Wrinkle-free, artistically inclined designer fabric dinner napkins to promote meaningful conversation at the dinner table.
LET’S GROW THE DINNER PARTY REVOLUTION:
My name is Lillie Fortino and I am the owner of a small line of designer fabric dinner napkins, Concept Fourteen. As an artist, I create hand-painted original designs influenced by modern decor and fashion trends and handprint the designs onto 20″x20″ fabric napkins in my local studio in Westport, Connecticut, utilizing sublimation printing.
My process creates extremely durable and easily-laundered napkins with permanent printing that will not fade, and are 100% wrinkle free out of the dryer… because, let’s face it, no modern home entertainer has time for ironing.
But, why? Why, on the brink of my thirtieth birthday did I decide my life mission was to create fabric napkins? Seems obscure, but there’s a real reason. I wanted a simple way to tap into the generation of emerging home owners with a product that not only meets their progressive design desires, but promotes something that seems to be dulled out by the immediacy of modern technology; face-to-face interaction and the nurturing of one’s most important relationships, celebrating a social tradition that has existed since the beginning of time… consciously making the time to share a meal, at home, with those you love.
Conversations are quick and convenient through text message, but this immediacy has removed much of the necessity of our in-person interactions, and in some cases, erased the room for organic, deep, inter-personal conversation.
Personally, I’ve always loved the effort of cooking a special meal, thoughtfully decorating a table, and hosting friends at my home to nurture these ideals. But, I was constantly disappointed by table linen options available and couldn’t find anything to excite me to throw these soirées. Patterns available seemed dated and stale, and did not emphasize the bright and fun simplicity of contemporary decor trends. Plus, the few designs I did find that spoke to me were really, really, expensive and super high-maitanance.
I had already started a dinner party club, where once a month my favorite people would gather for an old school meal at my home… but now I was on the mission to not only make my experience better, but give others the opportunity to enjoy their own entertaining.
I worked on my prototype, two designs that coordinated with eachother and featured an unusual (yet not garish) rainbow design and accompanied it with a design featuring my favorite artists’ likeness. I set my table, kept my mouth shut, and opened the door to my unassuming friends.
Here’s what I found:
1. Not only did friends immediately compliment my table decor, but they expressed interest in purchasing their own non-traditional napkins and suddenly felt compelled to try hosting their own dinner parties.
2. The evenings conversation didn’t start with the usual lack-luster “how was your day?” Instead, the napkins inspired my guests to comment on the unusual patterns, which expanded into conversation about design, art, pop-culture, and history. We talked about equal rights. We talked about capitalism. We talked about contemporary art. You know what we didn’t talk about? The weather.
A silly little napkin suddenly had a mission: to promote meaningful conversation at the dinner table in an era where family dinners seem to have lost their once prominent position.
I had created something to promote a lifestyle of passion and connection, and I knew I had to perfect it to make it accessible to everyone who wanted in on this concept: the dinner party revolution.
After two years of work, design, a trade show, marketing research campaigns, and classic elbow grease, this is what I now proudly produce:
Twenty-inch square soft spun-polyester dinner napkin sets (4 napkins/set) which I print my thoughtful hand-painted designs on through sublimation printing- all while maintaining a luxurious cotton feel. Why polyester? Why sublimation printing? Why designs from my art studio? It’s affordable, it’s extremely durable with patterns and designs that will never fade, it’s unbelievably easy to launder and use over and over while staying wrinkle-free, and finally, there are napkin designs that do something more than wipe your mouth and sit idle on your lap. They compliment your trendy decor, they bring art to your table, and they inspire people to talk deeply about things that matter. They are simple and unassuming ambassadors to busy people and families granting them the opportunity to dress their table up without the added effort of difficult laundering and ironing. You can get excited about enjoying every course while finding connection through the ritual of meal sharing.
Now, I have perfected my product and my mission, and thanks to the wonderful relationships of my sales reps in several territories throughout the county, I am sold in over 30 boutique retailers throughout the United States. Small shops are wonderful, but now it’s time to scale the brand and reach more households throughout the world.
What will I do with my Kickstarter funds?
1. Build Inventory: Secure large-scale manufacturing to fill large orders and reach consumers at chain retail locations.
2. Reach the Masses: Launch a marketing campaign through social media networks with people who REALLY know what they’re doing.
3. Create jobs and keep it honest: Build my team of creatives and offer a unique, supportive, and progressive work environment that treats all employees fairly and pays everyone well and equally. Real wages with real opportunity to help grow a real mission.
NEVER IRON YOUR NAPKINS AGAIN.
No one has time to iron napkins after every wash. Imagine never having to iron your napkins again? Our napkins are wrinkle-free and ready to go straight out of the dryer. Fold in fifths from the inside-out to look just as good as the day you got them.
THEY GET BETTER EVERY WASH.
It just keeps getting better! Every time you wash our napkins they will get softer and more luxurious. Talk about a napkin that just keeps giving back!
MORE SUSTAINABLE THAN YOU THINK.
Here’s why polyester isn’t as bad as you think: the water used in polyester production is less than 0.1 % of that required in cotton growing (Kalliala and Nousiainen, 1999), plus the material has incomparable durability and longevity, outlasting any cotton alternatives. Polyester isn’t just 1970’s leisure suits after all!
We use a printing method that permanently infuses the ink inside the fabric fibers which means it will never fade. Ever.
THEY’RE DESIGNED FOR YOU.
Ever shop for napkins and feel uninspired by the options? Our designs are unique and original works of art that are hand-painted with a contemporary customer in mind. Our napkins aren’t plaid- they’re personality.