Sunday, August 31, 2014

trade show times

This was the fall edition of the showUP trade fair last week. Although I was completely exhausted (tell you more about that below) it again felt like being on summer camp with good friends ;-). ShowUP is always a feast! Sabine Wittig, my friend/distributor from Germany came over and took the above photo's of me (which is unique, because no one ever does!).

I hoped to have the final samples of the ceramic cups on the show and I knew lots of customers would love to order them. It was such a disapointment when I found out that I couldn't show any of the ceramics I received the night before showUP started. The cups were not ok in many ways. I somehow forefelt this, but there was the pressure of 2 important trade fairs and my hopes won from my fears. The result: no cups to show, a couple of nights with not more than 4 hours of sleep and no turnover from this nice new collection....
But I do NOT give up. Give me some time, some more rounds, the cups will eventually be in my collection, I promiss.
Still I was a happy wholesaler: I had my new Weave Lanterns to show ánd my almost final samples from the tea towels. And people loved them!

Today I'm preparing for Maison & Objet in Paris. It's going to be my very first time, so exciting! 

If you are around please drop by:  Hall 6, stand Q50 - bienvenu!

Monday, August 18, 2014

NEW STUFF - 4 stories from behind the scenes

The story of the NEW Lanterns
Two months ago one of my dear customers made me very happy and bought my complete stock of Classic Lanterns, which was 1700 sets! Within a couple of days I had to decide whether I should go for a reprint of these lanterns (that were designed in 2009), or give this article a complete restyling.

I chose for Lanterns 2.0 and called them Weave lanterns. I used designs found in woven materials and macramé. After all, textiles are my second love!

It was so much fun experimenting with folding shapes. That's what makes each individual design in this set look different. In the package is a clear and simple instruction on how to fold the pre creased folds, but if you do it differently - fold it IN instead of OUT, for example - the outcome is always great!
One pack contains 7 lanterns. Rrp (in the Netherlands) per pack € 10,50 Weave will be available within a week, so it will pop up in the (online) shops very soon! 

The story of the NEW ceramics

Most people know that I have been dreaming for years of designing my own ceramics. In some strange way, it always seemed a bridge too far. Not the designing part, but finding someone to translate my designs into a producible article and finding a way to produce larger amounts.

On the very first ShowUP fair, 1.5 years ago now, a woman walked into my stand and asked me: Jurianne, have you ever thought of designing ceramics for your company? Maybe I can help you with the product development! I remember that I was moved: this woman, that randomly entered my paper-design stand, was heaven sent!

Mieke Montagne is now my product developer. She is a real crafts woman with a good commercial sense. She experimented with different clays, molds, glazes and dozens of colours for me and I'm sure I must have made her insane at some moments. 
The next step was accomplishing the bulk production abroad. To be honest: up untill now this part has been so very disappointing. At this moment I am still waiting (after 3,5 months) for good samples that can be presented at the trade fairs I will be attending (starting next week!). It gives me headaches and sleepless nights...

As soon as I have the cups in my warehouse I'll come back here and tell a little about the designs and prices.
The story of the NEW tea towels
During the development of the tea towels I discovered how the conventional cotton industry actually works, and to be honest: I was shocked. If you watch this video called The Conventional Trap
(9 minutes) you'll know what I mean. This dirty business was not something I wanted to be a part of! 
Luckily, I met Hein Voss, who is the owner of H3P Motives. He is a textiles professional who has his heart in the right place, and is the winner of the 2013 Max Havelaar Innovation Award.

Hein knows everything there is to know about his production line, from the organic farmers in the cooperatives to the workers in the factory. He often visits India and oversees all the links in his production chain. For Hein, organic and fair-trade arent just brainless marketing tools; they are important requirements to his trade. This is a vision that I share.

I discovered that the production of my tea towels is also a long, long road, allthough we have short lines in this fair trade business. I received a lot of samples on which the prints were fantastic, the stitchwork great, the labelling ok, but the fabric itself...
You know: I want my tea towels to become YOUR FAVORITE ones, not only because of the nice prints, but also because they have just the right textile quality for drying dishes. Not too thick, not too thin, with a rather high density weave and with the right absorption. 
I know, I am so demanding, but I can not sell anything that is not 100%  approved by me.

Fortunately I have Hein Voss on my side. With his energy, his precision and his communication skills we will get there in the end. But not on ShowUP next week and probably not on Maison & Objet in Paris.

The minute I have the tea towels in my warehouse I'll come back to you to present them officially here!

The story of NEW styling talent Valerie

Valerie is my friend and she could be my daughter. I know her since she was 13. A sparkling and humourous personality with a super sense for style! She is a student at Artemis Styling Academy in Amsterdam, the same school I attended in prehistoric times ;-). Valerie took the pictures of my new products and I am so very happy with the result! 
She exactly caught the right feel: simple and poetic. 

You will hear and see more of her in the future, I promise!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

a flash of spain

Our vacations were over before we knew it! First week in beautiful Cadaquès both our sons got sick for 5 days. We even had to drive to hospital in Figueres for our eldest son (16) because the local doctor thought he had a pneumonia. X-ray fortunately didn't show anything though.The second and last week the men felt better and we gave it another try: we visited Barcelona and some friends in their dreamhouse hacienda (see 3rd row, it was so lovely), we went to the market and to the beach, we caught up with some old friends from Amsterdam and then it was over, we had to drive home!
A flash of Spain.
We will be back, Spain is worth a longer visit...