In Stephanie Hall’s youth, afternoons spent treasure searching together with her grandmother in Holly Hill, S.C., usually yielded glowing hauls of classic glassware in colours like emerald inexperienced and amber.
“All of these trips were about finding beautiful and unique things and then having a place to showcase them,” Ms. Hall, 45 mentioned. Her grandmother Estelle Summerson Williams would show discovered objects and household heirlooms in two china cupboards. She additionally beloved to entertain visitors.
A couple of years in the past, when Ms. Hall was searching for coloured glass items for her own residence in Summerville, S.C., simply exterior Charleston, she was shocked to seek out her search restricted to the secondary market. There didn’t appear to be a contemporary glassware model that provided the vary of types and colours she had seen as a toddler.
“I just thought that it was really unfortunate that colored glass — I felt like it was becoming a dying art,” she mentioned. So she determined to begin her personal.
Estelle Colored Glass, which started promoting to clients in October 2019 and has since added a wholesale enterprise, provides decanters, wineglasses, cake stands and champagne coupes in shades that may be combined and matched into multicolored collections. The increasing line of merchandise is the results of a number of years of analysis on Ms. Hall’s half.
She searched round South Carolina and throughout the United States for a producer, however none of them had the capability or the instruments to create what she and her industrial designer had envisioned. She ended up discovering her glassmaking collaborators in Poland, a rustic with a protracted historical past of glassmaking.
Just just a few months after Ms. Hall started her new enterprise, Covid-19 arrived. In a means, the timing helped give her nascent model wings.
The pandemic impressed a renewed curiosity in residence items and likewise caused alcohol sales to rise. Glassware that could possibly be used for glugging down drinks at residence, or saved away till entertaining turned extra reasonable, was all of a sudden in demand.
According to Joe Derochowski, the NPD Group’s residence business adviser, the housewares class (which incorporates glassware, kitchen home equipment, textiles and private care) has been “extremely hot” throughout the pandemic.
“The consumer has been spending their money on three places: It’s about eating and living at home, it’s about working from home, and it’s about keeping yourself active and entertained at home,” he mentioned.
A summer season of protests and calls to help Black-owned companies led to a spike in gross sales, too. “We got a lot of brand awareness out of the Black Lives Matter movement,” Ms. Hall mentioned.
About 70 % of gross sales come by the corporate’s web site; the opposite 30 % is wholesale, which incorporates boutiques and e-commerce websites like Meals52, West Elm, Goop and Zola.
“We launched Estelle last November, in our annual holiday gift guide. Both the stemless glasses in rose and the cake stand in rose were featured in our host’s gift guide,” mentioned Roxanne Marie, the shopping for director for style and residential at Goop, who famous that there was a spike in glassware gross sales on Goop final 12 months.
Ms. Marie mentioned she was drawn to “the femininity and striking jewel tones and beautiful soft pastel colors” of Estelle Colored Glass, which she sees as half of a bigger pattern in tableware.
“There is definitely a trend around the opulence of added or layered color. When it comes to tablescaping, our customers are gravitating toward a more-is-more aesthetic,” she mentioned. “During the pandemic, abundance and glamour in the home became something of a pronounced escapist luxury. The idea that the ‘good china’ should be saved for guests went out the window.”
The pattern is so standard that colourful copycat variations have began to emerge, although lots of them are created from acrylic or light-weight polymer substitutes. They aren’t handblown by a “100-year-old heritage company,” as Ms. Hall mentioned of her producer in Poland.
In Estelle Colored Glass’s early days, its core enterprise was occasion leases. But, based on Ms. Hall, idle fingers scrolling by social media in quarantine coupled with a need to help a enterprise owned by a Black lady, particularly throughout a time of racial unrest, helped her small model tremendously.
“I wouldn’t say it’s been overnight for me, because I’ve been in the entrepreneur space for 15 years now,” Ms. Hall mentioned. “But this kind of growth was just definitely off the charts.”
As the 12 months warms into summer season, Ms. Hall plans to roll out quite a lot of new colours and types simply in time for boozy yard gatherings (which is able to little question grow to be extra commonplace as extra Americans get vaccinated). A sultry midnight blue possibility will probably be added to the combo, together with “dressier” flute glasses and martini glasses.
Mr. Derochowski believes that in the summertime and fall Americans will start to really feel extra snug entertaining bigger teams.
“One of the things you’re trying to figure out when you entertain is how do you make people feel safe,” he mentioned. “And one of the ways you could do it is through color. You could say, I’ve got a light blue and a light pink one, a light this color and a light that color. And I know by color which one’s mine.”