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handmade stoneware mugs Tag

This one will go down as the 'COME BACK' year... Like most businesses and cycles there are good times and, well, some not-so-good times. Over the last 18 years that we have been vendor members of Paii, we have seen some high highs and some lows... Ever since Jay Karen became president, things have slowly but steadily started to change. Change takes time, but in just a few short years with Jay focusing on the innkeeping industry and as president of Paii, amazing things have started happening, and the Charleston Innkeepers Conference is proof. We met more new customers, and wrote more orders for existing customers that we have in at least 6 years. "This is the best conference in a long time", Peter Deneen mentioned after the closing. Peter also said that "more innkeepers increased their orders for our handmade stoneware mugs, and that shows that Jay is doing a great job." We heard that the attendance was up by 20% over last year! Also the overall mood of all that we talked to was of positivity, filled with renewed hope, excitement for Paii, and the innkeeping industry as a whole.

Getting to work for a family business can be a challenge. The rewards of working for a family business, especially one that makes things, like Handmade Stoneware Mugs, are many. One such perk is being connected to the act of creating functional, durable, and safe mugs...

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!

All Star line-UpAll Star line-Up
By Lee Egerstrom
Economic Development Fellow
lee.egerstrom@mn2020.org A company of artists in St. Paul is proving that making art objects can sustain a small business, that entrepreneurs can survive economic cycles, and that quality can still trump quantity in this age of big box stores and mass marketing. Deneen Pottery is a family owned business that has endured various trials and tribulations since 1972. It makes hand-thrown stoneware products for institutional and business customers who want to exhibit glaze engraved logos, which result from a trademark protected process that Deneen master potters invented. The biggest categories of Deneen's 2,700 customers are hospitality industry companies such as bed and breakfasts, country inns and golf courses. Right behind are college bookstores, corporations that want promotional items for products or their corporate image, and restaurants. Renaissance festivals and community events that appeal to tourists who may be collectors is another important but smaller category, and Deneen has a small number of retailers as customers who specialize in merchandise for tourists.

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!

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