More From Deborah Michel
It’s early spring, as I write this letter. Birds are calling from greening trees, the garden is full of buds, and butterflies and bees are flitting back and forth. I love everything this season brings: the rapid changes, the new life, the sense of possibility. But then, I love all the other seasons, too: Summer, with its vivid colors and lush fruits and vegetables. Fall, with its glorious leaves and dappled light. Winter, with its blankets of snow and dramatic contrasts. Every day, nature offers a universal sense of wonder, enchantment, and delight, and it’s that feeling we tap into in creating Michel Design Works collections and products.
This year marks our broadest and largest release to date. In these pages you’ll discover designs both new and well-loved that range from whimsical to contemporary to classic. You’ll find products both innovative and time-tested that make home life and entertaining easy and enjoyable. Truly, there is something for every room in the house—and for every season of the year.
We hope 2020 brings joy and inspiration to you and your customers.
SHARE THE JOY
My husband, Bruce, and I enjoy exploring new places, seeing new sights, learning about other cultures and traditions. But for us, one of the best things about travel is returning home. That’s especially true at this time of year. We love decorating for the holidays, gathering around the table, and celebrating with family and friends. And we want to share that joyful feeling with you and your customers. That’s why we offer a rich selection of products and a bountiful array of fall and holiday designs, from traditional to country to whimsical in style. Let the festivities begin!
GIVING AND RECEIVING
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved giving gifts. There’s something magical about going to a store, walking up and down the aisles, and finding the perfect Mother’s Day gift, Christmas gift, or birthday present and then watching expectantly as they’re opened by family and friends.
That personal connection is very important to me, and it’s what we strive for at Michel Design Works. We want to make giving gifts as enjoyable and fulfilling as receiving them. We want your customers to experience that magical Ah-hah! moment when they spot one of our products or designs and realize it’s exactly right for a friend or family member, an office mate or new neighbor. And we want the recipients to feel the love and care that went into selecting those gifts—and then find the perfect place for them in their homes.
To help foster that connection, we make sure there’s nothing generic about our home décor and kitchen goods, nothing bland or ordinary about our fragrances and bath and body offerings. Our goal, each and every year, is to offer consistently high quality products and to create distinctive, signature designs that resonate with a broad consumer base.
I think you’ll find this year’s offerings lighthearted and fresh, warm and welcoming, with colors that are on trend and scents that are close to nature. I hope they’ll help your customers celebrate the joys of giving and receiving. And of course that magic couldn’t happen without you.
THE HOLIDAYS ARE HERE!
After the long, lazy days of summer are over, time seems to accelerate for me, and the calendar is suddenly full of family gatherings and festivities with friends. That’s why at Michel Design Works we make it fun and easy to decorate for fall, winter, and the holidays they bring. In our 2018 fall/holiday release, you’ll find a joyful array of mix-and-match designs and products to help your customers celebrate the seasons. And this year, for added delight, we’ve incorporated charming elements into our holiday packaging: sparkling glitter and frosting, miniature bells and foils in shimmering red, gold, and green. Irresistible!
KEEP IT SIMPLE AND ELEGANT
I love casual get-togethers with family and friends—at my house or theirs, indoors or out, for a picnic, a potluck or a planned menu. Whatever the season or reason for gathering, the important thing is the sense of community and sharing, the feeling of welcome and hospitality. There are no rules to follow, except keep it simple and elegant, keep it relaxed and informal and fun.
This love of casual dining inspires the products we offer at Michel Design Works. Our melamine looks great, feels substantial and is much easier to care for than china. The plates can be stacked on a table, carried comfortably at a buffet and washed in the dishwasher. The statement-piece serveware comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, so it’s extremely versatile. Our table linens are gorgeous, beautifully made—and machine washable. And our paper placemats and napkins are colorful and oh-so-convenient. Best of all, everything is designed to be used together!
I’m someone who is guided by the senses—by sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. That affinity is reflected in my personal life, from the way I decorate my house, to the flowers I grow in my garden, to the food I serve my family and friends. And it strongly influences my work process as well.
