I think the number one question I get asked is, “How did you come up with this idea?”
Certainly a straightforward question, but I sense most people don’t want to sit there for 45 minutes while I explain the innermost workings of my brain, so it is most often answered with a quick response of “I don’t know.”
However, now that you are here, I will take that as a sign that you might truly be interested in the creative process (though it won’t insult me if you walk away mid-sentence because I can’t, you know, see you…).
When my girls were little, we visited the American Girl store and cafe. Their favorite part of the experience was when they were offered special booster chairs so they could eat with their dolls. Ultimately, we left the store without the nifty chairs, but walked out with an idea percolating of how we could make one instead.
Later at home, I gathered together some wood scraps from old house projects, and with a jigsaw that my dad found at a tag sale, some nails and a hammer, we plotted out a design, ending up with some rudimentary booster chairs which the girls then painted and personalized.
As the dust literally and figuratively settled, the chairs were not being played with as much, and I thought to myself, “MAN, these are bulky and hard to store. I wish I had thought to make them collapsible.”
Meanwhile it was Christmastime, and I had made another discovery – 3-D cookies. Slotted cookies. Pure genius. BAM! The light went on.
I thought, hmmmm – I should combine the two ideas… and Smalltown Flats was born.
First, I made a prototype from old cardboard boxes. Which worked ok, but they were not pretty to decorate, and they were flimsy – just putting them together and taking them apart made them bend. However, I decided to try a bunch of different shapes and furniture pieces, and the original six pieces were born.
After months of scouting potential materials, I decided the furniture should be made with paper chipboard, covered in white paper, which would make it fun to decorate.
The finished products would be years in the making, but the beginnings will never be forgotten. The internet is forever, right?
So there you have it. The rest, as they say, is history.