October 10, 2016
Products come and, more often than not, products go. Over the past ten years we've had many bestsellers, especially accessories and gift items. Some of them captured the zeitgeist and sold like hotcakes, albeit only for a short period of time; whilst a rare few were consistent bestsellers which became the bedrock of our collection. To celebrate our 10th birthday we'd like to take you down nostalgia lane and share with you ten of our most memorable product hits which, for one reason or another, we no longer sell.
It all started with Black & Blum, one of our very first suppliers, and it was the Loop candle holder which started it all. We couldn't resist the elegant curves of the Loop, which was inspired by the Fibonacci sequence, and neither could our customers, who saw it as the standby gift of choice and bought it in droves. To cap it all, the tissue paper we use for gift wrapping happens to be the perfect size for the Loop box - what a match made in heaven.
There are bestsellers, there are perennial bestsellers and then we have the French Carafe from Royal VKB, the grand daddy of all perennial bestsellers. Royal VKB has always been one of our favourite brands, its focus on clever design and functionality being exactly in line with our ethos. The French Carafe is all that but with an added dash of humour, and at a great price point to boot. Little wonder why it became one of our all time best selling products.
The first time we saw wall vinyl stickers was at the stand of Domestic at the Maison & Objet trade fair in Paris in September 2007. We remember that occasion well as it was one of very few eureka moments when we realised that a whole new product category has just exploded onto the design scene. We had witnessed the birth of decorative wall vinyl stickers and were carried along by the subsequent wave of consumer enthusiasm, to the extent that we once had two full walls of our shop in Soho dedicated to them. The geniuses at Domestic have since moved on to other great things (check out Moustache) and so has the rest of the design world, but we will never forget those heady days when vinyl stickers conquered our walls.
The Cozy remote control tidy from j-me is a great example of a "why didn't I think of that before" product. Afterall, in the age of multiple entertainment devices where is one supposed to put all the remote controls? The team at j-me spotted the gap in the market, created the best designed tidy to fill it and sales duly followed. In fact the Cozy remote control tidy sold so well that we began to suspect every living room in the country had one, which would be no bad thing.
The Citylight tealight holder from Dekoop wins our award for the most popular design gift for tourists. The design is simply brilliant - the tealight sits on a plastic base, surrounded by an aluminium foil with a cutout of a city's landmark buildings, all encircled by a semi-translucent plastic sleeve such that the tealight would cast a delicately flickering silhouette of the city's skyline on the sleeve. The Citylight would be snapped up by the hordes of tourists which used to invade our shop, but sales truly took off when it was featured in a few design magazines and we became inundated by eshop orders. Indeed, our eshop order handling procedures are as slick as they are today in no small part thanks to our experience in coping with the flood of Citylight orders we received then.
Egglings are the perfect design gift: fun, environmentally friendly and sort of functional too. They sold consistently well for a number of years, during which we experimented with pretty much all the variety on offer (basil is the easiest to grow, wild strawberries somewhat more difficult). Indeed, the ability to keep alive our small plantation of Egglings became a key part of our sales assistants' job description. Most of them succeeded, though we never found out who harvested our precious chilli pepper plant.
Seletti is one of our favourite brands - we love them for their irreverent quirkiness and ability to churn out the most unexpected product hits. Their Estetico Quotidiano range of disposable-container-shaped porcelain tableware was a runaway success and by far the most successful item of the range was the Milk Jug. We sold so many of them one Christmas we could virtually gift-wrap them blind-folded. We could try to explain the success of the Milk Jug by suggesting that it captured a wave of nostalgia for the humble paper milk carton at a time when it was being replaced by plastic containers (and thereby reflecting broader societal anxieties about change), but actually we believe it sold well mostly because it was cute and fun, which is absolutely fine for us.
O Clock watches were memorable because they were our first big success in personal accessories. These cheap and cheerful watches with colourful silicone interchangeable straps quickly became a huge hit, attracting legions of fans who would return to our shop on a regular basis for a new strap or two. This success emboldened us to extend our personal accessories collection to include other watches, jewellery and bags, but few would be as scaldingly hot as the O Clock watches.
Our list of ten best old products includes not one but two entries from Black & Blum. The inclusion of the Box Appetit lunch box is a no-brainer because it ticks all the boxes for good product design: simple, brimming with clever design features and super functional. The Box Appetit became a huge bestseller for us and, unusually for us, we continued to stock it even after distribution of the product was broadened to include department store and other mass channels. Good design lasts the test of time and we are pleased to report that the Box Appetit lunch box is still a top seller for Black & Blum.
Last, but most definitely not least, we have the Secrid RFID wallets. During the years when we stocked them Secrid wallets were our best selling products by far outside furniture and lighting. Not that we were ever surprised. With their clever functionality, sleek design and excellent production quality, Secrid wallets were the quintessential must-have gadget accessory, especially for men. Indeed, our only surprise was why they were not stocked in more shops when we were having so much success with them. Perhaps part of it was down to the way we demonstrated the product with such infectious enthusiasm. Not that we could help it, we love Secrid wallets and are very thankful that our customers love them too.
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