What’s in a Name?

Do you ever think about where a name comes from? Do you wonder if there’s a special meaning behind the name, or merely a ‘good idea’ that came to among friends? I love asking people about the inspiration behind things they name – pets, businesses, cars, or if they’re anything like me, random inanimate objects. I like knowing what’s behind a name, the story, the reasoning.

So, before you ask, here are some reasons why In the Rough came to be:

  • Our launch product is/was a diamond. Not a real one (in the carbon under pressure sense), but one made of wood. Many beautiful diamonds made of many different types of wood. We are thisclose to launching our next product – a yoga mat/blanket/beach towel carrier made of leather – so diamonds are not our one and only.
  • The things we have decided to create all start as something a little different than they end up, a little… rougher. Blocks of wood cut and sanded to show off the grain in geometric shapes. Sheets of leather hand cut, dyed and put together to give you a streamlined carrier. Up-cycled glass to catch the light and hold plants or candles. Before and during production, our offerings spend a lot of time ‘in the rough’ before becoming your treasures.
  • If you’ve read my last post, you know that this business has been years in coming. You could say that I have been in a state of limbo and finally am finding a way out (I can’t speak for Scott on this point) and am finding my full potential, just like our products are while they’re being handcrafted. I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s 3am and I’m emotional after watching Father of the Bride 🙂
  • In the making of a brand and image, I wanted something that could relate to anyone and to many different items. Even though I believe I’ll continue to go back to diamonds time and time again, the words ‘in the rough’ mean so much more.

There it is. I know there will be moments of frustration and times of clarity, and I hope that throughout all of it, I’ll be able to think back to this moment and remember that In the Rough is so much more to me than the things we make.

For the Love of Local

Local. It’s been a buzzword for awhile now, and for good reason. While the entirety of the world is feeling like it’s at our fingertips, we sometimes forget that what’s around us is just as cool, and interesting, and worthy of our time and money.

Insert me.

I used to sort of hate Ottawa. I was young (like high school young – I can hear my mom’s laughter and her saying ‘you’re still young!’)  and felt bored by this city. Little did I know I was missing out on Canada’s best kept secret. As I grew up and found more freedom I began to see what Ottawa really had to offer – a great landscape for adventure, culture, and community. Back then it really was a big town/little city trying to find its roots. Lots of people felt it was a struggle, and like anything that has potential had its share of haters (people still say that Ottawa is the city that fun forgot – boo to those people). I was convinced they were wrong, and would debate my little heart out if I was faced with negativity towards the city that saw me -safely- through my rebellious teenage years. Between friends I became the go-to person to ask about what was going on in the city – new restaurant or store openings, concerts, off-the-beaten track sights, festivals – I was even nicknamed “Dana-knows” for awhile. I’m still convinced the haters are wrong, and always will be, especially as Ottawa grows up with new transit, new developments and lots of newcomers. So without delving into a deep hole of explaining how Ottawa is a great city, I’ll say that the local scene is amazing and keep it at that, sort of.

A little over two years ago I went back to school for business. The business bug had finally sunk its teeth into me and all the years of my dad saying “that’s a good business idea” was starting to stick. I loved the idea of being a local business owner. It carried a sense of pride and belonging that I never really felt before. I finally knew, after years of doubting if I’d ever have a career instead of a job, what I wanted to do. Local became my mantra, and it didn’t feel forced or contrived like other trendy things can. I remember writing a post on Facebook around that same time about October’s Support Local Month. It touched on my dream of owning a custom furniture store, but more to the point that supporting local is important when things like outlet malls pop up around the city. I dug it up just now and was happy to find that all 22 businesses I tagged in that post are still alive and kicking today – and they’re all owned by hardworking people in our community, employing your neighbours, and making Ottawa a place with character and heart.

We celebrated Scott’s birthday this past weekend and as I was wrapping his gifts I realized that everything I got him was from a local business and shopping that way has become second nature. If you want to see what I got him, check out our Instagram page. It’ll also keep you up to date on what we’re tinkering with and what we’ll be selling (Etsy page coming soon – stay tuned)!

You may be asking why I’m going down this path. Well, it’s because I believe strongly in it. Starting a business does heavily rely on support from friends and family but also people that I don’t know yet but who want to spend their hard earned cash on what we have to offer. I’ll never tire of having a loud voice of support local/support independent/support small business, and will mention it as much as I can! As Valentine’s Day approaches, think twice about where you’ll get those flowers, or that box of chocolates, or maybe even a cute little wooden diamond available at Maker House Co. in Ottawa’s Hintonburg neighbourhood, made by yours truly 😉

Nighty night,


Birth of In the Rough

Ack!!! First post, kind of weird this is actually on the move.  Dana and I (Scott) have been talking about doing this for a few years now and the time has come.  Before we get ahead of ourselves let us introduce ourselves:

Dana – She is in constant identity crisis mode, toggling between seasoned retail veteran, business student, expert on fitting bras and all things lingerie, and a regular lurker at the local craft shows. The artistic brains behind In the Rough, sometimes too imaginative for reality, she hopes our products bring a smile to your face. Years of toying with a love of handmade products has finally brought her here – a passion for the eclectic.

Scott – I am an academic researcher in nonlinear optics by day and tinkerer by night.  I have keenly developed my place as a jack of all trades ranging from programming, photography, fountain pen restoration and use, woodworking, and basic metal working.  I am the brawn to Dana’s creative brains.  I may overthink things from time to time but it is all to ensure Dana’s vision and help bring those smiles to your faces.

In the Rough is our attempt to reach out into the world around us and create beautiful treasures from sometimes the most unlikely of places.  Keep an eye out for posts on product successes and failures and where to find our little creations and restorations.

Signing off for now