The Business of Making

10 Things I Learned From My First Wholesale Order, Part 1

10 Tips For Your First Wholesale Order -- For Makers, From Westervin

Last month, I received my first request for a wholesale order. Thrilled, I immediately replied saying something to the effect of, “WHAAAAT ERMERGOD OK YESPLZ SURE LET’S DO THIS!!!!!” Or something slightly more professional. It wasn’t until after I hit “Send,” that I realized I had some things to figure out. Namely, how to sell wholesale, exactly. I understood that the basic wholesale arrangement involved selling a larger quantity of goods to a retailer at a reduced price, and it seemed like I’d seen somewhere that a 50% discount from the retail price was the standard. But was 50% a hard-and-fast rule, especially for small producers of handmade wares, like myself? If so, would that be profitable for me? And how much was a “larger quantity” exactly? My blinding excitement quickly diluted to a mixture of hope and hesitation. So I set about uncovering the mysteries of wholesale with help from the internet, a calculator, and some very smart people I know. Here’s what I learned.

1. Pricing Is Everything

An initial search of “how to price for wholesale” left me a little overwhelmed. It seemed the industry standard was indeed to offer wholesale items at half the retail price, but I worried that wouldn’t work for me. Then I decided to ask an actual person. Two actual persons, to be exact — two lovely women I knew with experience as a buyer. Jess Mott Wickstrom is the former Gallery Director of Lillstreet Art Center and co-founder of DesignEgg, and Claire Hurwitz Staszak is the current Manager & Buyer at Neighborly. Boy, am I glad I asked these two! I found this piece of advice from Claire particularly empowering:

“You should remember that you have the control.”

Right! My business, my prices. I determine what works for me.

“We don’t make 50% on everything,” she continued, “and sometimes we carry an item just because we really like it. The margin isn’t always a priority, especially if it sells well.” Retailers may understand that small producers can’t always accommodate the traditional 50% markdown.

Jess agreed with Claire. “When dealing with Etsy sellers,” she said, “I was never surprised if they wanted to sell me items at prices a bit higher than the typical 50% wholesale. I think 60/40 is fair. If a retailer wants a bigger discount, ask for a higher minimum order.”

Yes. I think can work with that.

Next, I wanted to be sure a wholesale discount, even one slightly less than the standard 50%, still allowed me enough profit for my time and materials. According to Etsy, it all starts with your costs: “A solid understanding of how much it costs to make each of your products will allow you to adapt your supplies, workflows and minimum order quantities in order to strategically price for wholesale and ensure that you’re still making a profit.” Etsy shares this helpful formula for determining your prices:

  • Break-Even Price = Supplies + Overhead + Labor
  • Wholesale Price = Break-Even Price X 2 or More
  • Retail Price = Wholesale Price X 2 or More

You can read the full Wholesale Pricing Guide from Etsy.

Finally, I was ready to whip out my tiny calculator and crunch some numbers. With my trusty data in hand and my advice from Claire and Jess in mind, I followed up on my first wholesale order request with some solid pricepoints. Through this process, I realized I was undervaluing my work. I decided to adjust the prices on a few of my current designs, and the results have been pretty positive. It was scary, but I feel more confident about my line now. I’ve also started plans for new designs and production techniques that allow for greater profitability.

Westervin Packaging (From 10 Tips For Your First Wholesale Order)

2. Pay Yourself

This is an extension of #1 but an equally important and separate point to make. This wisdom comes from Tim West, Associate Professor of Accounting at Northern Illinois University and World’s Greatest Father-in-Law.

“One thing I always tell people,” he mentioned to me over the phone, “it’s easy to give away a good living. I suspect this can be a problem in the craft world, because people are so passionate about what they do.”

So true, Tim, so true. I see this all the time. It’s like an epidemic in the craft world; so many makers aren’t paying themselves enough. Not only do we not know how to price our work so we make enough to live, but we must compete with the impossibly low price-points of mass produced merchandise. Tim suggests starting by calculating how much you need to make in order to pay your bills, eat, and have a place to live.

