The Story:
I grew up on my grandparent's 160 acre farm in a small town in Northwest Arkansas. As a young girl, my sister and I spent our summers with my Grandma while my mom worked at the corporate offices of a VERY large retailer, and my dad worked with my grandpa plumbing residential construction.  Some of my favorite memories of my summers with Grandma were getting up early on Friday morning to go garage saleing.

By the time my sister and I woke up, Grandma would have our garage sale route mapped out on that day's paper. The once black and white newspaper would be covered in big red circles and stars.  Each circle, in my 6-7 year old mind, representing a new treasure-hunt. Would this house have girls my age?! Maybe I'd find a new dress to wear to church on Sunday! ...Or a new doll to add to my collection!! The unknown was so exciting and "digging" for the perfect item to buy with my .50 cents was thrilling!

I never outgrew my love to treasure hunt! By my third semester of college, I'd had my first son, Kobye, and in my sixth semester, while Majoring in Apparel Studies at the University of Arkansas, I had my second son, Michael. It became more practical (and somewhat cool in college) to shop at Goodwill and the Salvation Army. In between classes, I'd often make a pit-stop at local thrift stores (which have really cool stuff in college towns!) to find unusual shirts, dresses and skirts. I'd take them home and tailor them to fit me or use scraps of vintage fabric and make a new skirt that I'd LIVE in for the next 4 semesters. :)

After graduating college, I married my high school sweetheart **insert** "...AWWWE..." :)  and landed my dream job working for a VERY LARGE retailer in Product Development for little girl's apparel. I couldn't have been happier and I still work in the Apparel industry.

Over the past five years, I've found that I'm not sewing as much as I used to (finding things to sew for my boys is hard (besides their Halloween Costumes which I make and s(tress over) every year) and I needed an outlet to harness my creativity and I needed to MAKE something with my own two hands...
Me at 4 years old

My Husband: 
My husband, Brian, grew up in Rogers, AR--one town over from the farm where I was raised. He and I met when we were 13 and have been great friends ever since. His family owns a local custom cabinet business (Latham Cabinets) which his grandfather opened in 1972. He is a third generation cabinetry artisan with CRAZY woodworking skills!

In 2009, while working at his family's cabinet shop, Brian decided to branch out and offer our community a resource for custom built, solid wood furniture. He quickly built a reputation as the "go-to" person for all your furniture needs. He built anything from entertainment centers to bookcases to play houses. His work was featured in local magazines and many of his items were auctioned at local benefits for various charity organizations.

The furniture company he worked so hard to build, was called Toejo.

One of Brian's AWESOME pieces!

The Name:
Toejo is a nickname given to me by one of my favorite people in the world! My full name is Shelley Jo Latham--but for as long as I can remember, my Papa Porter always called me Toejo. It wasn't a nickname that necessarily defined my childhood.  My parents, cousins, friends and siblings didn't call me Toejo, it was simply a special name given to me by a very special person. When I was really young, it made me feel that he and I had a little bond...something between us that no one else had.  I was his "Toejo". :)

When my grandpa passed away in 2009, I remember telling my husband..."I'll never be called Toejo again".  That realization broke my heart.  Shortly after my grandpa's passing, Brian called me at work with something exciting to share. The furniture business he was starting, would be called TOEJO. Naming his company after my childhood nickname must have been his way of helping me grieve the loss of my grandpa.  The nickname I thought I would seldom hear again, could be spoken on a daily basis.  
Me with Papa Porter ~ Christmas 2008

Furniture Redesign:
I've often told people if I didn't work in "Corporate America", I would flip houses for a living! I love real estate, I MUST be creative and I LOVE getting my hands dirty! (I've never been a girl who was afraid of physical labor!) But, unfortunately, flipping houses hasn't made it's way into the cards for me (Thanks, US Economy!)...which I'm ok with.   :)

Last summer, my mother in law started buying cute antique pieces at garage sales and thrift stores--and with a little elbow grease and fresh coat of paint, she'd revive them into something beautiful! She knew how much I loved "projects" and let me join in on the fun! Since then, our weekend projects have turned into a full-time side business! Instead of starting ANOTHER furniture company, my husband convinced me to join forces with him and work for Toejo.  

Today TOEJO Offers:
  • Custom Furniture built by Brian (You're only limited by your imagination!!)
  • Toejo Frames (Offered in multiple shapes and sizes)
  • Refurbished antique/vintage furniture (Follow our blog and "like" us on Facebook to see new items up for grabs!)
  • Refinishing services (Send us a photo of your outdated furniture and we'll send you an estimate to have it redesigned)
  • Purchase unwanted furniture (Email us before you deliver your furniture to Goodwill! We'll pay cash!)
  • MY NEW YEARS RESOLUTION FOR 2012 IS TO LEARN TO UPHOLSTER FURNITURE! STAY TUNED FOR THAT! :)

Thanks for the love and support, Friends!!
We're SOOO looking forward to seeing what 2012 has in store!
Shelley and Brian ~ TOEJO