I am suddenly being asked quite often if I would accept guest blog posts, would like to do collaborations, or would like to donate items to a cause or a drawing. With all of them, I let them know how I’ve been doing things so far, what’s been working well for us, and opening it up to new ideas and ways to do things.
I have to tell you, I was approached earlier this week with an e-mail about a coffee-centered guest blog post, which opened up with “Who doesn’t love coffee?” I honestly wrote her back with an, “I don’t!” 😉 And I challenged her to find a way to write about coffee specifically for my readers, ways that we would use coffee to benefit our health or our skin, or ways to bake with it. Totally waiting to see if I hear back from her!
But I digress. The real point of this post is about my new collaboration with a great business. One that I have obviously seen around for years. Just never had a glimpse into their name, their company, their business practices, and their employees. Until now.
When I was approached by Randi of Leigh Country a few weeks ago, I was totally on board with their business and some type of partnership. We discussed several options. We decided on a type of Q&A blog post. And before I say any more, here is my interview…..
Who are YOU? And what is your part in the company?
My name is Randi, and I’m the Marketing and Branding Associate for Leigh Country. I oversee all marketing efforts Leigh Country conducts, including our new company blog Authentic Country Living.
What is your typical day like (sun-up to sundown)?
My first alarm – yes, I’m one of those people that needs multiple alarms – goes off at 7. I spend the next 30 min or so struggling to wake up. Then I grab a much needed cup of coffee before hopping in the shower. I head off to work around 8:45, because I’m #blessed with a 10-minute commute. Work starts at 9, and I begin checking my emails and our Facebook page’s inbox for any customer communications.
I spend anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours just communicating with people, either the Leigh Country email here in the office, or Leigh Country family out there in the world. It just depends on the day. The rest of the morning I usually spend either researching for a blog post or writing on one. It’s our newest project so I’m trying to get it the time it deserves.
Lunch is whenever I’m hungry. I’m lucky to have a flexible schedule, so my stomach dictates lunchtime. Sometimes it’s 11, other days it’s 2. It can also depend on how focused I am on a piece. Lunch is usually leftovers from the night before, but I’m also notorious for forgetting to bring them with me! My go-to places to order lunch are local Chinese restaurants. We’re located near the Chinatown district of Houston so there’s too many good places to pick just one!.
After lunch I tackle other projects I’m working on. It could be an event we’re sponsoring (stay tended to the blog for more info on that), writing product descriptions, or working with our Art Director, Aaron, on specific projects. The project du jour keeps me busy until the work day ends at 5:30.
I’m usually home by 6, either from traffic or running an errand or two. I take some down-time to myself to read, write, or, in all honesty, take a nap, before my fiance gets home around 7:30. He’s the chef in the family so he usually cooks dinner, and we eat while watching wrestling. He’s a big wrestling fan and got me interested in it when we started dating. Our evening tends to end with wrestling, cleaning the kitchen, then crashing by 11.
I know that Leigh Country has quite a legacy. Could you tell us a little bit about the history of the business?
Leigh Country started in 2004 as an off-shoot of our parent company United General Supply Co., Inc. (or UGS for short). UGS began in 1984 with our CEO and his wife following the American Dream! They went from peddling hand tools at flea markets to having a thriving hardware store. Adding outdoor and patio furniture seemed like a natural expansion. But Leigh Country isn’t your average outdoor pieces: we make solid-wood, all-natural furniture. Each of our pieces is made from actual trees, no MDF, that we sustainably farm. We don’t use forests; we grow our own pine and fir trees.
What are your products? Which is a best seller? What is your favorite?
Our log-style rocking chairs are our signature products, and our best sellers. Our wood furniture also comes in double rockers, which seat two adults, swings, bar-height tables and chairs, and more. Part of what makes our wood furniture so unique are our finishes: Char-log, Aspen, and Amber-log. Char-log pieces are made up of just that: charred logs. Each log has been charred by hand for a unique, darkened finish. Aspen pieces are natural wood, sealed only with clear lacquer, which highlights the natural wood grain. Amber-log is our newest finish. The pieces are oiled or stained to a warm, golden-honey finish.
We also sell standing coolers, metal wall decor such as traditional barn stars, and garden benches. We are also proud to offer some officially licensed products with Coca-Cola, and some select NCAA colleges. I’m particularly partial to our Coca-Cola coolers, and our UT Longhorns rocker.
Is there a new product in the works?
We’re always designing new items to meet customer demand. I can’t say too much, but we may have a new style of our log furniture coming soon. You’ll have to stay tuned to our blog to find out more!
What are some of the company’s biggest accomplishments or proudest moments?
Getting to work with H-E-B and create exclusive products for them has really been wonderful. If you’ve seen the movie Heaven is For Real, our H-E-B exclusive furniture is poolside at the family home.
We’ve also partnered with the Sugar Land Skeeter’s for the past few summers. Our furniture is featured on their Distinctive Life Diamond Deck. You can watch all seven innings from our rockers!
We have another big partnership in the works. It’ll be announced on our blog in the next coming weeks.
My kids and I love watching America’s Got Talent during the summer. Does anyone in the company have a secret passion that could stand up to a talent show stage?
