show her I was taking good care of her bear. My destination in Vermont was Maple Landmark wooden toy company. They are a family owned business and on the day I visited, there were three generations of the founder’s family working at the same time. They stand for quality and durability and sustainable business practices. You can read more about their practices and values here and watch some great videos of products being made. Extensive tours of the shop floor are given twice daily every weekday, children are welcome. I learned a phenomenal amount, amazed at the time and effort that goes into producing a seemingly simple wooden toy.
I’m pleased to announce the outcome of that meeting was positive and Maple Landmark will be producing the wooden vehicles (two planes and a taxi) for the new airport playmat. The artwork is finished, checking prototypes comes next, and then we can move into production. I think that panda bear brought me luck and will have to come along on any future trips!