Friday, April 16

What is the deal with these Tea Towels?

You might have noticed a link to a site called 'Original Wedding Tea Towels' at the bottom of the Citizen Site, or you might have seen some wedding invite artwork floating around my portfolio, and I guess there's a chance you might be wondering what it's all about. Well let me tell you.

In December last year me and Karen got married. Being a designer there was of course huge pressure on me to come up with an idea for the invitation. After about 20 failed attempts I finally hit on the idea of doing something people could keep, after all, why spend all that money on something that people are only going to throw away, so perhaps, oddly, I decided on doing a teatowel.

Karen thought it was weird and it took me an evening to talk her into it, eventually, I created the above design and got it to print, then we came to the day of sending them out. Waiting for people's responses was quite terrifying, I was worried it was going to be met with a blanket 'WHY?', but really, it couldn't have been further from the truth. People seemed genuinely blown away by them and the feedback was totally amazing.

Anyway, we got married and when the dust had settled we both thought maybe the idea was good enough to make a little business out of, so that's exactly what we did. We've been operating now for about 4 months, sent out over 100 sample requests and taken orders all over the UK, we're not the next Microsoft, but as a cottage industry it ticks over nicely.

The thing that I love about it, is it's simplicity as a model. We know there's no repeat customers, it's semi seasonal, we know where to find brides, and we know the kind of brides that will be interested in the idea. We also know the kind of budgets people are expecting to pay, and the leads times that are normal. Our experience in marketing (Karen worked at BBH) means we can use that professionalism with our clients to make them feel at ease. Our biggest challenge is getting free press from the magazines and wedding blogs, so far we've been pretty successful in getting the idea picked up, and that press has driven most of our business.

People always ask us "why don't you do mugs, coasters, or sell the idea to schools, and playgroups" but we're not going to diversify in that way and lose focus. The strength of the product and of it's targeting is it's niche; it's a specific type of product for a specific type of customer at a specific time in their lives and the smaller that target the more likely we're the only ones that can hit it. It's a nice project, and a very interesting case study in marketing. here's the rest of the designs;

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