Hey Good Lookin’, Whatcha Got Cookin’?

We love cooking up fun ideas for all of our clients. What we love even more is when a potential client comes to us with a career long dream that we can help fulfill!

We met Beth Greenwell Carter one fateful day at the Derby-themed taping of Top Chef in Louisville, Kentucky. It didn’t take long after we met (and hit it off, naturally) before we were swapping details of our creative endeavors.

Beth is a trained pastry chef and owns B’s Bakery in Frankfort, Kentucky. However, don’t let the name fool you. B’s is so much more than a bakery. Not only does she offer the best sweet treats around, but she also offers lunch, adorable baking classes for kiddos and she runs a full-service catering business. When we say we don’t know how she does it all, we really mean it. She must have some secret recipe for how to sprinkle extra hours in the day!

B’s is unique in its own right, but Beth is always finding ways to be a step above. Once we had made fast friends, she got down to business. With a twinkle in her eye she asked us if we had ever created custom packaging for bakeries or anyone else. While we are quite well-versed in creating custom product for our clients in many different mediums, we had not done (and had not been approached with) any custom packaging projects. This opportunity to venture into something new was beyond exciting for us. It allowed us to not only work with Beth to make one of her dreams come true, but it also pushed us creatively and professionally. How were we to create a piece of packaging that would be adorable, affordable, durable and multi-use (usable for different size cupcake boxes, cookie boxes, etc)? We came up with some design ideas and took them to a packaging supplier hoping for the best. We knew we were at their mercy to tell us if the design was going to be something that would be feasible from a cost and production standpoint. Luckily, with some tweaks and collaborating with all three parties, we had a prototype in no time at all! The B’s Bakery custom sleeve was a true dream come true for all involved.

Beth made it easy by giving us her vision up front. We met with her a few different times to make sure we had a feel for her bakery and her style. Trust us, it wasn’t a trip we minded taking (our new motto may as well be “will travel for cookies”). Her bakery offered the most perfect inspiration for the custom packaging! Located in a historic downtown building on Main Street, the old facade was just as picturesque as it could be for a slew of themed illustration options. We could have really gone nuts illustrating the facade for Christmas, Halloween, Derby, Valentine’s Day, 4th of July and many other national and local holidays and events! However, in the interest of time and not having to hold boxes and boxes of stock, we picked a few of Frankfort’s heavy hitters. Beth now has a sleeve for Christmas, Halloween, Derby and an “everyday” sleeve that can be festooned with seasonal stickers to adjust accordingly. We had so much fun cooking up all of the details of this custom packaging project! The decorative sleeves bring a little extra delight to Beth’s customers when they come in to pick up a treat for that someone special (or for themselves)!

What special projects can we help you concoct? We love to think outside of the (cupcake) box to help our clients’ dreams become reality. The sky really is the limit when working with Maizie Clarke!

Come by Chance, but Plan to Stay Awhile

It was another typically gorgeous East Coast day when we walked through the front doors of Come by Chance and immediately fell in love. Located in St. Michaels, Maryland, this purveyor of fine home furnishings, decor, exquisite gifts and design services is anything but typical. They truly offer something beautiful and unique for every guest that visits.

As a small, coastal town located on the Chesapeake Bay, St. Michaels serves as home to some and as a vacation destination to many. Families have been vacationing in St. Michaels for decades. Spend a day on the bay or take a walk down Talbot Street and it’s easy to see why. On any given day you’ll feel a camaraderie amongst folks walking through town with their dogs, strollers, friends, ice cream cones and shopping bags. Many of them coming by boat versus car. If you’re familiar with towns like St. Michaels, then you know the scene. It’s truly an iconic vision of small town America. One decorated street serves as the main thoroughfare for dining, shopping and entertainment. A single, two-lane street peppered with a local pharmacy, ice cream shops (dog friendly of course) and anything you could possibly need to enjoy a day of fun in the sun. Towns like St. Michaels are few and far between these days. It is a true getaway that speaks to the soul and offers uninterrupted time to relax and rejuvenate- with everything you need right at your fingertips.

In the same vein, boutiques like Come by Chance are hard to come by as well. Come by Chance clearly prides themselves on the quality and uniqueness of their product. It doesn’t take long to tell that every item in the shop was handpicked with the most discerning eye. Many of the shops you pop into along Talbot Street carry similar (albeit very popular) brands and often times the same lines within a brand. It isn’t until you walk into Come by Chance that you feel a uniqueness that isn’t found elsewhere in town. However, keeping it that way is proving to be more than a full time job.

In talking with Annee, Debbie and team we found that they wanted to even further delineate themselves from the other shops. There is a growing challenge for shops to stay unique, but still appeal to a wide array of shoppers. This is where we came in! We knew we could collaborate to create something that was universally appealing as eastern shore motif, but uniquely Come by Chance. We worked to create a custom collection that can only be found in their shop. Never will you see another piece of Maizie Clarke product bearing the Come by Chance blue crab, skipjack or lighthouse. Not in St. Michaels, not anywhere. Each of the pieces is also co-branded with the Maizie Clarke and Come by Chance logos on the back, authenticating them even further.

