Just a Swingin’ in Round Top with Original Round Top Swing Company
In this edition of Talking Shop, we’re chatting with Ellen Hart, founder of the Original Round Top Swing Company. She’s introducing her handmade Fayette County originals to the world during the Round Top Antiques Shows with display and sales locations at Granny McCormick’s Yard in Warrenton and others TBA.
Location: Round Top, Texas
Social media handles: None yet
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central
Favorite phone app: HOUZZ
Best business advice received: Jump off a cliff and then sprout wings.
Hart, who brings a 20-year history of design, product development and manufacturing in luxury leather goods, recognizes necessity is the mother of invention. She returned to Texas from Los Angeles about seven years ago and moved to the Round Top area two years ago.
Longing to create and design
“We live on top of a hill in a 1970s modern glass house surrounded by 400-year-old live oak trees,” Hart said. “They have been waiting for the perfect swings. I found several second-generation craftsmen to work with who appreciated my business background and understood my design sensibility. Together, we designed tree and porch swings in the rustic, modern look that is admired throughout.”
“Our process creates a rich color, texture and finish,” Hart said. “They are handmade in Fayette County.”
The tree swings are made from post oak that takes two years to dry to perfection. The tree swings can be personalized with ranch or family names and make excellent wedding gifts and new home gifts. The porch swings, crafted from Louisiana and Texas cypress, suspend from water-resistant manila rope that is braided and eye spliced as part of a time-consuming process to give it a finished, clean look.
Hart’s family has owned a weekend ranch in Fayette County for 25 years. After selling the manufacturing company three years ago, she branched out into real estate and went to work for Heritage Texas Country Properties as a marketing strategist and realtor, ultimately moving to the Round Top area.
“My partner and I designed the first collection of business cases for professional women and sold it to Hartmann Luggage,” Hart said. “Then a cool collection of luggage and business cases made out of baseball glove leather was licensed to Rawlings Sporting Goods. We also manufactured for Louis Vuitton, Hartmann Luggage, Brooks Brothers, St. John and many others.”