Andrew Pearce has a new passion -- transforming trees into bowls. "All of our bowls are hand finished, hand carved and that's so important.," Pearce said.
He started his business, Andrew Pearce, in Bethel 5 months ago after a year of planning and building custom machinery to get it up and running. "Every single bowl is totally unique and special. You start with a full log and you never know what's going to be inside of it -- it's always a surprise," he said.
He hand picks maple and cherry wood that's harvested from Vermont for the bowls. Pearce also uses black walnut from New York and Pennsylvania. "Six years ago I had this idea with what I thought was a new way to make wooden bowls," Pearce said.
Making wood bowls can take time, so Pearce designed new machines to take the wood down to a rough bowl shape which he then hand turns. He also created his own kiln to dry the bowls, cutting what can take months, down to 30 days.
Pearce is comfortable with wood, but he started in glass. You might recognize his famous father's name and products. Andrew Pearce worked at Simon Pearce for ten years. "Leaving Simon Pearce was really hard," he said. "It was just time to do something on my own and it felt like this was the right avenue to go down."
Reporter Gina Bullard: What made you think wood would be a good medium for you to branch out in?
Andrew Pearce: My whole life we had our glass and pottery on the table but we always ate salad out of a wooden salad bowl -- always.
Pearce sells his bowls at Simon Pearce -- it's his largest account. He also sells at 39 other stores across the U.S. "Business is booming," he said.
Pearce is producing 600 bowls a month and says that's not enough to keep up with demand. He employs four people and is looking for more help. "The scary part of leaving has gone away but now the scary part of growing something and starting our own family business has just begun," he said.
Pearce works with his wife Christy. Their 18 month-old daughter Maddie also loves to help. Hoping to continue the Pearce tradition with a new Made in Vermont family business.