Brit McCoy of The Wood Cycle in Wisconsin

In 1999, Brit McCoy’s father, Paul Morrison planted the seedling that would turn his basement hobby into a flourishing business, The Wood Cycle. Brit was only 8 at the time, but those moments cemented in her a love for hard work and a respect for chasing you passions till they become the central pillars of your life. She would help her dad with small tasks like sanding, finishing, grounds keeping, and cleaning.

“Since day one The Wood Cycle has focused on urban trees. These trees, whether in someone’s backyard or on a fenceline in a farmer’s field, are coming out for reasons other than timber harvest. We work with arborists to get these trees removed, and the rest of the process we handle at our location. With this approach we’re able to utilize more of the tree; whether to burn scraps in our wood furnace for heat or using the sawdust for livestock bedding at my farm, we aim to dispose of our waste responsibly.

I have a table that my dad and I designed together. We call it the Stack Table. It’s a table designed to use our ‘shop scraps’, or the ‘cut offs’ from boards that were too warped to use in a project. We designed it together around a burning fire while we threw our scraps into the flame to heat our home. We always loved talking about new ideas and these caught our attention for some reason that night. That table is still one of our best sellers and our first prototype is in my home.” -Brit McCoy

Brit McCoy of The Wood Cycle in Wisconsin / Crafted in CarharttBrit McCoy of The Wood Cycle in Wisconsin / Crafted in CarharttBrit McCoy of The Wood Cycle in Wisconsin / Crafted in Carhartt

Brit left her hometown to major in Landscape Architecture at Iowa State University. Upon returning to Oregon, Wisconsin, she and her husband Matt founded their own farm, first selling their ethically raised meat locally, eventually expanding their reach. You can even order a box of their fine products on her website: www.homesteadwisconsin.com.

At a young age, Brit’s eyes were opened to the reality of owning and operating a company. Her upbringing taught her “hard work and the down and dirty part of owning a business. Not every aspect of owning a small business is glamorous, but it is certainly rewarding to follow your passion!”

My business started just like my father’s, to make our hobby our career. I started raising livestock as soon as I could afford to feed them. I started with sheep but always wanted to have cattle, now I have both because I realized I don’t want to choose one over the other. I had a degree in Landscape Architecture so raising our livestock on an all-grass system fit not only my educational background but also my desire to feed my livestock in a way that reflects nature. After starting the farm I realized I really still loved using the ‘design side’ of my brain so I transferred my media from computer drafting to designing flowers for weddings. The blend of farmer and florist is my perfect fit.” -Brit McCoy

Brit McCoy of The Wood Cycle in Wisconsin / Crafted in Carhartt

Brit is a woman of many talents. She’s a full time farmer, running her own flower business, all the while working at The Wood Cycle. Making strides in her career alongside her family is the most challenging and most fulfilling part of the job.

“Working with family is incredibly rewarding. You’re working looking towards the same goal, the same future and are focused on the same dream. However, it does have some challenges when the family doesn’t see exactly eye-to-eye.

Urban wood is an incredibly beautiful way to share our stories with future generations. The urban trees we use in our shop have incredible ties to family stories and we love helping other families let their stories live on through fine furniture. We are honored to be a part of that process, tree to table.” -Brit McCoy

To find out more, visit www.thewoodcycle.com.

Jenny from Live Edge Detroit

Before joining her family in the wood business, Jenny Barger was in Marketing and Advertising. It turned out to be the perfect background as she now runs the Sales and Marketing for Live Edge Detroit.

Back in 1984, Jenny’s dad started a tree care and removal business. His heart has always been set on sustainability and conservation, and it often pained him to merely chop unwanted trees into firewood.

So in 2016, Jenny, her brother Joe, and her dad Mike founded Live Edge. They now salvage the trees that Mike’s company removes. Once the wood has been cut and taken back to their warehouse, the crew mills them into new usable material.

Slabs of gorgeous dry wood fill the space. Customers are welcome to wander around and search for the perfect materials for their next project or peruse the finished pieces they have to offer.

“Our vision for Live Edge Detroit was to develop a branch of Mike’s Tree Surgeons, Inc. that focused on salvaging our local resources and making them available for the community to enjoy for many more years to come. Our long term goals are to uphold that initial vision and to see it bloom into a more sustainable and profitable branch of the family business. We aren’t planning to take over the world, but we want to make a difference within the community, and we feel that starts right here in our own backyard.” -Jenny Barger from @liveedgedetroit

Jenny from Live Edge / Crafted in Carhartt

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help! I’ve been so fortunate to have friends and past colleagues that have pitched in to help me here and there where I may not have expertise. Let people help you, and if you love what you do, and you’re honest and hardworking, I believe success will find you.” -Jenny Barger from @liveedgedetroit

Jenny from Live Edge / Crafted in CarharttJenny from Live Edge / Crafted in Carhartt

“Everything I know about wood and trees I learned from my dad! He studied Forestry at Michigan Tech University and has been a longtime Certified Arborist and Urban Forester. He is the go-to for anyone in the Metro-Detroit area that needs arboriculture consultation. Not only is he a vast wealth of knowledge, he has been incredibly patient in teaching his corporate-minded daughter how to identify wood species by grain and bark, and understand what species are good for what types of projects, etc. I am not an expert yet – but I have great resources to fall back on when questions arise!” -Jenny Barger from @liveedgedetroit

“My previous jobs were very instrumental to my professional development, but they were not personally fulfilling in the way that working for the family business has been. Not only has it opened up my eyes to how much the community values and respects my dad and his business, but I also have the opportunity to learn from him every day, and to carry out his dream of full cycle sustainability. It has been the biggest blessing! My advice for anyone in a family business is something that I’ve recently had to realize firsthand, and that is to draw a few boundaries between business time and family time. It can be tough to ‘turn off’ when all of the family members are so passionate about what they do, but sometimes you just have to decompress and be a family. As much as we spend time together talking business, sometimes you just need your dad to be your dad to be your dad!” -Jenny Barger from @liveedgedetroit

Jenny from Live Edge / Crafted in Carhartt
Jenny’s dogs, Daisy Duke and Bo Duke

Jenny from Live Edge / Crafted in Carhartt

The Spirit of Detroit

A tiny downtown loft in Detroit was the birthplace of Carhartt. The year was 1889. With just two sewing machines, Hamilton Carhartt & Company began producing the historic work wear we all know and love today.

Exploring Detroit / Crafted in Carhartt
Detroit remains at the heart of the company.
Exploring Detroit / Crafted in Carhartt
Michigan Central Station

Exploring Detroit / Crafted in Carhartt

Exploring Detroit / Crafted in Carhartt
buildings along historic Michigan Avenue

“I believe that when a man wears an article that I manufacture, his self-respect is increased because he knows that it is made by an honest manufacturer, who is honest with his employees.” -Hamilton Carhartt

Next week, Crafted in Carhartt is featuring another Detroit-based family owned and operated business. Until then, check out some of our favorite Detroit makers and the beautiful city we call home.