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Handmade Mug Tag

12/30/10 The final testimonial of 2010! Absolutely you may post my comments. I feel it is so important for each of us to do our part in supporting locally owned and operated companies for our survival as a country. My husband and I learned about your company upon...

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!

It's April Fool's Day today and I haven't played any tricks on anyone. Yet... What I have been doing today is organizing some of our archived printing and advertising projects. In a file from 2002 I found a FAQ sheet about our handmade mugs: Realizing that none of this valuable information is posted on our website I figured that I could post it here so that it won't languish in it's small archived 2002 file. Unbelievably, most of the questions and answers are still the same. Q: Are these mugs dishwasher safe? A: Depends on who is washing your dishes... Just kidding, every piece of stoneware we make will be fine in the strongest industrial dishwasher. Just don’t drop it when you are putting them away.

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

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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