Vincent Thomas Lombardi is best known as the legendary head coach of the Green Bay Packers. During the 1960’s, he successfully coached the team through three back-to-back league championships including the first two Super Bowls. He’s enshrined in the NFL’s Football Hall of Fame and the National Football League named the Super Bowl trophy in his honor. Vince is an American icon to many and Sunset Hill Stoneware is thrilled to be working exclusively with the Lombardi family – casting Vince Lombardi’s image permanently in American-made stoneware.

Branded as LombardiWare™, these collectible pieces are adorned with Vince’s image, along with favorite quotes such as “Winning isn’t everything. It is the only thing.”  The collection of 12 artworks can be added to any of our mugs or steins – or if you’re in a rush, purchase ready-made pieces that can be shipped within two business days!

Like the rest of our products, each piece is handcrafted and thrown by potter’s who live, breathe and dream of Green Bay Packer victories. And it’s nice to have a few things in common with Vince – he’s got a great middle name and Vince & I share the same birthday. I’m almost like family.

Ready for Monday night.  Tom

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One of the wonderful benefits of working at Sunset Hill Stoneware is the people we meet along the way. They all have a story to tell. Such is the case for Susan Berry, an international authority on proper ringing.

Susan is the author of Healthy Ringing, a comprehensive publication that single-handedly changed the way handbell musicians and individual handbell choirs approach their instrument.  She’s co-authored instructional manuals, videos and has traveled the world sharing her artistic craft. 

Today, Susan is the president of Handbell Services, Inc. located in Michigan. Established in 1990, HSI has become the world's largest supplier of handbell-related gifts.  She has a brick and mortar store, online store and exhibits at many handbell festivals and conferences targeting handbell enthusiasts. 

Ringwear® (a collection of fun t-shirts), handbell gloves, polishing cloths and tiny turn page clips designed for turning music pages are all available for purchase. To complement the store’s offering Susan works with talented artists and American manufacturers – like Sunset Hill Stoneware. In fact, Susan’s son, Allen designed the HSI artwork featured on SHS stoneware pieces.

Today hand thrown Sunset Hill Stoneware pieces are sold in their store and online to their global audience.

When you see bell ringers and hear the joyful sounds of handbell choirs, think of Susan and the impact her musical passion communicates to all languages.   

Keeping Watch. Pat

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Jul
23
Posted by admin

If you’re an aviation enthusiast, there’s only one place on earth to be this week – at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh.  This event is America’s largest annual gathering of aviation enthusiasts held each summer.

Founded in 1953, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) began as an organization for people who hand built or restored their own recreational aircraft.  Today, this event is an international gathering estimating that 10,000-15,000 aircrafts will fly for the event – making the airport's control tower the busiest control tower in the world. This week-long event all takes place within 20 miles from Sunset Hill Stoneware’s production site.

For many years, our potters have handcrafted The Potbelly mug with the EAA Heritage logo for the museum store.  Last year, the EAA team worked with us to launch an exclusive handmade EAA AirVenture 2011 collector series for their event.  This year, our team is proud to add to their collector series with EAA AirVenture 2012 shown in the Copperhead Run glaze.   

It’s natural for the aviation industry to take flight with handcrafted stoneware. We welcome all EAA visitors from across the globe.  May you fly like an eagle – or at least be able to attend the Steve Miller Band concert on the show grounds tonight!

Enjoy your week. Tom

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You may have noticed we added Scent-in-Stone candles to our web offering. These amazing candles combine the handcrafted quality of SHS stoneware with a natural soybean wax. The finishing touch is a hint of fragrance that captures your inner soul. 

It gets better. We use a natural soybean wax in our stoneware pieces. This means the candle will burn clean (vs. oil-based paraffin candles). You simply wipe out the container once the wax is gone, run it through the dishwasher and re-use the stoneware throughout your business or home as a deskware piece. How great is that! Two gifts in one!

