What started out as a hobby has turned into a part-time side hustle for Bradford resident Daniel Iacob.
It was about a year ago that Iacob was in the market for handmade charcuterie boards to give as a Christmas gift, but none really caught his eye.
He wanted something unique and exquisite, yet affordable but couldn't find anything that fit the bill. That's when he decided to make one himself.
"I sourced a couple of pieces of raw wood on my own and ended up making them at home on my own," he explained.
Iacob says he learned how to make the boards just by watching videos and conducting his own research online.
"Really just following other people and learning about it ad-hoc, so it's pretty much self-taught," he explained.
He began crafting pieces for family and friends and posting them on social media with a lot of positive feedback.
"It just exploded from there," he said about his business, Off Cut & Co.
The process of creating the boards starts with Iacob visiting the lumbermill once a week to handpick the wood pieces. His favourites to use are walnut and maple.
"Not one piece is alike, each piece is unique and I buy them raw," he said.
At home, he debarks all the wood followed by a three-step sanding process.
After sanding, the wood goes through a 'water pop' process where Iacob sprays the sanded wood with water which brings out the natural wood grain. To finish, he applies a blend of coconut oil, pure mineral oil, vitamin E, and beeswax. The oil penetrates and helps show the wood's natural tones while acting as a food particle and moisture repellent.
After six months of selling his boards, his friends gave him the idea to expand his business: food to go with the platters!
"That was a lightbulb for me to try playing with that," he said when deciding to add the second stream of food platters to the business.
He began creating his own charcuterie board platters, and eventually partnering with a catering company with a large clientele base in Toronto. To curate the platters, he works out of a commercial kitchen in Richmond Hill.
Most of his clients come from Bradford and the surrounding area, purchasing platters as gifts. He even has some large corporate clients.
"We do have a pretty extensive reach," he said, noting that they have delivery fees included in their prices.
With a lot more people staying at home due to the pandemic, he says demand for his platters has gone up.
"People had nowhere to go so having boxes done and delivered right to your doorstep was highly convenient," he said. With Christmas quickly approaching, he is ramping up production again to prepare for the holiday rush of orders.
"It all kind of happened by accident," he said about his new business. "It's been a great ride."
As an advocate for local business, Iacob makes sure his boards are made with Canadian sourced lumber, and the food in his platter boxes are locally or Canadian made.
Iacob works full time at an office job but says his side business is his escape and distraction from the corporate world.
"I'll log off for the day and after my daughter goes to bed, I'll start tinkering in my workshop," he said. "It's something I'm passionate about so it's not even work for me, I just enjoy doing it."
Iacob and his family have been living in Bradford for the past 10 years.
"It's such a great community, everyone is so supportive," he said. "I can't imagine living anywhere else."
To learn more about Off Cut & Co., follow them on Instagram @offcutandco or check out their website here.