AMIA Studios, the nation's top-selling designer and maker of exquisite, innovative glass window art and other hand-painted glass, has worked smartly—and consistently—to earn its reputation as the category leader in the giftware industry.
"When AMIA Studios was established in 1995," says John Damron, the firm's President, "other vendors were not focused on the art form of hand-painted glass. We introduced a higher caliber of hand-painted glass to the marketplace, with designs comparable to the look of fine, leaded stained glass."
AMIA is headquartered in Denver, with international offices and a world-class design studio in Hong Kong. Damron's Hong Kong-based partner, Amia Li, supervises administration, design, and production at AMIA. Damron also serves as AMIA's Art Director, focusing on new product development.
AMIA's ongoing commitment to finely detailed workmanship, leading-edge product designs, and innovative methods for creating hand-painted glass has resulted in the company's steady growth rate. The company more than tripled its sales from 2000 to 2002, saw a 79% increase in actual shipments in 2002 compared to 2001 and has more than 8,400 United States accounts.
AMIA has developed three thriving divisions—Gift, Inspiration and Souvenir—and is also establishing Home Décor and Christmas divisions. Top-selling product categories include the Near the Cross collections of inspirational, hand-painted crosses; Crystal and Glass Wind Chimes studded with sparkling Swarovski crystals; a broad selection of Americana-themed items, including Suncatchers emblazoned with U.S. Military insignias; Mooncatchers, a unique form of window art with hand cut, beveled glass designs that reflect both the sun's rays and the moon's glow; and the Victorian-inspired Language of Flowers collection. Acclaimed licensed artists design many of these product lines.
To assure the quality of its products, AMIA manufactures its own glass. It is the only company using 'ripple glass', a natural surfaced textured glass that has a gentle rolling wave appearance similar to cathedral glass. Ripple glass has a majestic appearance, and in-house manufacturing ensures an attractive price point. Once produced, the glass is painted by hand with the world's highest-quality paints.
This attention to design and craftsmanship continues in the production of every AMIA glass product. "The real work starts with creating our extensive variety of designs," says Damron. AMIA glass giftware is created by licensed artists and skilled studio artisans, with an emphasis on authenticity of design, carefully selected colors and manufacturing details such as chroming all Suncatchers' framework for a sparking finish.
AMIA is an energetic company with the flexibility to quickly bring exciting new product to market.
"When we develop a product like our Mooncatchers, and we sense great potential for it in the marketplace, we're adaptable and can plan for an accelerated product launch," Damron says.
Damron, who owned and operated 12 retail shops in Hong Kong, places particular emphasis on packaging, merchandising and presentation. All AMIA products are specially gift-boxed. Suncatchers, for example, arrive in boxes designed with transparent 'windows' on the front and back to provide maximum viewing. Damron also designed the firm's versatile freestanding displays, which allow themed merchandise to be shown by category. The result is a visually pleasing and exciting presentation.
"We tell our customers to expect a four- to five-time turn on our revolving suncatcher display, which can be placed in just two square feet of store space."