My father in law, Gheorghe, is the gardener of the family. He often walks into the house with produce grown right outside in our soil. He asked me to make him a simple cedar garden box for his garden. So I made him one. And then I made him another one.

I wanted to improve the design, so I kept making them. I posted a listing for the box on Facebook Marketplace. And then the orders started flooding in. Next thing I know, I had made and sold more than 100 of them. It’s been a surreal experience.

I gradually changed and improved the design with only a few parameters in place. It needed to have one foot of interior depth for soil. And I wanted to keep it super simple. I have a tendency to complicate designs where a simple design would suffice. So I made a conscious effort to not do that. Two cedar boards on the bottom and on every side…that’s it.

I also wanted to keep it affordable so that customers could buy as many of them as they needed. After the initial frenzy of orders, I had to raise my price on the box a couple of times. But finally I arrived to a fair price that justified the time and materials I was putting into them.

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This all started right in the middle of the COVID-19 quarantine. Businesses everywhere were closing. Revenue and spirits everywhere were down. And some notable companies like Pier 1 Imports went so far as to declare bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, our little business in Pearland had exploded. Customers who were happy with their box came back for more of them. Then their friends and family started to order them. And then a flurry of custom orders came in. Next thing I know, I’m building raised garden beds, potting tables and even massive U-shaped garden.