How did we get the name "Toast"?
"I wanted something simple and fun that spoke to the fact that our products would be engraved and cut - in fact, burned - with lasers. What else gets burned? Toast does. (Fairly often in my house, anyway.) And the name stuck."
- Papa Toast, reminiscing as the wee children gather 'round to hear the tale
Toast was launched in January 2012 with the support of 300 intrepid Kickstarter project backers. This crowdsourced funding made it possible to buy our first laser and get Toast up and running. We still think of you fondly and often, Kickstarter angels!
Since those early days of cutting walnut iPhone 4 covers in Matias' basement shop, Toast has been on a wild ride: the ups and downs of rapid growth; outfitting our first rental workshop/office (which had a lot of characteristics in common with underground fallout shelters); exhausting travels to trade shows all over the globe on a shoestring budget; designing and developing hundreds of amazing products the world had never seen; stubbornly sticking to very high, self-imposed standards of environmental consciousness and activism through thick and thin; a frightening worldwide pandemic during which we never knew if any given day might be our last; new Toasters joining the team and long-time team members moving on to their next adventures; designing and building a brand-new world headquarters complete with makerspaces for other micro-entrepreneurs to join our vision of a beautiful, art-filled future.
Through it all, The Toasters have been dedicated to creating the most amazing, sustainable wood and leather products known to humankind. Our original product range of adhesive wood phone covers has expanded mightily to include an impressive roster of tech covers and lifestyle products in wood, bamboo, and leather. We do every stage of our design, production, and business in-house in our workshop in the Cully neighborhood of beautiful Portland, Oregon.
We are a small company dedicated to quality products and quality of life: for you, for us, and for our planet. We are very thankful for all our fans, supporters, friends, and loyal customers. You have made our Toasty dream possible and you sustain us in our vision as we expand into new possibilities. And you put up with our penchant for puns. Rock on!
The myth, the magic, the chickens: here is the Kickstarter video that started it all!
We're loving life in our new, purpose-built home in the Cully neighborhood in North Portland!
Our new digs give us lots of room to stretch out and is off the charts for energy efficiency. It has lots of big windows, sweet outdoor flex spaces/gardens perfect for snack lunches and Frisbee throwing, a resident upright piano, and a disco ball in the office. We planted a clover garden to give the local bees somewhere to play and we make compost for our gardens out back. The neighborhood birds like to splash around in our rain garden. We love to host concerts, festivals, open studios, and pop-up events featuring our creative cohort renting makerspace upstairs! Oh, and this is where your Toast is made. :)
If you're in town, come by for a tour!
The legend of Justin Beaver
Our mascot. Perhaps you've heard of him. This is his story.
Our story begins in the summer of 2012. The Central Oregon High Desert, the middle of nowhere.
"Did you SEE that?!" Papa Toast suddenly shouted, barreling along the barren desert road.
"See what?" Mama Toast asked, looking up from the cassette tape player, where she was occupied with switching 80's Top of the Charts tapes. "Why so shouty?"
Papa Toast pulls a high-speed U-Turn, spitting gravel and surprising a solitary buzzard from a lone dead tree. As Mama Toast recovers from the whiplash, the dusty Subaru pulls into a dirt patch in front of a rustic roadside cabin. "Art for Sale" reads the crooked handmade sign. Chainsaw sculptures crowd the dusty yard: majestic eagles clutching bucking salmon in their talons, growling black bears towering on hind legs.
A father and son slowly emerge from the building, clad in ancient blue jeans and cowboy hats. They explain that they are a family outfit. One designs, one cuts. Best deals in the desert. Would we like to take a closer look at the large cigar store Indian?
But Papa Toast knows which one he wants. "This one," he says.
"Oh, him," drawls the father. He pauses. "See, that one's old work."
"How much?" asks Mama Toast.
The son looks embarrassed. "Well, I don't really know....I guess forty bucks would do it."
"Done," replies Papa Toast, pulling out of his city wallet what he knows are the best two Jacksons he'll ever spend.
Wedged in the backseat, the beaver peers out at the long and dusty road, his beady eyes reflected in the rearview mirror all the way back to Portland.
"What will we call him?" asks Papa Toast.
"There's no question," says Mama Toast. "Justin. He's Justin Beaver."
And so it began.
"Toasty" is a great thing...just not when it's the climate we're talking about.
Check out our Eco Policy page to learn about our efforts towards positive environmental and social action.