Small business: Xmas gifts - Bob Steiner

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Potter Bob Steiner with one of his creations. Photo / supplied
Potter Bob Steiner with one of his creations. Photo / supplied

Bob Steiner, internationally known NZ potter of 30 years talks to Gill South about corporate Christmas gifts.

What sort of Bob Steiner corporate gifts have been popular in recent years?

Bob Steiner ceramics are a little bit of New Zealand for New Zealand corporate clients or international visitors and overseas connections. They generate an emotional response because the pieces are an artistic expression of things we know and love as a nation: fantails, the fern leaf, pohutukawa, tapa patterns for instance. They are also evocative of the colours of New Zealand.

Corporates love them because they're both functional and expressive: you can use these pieces practically or decoratively. They complement and enrich corporate environments or the homes of those executives they are sent to please.

Bob Steiner wall art is amongst the most popular: the fantails, leaves, ferns and pohutukawa. So too are pieces that are functional: gorgeous, bright or subtle patterned platters and bowls.

Some corporates even commission their own special icons. For instance; the University of Auckland celebrated their 125th anniversary with a Bob Steiner interpretation of the "wedding cake" Clock Tower on Princes Street. These pieces were given as commemorative gifts to distinguished alumni.

In giving something from Bob Steiner, are companies looking for something a bit different?

Bob Steiner pieces represent high quality, artistic ceramics, from a renowned New Zealand artist - created in a boutique studio, by hand. These pieces 100 per cent articulate New Zealand to a recipient.

They creatively represent New Zealand icons, and are also value for money gifts that are beautifully packaged and presented. Corporates like this have been taking my work overseas as a representation of New Zealand quality for years. For instance: a New Zealand native plant exporter recently took Bob Steiner ceramics as gifts to China.

When companies choose my pieces as gifts, they commit to their New Zealand roots. They're a confident and lucid expression of New Zealand artistry, New Zealand production (because they're made here), and the purchaser's own relationship with Kiwi culture.

The pieces are unusual; they tell the gift recipient that the company who gave them is distinctive too. That says something more about an organisation's brand: it positions them as creative, thoughtful and different to a recipient client.

My work is also used for conference gifts such as for New Zealand Tourism Leaders Symposium; and a pharmaceutical company which held an international conference here. Trade delegations also use Bob Steiner ceramics as special gifts.

If corporates are thinking about Bob Steiner ceramics for their own use or they'd like a little extra to give clients along with the ceramic pieces they select as gifts they can try the Wall Art App. It allows the user to design a wall art installation using Bob Steiner ceramics, in conjunction with Resene paint colours. It's new from us and it's already being used by corporates to help their interior design.

Next week we're looking at how small businesses go about hiring their staff? Do you use recruitment agencies or local networks? What have your best (and worse) experiences been? Email me, Gill South at the link below:

- NZ Herald

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