Pupăzan is my name
I am here to present myself and to tell you the story behind my cutting boards.
The first thing about me, I love wood with all its defects. I don’t consider I’m reshaping the wood, the wood itself tells me what shape it wants. Some pieces have knots and holes, and I respect all its lines. This is why all my boards are unique. Sometimes I use epoxy resin, for filling the holes and obtaining a nice old-new contrast. All my boards are anointed with special oil that contains beeswax. Don’t worry! I’m using alimentary oil, which makes my boards smell like chrism.
The hoopoeand the cutting boards
I named my kitchen boards Pupazan, and there is a story behind this name. From where my family is, Timiseni village, almost all people have the same last name: Pupazan. It is derived from “pupaza”, (Romanian for hoopoe) which is a daring and a playful bird. I believe this name fits me very well.
I prefer to call the wooden boards “fundulețe” because in Romanian “fund” means butt/end, but also cutting board. Funduleț is diminutive – so a small and cute… cutting board, of course. I am not selling my butt here!
15 years ago, I left my hometown, Târgu Jiu, with no money but big dreams, and moved to Bucharest. Here I started an online business dealing with importing coffee and coffee-related products, namely joycaffe.ro. But after a while, I started to feel tired to run this business.
Do you know how it is like to have your eyes stuck for the whole day in excel files, mails, and accounting statements? That despair feeling at the end of the day, when you realize you did nothing for yourself? I’m sure you do, it happened to all of us. So I had to do something to start feeling better.
Offer a Pupăzan boardas a gift.
One day, while drinking my morning coffee, I started drawing on a piece of wood, with no plan I my mind whatsoever. This became my first “funduleț” (cutting board) and it was different than any other cutting board I saw before. So I did a few more, no one similar with the others. I posted them on Facebook and waited for reactions.
Most of my friends loved them, so I started to offer them as gifts. This work was great for me, because creating these items I felt relaxed, and offering them made me feel happier. And in the end, this is all that matters, right? Well, not really! At first when friends of friends started to ask how much my cutting boards cost, I had no idea how to value my work. But as I told you before, I am a businessman! I made some calculations and I started to sell them. First to friends of friends, then through Facebook and Instagram and after that, in my favorite places: at fairs.
My first Christmas fair was amazing, and not only because I sold almost all my stock. There I could see first reactions of people. They touched my boards, they smelled them, asked questions about them. They were amused, they were surprised, and yes, some of them didn’t even care and walked by. Anyway, it is unbelievable how many persons know how to appreciate a piece of wood.
Now, because of the increased demand, I hired a coworker to help me with the cutting.
The raw material
I will never cut a healthy tree!
The start wasn’t easy and finding the right wood is the hardest thing to do. Actually, I was deceived in my first wood acquisition, when I brought 2m2 at a much higher price. So what? Those things happen, now I befriended the guy and I‘m still buying from him, but only at fair prices.
Now I know a lot of carpenters who are selling me the remains, wood that otherwise would have been used for fire. I am also taking old wood from peasants from around the country. I’m always looking for best solutions for the environment. This is why I plant trees every spring and I also encourage others to do so.
This is just the beginning.
I love my first business – Joycaffe, but after so many years it started running by itself and I lost what I really liked doing – talking directly with the customer. Now I gained this back and I crave for all kinds of feedback. So please, feel free to tell my your opinion. Let’s keep in touch!