“For example, if you need $4,000 each month, you will need $48,000 for the year. Remember, that’s after tax so multiply $48,000 x 1.4 to approximate your before tax ‘salary.’ In this example, you need a ‘profit’ on your orders of $67,200. How many hours do you want to work during the year? If this is a full-time gig, you might consider 2,000 hours (50 weeks x 40 hours per week). The result, for every hour you work, you should should charge $24.00 per hour ($48,000/2,000 hours) in addition to your material cost.” So, that’s how you can calculate your labor costs for use in the pricing formula above.

But as Tim cautioned, this is just a starting point. Just because you need to earn X dollars for every scarf you make doesn’t mean someone will pay X dollars for your scarf. “Don’t forget the opportunity cost,” Tim continued. “If you take on too many intro priced jobs, you won’t have the time you need for better projects.”

3. Consider Consignment

If you aren’t getting as much interest from retailers as you’d like, or if there’s a particular store you REALLY want to get your items into, consider offering a consignment arrangement. This reduces the risk for a store.

“We do it occasionally,” Claire explained, “when we aren’t sure how well something will do, or if it’s a high-priced item. It makes it much easier to say ‘yes’ to someone.”

Offering consignment can supplement your wholesale revenue and help to generate more interest in your goods and brand. Just make sure you have a solid system for keeping track of what you send out, when you get paid, and if unsold items are sent back to you. Be clear about shipping costs and who is expected to cover them. Remember, also, that a consignment experience can be a great opportunity for market research. Keep an eye on what does or doesn’t sell and where. You could find that you’re targeting the wrong stores.

4. Incentivize Sales

Give a retailer more reason to order from you. Clare Yuille, founder of Indie Retail Academy, explains that, “there are probably a couple of extra things you can do to tip the scales in the shop-keeper’s favour, without it affecting you too badly.” Some examples include:

  • RISK FREE TRIAL. Let retailers carry your products for a specified period of time (e.g. 45-90 days) at no charge, but keep a valid credit card on file. At the end of the trial, they can decide to keep the products and be charged the wholesale price or return the items in like-new condition.
  • PRODUCT SWAPS. Like a risk-free trial, you can give retailers the option to swap a product that isn’t selling well for something else more promising, after a specified period of time.
  • SAMPLES. Offer to send a free sample of your items to retailers you really want to work with. This will get your figurative foot in their door and show them the quality of your creations. Just make sure it’s financially feasible for you to do so.
  • EXCLUSIVITY. Create an exclusive line for a favorite retailer or agree not to sell similar items to a retailer’s direct competitors.
  • DISCOUNTS. Calculate appropriate discounts (in addition to the 50% wholesale discount) for placing holiday orders early or making a sale at a particular trade show.

Westervin's Sample Linesheet Page -- 10 Tips For Your First Wholesale Order

{ sample page from my wholesale linesheet for the Westervin shop }

5. Make a Linesheet

This was completely new to me. A linesheet, I discovered, is basically like a catalogue containing all the products you offer that are available for wholesale. It contains basic information about your business, your available products, and ordering policies that a retailer needs to know and, ideally, allows them to quickly and easily place an order. In general, this information should include:

  • product name, number (if applicable), and description (e.g. sizes, colors, materials, etc.)
  • the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) for each product
  • the wholesale price for each product
  • contact and ordering information
  • payment methods and terms
  • shipping methods and costs
  • order minimums (per item or per order)
  • lead time

“Okay, got it,” you’re probably thinking, “where do I get started?” Well, unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all template for creating a linesheet, and I’ve seen oodles and gobs of variation in all the samples I’ve found. I did not let this stop me. In fact, I found it liberating to design my very own linesheet, something unique to Westervin. I used my basic photoshop skills and some photos I’d already taken for my online shop. In the end (because once I get started, it’s hard for me to stop), I created three different documents:

  • A multi-page CATALOGUE with full-page images, a mini bio about myself and business, and detailed ordering information. This will serve more as a marketing tool than strictly a tool for placing a wholesale order.
  • A one-page CHEAT SHEET, including thumbnails of all available products (shown previously in the catalogue) with the basic ordering information. This offers a quick reference for buyers when they’re ready to place their orders. This idea came from Claire after I sent her a proof of my catalogue. “I personally like looking through well-done multiple page catalogues,” she assured me, “but it can get annoying if you have to flip back and forth a lot to figure out your order.”
  • A branded ORDER FORM. This will be optional, as I understand some retailers may want to use their own forms. Either way, make sure every wholesale order has an order form — for safety and clarity.

