Good afternoon and please allow me to introduce myself, myname is Donovan Rankin and this is my first post on this forum.
My wife is a retired dental hygenist and now owns a smallboutique at the New Jerseyshore. She sells fashion items, hostess gifts, houseware items and jewelry.Unfortunately many of the items are purchased from wholesalers importing goods mostlyfrom Chinaon a mass scale.
Recently while at a gift show we stumbled across a smallcompany started by a woman in the San FranciscoBay area of California. This woman produces hand knittedwool handbags, as demand grew for her bags she approached a group of ladies ina retirement home to help produce her handbags. This gave the retired womensomething to do, a feeling of accomplishment and worth and the ability to earnextra income. It also allowed the designer to bring her product to market at areasonable cost while being able to say made in America. When I arrived home fromthe show I did some investigating to see if there was anything similar forother products such as dinnerware, jewelry, etc. So far I haven't foundanything but I did come across an arrangement between Starbucks Coffee and asmall mug manufacturer in East Liverpool, Ohio. Fromwhat I have read East Liverpool was once the potterycapitol of the world but due to imported ceramic goods mostly from China theindustry has been brought to it's knees. Throughout it's history East Liverpool had morethan 300 potteries. Just a few years ago more than four dozen were still inbusiness, today only two remain. One of the two, The American Mug and SteinCompany, was on the verge of closing before Starbucks stepped in.
This brings me to the purpose of my joining the forum and mypost. We have some ideas on starting our own lines of products. One of which isour own line of serveware that we will market not only in our retail store andon our website but on a wholesale basis as well. I wanted to see if I couldsomehow combine the story of the lady in San Francisco and the story of Starbucks and The AmericanMug and Stein Company. So before I take a road trip to East Liverpool, OhioI thought I would try here and a few other artisan websites.
We are looking for artisans to work with to help us bringthis line to fruition. The main line will be serving dishes and bowls ofvarying shapes and sizes with a simple monochromatic glaze. I would assume thisline would need to be produced by one person/organization to keep the product consistentand be able to produce a hundred or more of each dish/bowl per run at a time.However we are open to opinions and options.
Here is where the real artisan work comes in and the tie into the ladies in San Francisco.There will be an accent line that goes with the main serving dishes. These willhave art work based on the collection/item. Each collection/item will bedesigned and produced by individual artisans. We have our own ideas onlines/items but will encourage input from the artisans on new ideas. When wehave an idea of our own we would send it to all the artisans we are workingwith for a design competition and to offer the opportunity to produce the work.
When marketing the products we would like to be able to saythat the products are proudly made in America and provide a photo andshort biography of the artisan that produced the line/item. Please post anyquestions comments, input. If you are interested in possibly participatingplease feel free to contact me via email for more details.
Thank you for reading and I hope to hear from many of you soon.
crowpotterMember Since 27 Jun 2012
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