By Greg Owens, Co-Founder Liberty Tabletop
Sometimes the best ideas come from the shop floor, from people who put their blood sweat and tears into their work and are not afraid to get their finger nails dirty. This was certainly the case at Liberty Tabletop several years ago when Co-Founder Matt Roberts and I were approached by a couple of co-workers who suggested that we develop a flatware pattern with skulls on it. Skulls? They were persistent, passionate and unrelenting in their mission. So we agreed and told them to Tool-It-Up.
Calavera, our skull pattern, continues to be a best seller years later. And based on the concept of designing flatware that speaks directly to the passion of our customers Liberty has launched eight “affinity patterns” that fit the bill.
It all starts with a concept that has to fit three criteria. First it must be something that customers are passionate about, second it must be something that we can turn into a stunning flatware pattern and finally it must be something that can be effectively targeted to customers via social media.
The first step involves identifying themes that people are passionate about. We then work up concept drawings, sometimes putting them out on social media to gauge people’s reaction. Then it is time to put down the concepts in brass prototype. After a tweak here and there it is time to start making dies.
While the design, tools and dies are being made it is time for the marketing team to get involved. Target audiences have already been identified and at this stage ads are created. There will generally be some teasers, followed by a pre-sale during the tooling and production phase and then the hard launch.
The first stage in tooling a pattern is to create blanking tools and then hobs/dies that will emboss the pattern detail and the curvature of each piece. We hear a lot about “the trades” in the news these days and this is where that experience comes in. There is no computer involved. Our tools are made by skilled craftsmen named Eric, David, Kris and Toby.
Getting it out there is the next step. As a small company we need to make sure every penny we spend on advertising counts. Targeting and message, both visual and written, are key to accomplishing this goal. We work internally to craft our message and our visual assets to be eye catching and speak directly to the audience we are trying to reach. A successful campaign will create a lot of buzz in the form of likes, shares and comments on social media. Most importantly it will generate sales to passionate customers who love the product. Since the launch back in 2016 Calavera has generated over 250K in sales and continues to be one of our best-selling patterns.
Other affinity patterns include Celtic, Old Harbor, Flame, Woodstock, American Garden, Earth and next up is Liberty.
You can see these affinity patterns as well as our more traditional flatware designs on our website by clicking the link: https://www.libertytabletop.com/product-category/flatware/