Balsam Hill

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Balsam Hill Christmas Tree Co
Industry Artificial Christmas Trees
Founder Thomas Harman
Headquarters Redwood City, California, USA
Key people
Thomas Harman, Founder and CEO
Products Christmas trees, Christmas wreaths & garland, topiary

Balsam Hill makes artificial Christmas trees and Christmas decorations for consumer and commercial use. The privately held company is located in Northern California and serves customers worldwide. Balsam Hill specializes in artificial Christmas trees modeled after naturally occurring varieties of commonly used Christmas trees.[1][2]


Balsam Hill was founded by Thomas Harman[3] after discovering his brother-in-law was allergic to the mold spores found in natural Christmas trees.[4] Harman could not find an artificial Christmas tree that looked real enough, so he set out to develop a line of artificial trees that were highly realistic and luxurious.[5]

In October 2006, Balsam Hill opened for business online, offering three collections: the Balsam Hill collection, Vermont Signature collection, and Napa Christmas Signature collection.[4]

A year later, the Good Housekeeping Research Institute named Balsam Hill’s 7.5-foot Balsam Fir the ‘best overall’[6] artificial Christmas tree.

In 2012, Balsam Brands, which owns Balsam Hill, earned revenues of $34.7 million,[7] turning the company into one of Silicon Valley’s fastest growing online retailers.[8] Balsam Hill ventured offline by opening a showroom[9] in Burlingame, California in August 2013.


Harman, a graduate of the Stanford Business School,[5] spent five years developing the technology for creating realistic artificial Christmas trees.[4] He began by making patterns cast from real Norway spruce branches, molding the tree from multiple plastics, and painting each branch by hand. Balsam Hill’s designers continue to use real-tree cast molds and multiple-color shading in order to match the texture and coloration of actual branches.[3]

In 2007, the BH Balsam Fir, which uses Balsam Hill’s exclusive True Needle technology, earned high marks from the Good Housekeeping Research Institute for its true green color and natural downswept branches. The Institute also noted the tree’s technological features, which include an electrical connection for tree toppers and a foot pedal on-off switch for the lights.[6]

The Balsam Hill Showroom[edit]

In August 2013, Balsam Hill opened a brick-and-mortar store in Burlingame, California. A portion of the warehouse serves as a discount outlet.[10] The store is within reach from the San Francisco International Airport.

Global Christmas Tree Event[edit]

In November 2012, Balsam Hill collaborated with ScentSicles, which sells fragrant ornaments, for the first global Christmas tree decorating event to use digital technology. Participants used a robotic arm to decorate a virtual rotating Christmas tree streamed live on the Communitree website.[11] Each ornament affixed digitally on the tree sent a $5 donation to the Philadelphia branch of Toys for Tots Foundation.

Awards & Accolades[edit]



  • Ranked No. 54 of 100 on the Top 100 Retail Companies by Internet Retailer[14]
  • Named Fastest Growing E-Retailer by Internet Retailer magazine
  • Ranked No. 1145 of 5000 on America's Fastest Growing Private Companies by Inc. (magazine)
  • Ranked No. 39 of 100 on The 100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in the Bay Area[15] by the San Francisco Business Times


  1. ^ Go Fake, The Boston Globe. December 6, 2007.
  2. ^ Artificial trees: Natural looking or borderline tacky? San Diego Union-Tribune. November 25, 2007.
  3. ^ a b Fresh vs. fake: Choosing the right Christmas tree Sunset Magazine. December 2012 issue
  4. ^ a b c Hot Stuff, SF Gate. December 6, 2006.
  5. ^ a b O Tannenbaum, Artificial tree maker Thomas Harman, MBA '05. Stanford Alumni Magazine November/December 2012 issue
  6. ^ a b 3 Artificial Christmas Trees That Will Look Great Every Year Good Housekeeping 2007
  7. ^ a b Company Profile at Inc. Magazine 2013
  8. ^ a b The fastest growing private companies in Silicon Valley San Francisco Business Times - San Jose. October 18, 2013
  9. ^ Adding to e-commerce success Albuquerque Journal Business September 22, 2013
  10. ^ When clicks aren't enough, online retailers become old-fashioned brick and mortar stores San Jose Mercury News Business August 29, 2013
  11. ^ Robot Arm Lets You Digitally Decorate Christmas Tree for Charity Mashable. November 21, 2012
  12. ^ Sales growth bonds the Top 500 specialty merchants Internet Retailer Magazine. May 30, 2013
  13. ^ Top Companies in the San Francisco Metro Area on the 2013 Inc. 5000 Inc. (magazine)
  14. ^ "Balsam Brands 2012 Honors". ,
  15. ^ Fast 100: Fastest growing Bay Area companies - listed October 26, 2012

External links[edit]