PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

A Retail Product Launch with Global Impact

In the mid 2000s, as demand for modern design began grow in the United States, I developed and introduced a kitchen textile product line with accompanying brand and marketing materials. With a background in design and eye for detail I designed the textiles myself and had them sourced, manufactured and imported from India.

CLIENT
Tikoli

ROLE
Founder &
Creative Director

INDUSTRY
Home Goods, Retail

AWARD
Communication Arts 2008, Packaging 

INVOLVEMENT
Naming, Branding (logo & identity) design, textile design, sourcing & import, quality assurance, packaging design, product styling, press kit, copywriting, photography, company blogs, social media outreach, website design and deployment, team building, wholesale outreach.

 

T

Research & Development, Quality Assurance

In 2006, the US market was not familiar with a tea towel. At the time kitchen towels were equated with kitsch and were not thought of as decorative. While the popularity of modern design was starting to go mainstream, Americans hadn't fully embraced modernism in kitchen textiles.

This was a fairly ambitious first project, as not only did I conceptualize and design a high quality textile line, but also had to source, oversee and import the manufacturing. Introducing a quality product was paramount, and it was a challenge to find a quality manufacturer, but in the end I found a sourcing agent who worked with the textile mills in Tamil Nadu, India.  Manfucturing and overseeing quality was a long and drawn out process which took months, as did the shipments. 

Coordinating the import for summer and winter seasons took quite a bit of planning on my part.

Product Concept

The product was package for the gift market, but eschewed the excessive and wasteful packaging so common in novelty items. Instead, the packaging design was minimal and highlighted the product itself, letting the high quality silkscreen patterns shine through. Among the things that set the Tikoli tea towel apart were the clean modern design (as opposed to traditional cottage motifs), and mix and match grouping of patterns. Additionally, the product packaging won an award in 2008 from the prestigious Communication Arts magazine.

Launch & Release

The product release was well timed, and met with a lot of sucess from the newly formed lifestyle blog circuit, which then resulting in more press via print and web. The intial launch was timed right for the holiday season, and the price point was hard to be at $7.50 retail. My online store (powered by ProStores CMS) was soon flooded with orders, and retailers across the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe began to pick up the line.   

Results

This was a very sucessful product launch, based on sell through, media coverage and brand recognition. In 2009, I decided not to expand the line to new products as the economy hit the great recession. The products were unique in their day and well recieved, but I did not project the revenues that I wanted to see as rapidly as I wanted. So I decided to move to a different business by 2011.

SELECTED PRESS: Sunset, Imbibe, Newsweek, Dwell
SELECTED RETAILERS: The Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), De Young Museum (San Francisco),  
Fab.com, and Minimal (San Francisco).

Design & Photography

Below are examples of some of the design and photography work related to the project. 

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