A southeast Portland business has gone from a Kickstarter campaign to seeing its products on store shelves as far away as Japan.
Matias Brecher founded TOAST five years ago. The company operates out of a modest workshop in Montavilla, producing custom wood covers for iPhones, laptops, and other gadgets.
"I bought my first iPhone and I hated all the plastic cases that were available and I figured maybe I could come up with something more interesting," said Brecher.
TOAST uses lasers to cut custom designs into thin wood panels. The finished covers are fitted to whatever the customer wants.
From TOAST's humble beginnings in Brecher's basement, the company has carved out a niche for itself, grossing $750,000 in sales last year.
Its products made their way into 6,000 stores in Japan, through a deal with a major Japanese wireless provider.
But Brecher's company isn't just about profits. The operation runs on 100 percent renewable energy, and 1 percent of TOAST's sales are donated to environmental non-profit groups.
"I decided when I launched the business that I wanted to have a real environmental backbone to it," said Brecher.
Brecher also brought in a "lean" consultant to maximize efficiency, and reduce his waste stream.
TOAST now produces about as much waste as the average household.
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