Written by

Shawn Blanc

It was during one of my wife’s and my Thursday evening dates late in the month of August 2011. We were just 6 weeks pregnant with our first child, and not 6 months earlier I had quit my job to work from home and write for a living.

It was over dinner — or coffee, perhaps, I don’t remember — that I told her about my idea for Tools & Toys. It’d be this really fun website where I could link to all the things I find interesting or exciting or helpful.

The very next day I started designing the site and I had it done by the end of the weekend. And on Monday morning, August 29, Tools & Toys was launched.

Primarily, I built Tools & Toys as a collection of interesting things and fine paraphernalia. I also did it for the money. The business model of Tools & Toys was an obvious one: find cool stuff on the internet, and when possible use affiliate links. With our first kid on the way, we, of course, welcomed another potential income stream.

The site has thrived for these past 3 years. We have always subscribed to the principle that quality and honesty breed trust and attention. What I want more than anything when it comes to this site’s readership is to have people who trust that we’re not here to rob them of their time.

And today, we are taking things up a few clicks.

In addition to our daily posts of the newest and coolest gear, we’ll also begin publishing new types of content. Look above in the site’s navigation and you’ll see: photo essays, long-form reviews, gear guides, interviews, and a new regular editorial column centered on the topics of mindful and simple living. All this new content has its home in the brand new, beautiful website design you’re looking at right now. (A million thanks to Pat Dryburgh for doing the design and development of the new site.)

Reaching for more

With this new design, we are aiming to become more than just a cool stuff site. Our new, longer-form articles will center around the values of mindfulness, intentionality, knowing your tools (and your toys), and appreciation for quality.

As fun as it is to geek out over the latest and greatest stuff, at the end of the day, there is much, much more to life. Our self-worth is not tied to how fancy our gear is nor how often we upgrade it.

Cool new stuff is cool and new, but let us also be mindful and intentional of our consumption habits and our lifestyles. Let’s consider what’s most important to the improvement of our lives and workflows, let’s celebrate craftsmanship and well-made products that are built to last, and let’s be content with not upgrading everything we own all the time (even though we want to). Let’s find inspiration in the march of technology, art, and creativity that is always around us. And let us not be primarily confident in the gear we use, but rather in the values we hold which inspire us to make better and do better.

What new have we published this day?

Today we published a slew of new articles, and we’ve got more in the pipe for every day this month.

And, giveaways!

To celebrate the new site, we are giving stuff away all through the month of October. Sign up for the new T&T newsletter and you’ll be entered to win something each Wednesday.

With special thanks

And a huge, huge thanks to our launch partner sponsors:

  • Need: A curated retailer and lifestyle publication for the modern gentleman.
  • Smile: TextExpander touch 3, now with custom keyboard.
  • Backblaze: Easy, secure, unlimited, and just $5/month. Start a risk-free trial now.
  • Lionheart: A software studio that designs and builds delightful products.

Please check out their sites; I personally do business with all of these guys. Need curates some awesome clothing, Smile makes several of my most indispensable Mac apps, Backblaze is my off-site backup service of choice, and I have first-hand experience with the sort of apps Lionheart can build because they make what I think is the best Pinboard client for iOS.