I WOOD Ideas

DIY Queen Meets the Climate Crusader

persistence and determinationThere’s a quote that’s been posted on my desk since I first went off on my own at 18 years old. And prior to that, my Mom had it taped it to our refrigerator. It says: Persistence and Determination alone are omnipotent! (We were the only kids in the neighborhood who knew the meaning of “omnipotent”!)

As we announce the launch of iwoodkits.com, that quote comes to mind. Persistence and determination were definitely involved in the germination of I WOOD Kits.

Back in January, after nearly a decade of working to provide a safe place to sleep for homeless women and children, I had to take a step back and take care of my health. I wanted to spend some time being creative, working with my hands, gardening and writing poetry.  I had first met Chris Scott a few years earlier, when he demonstrated a building system he had designed that would make it possible to construct temporary sleeping cabins in a matter of hours. Together we had tried to convince local decision makers that the I WOOD cabins could be a valuable part of their efforts to address homelessness. But we hit a brick wall.

My level of frustration paled compared to Chris. He had spent most of his life trying to convince the lumber & building industry that his building system, which routs grooves in boards so they fit together like “grown-up Legos,” could reduce the number of trees that need to be harvested by 30%. This could make a significant impact in reducing the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere. Chris has invested over a million dollars into his non-profit, Treecycling, Inc. (Treecycling.com) but like our sleeping cabins, his idea hasn’t caught on.

Turning lemons into a bloomin’ lemonade stand

So back in January, over lunch, we put our brilliant minds together and decided the best way to gain acceptance for a new idea is to create a demand for it. Chris showed me dozens of items he had constructed with I WOOD, from tables and benches to mini-greenhouses and wine racks that were put together with a few screws. It wasn’t only ingenious, it was downright simple! “Why don’t we sell kits with the wood already routed and cut, so people can just build their own stuff, exactly the way they want it?” I asked.

Chris lit up! I suspect he was hoping I’d say that. He’d brought the first 5 IKEA stores to North America and he knew that people were not only open to building their own furniture, but the number of IKEA hacks being promoted on the web, proves that people want to be able to personalize their creations. And I WOOD kits made from real wood, would be much easier to assemble and offer limitless customization possibilities.

Building a business that’s good for everyone – we think that’s possible.

A serial entrepreneur, I knew there was a lot of mountain climbing between a good idea and a successful business, but I also knew this was a damn great idea! Chris was experienced in retail and my expertise was in online sales and marketing. Beyond bringing a perfect balance in experience to the effort, we were both determined to build something that was congruent with our shared values and goals. That means climate consciousness is a priority in every decision. In addition, if we want to end homelessness, we need to make certain that our business model is socially responsible. Conspicuous consumption should never be the reason to purchase our product – instead, we are offering something that makes life better for our customers as well as our planet. Our manufacturing strategy makes it possible for woodcrafters to earn a good living in their trade. And our orders can be produced by the woodcrafter located nearest to the shipping address, to reduce the cost to our planet as well as our business. Find out more about turning your woodcrafting hobby into a business.

So that’s what we are doing!

IWOODKits.com is now live! I hope you’ll go visit and check out our first product, the Spyci Spice & Spool Rack, just in time for the day Americans are cookin’! You can choose from 3 heights and 3 widths, to get a shelf that fits perfectly in the space you have.

Also, check out the Skini Shelf that’s on the Drawing Board – it fits into any 4” space you happen to have lying around, like that gap between your refrigerator and your wall where dust bunnies go to live. We are adding new “On the Drawing Board” items every week (as well as ready to rock n’ roll items). On the Drawing Board items are almost there but we are still working on the details. So you can put a $5 deposit on them, and we will let you know as soon as they are available (Not more than 60 days – but more likely less than 30 days). Why? For starters, you get to lock in the price posted, but if it turns out that we can offer it for less, you will get the lower price PLUS a 10% discount just for being an I WOOD Trendsetter! (and of course, minus your $5 deposit). And your order will go out before anyone else, so there’s that thrill of being first in line! (And we get to see what items we need to get finished first.) In the meantime, if you see something you like better, you can apply your deposit to any other item on the IWOODKits.com website.

So we are off and running!

Please visit, and send us your ideas and suggestions. Like any new business, there are kinks to work out and we beg your patience and your input. Please let us know if anything on the website isn’t working, or if it’s too complicated.

With a bit of persistence and determination, we will all be looking back at this day and saying, “I remember when they were just starting out and I’m so proud that I was a part of it!”

Ever positive,
Jeeni, I WOOD Kits Chief Cook & Bottle Washer




So You Have an Idea for an I WOOD Kit

The versatility of I WOOD profile lumber inspires beginners and experienced woodworkers. The flexibility of I WOOD's interlocking notches and the flexible building system inspires budding craftspeople and skilled woodworkers alike to create new design solutions. for furniture and structures. Once people "get" the advantages of designing with I WOOD, they can't help imagining "What if we made this thing with I WOOD?" If that sounds like something you've said, your ingenious suggestions, no matter how far-fetched, are welcomed here at Treecycling. In the spirit of a caring economy, your ideas can help make life better.

Brilliant ideas come to people in many different ways. You might be thinking of a way that a store-bought product could serve a purpose that it wasn't originally designed to do. Or you could be looking through the IWOODkits.com store and think, "What if we modified this design to make it much more functional for more people who need more functionality?" Or maybe, like some people, you get your brilliant ideas in the shower, or while driving, or in your dreams.. No matter how you get those amazing ideas, the folks at Treecycling want to give you the opportunity to try them out. And if we think it has the potential to be a "seller" on our IWOODkits.com store, we'll send you the prototype for free and give you naming rights! (see details here).

Are you new to product design? Sometimes the best ideas come from people not immersed in the daily "Gotta think of a new idea" routine. Here are a few suggestions to help you materialize your "What if we did this?" into a viable product design:

1) Imagine a useful product - something that you or other people might need. Even if you have little artistic skill. it's good to start off with a rough sketch of your idea, Sometimes trying to put something on paper helps to visualize what's wonderful about your idea, or maybe why it won't work the way you imagined. Don't be discouraged. See if you can come up with a way to improve on your original idea.

2) Determine where the joints and corners would be, by re-drawing your basic plan with a structural mindset. How would your product fit together using the I WOOD profiles? What would be the components needed? Consider the functionality, then match shapes. How would they fit together that would make them strong and yet simple to assemble? Most of the time, appearance is a critical part of the design - so how can you make your idea both beautiful and functional?.

4) Remember, I WOOD kits need to be easy to ship and assemble. When your plan seems complete, list the components required and make a bullet-point list of the steps required to assemble your product.

Now you are ready to submit your idea to Treecycling and be a part of our I WOOD revolution - using natural, resources that can be easily replenished with the least possible impact on our precious planet!