This is what I believe will work for me as I build my wholesale offerings. Before you get started on your wholesale tools, think critically about your specific needs and do a little research of your own. I found Etsy’s Wholesale Guide to be one of the best references (no surprises there). Their “Wholesale Policies and Linesheets” document, for example, included some great samples linesheets.

Westervin Newsletter

Welp, that’s it for tips 1-5! Visit again next week for Part Two of 10 Things I Learned From My First Wholesale Order. I’ll share tips for attracting retailers and the importance of having a “little black book.”

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Who Are You Pairing?

2014 Hollywood Film Awards

Janelle Monae at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards and Olga

 { Janelle Monae at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards }  { Olga of 10 ante meridiem }

Reese Witherspoon at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards and Leon Polk Smith

{ Reese Witherspoon at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards }  { Leon Polk Smith }

Keira Knightly at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards and Noemie

{ Keira Knightly at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards }  { Noemie of Digital Art Prints }

Keltie Knight at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards and Leah Duncan

{ Keltie Knight at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards }  { Leah Duncan }

Queen Latifah at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards and Anouk Desloges

{ Queen Latifah at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards }  { Anouk Desloges }

Images: Getty Images for DCP / Christopher Polk; Getty Images / Jason Merritt; Getty Images for DCP / Frazer Harrison; Getty Images for DCP / Frazer Harrison; Getty Images / Jason Merritt

Artist I Heart

Liz Toohey-Wiese

"Observing Growth" tapestry wall hanging by Liz Toohey-Wiese

{ Observing Growth tapestry wall hanging }

Now here’s a multitalented artist I can’t get enough of right now. Liz Toohey-Wiese is a Canadian bread, Icelandic traveled artist who creates brightly colored and boldly rendered pieces that my eyes just want to gobble up. Her creativity isn’t restricted to one medium. Nay, her talents meander across painting, drawing, photography, and fiber art, creating a diverse yet seamless collection of eye-catching pieces. Weaving together popular imagery and patterns (eyes, hands, polka dots) with natural landscapes, Toohey-Wiese depicts picture-perfect places I’d like to visit— each creation seems grounded in nature, place, a sense of belonging, and home. And the colors! Her paintings and weavings especially feature fun combinations of rich hues, dark shades, and vibrant tones. I can’t get enough!

"Thirty Foot Pool" painting by Liz Toohey-Wiese

{ Thirty Foot Pool painting }

"Holding Sight" tapestry wall hanging by Liz Toohey-Wiese

Holding Sight tapestry wall hanging }

"Nature Is Beautiful But It Doesn't Love You" by Liz Toohey-Wiese

Nature Is Beautiful But It Doesn’t Love You }

tent piece by Liz Toohey-Wiese

{ tent piece }

"Natural Patterns I" painting by Liz Toohey-Wiese

Natural Patterns I painting }

"Jug Island" by Liz Toohey-Wiese

Jug Island painting }

"Reflect" tapestry wall hanging by Liz Toohey-Wiese

Reflect tapestry wall hanging }

"Galiano Island" painting by Liz Toohey-Wiese

Galiano Island painting }

Westervin Shop

Shop Update: Cubist Hats, Turban Headbands, and More Wristlets

Cubist Crochet Pom-Pom Cap by Westervin

Is the weather in your neck of the woods quickly changing from cool to cooler? Have you found yourself thinking to yourself, “oh dear, my head is feeling a little chilly,” while wandering about outside? Well, I’ve got the solution for you: KITTEN MITTENS! No, JK. But the new hats and headbands I’ve just listed in the Westervin shop might be of interest to you.