When I consider a new design or product, I try to open myself up to possibilities. It might be a scrap of fabric or a delicate fragrance that inspires me, a brilliant array of colored leaves or a lyrical piece of music that influences me. I assemble an idea wall and then begin the orchestration process—adding, subtracting, and overlapping elements, changing colors, looking at things from different angles and at different times of the day. Along the way, I ask myself: What do these colors and textures say? What emotion does this scent conjure up? Have I achieved harmony in form and proportion?
It’s a challenging but ultimately rewarding way to work, because each new product speaks to me directly, tapping into a deep affinity and personal connection. And each time I complete the process, I’m eager to begin again, to discover what will inspire me next and lead to more exciting new products for Michel Design Works.
Each year at Christmastime, we wrestle a too-large tree into the living room and cover it with decorations. We hang up stockings, bring out the holiday linens and candles, and put lights on the trees outside. We celebrate the past with classic images and objects we treasure, but at the same time we look to the future and create new traditions. So our tree holds an eclectic mix of ornaments, some handed down by our parents, some made by our kids when they were young, and some newly purchased. And though we’ll have roast beef and plum pudding for Christmas dinner, we’ll start the day with bagels and cream cheese.
The holiday designs we’re showcasing this year are the same wonderful mix of old and new. They feature a vintage Santa and his reindeer, vivid poinsettias, and traditional needlework patterns, but we’ve given them a fresh, original look. The products we’re introducing also combine the best of classic and contemporary; among them, fabulous Turkish cotton table linens, two additions to our easy-care melamine serveware, and irresistible top-of-the-line candles.
We hope you find much to celebrate in these pages, offered with our best wishes for a joyous holiday season and a happy New Year.
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!
Thirty-five years ago, Michel Design Works released its very first product, Our Country Diary, an annual journal for recording daily events and observations. The diary’s instant popularity led us to make other memory books and—eventually—to develop the expansive range of products you see in this catalog. It also led us to create the distinctive elephant logo we use to this day.
Why an elephant? First, because an elephant with an upturned trunk is a symbol of good luck and success, both of which we hoped would follow when we began the business. And second, because of the old saying “An elephant never forgets.” The logo not only tied in to the original memory book, it reminded us never to forget our beginnings or the importance of our valued customers.
The journey from a single journal to the over 1,100 distinctive products has been amazing, and we’re grateful that you have traveled with us. We hope you’ll like this season’s offerings!
Best wishes for a season to remember,
Each season, as I start to think about new collections and products, I assemble an idea wall in my office. I place postcards and ephemera alongside favorite paintings, juxtapose photos of my garden against antique botanical prints, and add color swatches, fabric samples, and interesting textures. Then I live with it for a time, getting a feel for the different combinations of tone and texture. All this creates an inspirational backdrop for the new lines I design.
It’s a solo process, so it’s both important and exciting to see how others respond to the results. Michel Design Works’ production, sales, and marketing teams provide professional feedback. And family and friends offer their personal opinions.
Most important is the response from you, our valued customers. All of us at Michel Design Works hope you like the designs and products we’re introducing this season, including decorative cozy cotton pillows. We look forward to hearing from you!
When our son decided to spend a semester abroad, studying art in a medieval city in Provence, my husband, Bruce, and I knew we would visit him. We wanted to see him, of course, but we also wanted to see the countryside. I’d never been to southern France before, and I can honestly say that it lives up to its legendary charm. Everywhere I looked, I found beauty and abundance: orchards and farms laden with fruits and vegetables, huge fields of sunflowers and lavender, and gorgeous gardens full of roses.
I soaked up the sights, sounds, and scents, and they became the inspiration for the lush florals and memorable fragrances of our spring and summer lines. Then I layered botanical and natural history art, antique written material, and other elements to create new designs that capture my feelings about the French countryside.
My hope is that what you see in this catalog will be like a garden full of beautiful flowers: each item lovely in its own right but also perfect for mixing and matching with the others, so you can assemble your own bouquets. With so many new items to choose from, there’s an abundance of choices–all fresh, colorful, inviting, and ready to welcome the new season.