Friday, April 22, 2011

A Princess Dream Realized

This week's post is from Amanda, one of our very talented product developers.

Ask any little girl what she wants to be when she grows up, and she will probably tell you, eagerly, that she wants to be “a princess!” At one time, Mrs. Middleton may have asked her daughter that same question and she responded in the same way. I, too, dreamed of a day when my price would come and sweep me off my feet into a castle where I could reign as a princess. Kate is the realization of many little girls’ dreams, and we are all on the edge of our seats waiting for the wedding day to see how beautiful it all will be.

As I have seen news crews come in and out of our offices to cover our Kate figurine and seen much of the press Kate regularly receives, I’ve asked myself why it is such a big deal. I’ll bet if you took a poll of what games little girls play, the top two would be: 1) Make-believe Princess; and 2) Wedding. The culmination of the two put together creates a wondrous sight for any “common” girl with the dream of becoming a beautiful bride, let alone a royal one.

On an occasion this grand, where expectations are high and playing make-believe is now playing out in reality, a keepsake of this event is an added bonus. The marketplace is full of different kinds of Kate (and William) merchandise, but I have not seen anything more beautiful than our Kate Middleton figurine. I know—you may think I’m biased because I work here at Hamilton, but, on the contrary, I am very detail-oriented by trade. My expectations are very high for a quality figurine. Our Kate figurine is meticulously detailed and has been worked on with care and a discerning eye, to give her the utmost grace and beauty Kate embodies. I can attest, by holding her in my hands and seeing the following issues in the collection, this one is going to be a joy for any Kate admirer. I cannot wait to see what the wedding dress will look like, and I am confident that we will make the figurine gorgeous—just like Kate will be on her big day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

To Tiara Or Not To Tiara?

Royal Wedding fever is in full swing, it seems, on both sides of the pond. Here in the States, everyone is anxious to know what wedding gown Kate Middleton will wear. It’s not so much a question of what she will be wearing, but who she will be wearing. Are we Americans obsessed with designers, or what?!

So it will probably come as a surprise to many label-conscious Yanks that the British are equally as anxious about a different detail entirely: What tiara will Kate wear?

That’s right, not the dress. The diamonds.

Of course, the tiara isn't really about the diamonds. It's representative of something else entirely. If Kate wears a tiara on her wedding day, it will be because Queen Elizabeth has offered it to her, which will show to the British people (and all of the world) an enormous amount of confidence in and support of Kate by the Queen. Because Kate is not a royal herself, she is not automatically entitled to wear a tiara. When Diana Spencer married Prince Charles back in 1981, she wore the Spencer tiara, a family heirloom. During her marriage, as the Princess of Wales, she was photographed in several royal tiaras, all on loan from the Queen.

For centuries, royals have been wearing tiaras. The tradition dates all the way back to leaders of ancient Persia. The British royal family is well known for their treasury of tiaras.

So for those of us who have been eagerly anticipating the first glimpse of Kate’s wedding gown, we can also now add the tiara to the list.

Will she or won’t she? And if so, which one?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Looking forward to the Royal Wedding: Only 65 days to go!

Catherine Elizabeth (Kate) Middleton has captured the attention of people all over the world since her engagement to Prince William was announced back in November 2010. Overnight she has become a style icon, and it seems that every dress she wears sells out in hours and is copied, studied and analyzed. And her engagement ring—yes, that amazing, storied ring—has once again created a stir around the world.

Could it be that people find her so likeable because she seems so down to earth? After all, Kate is not photographed wearing haute couture gowns and priceless jewels; rather, many of her publicized ensembles can easily be bought at retail for not thousands, but mere hundreds, of dollars. She received a blue-blood education (she met William at the exclusive St. Andrews), yet her family is not part of British Society. Her parents are self-made millionaires from their own party business. She is, for all practical purposes, a commoner—just like the British masses who now adore her. In fact, for her official engagement photos with Prince William, she insisted upon doing her own hair and makeup, and, once again, she wore an off-the-rack creamy white dress that immediately took the fashion world by storm.

Kate certainly does have the look of a princess, and as the royal wedding approaches, the biggest question on everyone’s lips is: Who will design her wedding gown? The answer to this question will likely remain a secret up until Kate makes her debut wearing it on April 29, 2011. Designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel, who created Diana’s famous wedding gown with its 25-foot long train, worked in total secrecy up until the big day. Each day, all of their trash was shredded and picked up for disposal so that suspecting paparazzi couldn’t make any discoveries. Fittings were done in total secrecy as well. Certainly the future Princess Catherine will look stunning in whatever she wears!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

We Love Being A Part Of Your Life

This week is National Customer Service Week, and we have been celebrating it here at The Hamilton Collection by learning more about our customers and how each of our employees thinks about the customer in their daily routines.