Cubist Crochet Pom-Pom Hats by Westervin

This mini collection of items now available features new, one-of-a-kind designs for my signature pom-pom hats, as well as my first line of headbands and a few more triangle wristlets. I’m quite excited about these special new hats, which were inspired by the handwoven floor mats of Hlynur Atlason, which depict “backyards and swimming pools as patterns from above.” Brilliant, right? I wanted to make something similar that could be worn — a statement piece for your head! Why not wear a work of art? Each cubist-like pattern of abstract shapes is unique; no two hats are alike. Using my own popular pom-pom hat pattern as the base, I set out to create a piece of knitwear that would transform as the wearer moved, that looked different from every angle. I’m very happy with how these babies turned out!

Cream & Rainbow Turban Headband by Westervin

Also new to the shop are a line of my all-time favorite accessory — my turban-style headbands. I would wear these year-round if I could. While they’re a little too warm for the summer, they provide the perfect amount of cozy warmth for the fall and mild winters. This headband design was the first crochet pattern I ever created on my own. It was also only the second piece I ever crocheted, about four years ago. The first was a simple gray cowl with a single-crochet stitch, which I still wear to this day. Then, because I am often overly confident and enthusiastic, I decided to create my own turban headband. [Side note: I am apparently a “Get Your Freak On” kind of knitter, according to the goddess Debbie Stoller in Stitch n’ Bitch. I learned this about myself during my first year of college back in good ole ’04 when I co-founded Hendrix College’s first and only (that I know of) Underground Knitting Society with two young women who would become my forever friends. The “Get Your Freak On” types knit and crochet by their own rules. This is still true in my case.] Well, after several frustrating attempts, I finally settled on this headband design with a popcorn stitch stripe and twisty top-not for that oh-so popular turban look. I lurb it. Especially with my new short little hairsy-do!

Black & Tan Turban Headband by Westervin

Triangle Crochet Wristlet by Westervin

And finally, in this new mini collection you’ll find a few more of the triangle crochet wristlets I started offering a couple months ago. The first batch nearly sold old within a week, so I figured I better update my stock. I must give the people want they want.

Triangle Crochet Wristlets by Westervin

Outtakes from the Westervin Shop Update #1

Oh, and just for giggles, I thought I’d share my best outtakes from the recent photoshoot. Forced smiles, blinks, and empty stares! I’m so good at modeling…

More Outtakes from the Westervin Shop Update

A Fine Design, Blog News, The Business of Making

Free Graphic Design Services from DesignEgg

DesignEgg scamp trailer

{ Design Egg: Good Design for Great Ideas }

I’m excited to announce the launch of an innovative new initiative, for which I am extremely honored to play a small part. Crowdfunded through one of Kickstarter’s most popular design campaigns, DesignEgg is a one-year, traveling program offering free graphic design services to worthy artists, small businesses, and not-for-profit organizations in need across the US. Over the next year, $25,000 worth of DesignEgg credits will be awarded! Yeah, $25,000 worth of free graphic design!

the DesignEgg team: Pickle, Andy Wickstrom, and Jess Mott Wickstrom

 { Andy, Jess, and Pickle in their new home for the next 11 months }

This amazing project is the brainchild of Andy Wickstrom and Jess Mott Wickstrom (with help from Pickle, I’m sure). This dream team’s many talents include studio art & photography, curating, arts management, rock-climbing, being all-around amazing individuals, and, of course, expert graphic design skills. Since 2003, Jess and Andy have been working with artists, arts organizations, small businesses, and record labels, including The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, DePaul University, and The Ravi Shankar Foundation/East Meets West Music, to name but a few, and developing a notable portfolio through their graphic design business, Wickstrom Design.

inside the DesignEgg scamp trailer

{ inside the freshly renovated DesignEgg trailer }

I was thrilled when Jess and Andy asked me to be part of the DesignEgg selection committee and quickly humbled when I saw the intimidatingly impressive group of arts, education, and business professionals I would be joining. Luckily, I managed to overcome a brief bout of impostor syndrome and told them that OF COURSE I would join their committee. Who wouldn’t?

