A Farewell to Wood

January 30, 2017

It's safe to say that Onetribe would not be the company that it is today without our wood production. From my initial domestic production of wood basics, to being one of the first companies to start making our overseas produced ornately carved styles in the same safe woods we used in our domestic workshop, to our innovative and elaborate mixed media projects, wood has been a staple at this company for almost 15 years.

Just as our world is constantly growing and changing, so is any small business, and the time has come to say farewell to wood. Our wood workshop employee James Ginnell, who's been with us for years, will be leaving our wood shop soon and that leaves me with a decision to make.

When I first started making body jewelry, I started with wood. Some of our most elaborate and detailed designs were only possible because we were using wood. It's likely the first time you saw body jewelry from Onetribe, it was wood. However, somewhere along the way I fell in love with stone - or more specifically, the rich cultural history associated with humanity's use of stone - and I moved my personal focus from carving wood to learning about and carving stone.

There were technical issues too. Early on, I discovered the hard way that some woods are not meant to be worn in the body, and I had severe skin reactions that freaked out my immune system. This makes working with many woods today an uncomfortable experience. Also, in the time since Onetribe started to hire and train employees and diversify who was making what, I have developed a workflow in the stone workshop that works for me, and I am known for my work in this medium. I enjoy this specialization, and not only do I simply not have time to cover wood production or training another employee, I don't think it is the best use of my available production time.

Because of this, when James departs, we will be closing down our wood shop and we will cease production of the majority of our wood styles. If I decide that a specific custom project or one off will be especially suited to wood, I'll make it, but we will no longer offer made-to-order products for immediate purchase on the website and I will not be able to set aside time to custom make those basic styles. However, don't forget that it is possible for us to do inlay styles as stone-in-stone settings.

With the departure of James, Onetribe is now the smallest it has been since I started it in 2003. I am handling all production and Amanda is handling most administrative and customer service work. A company this small has more agility than a larger one, but also has limitations as well, and we will be learning how to run this business all over again going forward. 

To those customers that have been fans of our wood body jewelry for many years, I am genuinely sorry that we'll no longer be able to be a part of your body modification journey in this way. If there were more of me to split between various work tasks and my family life I would do everything I can for you. Part of that growing and changing for me over the years has been realizing that I need to let things go when it's time. There's a new generation of makers working on figuring out their place in life and in the market just as I was when I started Onetribe at 20 years old. I'm happy to move over and give them a chance to find their way.

Don't worry though, we're not going anywhere and I will be here in our workshop every day as I have for the past 14+ years, making until my hands can't take it anymore. We have more great body jewelry to make, and our new collectible stone coin concept Lithicoin is getting great feedback, so I'm very excited to join many of you in sharing the joy of collecting beautiful examples of the world around us.

Thank you for the opportunity to wake up every day and do what I love. It's an honor to spend my days in awe of the beauty of nature, working for you.

Jared Karnes, Onetribe



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