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Great Story – Great Mug – Great Lakes Clothing

Updated:  September 28, 2015
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Great Story – Great Mug – Great Lakes Clothing

Glaze: Industry: (We work with many different industries)
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Deneen Pottery

Favorite part of working at Deneen Pottery? Everything! Working alongside and inspiring our awesome staff and assisting our incredible customers. Getting to be around such a creative process and talented artists - the variety of 'opportunities' that fill my day keep me on my toes. Witnessing the transformation from proof to product.

In the fall of 2013, (our awesome sales rep) Carrie stumbled upon the branding mark of Great Lakes Clothing, which happens to include the state bird of Minnesota – the loon. She knew I would be interested in this unique local business and sent me a link to their website. Once I started to look at the content of their site, the message of their work, and the images that they were using to showcase not just their clothing but their brand – I was hooked and couldn’t wait to work with them. And you know me – I can never pass up a chance to share a great story that also includes our great mugs!(Pictured below is the beautiful Abby Mug that they selected for their first order.)

Great Lakes Clothing Co - Deneen Pottery - Mug
LIFE IS BETTER AT THE LAKE (the back story)

For anyone that lives in our amazing state of 10,000 lakes, it’s definitely true that life is better at the lake. Couple our ingrained love of the water with over 16 hours of daylight during the summer solstice, it’s no doubt why we appreciate our summer days – there’s so much time to go outside and play! Carrie’s very familiar with lake & summer appreciation – her family has a lake place and from June to August it’s very clear just by looking at her sunburn where she spends her weekends. Most MN cabins/lake homes (sadly) have a ‘hand me down’ mug collection comprised of cast aways from here and there – AKA NOT great mugs at all. Carrie, and all of us at Deneen, firmly believe that the best way to start each day is with a tasty coffee in a handmade mug, so we came to the realization that we needed to partner with this outstanding company if not simply for the fact that Carrie’s family would be buying a BUNCH!

Before the dots are connected on the work side of this blog, I’d like to spend another moment reminiscing about the summers I got to spend at the lake growing up. I remember my grandparent’s place on Round Lake in northern Minnesota and I can personally attest to life – or at least summer – being pretty amazing there. It was an adventure getting up at the crack of dawn to go fishing for walleye with grandpa…watching the steam roll off his mug on at the dock while he would get everything into the boat. I learned that fun could be had, no matter the number or the size of the fish we caught! Seemingly endless afternoons on rainy days were filled with hours of puzzles and board games – and cribbage. Fifteen once, fifteen twice and two pair for eight! So many memories of family: cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. And all the other activities – canoeing, swimming, running around like crazy or just taking naps in the hammock. In fact, these are the exact same things we did at our recent family reunion this August on Lake Miltona near Alexandria, MN.


To be honest, being the parents to little ones definitely feels different – but no less fun. It was great to have the Grandpas around to master the grill and keep the focus on food: a full tummy = a happy camper! It’s moments like these…with the lake shimmering in the background, that we want to freeze and hold onto forever.



I really appreciate the fact that I have a family that takes time to gather, to celebrate our heritage, and to make memories for OUR kids to treasure. It’s true and I’ve got to say it again: life is better at the lake! For this and all the reasons listed above, we knew that creating a special mug for Great Lakes Clothing made perfect sense. We didn’t want to miss this opportunity to be part of making summer days even more special.


Since Deneen Pottery is a manufacturer of custom handmade mugs (right here in St. Paul, MN!) – we look for partners that value exactly who we are and what we do. As I learned more about Great Lakes Clothing, I was blown away by their understanding of the importance of businesses like ours. Their message really resonated with me:

“Collectively, we know that buying American Made products is a good thing. For us, we knew it created jobs, we knew it was good for the economy and it just felt like the right thing to do. But after having the opportunity to see it first hand, to be directly involved and hear the numerous stories surrounding each factory, it was clear how crucial American Manufacturing really is. After the first few days we spent around each factory we were immediately inspired. The pride and passion these craftsmen have is contagious and there’s a unique sense of accomplishment you feel after spending the entire day working with your hands.

American Manufacturing is about doing things the right way, even though it may take longer. It’s about building products that are designed to last and connecting you, the consumer, to these passionate individuals that spend countless hours mastering their craft.”

american_manufacturing - great lakes - deneen pottery

After reading this, I had a sixth sense that our two companies were made to work together and reached out to Spencer and David, the creators of Great Lakes Clothing.


We exchanged emails and set a date to meet. Luckily, we had just enough time to create a special surprise for David and Spencer, which persuaded them to come on board as customers. We can’t tell you everything, but we can tell you that a second order of mugs is in the works and they’ll be ready in time for the holiday season! Great Lakes Clothing will have two pop-up stores this year, one at the Mall of America (new) and they will be returning to Ridgedale Mall for a second time. Be sure to visit their stores early and grab a new mug for your cabin – especially since quantities are limited and they have a surprise new glaze color!


It’s true that our mugs hold more than coffee…they hold memories. We hope that after reading this you will appreciate a time that you’ve enjoyed on a lake with family or friends. We love collaborating with awesome companies – now Carrie and her family LOVE & appreciate the Great Lakes Clothing mugs that help them start their days in paradise!


Thanks for reading our blog and have a great Autumn.
Niles Deneen – CEO

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Deneen Pottery

Favorite part of working at Deneen Pottery? Everything! Working alongside and inspiring our awesome staff and assisting our incredible customers. Getting to be around such a creative process and talented artists - the variety of 'opportunities' that fill my day keep me on my toes. Witnessing the transformation from proof to product.

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