One of the things that I have always found most difficult is deciding exactly what Snapdragon is. It evolved from a completely different business (growing cut flowers) and I've always been a bit woolly when asked what exactly I do. Most of the past five years have been spent narrowing down, focusing, finding the essence - saying No.
Last year I began to recognise that what the retail side of Snapdragon does best is short run bespoke. The way that we work, making to order as a team, means that we can embroider messages, incorporate customers' fabrics, tweak designs without having to alter the work flow, without having to charge a lot for the personalisation. We now do it so well that this is now the fastest growing part of our wholesale business too.
However I wanted to be able to expand this into non-sewn things. Specifically I wanted to be able to do the same with mugs. A few years ago I designed a few mugs with McLaggan Smith and I loved the way that the embroidery looked on the ceramic. However, I wanted not only to be able to put my embroideries onto mugs, I wanted to be able to have each mug with a personalised message. I wanted the messages to be embroidered rather than a computer typeface. I wanted them to be something no-one else was doing, something obviously "Snapdragon". I wanted the mugs to be dishwasher and microwave safe. I wanted a lot.
I did a LOT of research - but last week we finally unpacked the kit that we needed and began to experiment.
And I am delighted, it is working even better than I hoped - I can embroider the messages and then incorporate them into an image which is printed inhouse directly onto the mugs - no transfers that can scratch off - the process I am using makes the colour part of the fabric of the mugs and is guaranteed dishwasher safe for a year.
We have put the first two designs - a gingham heart and retro initials - up onto the website here.
You can chose any message for the back - up to 9 words works best - whether it is a loving message to your mother, a thank you to a teacher, or a witty in joke for a friend.
Isn't it great when something you have been dreaming about comes together?