interior redesign of the DesignEgg scamp trailer

{ Pickle approves of the scamp re-design }

So my friends, family, and kind readers, if, after learning about DesignEgg, you thought to yourself, “Hey, I could really use some free graphic design services,” then don’t hesitate. Apply now! The application process is pretty simple (just answer a few questions and explain your graphic design needs), and the DEADLINE IS NOVEMBER 1.

mountain view from the DesignEgg travels

{ DesignEgg travels through Colorado }

You just can’t help but be inspired by these fine folks! Follow the scamp as Andy, Jess, and Pickle traverse the US in their beautifully renovated trailer — climbing mountains, meeting talented individuals, exploring admirable organizations, and taking breathtaking photos of this great country! Join the DesignEgg newsletter to stay up to date (e.g. application reminders), follow the duo on Instagram/Twitter/their Blog, and help spread the word!

DesignEgg visits Anderson Ranch with Pickle, their pit-bull mix mascot

{ a visit to Anderson Ranch }

beautiful adventures by DesignEgg

{ DesignEgg journeys to Utah }

DesignEgg adventures

{ DesignEgg, 100% cage-free since 2014 }

Swig & Swill

Supreme

The Supreme Cocktail {Westervin Blog}

You’re sitting at home in the evening, the sun readying itself to set. The crisp air of early fall is creeping in through your open windows. Perhaps you’re sitting with your significant other or a group of favorite friends. Perhaps you’re alone enjoying a moment of quiet. Your eyes rest somewhere in the distance, unfocused and still. You reach beside you to pick up a champagne saucer filled a new cocktail creation you decided to try tonight. Its balance of sweet and tart is complimented beautifully by it’s thick, smooth texture and bright, rosy hue. With each sip, your throat warms, then your chest and your arms, and you sink a little more into your chair with each exhale. This is the life. Bring on the season of changing leaves, cozy sweaters, and frequent celebrations!

The Supreme Cocktail - tart, sweet, and perfect for fall {Westervin Blog}

What is this elixir? It’s the Supreme. The citrus and grenadine really bring out the apple flavors of Applejack or Calvados making this a great beginning-of-fall cocktail:

Supreme

1½ oz. Calvados
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. orgeat
1 barspoon grenadine

shake and strain.

Recipe from Eric Johnson, Trou Normand, San Francisco via Imbibe Magazine

Note that we used Applejack since we didn’t have Calvados on hand. I preferred Laird’s bonded variety over their regular offering, but both were good. We also whipped up some homemade orgeat and grenadine, but you can use nice store-bought versions if you don’t have some spare hours to steep almonds in sugar. And if you can’t find, or don’t want to make orgeat, just make a Jack Rose, which is another one of our fall favorites.

Perfect for the transition to fall: The Supreme Cocktail {Westervin Blog}

What you'll need for The Supreme cocktail {Westervin Blog}

Craft Contexts

Westervin F/W 2014 Inspiration

Westervin F/W 2014 Inspiration:  Above Home Floor Mat by Hlynur Atlason

{ Above Home Floor Mat by Hlynur Atlason }

Inspiration is a fickle mistress. She visits without warning, and, when needed most, she’s nowhere to be found. But we can’t quit her.

Westervin F/W 2014 Inspiration:  Hand-Knit Headband by Camelotia

{ Hand-Knit Headband by Camelotia }

Fall is nearly here, but I have little to show for a new collection in the Westervin shop. I’ve let myself get too distracted by freelance work, the stress of taking care of a new home, and some pressures in my personal life. But I can’t quit! I won’t give up on Inspiration.

Westervin F/W 14 Inspiration: "Thinking About Water" by Sarah Ferone

 { Thinking About Water by Sarah Ferone }

To ease into the roller-coaster ride that is the creative process, I’ve forced myself to look at the work of others — crocheters, knitters, and fiber artists, as well as artists and fashion designers. This process proves both motivating and intimidating, as I cycle through the enlivening sparks of creativity and the fears of not measuring up. Hopefully, inspiration will take over before my insecurities get the best of me.

