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Deneen Pottery Tag

It is my honor to share this news report... Subject: Jay Karen, Deneen Pottery, Hand-Thrown Mugs Following the Minnesota Bed and Breakfast Conference Jay Karen stopped by and toured our studio. Halfway through my dad, Peter Deneen, sat Jay at a wheel and let him give it a spin! Keep in mind Jay is not a professional potter... The mug, that has now just come out of the kiln, is truly one of a kind.

In March we, here at Deneen Pottery, decided to do an ad campaign offering a free handmade coffee mug to those that mentioned the add when requesting a catalog on our website... I use the word 'campaign' loosely because it was just a single ad, but in a industry leading publication IQ or Innkeeping Quarterly. As PAII is the leading organization in this industry it only makes sense to test the waters with this type of an offer with them. We've always found success when working with PAII, and will continue to do so indefinitely! On a side note the president of PAII, Jay Karen, was recently here for a 'hands on' tour by our president, and my dad, Peter Deneen. To read up on that tour click here. Thanks for coming Jay, I look forward to seeing you again soon! Well, the response to that ad? It was good. And last week I began to do follow up calls to those that we sent mugs to. In the course of my calls I came across a property called Harpole's Heartland Lodge, an Illinois hunting lodge / bed and breakfast located in serene Pike County. I am a very visual person and one that likes to find connections... This connection hit me when looking at Harpole's Heartland Lodge was one of a big buck. As I've been adopted by my in-laws into the traditions of white tail hunting in northern Minnesota, anytime I see a buck my thoughts turn to the season in which we wear blaze orange and sit quietly in the woods.

The snow and cold is a distant memory, but the mornings are still starting out on the chilly side - Today it was 35º when dawn broke here at the pottery shop. Finding things that fit makes life more fulfilling, and definitely makes work more fun... Be it a perfect pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes as spring comes, or a perfect mug.

I've been waiting to find the next Innkeeper to interview and after hearing from Katherine Brown of Bloomsbury located in Camden, SC earlier this week I knew she would be perfect. In October of lat year we first talked about her property and our mugs and a few weeks later we combined a photograph of her property, and a drawing, by Randall Peterson, into this beautiful creation by Teena our Art Director.

At the start of the week I received a sorta tap-on-the-shoulder email that, more or less, hit me over the head and prompted me to see if Katherine would want to be the second official participant of  our Innkeeper Q&A. "Good morning Niles - this is where you can share a 'great laugh' with everyone at Deneen Pottery!  When we ordered mugs a few short months ago, it was primarily because I like them--I wanted to try them on our breakfast table. As it would never have occurred to me to buy a mug (with some logo) when I was traveling -- I rather dismissed when you said how well they sell.   OK - I need to place an order.   Quit laughing and tell me what you need." I don't mind being dismissed especially when I get to hear about it - That's why this statement is also on our testimonials page... It helps to look back at positive statements when you are having a rough day - And I figure if I keep stacking up the positive things that have been said, more will KNOW that we ARE the best at making Custom Stoneware Coffee Mugs!

In September of last year I received a catalog request from Warren Farha, the owner of Eighth Day Books, of Wichita, KS. As I was filling out the envelope I searched google and came across their webpage and I saw this quote, "that which is true, is ours". Little did I know that we would make an order of handmade mugs for Warren, and that that order would have a 'true' story of it's own.
Original line drawing of the store and our emblem design
And that true story is told by Joshua and it goes like this: "Just as we were unpacking your delicious shipment at the front counter (we call it the 'front counter' but it's by the back door), our friend Philip (long-time customer) came in to buy Christmas gifts for his (prodigous) family.  He was immediately entranced by the mugs, and selected 8 as stocking-stuffers." So the very first day that EIGHTH day books had their mugs, they sold EIGHT... How Cool!

