Have you ever wondered why fancy glasses and goblets were so, well, plain? Kristy Peters couldn't help but ask herself the same question. She decided to tap into her artistic talents and created Lani Designs.
It is time to take the plain out of the glasses you use in your home and add a little color. Her glasses come in a variety of vibrant designs and colors. Whether it features sandals for summer or themed for a wedding, these glasses will not only get people talking but help them remember which glass belongs to who. Each glass is also hand painted, making each one truly unique.
I recently asked Kristy a few questions about her business and her inspiration.
Tell us a little about Lani Designs.
Lani Designs makes "hand painted glassware for the Un-Plain Jane". The glassware appeals to people who like to find unique items for their home, or find unique gifts that are not mass produced over seas. We make glassware that is very high in quality of painting and design by hand painting each piece here in the US by free hand. I work out of a small studio in Philadelphia, where I do everything from designing and painting to shipping out the orders. We love color, so all our designs reflect as much fun color as possible and we have tons of designs to suit anyone's taste from floral, damask and geometric to beach and holiday themes. In fact each glass has such a unique individual style that each one has its own name and personality. The personality described is a funny, light-hearted description of what that design portrays, making it fun to choose for yourself or your friend. The glassware is different because the paint is very durable, it is glossy and fade proof, and can occasionally be put in the top rack of the dishwasher. They are super fun for dinner with friends, cocktail parties and family gatherings where no one will mix up their wine glass again!
What inspired it?
My mom inspired me to continue pursuing my artwork and this was one project I started that ended up sticking. I loved how fast you could accomplish such a gorgeous item. And I love functional art, so the fact that I could use this for my daily glass of wine, was a huge bonus! Not to mention they are something everyone talks about when they come over to my house or anyone's that owns a set so its fun! Aside from the art side, my inspiration for starting a business is to have flexibility and mobility in my life - both of which I hope to accomplish someday when I am out of the "start up" phase!
How many different patterns do you currently offer, and how many different glass styles?
Over 50 different designs are available on 5 different types of glasses; balloon red wine glasses, a twisted stem all purpose wine glass, martini glasses, champagne flutes, and carafes.
How resistant is the paint when it comes to washing a glass (by hand or in a dish washer)?
It is very durable and can be washed by hand or on the top rack of the dishwasher. The colors will not fade in the dishwasher and shouldn't chip off. Of course they are still hand painted, so you do have to be careful, but using lukewarm water and not using the abrasive side of the sponge should keep them in like new condition. I put mine in the dishwasher whenever we have company over and there are 6+ to wash. If it is just the 2 of us, then I hand wash. So I guess use your best judgment.
Yes! I love the custom orders. The 2 most popular requests are putting a design on a different type of glass, or matching the colors of 1 particular design to a theme. The other fun option is to choose a top from one design and a bottom from another design to create a completely custom glass that no one else has. Hmmm...my favorite requests... One was definitely a bridal shower request where a lady chose 35 martini glasses each with a different design (all floral) and she put her mousse dessert in them, and then gave them to the girls as the shower favor. All the girls loved it and had a unique memento they actually could use! My other favorite requests are changing the color schemes. For instance "Tillie" the sunflower glass is primarily yellow with black polka dots, but someone wanted a pink and brown theme instead. So I changed the yellow flower to pink and the black bottom to brown and altered a couple other elements. The finished product was gorgeous so it was fun for me to see the transformation of the design just by changing the colors.
What are some goals you'd like to accomplish in the next year or so?
My main goal is to get more traffic to my website, and get word of mouth about my company to become a go to in party planning decor, whether for weddings, cocktail parties or just entertaining. I differentiate my glasses from other popular brands out there because our designs are for everyday use, not just one specific occasion that only lasts a day. If you purchase a glass from Lani Designs, you can enjoy it anytime.
What are some lessons that your business has taught you?
Wow, I have learned so much in such a short period of time. One big lesson so far is to have perseverance. You can't be discouraged by things too quickly because just as fast as someone didn't go your way, something else can. It only takes a few small things to make a big difference in your success. And being able to keep an open mind and adapt to keep up with your audience is key. I've also learned that there is nothing more powerful than your network of relationships. They don't come over night and they take a lot of effort, but they are invaluable resources.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Sure, if there is anything I can do for anyone reading this, please don't hesitate to let me know! I'm always happy to help and meet new people, especially in the business world.
Any advice you'd like to offer fellow entrepreneurs that are just getting started?
Having the courage to give it a try is half the battle. Remember what drove you to start the business in the first place and lean on that desire when times are tough. Connect with other people and get support from everywhere in your industry, there are tons of people out there willing to help if you just ask.