We had the good fortune of connecting with Cassie & Sam Willems and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Cassie & Sam, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
Customer relationships and customer satisfaction. Our number one goal is to create a product that we are proud of and that our clients love. We have seen that word of mouth and repeat clients are both huge contributing factors to our success and where most of our business comes from. Because our work is so custom we get to work closely with our clients to create a unique and special design. This also allows us to build relationships with our clients which has been incredible. We want to be a brand that people know and trust. We want the design process to be fun and to allow our clients to voice their opinions and make changes until they are completely happy with the design. We love that we are at a point in our business now where many of our clients trust us enough to give us full creative freedom with their piece, which opens up so many possibilities!

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
When we started this business our plan was to make items such as shelves, and simple painted signs. We wanted a hobby, something we could do for fun together while Cassie was taking maternity leave. When we got a request for a 3D sign we tried the scroll saw for the first time and honestly it was horrible. The word was hardly legible! But we agreed to the order anyways and cut it a few more times until we were happy with it. We now use a scroll saw to cut all of our work, entirely by hand! And after much practice, there isn’t really anything Sam can’t cut. We’ve taken our work from simple design cut outs to intricate works of art. It was not easy, in fact it’s still not easy and we are learning every day. A lot of trial and error and advice from other makers has gotten us where we are todays. We are so proud of how far we’ve come. The originality of our work and the handmade aspect of each and every piece. From the design process, the cutting, and the painting, every single aspect is done by hand, by us.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Niagara is such an incredible place to live and visit! There is so much to do and see. Niagara is filled with wineries and breweries, some of our favourites being Oast, Merchant Ale House, 13th Street Winery and Gretzkys (which is especially fun to visit in the winter when their ice rink is set up!) We would of course have to visit Niagara Falls and the casino. A fancy dinner at The Keg over looking Falls is an amazing experience.
A breakfast visit to some of our favourite cafes such as Bremfields for their Saturday morning waffles and The Watering Can pastry market.
A shopping day is a must! Queen Street Niagara on the Lake is full of fun shops and restaurants. We also love visiting our favourite small shops Hey Baby and The Local Life in Vineland.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Growing up Sam spent a lot of time in the garage working with his dad. He taught him all of the basic functions of tools and sparked his love for wood working. Our first scroll saw which started this entire business, was one that he lent us! We are also so thankful to be able to use his garage for a large part of our work. Without him we absolutely would not be where we are today.

Website: thewoodenelephant.ca

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the.wooden.elephant/

Image Credits
Rose Moon Photography

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