I invited our employees to write a note to a customer that was selected randomly, and I have been touched by the notes that have been written. But one note was particular touching. One of our product developers finished her note with the sentence “We love being a part of your life.” I was so moved and inspired by that line because we truly are a part of people’s every day lives. Just as the title of this blog is The Curio Cabinet, your curio cabinet is where many of our collectibles are displayed with honor. Not just curio cabinets – coffee tables, dressers, foyer tables, and on an on. Every room of the house is used to display the collectibles that express your personality. And the fact that we are a part of that expression is an inspiration to me and to the people who work at Hamilton. We have the power and the responsibility to bring you the collectibles that will mean the most to you from artisans from around the globe. I feel like I am writing a PR piece, but this is so true. And that one sentence in the note brought it to the forefront for me.

So, I’ll close this blog post by saying:

“We love being a part of your life.”

Monday, June 7, 2010

There's a Hamilton logo in my box--Why?

Many of our collectibles come with a resin replica of our Hamilton logo in the box. The “H” is there for a lot of reasons that are complicated about weight and balance. Those of you who own our collectibles may have received one or several of these “H” squares. They are unpainted, smooth, and milky white. Their color is exactly the color of our figurines before they are painted.

I never considered that such a little item could hold value; however, since we don’t include one in every box we do receive calls to our customer service department from customers who did not receive an “H” in with their product. I know that lots of our customers like to display the square with the product, and some actually use it as a display stand. When a customer calls inquiring about their missing “H,” we will gladly send them one.

It got me to thinking, though—if customers are missing it, then what do they do with the “H” when they receive it? Do they paint it? Is it a paperweight? Is it cherished by or given as a gift to people whose name begins with the letter “H”? Ironically, we have nobody here at Hamilton with a first name that begins with “H.”

If you have a story about your “H” figurine and how you are using it, please share it with me on our Facebook page!

Friday, May 21, 2010

What does Handmade mean?

In the world of collectibles we use the words “hand painted” and “crafted by hand” along with “hand-applied” and other phrase. We live in a world where things are mass produced and sent down an assembly line – like electronics and cars, etc. But collectibles are still being created by people, and it is a labor-intensive process. Each of our figurines at The Hamilton Collection is designed and then sculpted to match the artist’s rendering. Sculpted from clay! The sculptors who work for us are amazingly talented. We ask for tweaks to be made to the sculpts, and then we approve the sculpt when we have made it look as much like the artwork as possible. Then each figurine is molded and cast into resin or porcelain and painted BY HAND! The amount of detail that goes into each one is unbelievable. You know those little Precious Moments children’s teardrop-shaped eyes? They are each painted by hand. And the eyes are very specific – they must have a definitive shape and be painted in a certain way. It is very tedious work. And what about the scales on our dragons? Each scale is sculpted and painted in the greatest detail.

Nothing about our processes is automated. Each figurine is hand numbered, matched to its Certificate of Authenticity, carefully boxed and then shipped to our customers. We are so proud of the work that we do and that we can offer it at such a reasonable price to our customers.

So, the next time you see that something is handmade, really think about what that means. I know that I have a much greater appreciation for hand crafting now that I am involved with the creation of these beautiful figurines. It is nothing short of spectacular in how it all comes together!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Our New Buying Mentality

I was reading an article on the internet yesterday about our new frugality as consumers. It said that Americans are still concerned about buying and have changed their behavior. I know that we have cut back in our household and are really trying to find money savers and cut extra spending. So, when is it okay to buy something? I don’t know. According to my husband, there is never a right time. Food is an acceptable purchase and of course, you have to pay your utilities and gas for the car, etc. But is everything else an opportunity for savings? Can we really just not spend money? It is very hard for me because buying things makes me feel good. Okay, I guess some would say that I have a problem. But it is nice to get out and see the new items at the store or buy some organizational thing for your bathroom or just get a new blouse. I have recently had a few weddings and graduations to attend, so I needed to buy gifts. It gave me an excuse to shop which I haven’t had lately. My family has even skipped Christmas gifts the past 2 years due to the economic climate. It’s not that we couldn’t afford to buy a small gift for each family member – it’s just that it seemed silly to spend money when so many people are in need and have lost their jobs. Since we have all been very lucky by staying employed in this tough time, we bought gifts for children in need.

So, where does that leave me? Well, worried. Worried that not buying things is making the economy worse. And worried that buying things is irresponsible when others are suffering. I think that is the situation so many Americans find themselves in. So, we all just wait.

Hopefully, we will start to feel better as summer comes, and we can take vacations this year and maybe ease back into spending.