Jonathan and Julia Simons are long-time Buyer’s Market exhibitors, and serve on the board of The Arts Business Institute. Recently, they spoke with us about their handmade products and the accidental way that Jonathan got started, way back in the 1970’s.
While working as an apprentice furniture maker, Jonathan realized he’d forgotten a spoon for his lunch, and made one in the workshop. A year later, he began working for himself in a studio space in his garage in Bath, Maine. One winter day, it was too cold for glue to set – so he again made spoons, since they could be made as single pieces (it was 20 below zero in his shop for weeks on end).
Deciding to take this direction has changed his life. Jonathan, along with his wife and ten employees all make Jonathan’s ® Wild Cherry Spoons what it is today. Located in Kempton, Pennsylvania, they have expanded their line into an amazing range of spoons, spatulas, forks, and other wild cherry kitchen tools.
Jonathan invents too. He invented the Lazy Spoon® which is notched to sit on the side of a pot, keeping the drips in and the handle cool.
When a fan of Jonathan’s gave his Lazy Spoon® as a gift to celebrity cook Rachael Ray at a book signing in 2005, she flipped. This eventually led to a “spoon” appearance on the Oprah show, where Rachael presented her “six favorite things”. The Lazy Spoon® was on the list.
Jonathan’s wife Julia received a call from Oprah’s set manager to ship spoons to Chicago for the show, and they have been running ever since. Both she and Jonathan did not expect the huge response from this publicity. They had written to their wholesale customers to let them know their products would be seen on Oprah, and they made an extra hundred Lazy Spoon®s to stock up. Imagine their shock as orders for thousands of Lazy Spoon®s poured in.
Scrambling to fill the orders was a “very stressful but wonderful experience,” and their studio is on the map as a resource for cooks of all types. In fact, Julia mentions, they make a point to send complimentary spoons to well-known chefs. We’re sure they are very much appreciated – and lead to more interest in this handmade line from Jonathan’s® Spoons.