“We’re committed to the environment and replenishment of our forests, that’s why whenever you buy a watch or pair of sunglasses from our site, we do our part and plant a tree, best of all it’s in your name!”
I would like to thank Huma, Founder of Maya & Sara for being so kindhearted. Not only for sending me my own pair of Zebra Wood Sunglasses (I absolutely love them), but for also taking the time to be interviewed.
When did you first come up with the concept of a business that revolves around Wood Products?
Our recent move to Seattle brought out our love for nature. We fully immersed ourselves in the Techies, Hipsters, Misfits culture and wood wearables just seemed to capture the vibe of the city. As strange as it may seem everyone in Seattle wears sunglasses year round even with all the rain, so we took an existing product and put our own spin on it by customizing the designs and selecting different kinds of wood. The watches were actually a by product of the sunglasses since we thought they would complement them well, though after seeing the final product I feel the wood watches are now among my favorite accessories.
How long did it take you to get the business up and running?
It took a few months. We experimented with a few prototypes and worked with different suppliers to see how we can make our designs standout. The difficult part was ensuring the products meet our quality standards. Once we were confident with our products we launched an etsy store to gauge interest. We got instant feedback and found that people really loved our products, then we took the next step and launched our own website.
What sets your business apart from other similar companies?
My husband and I are both Engineers, we understand the science behind the manufacturing process and materials. Furthermore, after living in such a scenic city we are passionate about making sustainable products mainstream while still being fashion forward, our Montreal roots definitely help with that aspect.
As a family run business, how many family members take part in keeping the business running?
Everyone plays a part including our daughters, Maya and Sara. I work with our suppliers to create new concepts and handle our social media. My husband is the techie so he does all the website work and handles the supply chain while Maya and Sara put their stamp of approval on everything. They love going to the arts and crafts store with me to look at fancy wrapping papers and supplies.
Where do you acquire the wood used to manufacture the products?
We use a few different suppliers to source our products. The hard part is finding consistency. We’ve had situations where we’ve had to throw away stock because they didn’t meet our standards. Our goal is to work with local suppliers only and we’ve begun our search here in Seattle.
Each product is handcrafted?
Yes and that’s why no 2 pair of sunglasses or watches are 100% identical. With wood there’s always some variation. Working with wood is far more different than working with plastic. It needs to be cut, sanded, carved and shaped in to form.
How are you able to plant a tree for each product purchased?
We plant a tree with the proceeds of each product. We’ve teamed up with plantit2020 who plant trees all over the world. Wood is a natural sustainable resource so we felt it’s our responsibility to replenish the earth with what we borrow from it.
In which locations are the trees planted?
Pretty much anywhere in the world though we usually choose locations that are in desperate need of reforestation and closest to the customer. So once you place an order know that you are helping close to home.
Was it always your plan to work with Plant-it 2020 or were other Organizations also possibilities?
Yes. They’re very passionate climate change and the role trees play in ensuring we have a balanced ecosystem. We reached out to them and they were very enthusiastic about our goals.
Do you ship your products worldwide?
Yes. Funny you mention that, we just got our first order from Europe and we are very excited about that. Our primary market remains Canada and the U.S but we will send our products to wherever our customers are located.
What is the best selling pair of sunglasses? Best selling watch?
We sold out of the Wayfarer sunglasses and the S2 watch right away. The leather band watch has also received an overwhelming demand and we decided to do a HIS and HERS matching pair in our new collection. All these products will continue to be showcased in our new line.
Do you plan on expanding your collection to consist of even more than the sunglasses and watches?
We’re working on another project that’s a different product category all together, but as far as Maya & Sara is concerned -no. We want to stay focused on our core products and continuously push the boundaries of style, quality and service.
Is your business based solely online? Are you looking to expand to stores?
We’ve received some interest from local retailers but for now, we want to continue to grow our eCommerce store and expand our customer base. This enables us to monitor what our customers like and keep costs lower. When we feel the time is right, we may explore expansion into retail.
What can we expect next from Maya & Sara?
Maya just started kindergarten and Sara is planning her 3rd birthday party. Oh wait, did you mean the brand? In that case, we’re really excited for our new collection which is set to debut in late September. We have all new watches and sunglasses and we think our customers will love the new styles. Fall 2015 is going to be really hectic but we’re looking forward to it.
“Maya & Sara provides beautiful wooden handmade watches and sun glasses in awonderfully sleek design. The charm from Maya & Sara doesn’t only come from their craftsmanship, but also from the wonderful service they provide for their customer. My order arrived in a nice wooden box, with a small thank you note and discount code enclosed. The personal touch makes you feel like more than just a customer, there’s an established relationship. Protecting my eyes from the harsh sunlight has never looked this good. I think my favorite part about the service is that for every order that is made, they will have a tree planted in the customers name. It may be my inner hippie speaking, but knowing that the business is serious about an environmentally conscious approach is very encouraging. You won’t find this kind of service or product at a chain store.
-Tim Gale from Carlin Was Right
Thank you again, Huma! Everyone, please check out their website here!