Our Dropship Manager, Porsche, has a wealth of pop culture. She can beat anyone at the Six Degrees of Separation game. You name a pop star and a tv actor, and she’ll have them connected in no time, no Google needed! I’m not sure if that’s America’s Got Talent-worthy, but it’s impressive nonetheless.
If you were stranded on an island with only five things, what you want those five items to be?
Well if I were stranded, and truly wanting to survive, I know exactly what six things I would need: my glasses, sunscreen, a water filter or a pot, flint or matches, and a knife. But those answers are no fun! My “wants” would be a coffee maker, coffee (otherwise I’d be the first one voted off), face mists (they really do keep you cooled off and refreshed!), lip balm, and a copy of Alice in Wonderland (one of my favorite books!).
If you could meet anyone (past or present), who would that be… and why?
I never know how to answer this question! This may sound strange, I’d be interested in meeting my parents when they were teenagers and young adults. I’d like to see how they came to be who they are today.
What are your favorite things about this great state of Texas?
Southern hospitality! It’s real y’all. People truly are nice and kind. Strangers stop to help strangers out. People care. It gives you hope.
Oh, and the food. BBQ, grits, my dad’s ribs and my mom’s fried chicken, pecan pie, anything TEXMEX!
Where is your favorite vacation spot in Texas?
I love going to Austin. Especially if I’m wanting to stay in the city, but keep it weird. Plus, you can visit some beautiful aspects of nature without leaving the city.
What are some of your favorite fellow businesses in Houston?
Well I’ve mentioned I love coffee so I gotta throw a couple of shout-outs to some of my favorite coffee spots: Boomtown and Slowpokes. I’ve also mentioned Tex-Mex and wrestling, so I have to mention the wrestler-owned Tex-Mex restaurant chain Cyclone Anaya’s. For dessert, you can go fancy with Macaron by Patisse, or Houston classic at any one of the many Arandas Bakery. Space Montrose is a really cool local boutique that sells pieces by local artists in Houston. They also hold events with artist in-house making custom pieces. It’s a really great space. No pun intended. I also HAVE to give a shout-out to Plant It Forward. It’s a business-cum-movement. They help refugees by giving them jobs and skills, planting urban gardens all throughout the city of Houston. They were featured on the Houston episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. If you can catch that episode I highly recommend it; it only made me love Houston more.
We’re a handmade small business in a small town. I’m a single mom. We’re a 4-H family that raises chickens. We love photography, our pets, good food, traveling Texas. I’m trying my hand at blogging. I’m crazy about essential oils, HEB, buying local, shopping small, social media, being kind, savoring life, sharing recipes, and dinner parties.
What fun or quirky things like these could be said about you? What about us made you reach out for a partnership with us?
We reached out because we’re quirky and relatable too! Definitely get a kindred spirit from your blog! Leigh Country is a small business in a big city that has a small town feel. We’re family owned and operated. We love and respect family and it flows into our business practices. We also have literal family members working in different departments. We have husbands and wives, sisters, cousins, all from different families, but all part of the Leigh Country family.
We all have different backgrounds, but there are some things we all have in common: We’re all foodies and appreciate a good meal. We all enjoy family time. Company outings always include family members. We might live in the city but we’re all a little bit country in our hearts.
Some activities are enjoyed by a handful of employees: There’s a few of us here at Leigh Country that enjoy pro-wrestling, myself included. We also have some serious self-proclaimed nerds. A couple of our employees have either worked, or currently work for local comic conventions. We also have some weekend soccer players. Some fantasy football players. We have a former touring rock star. We have crafters, bloggers, DIY-ers, and video gamers. There’s fewer than 50 of us working here, but we have all kinds! Just like a real family.
Do you have a favorite family recipe that you could share with our readers?
One of my favorite recipes growing up came from a cookbook my mother’s bowling league compiled to raise money for a bowling trip. It’s definitely not family original, but I associate it with my mom. It’s a simple, strawberry cake, and my birthday cake for many birthdays growing up.
One box strawberry Jello
One box white cake mix
1 c. frozen strawberries, thawed
1/2 c. oil
4 eggs, whole
One 16-oz box/bag powdered sugar
1 c. frozen strawberries, thawed and pureed
1 stick butter, softened
Combine cake mix, jello, strawberries and oil in mixer. Once thoroughly combined, add eggs one at a time, beating well. Pour batter into greased 9X13 pan. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
For the icing, add all ingredients to mixer and mix until creamy. Pour over cake. This icing is more of a glaze than traditional icing. Pour over a hot for a thinner glaze, or wait until the cake has cooler for a thicker, more icing-like glaze.
Garnish with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.
And, of course… Where can our readers find your rockers, coolers, swings, and more?
Our products can be found online, in no particular order, at Wal-Mart, Houzz, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Home Depot, and Wayfair. If you prefer to shop in store, you find a local store near you with our Store Locator on our website. Different stores carry different items at their own choice, so please call ahead when looking for a specific item.
So, by now you’ve got to be wondering how you can follow this wonderful company or purchase their great products. I’ve gotcha covered!
And whether you choose a chair, a rocker, decor, or a cooler… I’m hoping it brings some warm, rustic charm to your home, for generations to come!!!