We loved working with the team during the creative process. The ideas and communication bouncing back and forth made it even more clear how important their shoppers are to them- they wanted the best and only that.

What are you doing to make your shop different from other shops in town, on the same street in the same category? Every shop has a story to tell… how are you going to tell yours best through your products? What’s uniquely yours and no one else’s?

Follow Come by Chance on Instagram today! @comebychancesm

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words, An Experience and a Memory- More

The old saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words.” We think any artwork is worthy of this claim and then some. A photo, a model or an illustration can go a long way in telling a story. A story about an object, a time, a place or a people. Artwork is often our truest storyteller and teacher of days gone by.
The Addison Gallery of American Art, located in Andover, Massachusetts, is home to more than 20,000 pieces of art spanning nearly 4 centuries. Created in 1931 by Thomas Cochran with the goal "to enrich permanently the lives of the students,” the museum still serves as a teaching resource for Phillips Academy students and faculty as well as an art center for the greater Boston area and the nation at large.

When we first met Anna Gesing from Addison at MSA 2017, we knew immediately that there was great potential to collaborate on a collection that would capture the essence of unique pieces throughout the museum. Both Anna’s, and our minds, went to work combing through the different possibilities for a custom collection to be sold in their Gift Shop. After much consideration, what we landed on seemed to be the essence of Thomas Cochran’s original ideal for the museum- to enrich and educate. Both ideas used hold significance in American History and tell a story of the museum itself.

The Addison holds many great treasures, but one of the first visitors see when they walk in is the stunning Paul Manship designed fountain, Venus Anadyomene (1927). This treasure was commissioned by Cochran (who was a friend of Manship). Anna Gesing of Addison states, “It is one of the most iconic works in the Addison’s collection that I had wanted to do something with for the longest time. Maizie’s design of the fountain translated so well on the ornaments, bud vases and trays. They are so beautifully simple that they stand out.”

Cochran also commissioned a 24 ship model collection to be housed permanently at Addison. He felt the ships presented American art in the broadest sense, highlighting the skill of the artisan as well as the talent of the artist. Of these 24 ships, 3 were carefully selected to be illustrated by Maizie and to represent the collection as a whole- Flying Cloud(1851), Dreadnaught (1853), and Corsair (1899). Photos of the models (and the rest of the collection) can be viewed here. Anna Gesing of Addison knew the importance of this collection and the need for it to stand out, “The Addison’s collection of ship models was another of the highlights that I wanted to do something with. But what? Not another postcard that’s for sure. The serving bowls that Maizie created with images of a few of the ships is my favorite work of hers. They “sail” across the rim with such elegant beauty. I’m really excited to have Maizie’s custom work in our Museum Shop and hope to continue working with her on other creations.”

Great care is always taken when we work with our clients to recreate the work of other artists and craftsmen. Even though our medium is quite different than that of a model builder or sculptor, we strive to capture the essence of the story being told.

From architecture to pieces in permanent or traveling museum collections, the driver for a guest to take home a piece of their visit lies within the the importance, intrigue, emotion and memory of how something made them feel. We are sure your guests will leave with (at least) a thousand words about their visit and one unique piece to sum it all up.

Deck the Halls: Add Seasonal Decor to Custom Collections with Minimal Inventory

‘Deck the halls’ can really take on a new meaning when working with Maizie Clarke! White Hall Historic House wanted something special in store for their guests during the holiday season and we knew just what would be befitting of such a spectacular historic home! Dressing the mansion in traditional Christmas decor brought the original illustration to life even more. The bold brick mansion was softened with the greens and reds of wreaths adorning the facade. We didn’t stop there! If you happen to luck out and be in Kentucky during a holiday snow, you’ll be among those fortunate enough to see a vision of sparkling white coating the rolling hills and pastures as well as jewel-like icicles naturally decorating the eaves of buildings everywhere! It really is a sight to behold. The soft stillness of a new fallen snow is even more special to experience in the presence of history.

White Hall Historic House, the former home of Kentucky legislator Cassius Marcellus Clay, is one of Kentucky’s state treasures. The grand Italianate mansion is now part of Kentucky’s park system. It features 44 rooms, shaded picnic areas, a gift shop, outside slave quarters and cook buildings. The home was built in the late 1700’s and is nestled amongst still picturesque, rolling farmland. There was a major addition constructed in the 1860’s. The mansion, built in Georgian and Italianate styles, boasts nearly ten thousand square feet with modern innovations of the time such as central heating and indoor plumbing.

It is easy to see why White Hall is one of Kentucky’s hallowed gems. History lovers come from near and far to enjoy the quiet yet majestic beauty of this historic home in the Bluegrass State.

Enhancements to existing artwork to express holidays, seasonality and other special occasions are a minimal cost that pack a maximum punch. At Maizie Clarke we make sure to keep the integrity of the time period and the building intact by collaborating with the museum teams until their illustration reflects the beauty and imagery trying to be conveyed.

