Mirth Studio has been a hive of activity over the past few months. Hannah Walters, our new Office Manager couldn’t be happier to join the team. Rachel has made her long-anticipated return to work after giving birth to a beautiful baby girl named Millie, and Jacqueline and Sally have been making incredible strides on several new projects (see below for a sneak peak).The first of these projects aims to enliven our current portfolio and create a wholly more inclusive product in the process. It is our pleasure to announce that Mirth Studio will now be including planks in our repertoire.
This exciting new development follows a period of reflection on the motivational forces behind our work. At Mirth Studio, we have always endeavored to create a product that is both sustainable, practical and aesthetically timeless. Ever since Sally started Mirth, fulfilling this ambition has relied on maintaining a delicate balancing act between the creative process and the manufacturing process, creating stunning new designs while constantly adapting to the exigencies of our suppliers. In other words, creative problem solving is in Mirth’s DNA.
Manufacturing has always been the thorn in Sally’s side. When she started, there was no existing template to which she could apply her vision. Obtaining raw material has been one of the largest obstacles, but when Sally started out, she was fortunate enough to find a large quantity of hardwood tiles on which to produce her designs. However, no one could have predicted that within a year they would have sold out. The initial success of Mirth was encouraging, but Sally was then faced with scouring the country to find a secondary manufacturer who could produce a perfectly square tile. Perfection is something worth chasing, but in this case, it was impossible to achieve. Mass-producing a perfect square from raw material is a painstaking task, and as Sally discovered, it was near impossible to convince anyone to produce them for a boutique company like hers.
Fortunately, Sally established a relationship with an overseas company that could produce, print and finish the tiles we needed. Initially, it solved the glaringly obvious: Mirth was a minority-owned small business that couldn’t manufacture their product in-house. The support of a partner to streamline manufacturing was exciting; Sally could focus on painting and creating new patterns while being unburdened from the hiccups of managing a complex three-step manufacturing process. However, this was perhaps a step too far. Mirth has found success in a product that is both highly functional and a work of art, and straying away from the craft that goes into our hardwood would be to stray away from what makes Mirth unique. So, after a lot of consideration, Mirth Studio returned home and new partnerships were formed, and for a moment everything seemed to be, at last, running smoothly. That brings us to one year ago, when the first cases of Covid-19 were appearing in the United States. April of 2020 was a time of fear and disbelief; back then, no one knew how much life as we knew it was about to change. Businesses, schools and entire industries were shut down, and the effects of the virus intruded on virtually every aspect of our lives. Everyone at Mirth has been incredibly fortunate to remain healthy during the course of the pandemic, but its impact was seen in yet another break-down of our manufacturing chain. We were once again left without raw material. This was a heart-breaking setback for our suppliers and for Mirth. We were finally finding our feet and once again were sent to the drawing board. But Sally thrives under pressure, and quickly established a new partnership wherein Mirth would receive the material we needed to continue production.
The final chapter brings us to the present and it seems to be a place where we can once again look to the future, and picture where Mirth will be in five or even ten years’ time. We have made the decision to embrace our new raw material – hardwood planks – and create a new line of products that embody the qualities that are ultimately the most important to us: sustainability, accessibility and timelessness. We cannot sing their praises enough! These planks represent growth in two distinct ways. Firstly, we are able to print all of our existing designs onto the planks, achieving a near identical effect to our tiles. Secondly, we have devised a new collection of designs that will be printed exclusively onto the planks. Inspired by the beautiful historic city that we call home, we have created a boutique collection of stained planks adorned with simple, elegant patterns entitled The Charleston Timbers. Our exclusive colored stains accentuate the beautiful grain of the wide engineered walnut planks. After staining, the Timbers are embellished with our patterns before they are coated with a UV cured polyurethane scratch-resistant finish. The tongue and groove construction of our wide planks makes installation quick and easy. Furthermore, the floors can be glued down or floated like traditional engineered flooring. The real walnut hardwood wear layer on top is a substantial 2mm, allowing the designs to be sanded off and re-stained, if over time you should desire a change. The patterns from the Charleston Timbers collection are perfect for an accent floor, or they can be installed throughout an entire space. To allow for a seamless flooring installation, we have also chosen to offer plain wide plank flooring in our matching stain colors to use alongside our patterned planks.
Though originally born out of necessity, the introduction of planks into our portfolio represents not a break from tradition, but a continuation of a legacy established over years of adapting to challenges in the manufacturing process. With these planks, Mirth Studio has decided to move in a direction that is simultaneously more sustainable, more accessible and more representative of our identity.