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Friday, June 26, 2009

Swirly Designs: How it all started

Since we have been decluttering the studio the last couple of weeks we came across a box sitting high on top of our bookcase that was filled with some of our early test ornaments. We thought we would share with you the stories behind some of the earlier Swirly Designs.

This was one of Lianne's first commission pieces from 1997. She created a pin with a leaf motif for a charity auction that, at the time, Paul was a part of. She had to create approx 150 pins in less than two weeks. She pulled it off and the the pins were a huge success for the charity.

These two ornaments were really the spark that started whole company. Lianne created these for her personal Christmas cards. As a designer she always designed her own card every year but now she added a little something extra with the cards...an original ornament!

As we both began doing more and more designs we also got requests for commission pieces. A friend of ours approached us about creating favors for a bridal shower with an ocean/water theme. We came up with this cute magnet showing a boy and girl fish kissing in a fish bowl. The magnets turned out great and the bride thought they were a great remembrance of the day.

With this earlier ornament above, we were experimenting a bit more. We were trying different kinds of swirls in the background and the 3D snake texture for the tree etc.

We have also created larger pieces like this door plaque. We have one for every season and we have done a few for kids rooms as well. We also tried experimenting with different types of ribbon, shown above, embellished with a colored bead before we settled on shear chiffon ribbon for our ornaments.

One of our earlier retail accounts was a local garden center. They carried our ornaments in their gift shop during the holiday season. This "Eggplant Seeds" ornament was a part of our garden seed package collection. We thought it would be nice to tie in these garden designs to better target their clientele. We started to then realize that our designs didn't have to be strictly Christmas themed.

This Swirly Dove Wreath was one of our biggest sellers when we launched our catalog back in 2002.

The interesting story behind this is since we usually create small quantities of our designs, this one was an early sell out. For the next year we decided to double or we might have even tripled the amount we made and unfortunately we never did sell the same amount as in the past.
The lesson learned is that you can never predict what your customers are going to like. Plus we would rather have them wanting more than having too many leftovers.

As you can see, our ornaments are constantly evolving and we are always reworking them to keep them fresh. We love trying new and different things with them and we like to see what our customers will respond too.

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