Vendor Spotlight | About Face Designs

Written by Diane Faretta, OneCoast Territory Manager / About Face Designs Line Leader

ABetsys Hlmk-Macon GA1bout Face Designs has become a benchmark for heartwarming gift ware combining originality, creativity, high quality and exceptional value—and what I’d like to focus on here is the ORIGINALITY AND CREATIVITY part…because it’s a BIG part of who they are!!!

Katie Staudt and Alison James have been the pinnacle designers for About Face Designs for the past 5 years and have been instrumental in creating some of the most successful collections, such as ‘Sunnyside Up’, ‘Wanderlust’ and the most recent, ‘Hello World’ — to highlight some of the latest & greatest!!

While About Face Designs is known as one of the leaders in sentiment gifts, a key component of their success has been the design elements created by Alison and Katie.  In many cases, as we all know, so much often goes on ‘ behind the scenes’ — and such is the case here. These 2 talented ladies are the ‘quiet powerhouse’ behind so many of the product creations!!  Most of us don’t have the opportunity to interact with them often, so I wanted to help you get to know them a little bit better and understand more of where they pull their inspiration, as well as learn a little more about some future product direction 🙂

Ivy LaneIn current times, there is a huge resurgence of DIY, vintage and handmade art & product–and these trends are reflected in their designs.  Much of their inspiration also comes from Boho chic and hipster art & fashion, co-mingling natural and urban environments, social media, as well as other illustrators.  Vintage has truly become an ‘IT’ thing…anything from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and yes even the 90’s!! On top of the artwork, it’s the quick wit touches that are incorporated into each and every item that have contributed to the success of each of these collections.  Also, combining vintage and traditional products with new ideas and materials in a way that seems ironic—plus, adding a dry sense of humor whenever possible – have added to the success of many of the best sellers!

With the newest collection, Hello World, the goal was to develop a line that was fun, easy-going, light-hearted and sometimes a little edgy. Their target market goal was to appeal to a fairly large demographic – late teens to early 40’s.  They nailed it by using design techniques, typography and materials…raw and natural materials (such as cotton, rope, wood dowels); all -natural metals inspired the use of metallic gold printing and the lettering was hand- drawn and original – with imperfections purposely kept to show that it was handmade.  The end- result was a collection with a clean and simple aesthetic, as well as fun and edgy!!

Lucibelles - AFD display Vicki SheadNow…here’s a glimpse into the near future!!   About Face Designs is constantly reviewing trends and listening to comments from the field… And in an effort to stay at the top of their game and continue to be an industry leader in sentiment gifts, the product direction will be shifting slightly to incorporate lifestyle, functionality and simplicity.  There will be an expansion in the use of raw and natural materials, as well as developing products that lend themselves to a simpler & minimalist aesthetic. They will continue to keep their focus on the target demographic and their propensity to buy things that have a purpose.  There seems to be less interest in collecting and more interest in buying things for a reason…and, functionality is a good reason!

Keeping products functional, while still incorporating art and wit to keep them seem unique & special is the key to for customers to select highly desirable gifts for themselves, a friend or loved one! 🙂