Our Scent-in-Stone products have been an internal hit – and we know the demand for them will be big. We’ve partnered with Shelley Nystrom.  She’s the boss lady and head candle-maker for Eco Candle Company, an artisan candle and soap business located in Appleton, WI. And she knows candles.

Did you know that paraffin wax is used in more than 95% of candles today – and that it can release harmful carcinogens into the atmosphere; along with producing soot that can blacken walls and contaminate ventilation ductwork? Shelley and her team are passionate about distributing a safe product. Soy-based wax; scents that are Proposition 65 compliant; and only natural cotton, paper and hemp cored wicks are used. Gosh, much more to a candle than most people realize.   

We’re pleased to offer a 15% discount on the following Scent-in-Stone candles during our Christmas in July sale.

Shelley’s mission matches our goal to deliver safe products that compliment healthy lifestyles while respecting the environment. We think you'll reap the benefits from our two artsy teams working together.  

Enjoy the sweet smells of summer.  Pat

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I’m not much of a holiday guy – and my wife can confirm, I’ve been known to rush to the mall on Christmas Eve.  That’s why it’s a bit ironic that I find myself promoting a Christmas in July sale.  Really, is nothing sacred?

The truth is – you’ve got time.  There’s 176 shopping days until Christmas.  The problem is we sell stoneware; lots of it.  And that takes time – and talent.  Our products are all crafted by hand – the pottery, medallions, handles – and then fired and re-fired in kilns.  We craft thousands of pieces each month.  And as days turn into weeks, then into a months – well, before you know it, it’s Christmas. 

So this year, instead of the last minute rush, we put together a HolidayWare offering – and are promoting it this month with a ‘Christmas in July’ sale. Everybody wins! You order your HolidayWare in July and get a sweet 15% discount. And our team gets to organize the orders to ensure you get delivery by mid-October! Select from mugs, steins, bowls – and new scent-in-stone products. 

So think about your wife, your dad, the kids, your co-workers, the boss – and your father-in-law.  Order him a few steins, buy a six-pack and you’re good!

If you ignore the sale, that’s ok.  We’ll create some extra HolidayWare pieces, and place them online for sale in the fall – the only thing is, you’ll pay full price.

Ah, the weather is hot all over America.  The lawn needs mowing. The kids are splashing it up in the pool.  Saving some money and getting my brother-in-law’s dog bowl out of the way, just means more money for hunting season.

Have a happy and safe 4th!  Tom

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Jun
25
Posted by admin

Everyone who knows me understands I’m passionate about SHS and our product line.
Here’s why:

• The product is made in my hometown
• I went to high school with one of the owners (hopefully you can guess which one)
• SHS stoneware is hand thrown, artsy, functional and downright beautiful

I believe your life is not complete unless you own a piece, or two, or three. That’s the way Adam & Rachel felt too. They are a young couple that recently celebrated their June wedding with friends and family.

Adam and Rachel wanted to honor their groomsman and members of the bridal party with a memorable gift of their day – and they found SHS steins were the perfect way to permanently set their wedding memories in stone.

Our design team created artwork to match their wedding theme – and Adam and Rachel added a personal touch when adding a 2nd medallion personalized with the appropriate name.

The custom-made gifts were distributed at the rehearsal dinner and were immediately put to use when the guests brewed their own beer for the party.

Now that’s a marriage brewed to my taste.
My friends call me the ‘goddess’ of stoneware. Shelly

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Life never quite turns out as planned. Such was the case for the general manager at PrairieFire Coffee.  Jeff’s career path included working for Culligan Water – a reputable company helping consumers improve its water supply.  But an acquisition here and there found Jeff in the coffee industry – and in the middle of re-looking at the company’s branding strategy. 

At the time, the Kansas-based business was distributing under three different names.  The company simplified their approach by building on the legendary efforts of their founder and became PraireFire Coffee.  Nestled in the Flint Hills of Kansas, the name PrairieFire captures the majesty and wealth of this region, while their logo features their founder, Sam Riffel, as the strolling coffee farmer holding a burlap bag.

