Where It All Began...
Atlanta Bed Swings has been been creating unique wood and metal Bed Swings partnered with Sunbrella Cushions since 2015, but has been 20 years in the making. Mike Tice was a builder and remodeler for 15 years. Mike has done all levels and types of projects from roofing to replacing beams under a house, from full kitchens to wood floors, from specialized tile showers to tin ceilings, from siding and windows to drywall with arches. And more.
In 2012, with the Presidential election just passed, a couple contracts were pushed aside leaving Mike Tice with only one future remodel project on the calendar for mid 2013. Mike did not sit still and wait to become one of the million Americans out of work that year. He took some available materials and recreated a few pieces he had custom built for clients over the recent years. Mike’s wonderful and amazing wife (that’s me), Erin, put these tables and shelving pieces on a new website called Etsy. Then we took other art pieces with the furniture to some local Christmas gift shows. A professional retailer and antique guru told us we could open a booth at an antique mall using reclaimed materials to build tables.
Together with Etsy shop, antique booth, and local orders, a small business called My Blessings Abounding was founded. This early business was meant to be a side business for the growing family. It was meant to fill in before clients wanted home remodeling projects started. It was meant to give us hope that blessings for our future were still on the way. We had no idea what the future really had in store. . .
The year of 2012 was almost over. We were getting by. Thankful for what we had in the midst of a shaky economy. Even our children had jumped in to work mode the few months ending that year. Tyler, then age 11, started a Christmas ornament business with $15. He made $500 total and used his money to buy items needed for his siblings, including many of that years holiday presents. Mike and I tucked our four children in bed on Christmas Eve, then hung the stockings and put the gifts under the tree. We were ready to enjoy the next day celebrating Jesus’ birthday.
Two hours later I woke up to smoke in our bedroom. We quickly discovered that the dining room and kitchen were in full flames. Mike ran through openings in the fire to the other side of the house to save our family. Neighbors came to help along with three fire trucks appearing just as windows began to shatter with flames coming out the front of the house. Our eldest son fell to his knees in trauma. The first crew in the front door removed the gifts under the tree before the holes they punched in all the ceilings allowed water to stream quickly through the attic to the entire house. This electrical fire from an unused outlet sparked an extreme traumatic experience for our family that would take years to heal.
This event marks us in a way few understand. We use the phrases ‘before the fire’ or ‘after the fire’ naturally as our timeline life markers. Viewing the words ‘needs and wants’ differently. "Is a pair of scissors a need or a want?" "Are more than twelve towels needs or wants?"
And I share this story with you because it is from those ashes that we built our family business. It became very important for us to stay together on a daily basis. Our children learned life skills like tearing out carpeting in the rental house we worked on to save money on rent that first year. They learned plumbing on the trailer we were given to live in on our bit of land the second year. They learned to sand and create furniture as Mike continued to fill orders from shows he toured. in the third year. Together we worked to live each day. Together we worked hard each day to meet our needs so that one day we could have a handful of wants- wants like more than two pairs of shoes each, like going on a camping trip for a vacation, like maybe getting a home again.
If you were to tell me that this would be our future a decade ago, I would have laughed till I was breathless. This crazy, wonderful, fun life we've been given is hard but it has made us and our children to be incredible individuals ready for anything. This is our life, and we love it.
Now, yes now, almost six years later, we are back on track. The business is growing as fast as the children. Our plans for this year include more travel to markets, expanding our business service areas to Nashville and Savannah, adding workers in the shop and, finally, remolding OUR '60s ranch house to restore to it's old glory.