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When I decided to get in the dinnerware business, Dad immediately asked for custom designed dinnerware for our family’s ranch. At the time, it seemed like a daunting task to say the least. I was just beginning a new business and wasn’t ready to start custom work. Fast forward a year and Dad asked again.

How to start designing dinnerware for the family? Big task. What we were about to create would be heirloom pieces of art for years to come and possibly handed down from generation to generation. Gulp.

Here’s how we did it. As with any big task I face, I break it down into steps and before I knew it, the big task seemed more doable and less overwhelming. It’s the same way you eat an elephant: one bite at a time.  I decided on three basic steps: theme, product, final touches.

Theme: Obviously, ranch would be the focal point. But what to draw?? I asked Dad to write down the most important aspects of the ranch. His list included angus cattle, mesquite bean leaf, windmill on the Keith place, prickly pear cactus, yucca plant, and, most importantly, the ranch brands plus the year he and Mom bought their first piece of land.

Product: Mom decided on a rim dinner plate and salad plate, small canapé plate, soup bowl and mug. Color? Mom wanted something to stand the test of time and go with the ranch feel/theme. She decided on a deep brown with a hint of red.

Final Touches: To fill in some of the design, our team used filigree you see on belt buckles, rope, and barbed wire. We added a teacup and saucer for Dad (he hates big mugs), year the plates were made was stamped on the back under our logo (celebrating 60 years of the ranch) and threw in a butter pat plate for extra charm.

All in all, a great experience. Sure learned a ton from working with my parents as my customers. Another gulp. Would I do it again?? In a heartbeat, y’all!

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