Madison resident Lindsey Boothe has deep roots in Appalachia, hailing from West Virginia and finding her way to North Alabama. And she has picked up a few hobbies along the way, including the art of crafting utensils from wood. And now, her hobby is her job.
Boothe officially launched Alabama Treenware in April of this year after already creating a bit of a social media buzz over her products. Here’s how she got it all started.
From a hobby to a business
Boothe grew up in West Virginia and said while there she was looking for a new hobby, and became interested in wood carving, notably making spoons and other utensils from wood. So, she reached out to nationally acclaimed folk artist Stan Jennings — founder of Allegheny Treenware — who taught Boothe his craft.
When Boothe and her family relocated to Madison, Boothe continued to make her wooden creations, and as word got out about the quality and uniqueness of her products, she wanted to start a business. However, getting a business license working out of her home became difficult, and put a hold on Boothe’s vision.
After finally purchasing the home they were renting in Madison, Boothe said she and her family were able to settle and she could go full steam ahead with the business. And Alabama Treenware was born.
A little social media goes a long way
Boothe began “marketing” her products via social media, and got some attention from locals who wanted to purchase her products. As her customers started posting her work, business started rolling in, which actually prompted Boothe to rush her official “opening” to April of this year instead of May.
“I woke up one morning with tons of orders, and it was in large part because a local jam maker with thousands of Facebook followers posted pics of the spoons they’d gotten from me. So I thought, ‘Well, I better go ahead and get started now, rather than May 1.'”Lindsey Boothe, founder, Alabama Treenware
Boothe started writing blog entries about her work, her recipes and her experiences with woodworking as she was getting into her hobby, and was urged by friends to publish her writing, which led to her book, Provisions: Food, Drink, and Tools for Your Table, which includes old family recipes along with photos of and some commentary on her wood products.
Of course, being able to share with the world her hobby and passion for her work through her writing also helped spark her business, which continues to grow.
How to find her products
Boothe carves all of her products from local repurposed wood. She said she gets a significant amount of her wood from friends or neighbors who will contact her about a fallen tree in their yard or the like, or she will sometimes see a fallen tree while driving around and arrange to pick it up.
She says her utensils are “organic by nature and heirloom by choice.” She teaches classes at Burritt on the Mountain on woodworking and has developed quite a following her in North Alabama. And she said she has found that growing her network has also grown a unique community.
“I thought I was building a spoon business but I’ve actually built a community of like-minded folks who I have come to enjoy and who all support each other.”Lindsey Boothe, Alabama Treemware
Find out more about Alabama Treenware and how you can purchase Boothe’s products, and her book, at the Alabama Treenware website.