Today the brand visually resonates with the history, quality and excitement of a growing company.  They pride themselves on coffee quality using 100% Specialty Grade Arabica Coffee; and set them apart by providing unmatched service to Kansas and to many surrounding states.

Recently, the company launched their new website at www.prairiefirecoffee.com.  You’ll see a fun video, learn about their passion for excellence – and find consistency in their brand throughout their business.

Whether its water or coffee, it takes focus, discipline and team work to bring it all together.  Congratulations to Jeff and the team at PraireFire Coffee; we’re pleased to be a part of your success. 

Keeping watch.  Pat

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May
30
Posted by admin

When I think of branding, I think McDonalds.  It was 1955 when Ray Kroc introduced us to a red and tiled building with Golden Arches.  While the menu has changed throughout the years, the consistency of the Golden Arches has weathered the years, traveled the globe and remains tall.

That’s the massive advantage of brand consistency – it builds recognition, which builds familiarity, which develops trust.  Once people have confidence in your product, they become loyal – and brand champions.  It’s not rocket science.  When you love a product/service, you return again and again; and you talk and tweet about it.

As people, we don’t really like ‘new’ – and it has been widely reported that before a consumer purchases a product, on average, the consumer needs to be exposed to a brand 17 times.  That’s a lot of exposure.  And it can only be done with brand consistency – like Ray Krok did years ago.

A brand isn’t an icon – it is personality of a business. A brand has character, a look, a tone of voice and a way of behaving. Every marketing and advertising piece should reflect a similar logo, a single typeface, consistent color ranges and similar design styles – everything inter-linked and linking back to the core brand.  Every piece is like a member of the same family.  The visual look often evolves slowly over time, but the core message of a successful brand never changes.

Brand consistency takes years to master before it really starts working for you.  Leading brands are normally leading because they have had many years of consistency behind them – and they have a long term goal for their branding that has been consistent.

Our SHS employees understand the importance of your brand – and your goal to permanently cast your brand in stoneware for long-lasting recognition.  As long as you have a clear image of your brand – you can entrust our team to protect it.

Keeping watch.  Pat

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You can now buy UnderWare™ from SHS! Oh, we’re not talking little skivvies you can wear – we talking about absorbent coasters available exclusively from Sunset Hill Stoneware.  

These 4-1/8” round stone guzzlers are not handcrafted by SHS potters – but they are 100% made in the USA using American materials and talent.  The company uses a special manufacturing and kiln firing process, along with a formulated blend of ceramic materials to ensure their absorbency.
 

Measuring 3/8” thick, UnderWare™ coasters instantly absorb drips, dribbles and condensation from hot/cold drinks.  Artwork designs are printed using permanent, fade resistant inks – and then coaster bottoms are finished with a soft moisture proof neoprene pad to protect countertop and furniture surfaces.  Available in 3 colors: Snow White, Desert Sand and Rock Tan in either SHS or Mathews artwork.

And how did we come up with such a clever name?  Well, I can tell you that creatively runs wild at SHS – this time it was Lance, our graphic guru.    

UnderWare™ coasters.  The under thing for everything.  Only from Sunset Hill Stoneware.
Enjoy your holiday weekend!  Tom

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We’ve offered handcrafted soap and lotion dispensers for years. While the stoneware base becomes a room favorite, those plastic pumps can’t seem to live up to the love we have for pumping. For that reason, we are now offering replacement pumps in our accessory line.

In addition, we’ve added soft moisture-proof neoprene pads. These come in handy if you have favorite countertops or furniture surfaces you want to protect. The adhesive pads are available in three sizes: 2-1/2, 3 and 3-1/2 inches. Simply measure the base of the mug/stein to order the correct size. Then remove the release liner and apply to the base. Voilà! Done. You can tell everyone you added the finishing touch to your SHS stoneware!

Find both products in our new accessory line.
Happy Shopping! Tom

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