Westervin F/W 2014 Inspiration: Scout Top from Need Supply Co.

{ Scout Top from Need Supply Co. }

Large, flat shapes. Pale, neutrals broken up by bright metallics and bolder colors. Rich textures. Headbands and a semicircle clutch. These are the lovely things I’ve found from talented makers that are inspiring me today.

Westervin F/W 2014 Inspiration: Semi-Wallet by Georgie Cummings

{ Semi-Wallet Clutch by Georgie Cummings }

I can only cross my fingers… and my toes and arms and legs… and hope that I’m able to create a few things that are at least half as lovely as these.

Westervin F/W 2014 Inspiration: Miss Fortune Tank by The Handy Studio

{ Miss Fortune Tank by The Handy Studio }

But if not, I guess there’s always next season.

Westervin F/W 2014 Inspiration: "Shelter II" by Liz Toohey-Wiese

Shelter II by Liz Toohey-Wiese }

A Westervin Wedding, Blog News

Three Years Down, Forever To Go

sprinkle donuts for the Westervin's 3rd wedding anniversary

Guess what?! On September 3, we celebrated our third anniversary! This was a pretty exciting anniversary because we realized a new anniversary tradition that we really should have thought of before. Anniversary doughnuts!

bag of fresh doughnut holes for the Westervin's 3rd wedding anniversary

We didn’t have cake at our wedding, we had doughnuts, so of course we should eat some doughnuts every year! How did it take us three years to think of this? Oh well, we still have a lifetime ahead of us, so I guess it’s never too late.

a sprinkle doughnut with candles for the Westervin's 3rd wedding anniversary

This year’s doughnuts came from the Donut Palace here in Fort Smith. We caught them just before they closed and snatched up some tasty sprinkled and glazed doughnuts. The friendly staff there even threw in a free bag of doughnut holes, which we nearly finished off before getting back home…

champagne saucers to celebrate the Westervin's 3rd wedding anniversary

Before heading off to dinner and a movie that evening, we shared a little bubbly.

Westervin Wedding: handmade leather wedding ring bands with arrow design

And, of course, what Westervin anniversary would be complete without some new rings? This year, in reverence to our “leather anniversary“, we picked out a pair of leather rings that keep the arrow motif of our original wedding band set. While a little higher maintenance than metal rings (we have to be very careful not to get them wet), we think they turned out beautifully. They were handmade by Cassandra Silva of Oil Rose Collection. According to Cassandra, the arrow motifs represent friendship and protection.

Sarah was also inspired this year (because she doesn’t always take her own advice about staying motivated in her creative practice) to make a more modern/interesting list of anniversary gift recommendations for us to loosely follow in the future. You can follow along with us!

Sarah West Ervin and Brian West 2013-2014

I’d say our third year of marriage was one of the most interesting ones yet. Sarah finished school, started a business, and we moved to Arkansas! Let’s hope four can compete.

Shopping Sherpa

Mug Mania

My name is Sarah, and I have a problem. I can’t stop collecting mugs.

My slow descent into mug-mania started in college. I’d hit up the local thrift stores, prowling for vintage mugs featuring bold, ’60s prints in bright reds, blues, and greens. Before long, I had amassed a reasonably sized collection of mismatched but beautiful vintage mugs. Then things got a little out of hand when Brian and I got married. We spent weeks leading up to our nuptials collecting even more mugs to use during the reception meal. We served breakfast for dinner with a doughnut tower and fresh coffee instead of a traditional wedding cake. This prolonged mug-hunt really solidified my habit. After the big day, I was able to part with a few, giving some away to friends, donating several more, but then we put the rest in storage. The added sentimental value has made them hard to part with…