A benefit of working with Maizie Clarke is our low minimums. Did you know our minimums on most of our custom pieces ranges from only 6-12 units? That’s pretty amazing if you ask us and even more reason to add some fun seasonal decor to your very own custom collection!

What do you have in store for your guests this holiday season?

Happy Holidays to all! We look forward to seeing you at MSA 2019 in San Diego!

Custom Products: Meeting the Needs of Shop Owners and Guests

The Dumbarton House, located in our Nation’s capital, not only serves a large museum guest population but is also the headquarters of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America. Dating back to 1799, it offers guests a unique opportunity to view one of the finest examples of Federal period architecture in the U.S., along with its impressive furniture and decorative arts collections.

Hillary Hughes, Programs and Events Manager at Dumbarton House, has worked closely with the Maizie Clarke team to create and source product she knows will be a perfect fit for both visiting guests, as well as their very special visiting Dames. Hillary says, “I like to think of our gift shop as a puzzle. There are many complex pieces that I have to fit together. First, we have practically no storage space- so any item I carry needs to store easily in my small space, or I have to be able to place very small orders.” We understand this is a constraint with so many of our clients and make carrying smaller inventories possible with our low order minimums.

Currently, they carry custom tea towels and totes with an illustration of the facade of The Dumbarton House. A piece of feedback we receive from all of our museum clients that carry custom tea towels is that their guests love them! This is no different at the Dumbarton House. Hillary can barely keep the tea towels in stock! She says about the products for both groups The Dumbarton House serves, “The two group purchase very different items and they rarely cross-over. Dames usually buy at a higher price point and are interested in items branded specifically for them: their seal, Dames quotes, etc. or items that make good hostess gifts or are practical for everyday life. On the other end of the spectrum is our museum visitors. They are usually walking around our neighborhood or are traveling from out of town and come to see the historic house. They are not interested in the same items as the Dames. They prefer small or light items they can throw in their backpack or purse as they spend the rest of their day sightseeing, and then will easily pack in their luggage. Both groups want something to remember the beautiful historic house they visited- this is why I LOVE the tea towels! They appeal to the Dames- they make great gifts, are beautiful, feature their national headquarters and are practical. They also appeal to museum guests: they are light and easy to carry and are a beautiful piece of art that will remind them of the museum they visited. I win too: their items are small and easy to store, and everyone loves them! They are the perfect piece!”

There are many applications for custom artwork outside of gift shop sales as well. The Dumbarton House also uses their Maizie Clarke illustration on their brochure and in some of their museum marketing materials. By serving two populations and using their custom artwork for internal and external collateral, they are truly putting their investment to work!

We always strive to make sure our customers are more than pleased with their entire experience with Maizie Clarke. From the initiation of a project to when the items are store landed to the moment your guests leave proudly with their new loot in tow, we want every step of the process to be seamless, exciting, and productive! Our team is dedicated to providing the best customer service and will always be solutions focused on our clients.

What issues can we help you solve? From merchandising to boosting ROI to enchanting your guests, we are always here to help!

Custom Collections: Catering to Enthusiasts and Impulse Buyers

Hooking customers that come in the door by offering pieces that aren’t run-of-the-mill is easier than you might think. Have you considered adding a custom collection to your institution’s retail inventory?

Tammie Carey from the Old Simpson County Courthouse in Franklin, Kentucky reached out to Maizie Clarke looking not only to capture the beauty and history of the Courthouse but to find a unique product offering that would appeal to her shop’s visitors throughout the year.  For us, creativity is never straightforward and that’s what we love most about the amazing collaborations we work on with our clients. Each project takes on a life of its own and can completely morph from an initial idea into a final product that delights even the creator!

From the first meeting with Tammie Carey at The Old Simpson County Courthouse, we knew this project was going to be something special. The building is beautiful, the setting stunning and what a piece of history! What truly sets the collection apart is not only that it’s custom, but we worked with Tammie to create a depiction of The Courthouse during the four seasons of the year - something we hadn’t done prior. You could call it ‘custom within custom’, a strategic approach to showcasing a historical institution in various noteworthy settings. We started with an initial illustration that we knew would reflect the true nature of the Courthouse but took it a step further by adding various details and nuances attributed to each season that we knew would appeal to the same buyers over and over. Instead of one ornament appealing to an impulse buyer, all four did, and true collectors and enthusiasts of preservation shop with renewed interest when they see a unique piece they cannot find anywhere else.

The custom collection has helped The Old Simpson County Courthouse create a one-of-a-kind offering for its visitors throughout the year, and we are so grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate on such a special project.

Did you know there are many ways to create a custom collection for your gift shop? Custom collections can commemorate not only the seasons of the year but special events too! Does your town or museum have a noteworthy Fourth of July event or other holiday presence? What about sporting events or non-profit awareness? If you dream it, we can do it!

Are you looking to differentiate your gift shop inventory? We’d love to hear from you!