I usually share my culinary adventures with you here on the blog, but I have a unique opportunity and experience to share this month instead. I have worked with The Chopping Block's Owner/Chef Shelley Young for quite some time now, and I know that she has always wanted to have branded products. As woodworking is also one of my passions, I had several ideas for products that we could make together. I presented an array of branded options such as wood platters, sushi plates, cheese boards, etc. which started a great discussion about what products we use in our classrooms and what tools our students would benefit from. We decided to start with a bench scraper.
Over the years, we have had all sorts of issues with our supply of bench scrapers: consistency, materials, pricing, supply, etc. We utilize them so heavily in our classrooms that students really understand how useful they can be and when we don’t have a steady supply of them for the retail floor, it is a disappointment for our students and a missed opportunity for us. I have always thought, “I can make these! How hard can it be?” What I found was that it is really hard and really easy all at the same time.
I started sourcing materials for both the wood handles and the metal blades. I spoke with many suppliers and manufacturers until I found the right ones that could produce what I was looking for and get all of the pieces I needed with my cost constraints. I got the go ahead from The Chopping Block, and I started production. We decided on two different wood types for the handles – Mahogany and Burled Walnut.
All of the wood for the handles had to be dimensioned.
The blades finally arrived!
This whole process had challenges around every corner. From work/life time restraints to production time to unforeseen steps, I even had to come up with a whole new process for drilling holes consistently!
After several months, the project is complete and we now have new branded bench scrapers! The first 500 are now on our retail floors and in our kitchens.
Mahogany Bench Scraper $9.95
Walnut Bench Scraper $14.95
Next month, I will start another round of production all over again to make sure we have enough for all of you holiday shoppers out there!
What ideas do you have for the next branded product we can create? Let me know in the comments.