With the defeat of the Vikings to the New Orleans Saints yesterday night, the mood here in Minnesota is somber... This is why we, here at Deneen Pottery, will turn our attention to more positive things, like the new mug for the Innkeeping Conference & Trade Show hosted by PAII (Professional Association of Innkeepers International). We've been proudly making mugs for PAII and their Innkeeping Show since 1992, when JoAnn Bell first sent out a form letter seeking a 'handmade mug supplier' to provide an item to commemorate PAII's second biennial event. There is much more to this story that I will be reporting on in the weeks to come. We have been honored to produce a collectable mug for each conference since 1992 and are ready to unveil the tentative mock up for this years show in Austin, Texas. Working with Pat Hardy and JoAnn Bell was a joy for my father, Peter Deneen, and I an just as pleased to be working with the President and CEO of PAII today, Jay Karen. If you are an innkeeper and are curious about PAII, and the Innkeeping Show click here: www.innkeepingshow.com

It's a snowy COLD day here in Minnesota - single digit highs and -30º below at night with the wind chill. Sorting through the importance of Facebook, and finding relavent material and ideas to share on a blog can be TOUGH. A few weeks back when I figured that I'd like to use our Facebook page to showcase 'Innkeepers Mug Displays' I was given a tip by  Linda Hayes from the Inn at Riverbend in Pearlsburg, Virginia about her friend Selena. "You should get [a picture] from Selena at Bed and Breakfast on Tiffany Hill, her retail wall with your mugs is beautiful."
Original-of-Panorama.smWhat a setting -And the inside is even better!

In the throws of summer we begin to prepare for the holidays... It's crazy to have to think down the road 4 months, but when it comes to making handmade stoneware everything takes time! In August we send out an email to all of our customers offering a free set-up for anyone that hasn't ordered our ornaments, or 5 additional free ornaments to those that have ordered them in the past. We started doing this about 3 years ago and with that first special I received an email from Emily Hoche-Mong the Innkeeper at the Goose & Turrets:

"One Christmas season I gave all guests a handmade ornament from Deneen Pottery with my Goose & Turrets logo. One guest, a young lady from Australia, began to cry, and she flung her arms around my neck and said, "You are just so sweet, that's the only present I've gotten this Christmas." I will never forget that experience nor that Deneen Pottery was a part of it.

Here is what that ornament looks like:

goose

Hell's Backbone Grill is located in Boulder, Utah, population 180 - one of the most remote towns in the United States! The chef-owners, Jen Castle and Blake Spalding operate their restaurant following Buddhist principles, with a commitment to sustainability, environmental ethics, and social and community responsibility. They serve organic, locally produced, regionally and seasonally appropriate cusine and grow many of their own vegetables organically in the restaurants two gardens and on their six-acre farm! They feature dishes made with fruit from Boulder's heirloom orchards and rely largely on local ranchers for the natural meats. Every cup of coffee is served in a handmade mug, by (you guessed it) Deneen Pottery!hellsname Now in their 9th season, their mission and passion have not gone unrecognized.   Hell's Backbone Grill enjoys one of the highest Zagat ratings in Utah and was selected as a Fodor’s Choice 2006 recipient. The restaurant was also named Salt Lake Magazine’s “Best Restaurant in Southern Utah” for 2007 and was awarded the prestigious Utah Governor’s Mansion Award for Culinary Artistry in 2006, presented by Governor Jon Huntsman. In 2005, Blake and Jen received an award from the Museum of Northern Arizona and the Center for Sustainable Environments for being “Culture Bearers of Sustainability in the Four Corners Region.” Additionally, Hell’s Backbone Grill was chosen as one of four restaurants representing Utah’s Slow Food movement in an exhibit in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. The restaurant has been featured in O, the Oprah Magazine, The New York Times, Sunset Magazine, Bon Appetit, Organic Gardening, Outside Traveler, Travel and Leisure, Washington Post, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Traveler.

As my family has been making mugs for customers for over 30 years from time to time we hear from folks like Vince Smith of Houston, Texas: Dear Niles: Approximately 12 years ago, my wife and I were in Ithaca, NY and had the pleasure of spending a night at the Rose Inn.  In a matter of days, the two mugs we purchased became my favorite [handmade coffee mugs] of all time.  Unfortunately, one of them was broken beyond recognition.  I know that’s hard to believe since they are so sturdy.

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