When we started House of Thol back in 2013 with our first design Waterworks, we weren't sure if we would want to become a brand, launching our own designs independently, or a design studio, focussed on designing products for others brands and labels.
In our early collaborations with brands, we noticed we found it difficult that our influence in the final design and production methods would often be minimal, and could get frustrated when brands gave up on a design as soon as it would become only a little challenging in the prototyping fase, which is exactly the puzzle we love to solve.
Early 2018 we consciously started working towards creative independence, and the freedom to design the products under our own conditions. By being versatile in our endeavours and creating an array of ways to make money with our designs through various platforms, we're creating a strong foundation to further develop House of Thol.
We updated our Waterworks design to make it easier to scale up, and grew our portfolio of smaller products (added the Flower Constellations, Helios and the Bee Happy cards) that can be sold in stores and online via our own webshop. Working together with brands, we are specific about having a say in the product-development and production fase of the design, staying hands-on through the process. Thus far resulting in a.o. the ReCabinet with Ahrend and the Wren & Kiwi series in collaboration with Ay Illuminate.
Hit by Covid & The Patera Magnus surprise
Fairs and exhibitions being cancelled and shops being closed due to Covid poses a challenge. Still, we noticed that in spite of the lack of presentation space, we still sold products online, even our (relatively expensive) Patera Magnus bowls.
Let me zoom in on those: We presented the Poma/Olera prototypes only during Dutch Design Week 2019, and the first Patera Magnus production model at Object Rotterdam in February 2020, which turned out to be our final consumer fair of the year. Because we didn't have a chance to find a production facility (again, due to Covid), each Patera Magnus is made by hand in our studio (all about the process). To keep the product affordable, we only sell the bowl online via our own webshop, without an intermediate like a store. We expected to sell a couple of Patera Magnus bowls over the year, but sold so many we're forced to rearrange the workshop to get production up to speed.
Being able to sell products in this category directly to the end user via our own platform, means new opportunities for creative freedom. It gives us the chance to explore designing more small series and one-off pieces, which offers great opportunities for circular designs.