our story

We're Justin and Kathleen - fun-loving parents and nature lovers raising our four little ones in rural Minnesota. 

Not long after the birth of our first child in 2010, we began playing around with the notion of making and selling handmade wooden toys. It turns out people liked what we were creating, and that tiny seed of an idea quickly sprouted into Smiling Tree Toys

Fast forward seven years, and today we're happy parents, creatives, and business owners making toys for a living. From raw lumber to the finished product, we're involved in each and every process of turning one of nature's most incredible resources into beautiful, safe, and all natural keepsake wooden toys. 

We do it all in our family's small wood shop - a classic, picturesque red barn we've converted into a bright and spacious workspace. What once was a deserted old dairy barn now teems with daily woodworking tasks, dance music, and the pitter-patter of little feet. 

The family behind Smiling Tree Toys

We like to say we work hard to play harder, but most days don't feel like work at all; we get to make toys for a living!

Kathleen working on Smiling Tree goodies in the wood shop office

Justing and Amana applying our homemade organic finish to Smiling Trees stacker

Smiling Tree Wood Shop at Dusk

Find additional resources about our business, our industry, and other brands we love 
here.