To make matters worse, my mug-lovin’ has recently expanded to include the uneven shapes, rough edges, and unusual patterns of handmade mugs. I’ve been able to sneak a few into our already unwieldy stockpile, and I’ve got my wandering eye on a few more. More than a few, really. I want ALL THE MUGS.Westervin Roundup: handmade mugs from  Self Press Studio, Leah Ball, Laurie Goldstein, and Recreation Center Ceramics

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: { Self Press Studio } { Leah Ball } { Recreation Center via More & Co. } { Laurie Goldstein }

There’s nothing like a sweet little mug in soft blues to greet you in the morning. The one above from Self Press Studio seems to say, “Good Morning! High five!” The marbled swirl pattern of Leah Ball’s mug reminds me of whispery clouds, and Laurie Goldstein’s collection of “couples” mugs would make for a perfect cup of coffee from your partner. Brian surprised me with one of these Recreation Center mugs for my birthday! It is perfection.

Westervin Roundup: handmade mugs from Jake Vinson, Meilen Collaborative, Tabby Both, and BTW Ceramics

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: { Jake Vinson via Pour Porter } { Meilen Collaborative } { Tabby Booth } { BTW Ceramics }

I want to get lost in one of Jake Vinson’s constellation mugs, filled to the brim with dark, swirling coffee. For weekend mornings when Brian and I get to lounge about together, I’d happily share either of the above sets (by Meilen Collaborative and BTW Ceramics) and a seat at our bay windows. This odd and exquisite mug by Tabby Booth, however, I would not share. It would be mine, mine, mine! Gimme.

Wester Roundup: handmade mugs from Eeli Art Studio, Pigeon Toe Ceramics, Vegetabowls, Connie Licthi

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: { Eeli Art Studio } { Pigeon Toe } { Vegetabowls } { Connie Lichti via Gorman }

While I don’t usually drink tea, I could make an exception for this precious dotted teacup from Eeli Art Studio, which reminds me of dewey marigolds. This cubism-esque tumbler from Pigeon Toe Ceramics perfectly reflects my view of the world before I’ve had my coffee — it doesn’t make sense and I don’t care. For this amazing cantaloupe mug from Vegetables, I would split its duties between that sweet, sweet bean juice in the morning and fresh fruit juice in the afternoon. And Connie Lichti’s mod speckled mug is so pleasing to the eye, I kinda want to string it up and wear it as a necklace. Would that be weird…?

Westervin Roundup: handmade mugs from Creature Cups, Bridget Bodenham, Covet & Ginger, and Dahlhaus

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT:  { Creature Cups } { Bridget Bodenham via Mr Kitly } { Covet & Ginger via Scoutmob } { Dahlhaus }

Wouldn’t it be funny if you bought this crocodile surprise cup from Creature Cups for a friend/lover/partner-in-crime and made them a cup of coffee really early and then they drank enough to reveal the croc’s snout and teeth but they didn’t notice for a while because they’re still pretty drowsy and then they look down and see its terrifying face and for the tiniest of brief seconds they were shocked and thoroughly confused and let out a little shriek with a bit of jump? Wouldn’t that be funny?! If you don’t think so, I’m sure you’d still appreciate any of these other subtler handmade mugs (from Bridget Bodenham, Covet & Ginger, and Dahlhaus), in soft reptilian greens with speckles, spots, and dots.

Westervin Roundup: handmade mugs from Ben Feiss, Jenn Erickson, Xenia Taler, and Red Raven Studios

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: { Ben Feiss via Leif } { Jenn Erickson } { Xenia Taler via Leif } { Red Raven Studios }

And now for the sherbet-inspired portion of our mug collection! I’d let any of these happy numbers pull double-duty for a little summer-time dessert. I’m imagining Ben Feiss’ mug filled with mango smoothie, Jenn Erickson’s holding a delectable lemon parfait, while refreshing froyo and more candy toppings than you can shake a stick at fill Xenia Taler’s eye print mug, and Red Raven Studios’ mug brims with sliced peaches drizzled in honey and smothered in whipped cream. Mmmmm….. *wipes away drool* What were we talking about? Coffee! Right. Well, any way you fill ‘em, these handmade mugs would surely fill your day with a little extra sunshine. I’ll take one of each!