Instead of my usual way of working - coming up with a visual concept and translating it into 3D materials that express a Jewish ritual function, my brief was “Design an affordable Judaica product that would succeed in this recession driven economy.”
I wanted to combine simple materials – tubes, steel and magnets.
It was one of those projects that was supposed to be really easy, or so I thought…
The first menorah I designed was a large wave of steel, with candleholders magnetized to the sides. But on testing it got boiling hot, the magnets kept jumping together and the wax melted into a big gloopy mass.
I was using super strong neodymium diametrically magnetized (side attraction) magnets which kept jumping together. So I adapted the menorah design, made two tracks of steel (also attached with magnets) with the candleholders on top, changed the magnets to axially magnetized (vertical attraction) and created the Modern Slide Menorah. The advantage it has over my original hanukkah menorah design, apart from all the practical concerns, is that the magnets glide really beautifully along the tracks.
The next channukah menorah design in the range was to be simple and compact, perfect for travelling. For the Modern Travel Menorah I wanted a steel base with magnetic candleholders. But the supposedly pre-polished bases had to be professionally polished to prevent sharp edges, and then at the request of several of the Judaica gift stores that I work with, I had to source protective stickers to put on the bases to prevent the bases from getting scratched. It should have also been easy, but when test driven, the first 5 samples didn’t stick, they slid around or left sticky snail trails on the menorah base. Roni (my silversmith and production assistant) and I took it in turns to rip out our hair.
Eventually I had a consultation with 2 manufacturing experts and one business advisor (as well as my other trusty advisers – husband and brother), found 3 specialist sticker manufacturers, tested 7 different types of stickers and finally found the right ones for my new menorahs.
I was almost ready to release the two new modern menorah designs, when I looked at my desk and realized that my sample pieces were holding my Post-its, paper clips, pens, stamps and business cards - in fact anything and everything that was on my desk. I thought it would be a perfect gift idea for a Chanukiah that could be in use all year round and so the Modern Transformer Menorah was created.
The whole process (which I had to fit in with running the rest of my Jewish gifts business as usual) took almost a year, and I was worried I wouldn’t get the pieces out in time for Hannukah 2009. But by what must have been my own personal miracle of Hannukah, all the technical problems were resolved 2 weeks ago, and I’ve been blessed with a great response, even selling out and having to quickly restock after the first week. Happy Chanukah!
P.S. I’ve made commenting on this page easier and there’s no need to give your email address, so I’d love to hear from you! Click here to see the new Chanukah menorah designs!