The lifeblood of our business is new products. This is true for any company selling to consumers, but it is somewhat more difficult for us in the Christmas business. Many Christmas figures and images are religious and or traditional. Granted, the images may reflect local or regional visions and values, such as the difference between the “Coca Cola Santa” in the US and “Sinter Claus” in parts of Europe.
Christmas Nativity figures try to duplicate the Nativity story as originated by St Francis of Assisi and as imagined by European painters and sculptors, both in medieval times and during and after the Renaissance. The Italians generally do it best, but in their strongly individualistic way, are known to include Elvis and other celebrities in their Nativity scenes. Fontanini, the Italian family firm which has specialized in producing Nativity scenes of all sizes for over 100 years, has added more animals and figures of medieval “village people”. These are probably more consistent with the original vision of St Francis, who used real people and animals in his Nativity scenes.
Many non-religious Christmas figures are derived from the “Night Before Christmas” poem. These include Santa Claus, Reindeer and Sleigh and Santa’s Elves. Children’s tales turned into ballet and movies provided the images of Toy Soldiers, Nutcrackers and Bears. Recent innovations include the “Victorian” figures including Carolers and Lamp Post.
So much of our new product effort is offering a new version of the classic figures, that the challenge is making the figures new and different and still appealing and seasonal. Fortunately our founder and president , Claire, is a fine arts grad and photographer with an excellent eye and color sense as well as the extreme patience and attention to detail necessary to produce winning designs. We are also fortunate to be working with several factories whose owners understand the importance of new products and employ skilled designers and sculptors.
Our latest product introduction, the enormous 12 foot Nutcracker King, item 37001, is an example of our team in action. Claire provide the original design and the factory sculpted the figure which Claire fine tuned. The factory then produced the mold and created the prototype colors and decorations based on Claire’s design. The factory also determined the sizes of the various parts and how they will be attached together for the final giant piece. The final result is a unique figure which will decorate many shopping malls, retail stores, city centers and even some mansions next Christmas.
Here is a link to our press release announcing the introduction of the 12 foot Nutcracker King