Meet the Etsy Store Owners Who Turn Reclaimed Materials Into Beautiful Home Goods

published May 6, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

It’s a familiar story: Kristin and Scott Fischer were looking for a dining table for their new home in Key West, Florida, and having trouble finding something just right. Fed up and committed to finding something locally made, they decided to do it themselves using wood from a local lumber store. While most of us would have stopped there, Kristin and Scott kept going—and soon enough, they had a full-fledged business on their hands: Muirwood Reclamations.

Eventually, the pair moved back to their hometown of Chicago and starting developing more products, all made with a dedication to using locally sourced, reclaimed materials. Nowadays, Kristin calls herself the “Jill-of-all-Trades” of their business—not only is she the primary maker of their goods, but she also runs the shop’s site and takes care of their toddler. All of Kristin and Scott’s products, from concrete kitchenware to a railroad spike bottle opener, are designed with intention and meant to inspire conversation. They can be described as distinctive, unfussy, and simple—and above all, made to last for years.

We interviewed Kristin recently to learn more about the inspiration behind the shop, how she and Scott developed a passion for reclaiming old materials, and what it’s like to turn a hobby into a full-time business. Check out our conversation below, and be sure to explore their entire Etsy shop here.

What is the inspiration behind Muirwood Reclamations?

We started Muirwood Reclamations with a focus on using reclaimed materials to create goods that start conversations. We’re firm believers that you can repurpose most things! It feels good reclaiming older items and giving them a new life.

What made you want to start selling on Etsy? What has selling on Etsy done for your business?

We officially launched our Etsy shop in April 2015 and we had absolutely NO idea what we were doing (lol). At that time, it was one of the only marketplaces that makers could sell their handmade items. The first couple of months were slow—we learned improving our photography and listing details could really help us, so that’s exactly what we did! Now, almost four years later we have had over 2,000 sales and three Etsy Bestsellers (Railroad Spike Bottle Opener, Concrete Cake Stand, Concrete Business Card Holder). Incredibly, we have over 350 five-star reviews and have even made an Etsy Editors list. Overall, Etsy has been a fantastic addition to our business. And honestly, I don’t know where we would be without it.

How long have you been making your home goods? How did you get started? 

It all started with a dining table in our Key West home. Scott and I were living in Florida while he was stationed in the United States Coast Guard. We had been searching locally for a table for our house, but kept coming up empty. Scott decided to take matters into his own hands! He headed to the local lumber store and found a piece of barn wood (from Chicago!) that was sent down to repair a tall ship. Being Chicago natives, he knew we had to have it. A couple weeks later Scott had built a pub style table out of reclaimed wood with pipe legs—which I think is when we both fell in love with industrial style. Scott was re-stationed back to Chicago that summer. Once winter hit, he found himself looking for a new hobby. He started working with reclaimed wood again, but also purchased a bucket of rusty old railroad spikes! This is where he developed our Railroad Spike Bottle Opener. We started selling on Etsy a few months later and honestly, we were surprised so many people wanted to buy our goods. Once our daughter was born, I decided to leave my job in HR and not only stay home with her, but also focus on the business. I started growing our wholesale accounts and working on our website. I began crafting our Concrete Collection in 2017. Since then, Scott has left the Coast Guard and works in Global Asset Protection. Though he still helps with crafting some of our products, I am now the Jill-of-all-Trades for Muirwood Reclamations!

What is the best-selling item in your shop? 

It actually came to be by accident—our best-selling product is our Railroad Spike Bottle Opener. Scott developed this product by opening beer bottles with the end of the rusty old railroad spikes he had purchased. He just knew there had to be a better way! Other contenders are our Railroad Spike Tap Handle, and Concrete Cake Stand.

What is the story behind the shop’s name?

Muirwood, named after the street Scott grew up on, as well as a nod to Jon Muir.

Where do you create your products?

We work out of our home!  

Do you have a favorite Etsy store (besides your own, of course!)

That is a hard question! I have three—I think! We work with a wonderful shop called Modern Urban Metals. They’re a metal fabricating shop out of Detroit. Next, Lily & Hazel Designs—she designs and sews the most delicate and beautiful baby clothes. And third, Vintage Industrial. OMG. They have some of the coolest industrial furniture pieces I’ve ever seen.

Have you ever received any weird custom requests? 

I haven’t! At least not any that I can remember. I hope this isn’t jinxing me…

What’s one hard part of your work that people may not realize? 

I would say that working with concrete is probably the most difficult part of my job. There are a lot of steps: pouring, sanding, finishing, shipping. I wear a respirator when working with it to protect my lungs. Other than that, it would be running our business with a 3 ½ year old “assistant” (more like boss).

What do you do for inspiration when you’re stuck? 

This usually kicks in after the holidays! I have always loved design. I enjoy dreaming up new trends. Our main focus has always been to create housewares from reclaimed (and now industrial) materials. If I’m really struggling, I’ll turn on HGTV in the background during the work day. Something about all of the different designers helps me get back in the groove.

What celebrity would you most like to buy one of your products? 

Rod Stewart. He is well known by the model railroad community for his impressive model train layouts. I’d love to get a bottle opener in his hands! Rod, if you’re reading this…

How do you imagine people using your products at home?

I sure hope they are enjoying them! In addition to using reclaimed and industrial materials, we also pride ourselves on crafting durable and long-lasting products. I’d like to imagine them using them for many years to come!