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A Glimpse Back At Our Unique Gift Journey

Posted by Curtis Holder on 28th Apr 2014

When Deneen and I were dating and attending the University of Winnipeg in the early 1990ʼs, I made a connection with a distant relative of Deneen's at a family wedding in Edmonton. Brad owned a gift shop in Winnipeg called "Splinters" that specialized in wooden gifts. He operated a store at Portage Place mall, and had a kiosk at The Forks. At Christmastime, he also set up kiosks at Polo Park and St. Vital Centre mall. Somehow, he offered Deneen a job, and she worked for him for a couple of years. Not too long into her position, she put her back completely out, and needed to find a replacement for a couple of shifts. No one else was available to cover for her, so she received permission to ask me if I could cover. Of course I said “yes”, and from that point on, I was an official employee, too. We loved the unique wooden gifts Brad sold. He had assortments of wooden pens, jewellery, boxes, carved ducks, trinket boxes, etc. One of the top sellers was wooden puzzle boxes. They were extremely popular during the holiday season, and we spent most of our busy shifts showing people how to open and close them. Once, when Brad needed to restock all of his kiosks, he took me with him to his home to pick up product. When I saw the rows of shelving units filled with stock in his basement, I was in awe. I remember thinking that I could see myself doing the same thing someday. Eventually, Brad had an opportunity to purchase a larger gift store at The Forks, and he closed Splinters down.

Fast forward to 2006 - now 9 years married and 3 kids later. Soon after we moved out here to the Lower Mainland, I once again caught the entrepreneurial bug, and decided that I, too, wanted to start a side business. I remembered the wooden products that we used to sell and began to search for artisans to partner with. I knew I wanted to offer unique gifts, and loved the idea of selling high-quality, hand-crafted products. We are proud Canadians, so we always keep our eyes open for Canadian made gifts, but we have also both travelled, so we were happy to offer unique hand crafted items from around the world, particularly fair-trade and eco-friendly. With that criteria in mind, we began our search, and the very first products we imported were the same puzzle boxes we used to sell at Splinters in Winnipeg. It was another year before I built a website, so we began taking the puzzle boxes, and a few other items, to local craft shows. We got the same delighted reactions to them out here, and I was officially ʻhookedʼ.

Just last year, I found these handmade puzzle boxes. They are quite large, beautifully detailed and very stunning, I think. These, too, have been very popular so far, and we are very pleased to offer them to you.