Monday, August 22, 2005

New product offerings

Well, my earlier post proved not to be premature and we are now offering at least part of the Timothy Richards line-up of incredibly upscale models on and on our own Amazon-hosted websites and The reason why we have only launched part of the range is that it is a time-consuming process to properly describe these items and also to understand quite a lot about the architecture which they represent and the creators of that architecture.

As an example, a month ago I knew virtually nothing about Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow School. Now, because Timothy Richards has 4 models depicting details from Mackintosh works and Winged Heart have quite a number of stained glass panels featuring his designs, I have become something of an expert - at least able to hold my own in a serious discussion about his style and his work and probably not far short of being able to write a decent undergraduate essay about him! I have even reached the point where I want to see more and learn more about this very talented designer who sadly in his own lifetime did not achieve the recognition which he so richly deserved.

One of the problems with Timothy's work is that it covers the whole gamut from early Greek and Roman architecture to 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th century works. Some items have been made because of the significance of the building rather than for stylistic reasons - in this category I would include 10 Downing Street, the White House and 221B Baker Street - but others are there because of the architect or particular architectural style as in the case of the Mackintosh works, those of Gaudi and some Art Nouveau pieces.

The other task in marketing these is to figure out ways of making sure that people find them. It is no use waiting for people to keyword search "Timothy Richards" because relatively few people have heard of him or his work. The list of people and organisations who have commissioned or just purchased his work includes some VERY impressive names. High on the list is HRH the Queen but there are also a number of famous film and rock stars whose names I am unable to quote for reasons of privacy. Organisations which have commissioned works include the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society, the V&A Museum, the Royal Opera House, the Soane Museum, the Toronto Stock Exchange, Vancouver City Hall, University of Oxford, the Dorchester, the Royal Academy and many, many others.

The trick within Amazon is to 'connect' items with existing best sellers using some of the mechanisms which exist on the site. If someone is looking for books on Charles Rennie Mackintosh (or even Frank Lloyd Wright) then they should find a reference or link to one of Timothy's models and/or a stained glass panel. Even if this does not immediately result in a purchase it may sow the seeds of an idea which may bear fruit when Christmas or a birthday comes along. These are very upscale items but I was told earlier that the average household income of Amazon-customers is $200K, a number which intuitively feels a tad too high though I could believe it to be into 6 figures.

Over the coming weeks we will be adding several new lines to our sites including some Frank Lloyd Wright items and some other niche products in the broad area of gifts and home decor this space!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Pending launch of Timothy Richards superb architectural sculptures
This posting is a tad premature but what the heck!
I believe that I have secured a non-exclusive right to distribute the art of Timothy Richards. I only discovered Timothy's work quite recently and it is not always billed as 'art' but art is what it is, without a shadow of doubt.

What Timothy has been doing for close to 20 years is making the finest archirectural models imagineable. Many are what I would describe as "bread-and-butter" items which can be used as bookends but his line-up also includes some signed and numbered limited edition pieces which belong behind glass, if not also under lock and key!

What destinguishes his work from the pack? Well, first of all Timothy's items are hand-made, in his workshop and studio in Bath in England. They are made with traditional construction materials; the primary material used is gypsum plaster but architectural details are added using lead, copper, brass and other conventional building materials with hand-painted finishes and decoration where appropriate.

The end-products are simply breathtaking in both substance and detail and they are simply light-years ahead of other mass-made and/or resin molded products.

Although by far the majority of these works of art are created with functionality in mind - to act either as single or pairs of bookends - these creations can justifiably be given pride of place on any desk or table or mantle.

Whether your taste is Art Deco, Gaudi, Neo-Classical or something completely different or if you would like something related to Harvard, the White House or Number 10 Downing Street there is something here for you. Buildings featured range from the Old Club-House at St Andrews golf course to great English country houses to the V&A, National Portrait Gallery and Dorchester Hotel in London to the Toronto Stock Exchange to Vacouver City Hall and Ellis Island, gateway to America.

These are not inexpensive but an expression which I learned early in life comes to mind and that is "You get what you pay for" and never has this been more true. In actual fact I have seen cheap Chinese resin-molded products at similar prices but the difference is in the profit-margins. With Timothy's models you are paying for craftsmanship and quality, there are no great mark-ups.

At time of writing we have only created descriptions and details for 12 items but, barring unforeseen problems, we plan to add more quite quickly and would ideally like to get the entire collection online within a week or two at most.

You can see whatever we have online at