“Move over, unused fine china,” says Gather Round co-founder Amy Lopez. She and now-fiancé Chris Lee designed their affordable ceramic table goods to be microwave- and dishwasher-safe so “you can focus on the important things.”
They launched their company in March and sold through their first collection, The Rim Collection, sooner than they’d anticipated. Lopez suggests the pandemic may have influenced their sales because “everyone is at home and focused on creating the space they want to spend a lot of time in.” But their biggest challenge could also be laid to the pandemic: “Our manufacturer is behind, so we will not be able to restock until next year,” Lopez says.
Gather Round has a built-in response to that challenge. Its “mix and match” planning allows customers to order plates and bowls from its second style, The Contour Collection, in the same five colors and “continue to build your table setting as life grows with you,” Lopez explains. “We also believe in being transparent with our customers and letting them know the delays we are experiencing and the reasoning behind whatever the issue may be. Luckily, most everyone is understanding.”
For Gather Round’s fulfillment partner, Lopez and Lee chose the local company EpiHab, whose mission, says Lopez, is “pretty amazing: ‘To provide meaningful employment for individuals with epilepsy and other challenges by performing valued work for area businesses.’”
Their goal for Gather Round was to offer table goods at an affordable price that “celebrates the occasions of everyday life — big and small — and don’t cost a ‘life moment’ price,” says Lopez, who credits some of their success to following advice they’d been given to “surround yourself with people you admire, and don’t be an island.”
Following that advice and committing to building community and inviting collaborators and partners “to our table” has allowed them to explore new products and new partnerships. In fact, Lopez notes that advice led them to their next product, which they will launch early this year with product designer Aaron Probyn: silverware. “Without local and non-local partner support,” she says, “we would not have been able to build a brand in a year like this year.”