The Story Tree
Tell us about your business.This came from a gift I drew for my mother-in-law. She is a very family-centered person and I wanted something that would be meaningful to her. I decided to create a family tree to honor her 8 grandchildren. The reaction was so great that I began to create them for family and friends, and the business grew out of that. I remember thinking "Would anyone actually want to buy one of these?" But in my first year, I had 15 orders alone! That was a lot, considering I was still fine-tuning my techniques and each tree took about 3 weeks to finish. When I receive an order, I ask my buyer to send along an outline of their family, along with the symbols and ideas for the background scene. As work progresses, I email photo updates and upon completion, I send a series of photos for their review. I would like to see The Story Tree grow by offering a line of family tree prints, possibly in stores. I have a few ideas that I am working on now and am excited to launch them in the upcoming year.
What makes your business stand out?It is unique in the product that I offer. My family tree design is one-of-a-kind, and each tree is an original piece of art.
What's the best business advice you've received?"Trust Your Gut"... I also own a small real estate office in the Upper Catskills. It was a decision that came about very quickly and for which I, and my (now)business partner, had not been expecting at the time. It has been an experience full of teaching moments, but as we celebrate our 7th year, we realize that it's due in large part to trusting our instincts.
Mark Your Calendar
NominationsJune 3–Aug. 29, 2014
Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.
JudgingJune 23–Sept. 8, 2014
Judges will select finalists throughout this period.
Online VotingSept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014
Vote for your favorite American makers.
Winners AnnouncedOct. 17, 2014
2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.
American Made EventNov. 7–8, 2014
Join us for our annual event in New York City.