RECLAIMED WOOD SERVING TRAYS design process / Collaboration with the HALO Foundation

Here’s a behind the scenes look at the process of this collaboration with these young ladies in the HALO Foundation’s housing program.

With a background in product and interior design I wanted to blend my passion for volunteering and focus my efforts on ways design could offer a greater meaning and impact. It was through volunteering with my children that led to the idea of collaborating with non-profits like HALO to help them create products of their own. This idea of creating reclaimed serving trays seemed like a feasible first project to begin with and sharing this idea with HALO was a perfect fit. Our family has volunteered for many years supporting their mission and my children and I have been involved with teaching a variety of their art therapy workshops. 

As I began working on prototypes for these serving trays I realized how therapeutic some of these sanding and finishing skills could be for youth struggling with homelessness and other life issues. It was important for me to source reclaimed wood and leather remnants to create a sustainable product and also give it new life. Teaching at-risk youth life skills is also such a valuable part of setting these youth on the right path and is also a vital part of HALO’s mission. This project combines teaching those life skills and taking youth through all the steps of making and selling a sustainable product of their own. This included showing them where I sourced the reclaimed wood, teaching them all the steps in sanding, finishing, and applying the leather details and also involving them in photographing the trays in a styled setting so customers can visualize how the product can be used.

Although most of the work on the Serving Trays was completed at the HALO Learning Center, Tim from Urban Lumber Company was gracious enough to let us come for a tour of his woodshop, where I sourced all of the reclaimed wood. He also let the girls drill some of the holes for one of the designs.

I’ve been so inspired by these young ladies and their willingness to learn new skills. It was so heartwarming to see their excitement and determination as they finished each step of the process and were able to see their first finished product!! These girls have transitioned in and out of homelessness over the years but have a strong interest in working with their hands and learning about entrepreneurship. I’ll share more images of the finished product soon!