Family business building a better remote learning experience for local kids

Sarah, Jim and Grace DesLaurier are making custom desks for students learning at home.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

The DesLauriers family of Riverside decided they would make the best of the COVID-19 crisis by taking an unlikely risk — starting a business.

After Jim Deslauriers needed multiple leg procedures done last year, his healing journey was just coming to an end when the coronavirus pandemic started. Jim was consequently laid-off from his job, but decided to pursue his life passion with his wife Sarah and start a family-owned furniture business called Charm from the Farm.

Sarah, Jim and Grace DesLaurier are making custom desks for students learning at home.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

The brand new business’ first undertaking, however, is by no means a money maker. The DesLauriers just wanted to help their neighbors by doing what they do best — making beautiful furniture.

“It’s been an adventure for sure,” Sarah said. “I’m not an entrepreneur by any means. I like the stability of going to work and coming home, but that’s not his mentality ... He’s all about ’what can I do to build my passion?’ He got laid-off and I was like ’OK, what are we going to do?’ And he was like ‘I’m just going to make a run at this, and wherever it goes, is where it goes.’”

ExploreDaytonian of the Week has helped preserve the region’s wild beauty for decades

Through the end of September, when people purchase a desk from Charm from the Farm, they will donate an identical one to another student in need. One hand-crafted, hand-stained, desk costs $60 and are available in kids’ sizes and teen sizes.

“The whole idea was, there’s a lot of kids stuck at home and it’s like, what can we do to give these kids kind of an idea of normality?” Jim DesLauriers said. “They always go to school, sit at their desks — it’s a spot that’s theirs.”

On Aug. 21, Jim posted a video to the Charm from the Farm Facebook page, showcasing the custom-sized desks meant to store all the necessities a grade-schooler or high-schooler would need to stow away.

“We understand it’s crazy times and kiddos learning from home can be challenging,” stated the Facebook post. “To make life a little easier we are running a special through the end of September. Buy a desk, give a desk. For $60 you get a desk for your little one, and then we will donate one to someone in need.”

ExploreMushroom latte? Gourmet mushroom madness happening at Oregon District coffee shop

Jim and Sarah said they expected maybe 10 orders. So far, they’ve received 89, meaning 178 local students will have a more comfortable start to their unusual school year.

“Every time a new order comes in, Sarah would run out back and be like ’What did you do!’” Jim said, laughing at both their surprise at the number of orders.

The couple has three children, with 17-year-old Grace being an inaugural part of the operations.

“Our daughter is the staining and painting department,” Jim said. “If you have any complaints send them her way. ... She is the queen of polyurethane. I’ve never seen anybody be able to apply polyurethane and make it look so smooth and so beautiful.”

People who would like to order a desk can contact Charm from the Farm on Facebook Messenger or by emailing charmfromthefarm2018@gmail.com. If someone has a family in mind they would like to gift the second “free” desk, they can make that request at the time of purchase. If not, the DesLauriers are working with a couple of local non-profits to make sure desks are reaching kids in need.

Charm from the Farm is selling hand-crafted desks for students at a buy one for $60, give one to someone in need deal.

In Other News