A few weeks ago we told you about the amazing couple who builds Hobbit holes. Recently we were able to find out more about Rocy and Melissa Pillsbury, the dynamic duo behind these wonderful, comfy little structures, guaranteed to make any hobbit happy.
How did you get into this business?
Rocy wanted to get out of doing traditional carpentry work that he had been doing for 15+ years for several reasons: he was bored with the work, he wanted to do more than just “get by” and he wanted more control over his schedule so he could have a better family life. Wooden Wonders was born at the intersection of an inspired imagination and mad carpentry skills. Honestly, we didn’t start out hyper-focused on the Hobbit Hole concept. It is one of many fantastical structure concepts brewing in Rocy’s mind. He’s a lover of fantasy and there’s really no end to the things he would love to build. In fact, one of the things we put on our original business cards were “siege engines”! But the Hobbit Hole concept is the one that came to fruition in the form of a marketable product first, so we’ve built the product line and the business from there. If anyone out there wants a trebuchet built, give us a call. Just don’t tell our insurance agent
What inspired you to build Hobbit Holes?
It was two things: the thrill of the challenge – figuring out the curves, how to engineer the round doors… And second was the joy of accomplishing the aesthetic details to capture the essence of a Hobbit hole. Once you read The Hobbit, that opening description of Bag End sticks with you. We knew the first time we took a Hobbit hole to a show and heard people’s reactions of joy and amazement – whether they had any idea what a Hobbit hole was or not – we had hit a home run.
How long does it take to build one of these houses?
We have a pretty wide range of Hobbit hole products, from a simple playhouse to an elaborate multi-room cottage, so the build time can be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
Do you ship them fully built and can they be sent anywhere?
So far we have been delivering the fully built structures ourselves, which can get pricey for our out of state customers since we live in the middle of Maine. We’re thrilled to have gotten so much business in these first few years almost entirely in the state, but we recognize that to grow this into a viable business, our market reach has to grow, and we have to find a feasible way of doing that. We’re working on developing a new Hobbit hole design that will be in kit form so it will be our first ship-able product. We’re excited about new marketing opportunities that this will create for us.
How have people responded to the Hobbit Holes?
We have gotten such an enthusiastically positive response to our products wherever we have taken them. Our first show was at the Common Ground Country Fair in 2009, and we brought our first Hobbit hole, and another concept we were trying out which was a castle. Kids swarmed our booth and were running up and down the castle towers and in and out of the Hobbit hole for three days straight. But the adults could have cared less about the castle. Because of the unique nature of the structure, and their pleasing appearance, you really don’t have to be a Tolkien fan to be a Wooden Wonders Hobbit hole fan. It’s something different and people take notice.
What are some of the most interesting or creative adjustments and uses you’ve seen for them?
People are always coming up with new ideas for using a Hobbit hole, and we’re always thrilled to get the chance to turn their concept into a reality. Probably our favorite is the Hobbit Hole sauna. Next on our wish list is to do a Hobbit Hole root cellar. I think the nicest one we’ve built was a two-room Hobbit Hole cottage that had the cutest little screen porch and the finished interior was just exquisite.
To find our way into the hearts and wallets of Tolkien fans worldwide! Seriously, though I see a really bright future for us. I know we have a great product that is unique, attractive, high quality, and reasonably priced and we plan to build a reputation around those attributes. We’ll continue to grow and refine what we do as we work on making the right connections to get our name out there and just keep the ball rolling. We’d love to hear what your readers think about us.
If you’d like to find out more about Wooden Wonders and start planning a Hobbit Hole of your own, check out their website at http://www.wooden-wonders.com/.