Garrett VanderBurg: Taking American Made Tinplated Steel and Crafting It Into Holiday Ornaments and Other Home Décor Items

At Pietersma Tinworks we take American made tinplated steel and craft it into Holiday ornaments and other home décor items. We use a combination of the old style tinsmithing tools alongside custom made equipment to fabricate these one of a kind items right here in Canada.

Tell us about yourself?

I grew up on a farm in South Glengarry, Ontario and since I was a child, I have always had a passion for fabrication. I started in the metal manufacturing trade of Tool and Die work while in High School and have developed that skillset alongside other fabrication roles as the years have gone by.

I like to go by the title “Maker” if asked, as I have been trained and self-taught in the roles of Tool and Die making, Machining, welding, & Tinsmithing. I also enjoy woodworking and 3D printing as a hobby when the time permits.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

If I could go back in time a year or two, I would tell my past self to invest in real estate and the stock market. And in terms of business, I would tell myself to increase my material and stock inventory so that I could avoid the current shortages and delays.

What problem does your business solve?

As a small North American manufacturer, we’re happy to have a customer base that supports us and allows us to continue crafting these vintage style items.

I believe that we are part of the solution that leads to options for those who support small businesses, local artisans, and sustainable high quality products. Many of our items have been part of family traditions for over 25 years.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

The primary inspiration behind our business is actually joy! For both ourselves and our customers. It’s a great feeling knowing that something we’ve made is enjoyed in the homes of many during the Holiday season and throughout the year.

As for being in this line of work, I’ve always believed that you will be further ahead if you can make a living off of doing what you love….compared to someone who despises their job, but brings home a big pay cheque.

What is your magic sauce?

We try to be unique by not only offering the traditional vintage style Tin made items, but by producing many of them in the traditional way. And as with any small business we try to offer a level of craftmanship and customer service that you won’t find in large retailers.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

Over the next 5 years we have several goals for our shop, but primarily we would like to be able to continue expanding the line of Tin plated products we offer.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The biggest challenge with business so far has shown itself during this pandemic…The issue of material and parts sourcing. We’ve had to change things such as the way in which we order supplies (timeline, quantity, etc…) and even changes relating to product packaging.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

Currently, we enjoy being a small local manufacturer and try to work with people in our community. At this time, I’m not sure what type of collaboration I would look for in a broader group of people and/or businesses.

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