When I learned that the elegant line of wooden toys on Etsy called Goose Grease Wooden Toys were made right in Brooklyn, I got very excited. The mastermind behind the designs (you've got to love the wooden ninjas!), Michelle Crafton, lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Like all good momtrepreneurs, Michelle's business started of a need. She wanted some sweet toys for her new daughter. Word of mouth spread and then a feature of her wedding cake toppers on Martha Stewart sealed the company's fate. These small treasures are now a big business. The crafty mom (#2 is on the way in a matter of weeks) relies on family and friends to help run her growing business. We had to find out more about the line of wooden toys and the woman who brought them to life.
What does the name mean?Goose grease was a nickname that my dad gave me when I was little. He was a funny man with funny nicknames for all of the little kids around him.
Where do you work and where do you get inspired? Our studio just moved out of my apartment last month, so when I work, it's from my dining room table. Our second child is due mid-December, so I'm cutting back on my work load thanks to my two dear friends and GG workers Kelly and Sara. My job description has become much more Research and Development. I'm inspired most often in my daughter's room as we play. I think of so many things that I would love to see in her toy bin and then find myself trying to DIY it. My latest obsession is making wooden yummies for our daily teas.
Any advice to new designers? Try to keep work and home separate. I don't do a very good job at this, but I'm trying to work harder at it. Not being able to detach from work will take a tole on your family relationships.
What do you love about ETSY?Wow, all of it. I love that you can start an online shop without much cost and you'll be found if you have a good product. I love all the amazing things that you can find there that were made with much care. I love that Etsy is very much a community with admins who are constantly working to give the buyer and seller a better experience. They do so much to promote the talent found on Etsy and through Etsy articles and toy contests, Martha Stewart, NYMag, The Today Show, and others have found and featured us.
Favorite toy that your daughter has?It would have to be her white board easel. She and I (or her papa) can draw together for rather long stretches. It's so fun to see and be surprised by what she comes up with.
Beloved children's book in your family? I'll always love Olivier Dunrea's sweet little Gossie and Gertiebooks.
Where do you live and what do you love about your neighborhood?I live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and I LOVE all the wonderful places to eat brunch on a nice Sunday morning. The food around here is enough to make me think twice about ever leaving!
As a transplant from the South, what do you miss most about North Carolina?Driving is something that I really do miss. I think I'd have a panic attack every time I got in the driver's seat here in the city, but I miss driving around suburbia. It's such a mom thing to me.
What was your favorite childhood toy?All my Maple Town friends. I just pulled those out for my daughter over Christmas and she fell in love too.
Favorite place to shop in Brooklyn? When I'm looking for a gift I stop in at Brooklynski first. It's close and I can always find something perfect!
Photo of Michele and Chloe courtesy of hilgemanphotography.com.