September 28, 2010

Meet and Greet with Elan McPherson of Flavour Design Studio

I love cute dishes, especially handmade ones.  They can brighten up a boring meal like oatmeal or cereal.  So when I went to last month's New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF), I was like a kid in a candy store.  Brightly colored tabletop and home accessories were everywhere!

NYIGF was also a great venue to directly meet some artisans.  It's where I met the designers behind Black + Blum (remember to enter our giveaway with them!)  I also got to meet Flavour Design Studio's Elan McPherson - stay-at-home mom, entrepreneur, and designer of our fave Oprah-approved Buddha Bowls.  She was so sweet - which wasn't a surprise.  After all, her most popular creation started off as a gift for her grandma.

Elan welcomed me with a hug (she is a fellow Canadian after all!)  I marveled at all of her products.  Elan makes pieces that are both pretty, yet functional.  And chatting with her was like meeting up with a girlfriend over coffee.

Me:  "What's your design philosophy?"

Elan:  "I try to design products that make people say "Why didn't I think of that?"  My pieces aim to be clever, yet elegant and ergonomic.  They should spark conversation or at least make you smile."

Me:  "What was your first piece?"

Elan:  "The Udon and Ramen bowls.  I love eating noodles and I wanted to make something that I could use to easily eat noodles while watching TV."
My husband both uses and models the Buddha Bowl while he rests his injured foot and watches TV.

Me:  "How did the Buddha Bowls and Baby Buddha Bowls come about?"

Elan:  "I actually made it for my grandmother.  She has arthritis in her wrists and couldn't hold chopsticks (for the Udon and Ramen bowls), so I made the Buddha Bowls that were much more comfortable for her.  I made the Baby Buddha Bowls afterward which was perfect to use while feeding my son because I was always on my feet."

Me: "What was it like getting into Oprah's O Magazine?"

Elan: "It was such a surprise. I was just starting out and didn't have any packaging set up.  But it was an honour finding out that Oprah really liked my Buddha Bowls. She has the green one (snowpea colour), which they told me was her favorite colour."

Me:  "What are your new designs?"

Elan:  "The Buddha Belly Plates are plates that you can easily and comfortably carry on one hand. They're perfect for entertaining.  This appetizer dish (with the blueberries) is so new I haven't named it yet.  And the Hot Seat stool is neat because it swivels and uses a 10 qt brazier pot as a seat.  Everything I design is handmade in California or British Columbia (check out these neat "behind the scenes" studio pics) except the bar stool, which I work with partners in France to hand make and produce."
Every product comes with Elan's autograph!
Me: "Thank you so much Elan! It was so nice meeting you!"

Elan: "Thank you. The next time I'm in New York, I have to get your recommendations for vegetarian places!"  (note! I've listed some vegetarian restaurants in my Visitor's Dining Guide to NYC)

If you like handmade products, check out Elan's products both in our shop and more in her studio.

Reminder: Get your Buddha Bowls and other Flavour Design products available in our HLFD shop at 50% off (use code FIFTYHILO at checkout, expires 9/30).

Click here for your chance to win products by another fabulous designer, Black + Blum.  Our Black + Blum giveaway ends 9/30.


  1. Thanks Rebecca! I think I like the bowls better because Elan the designer made them for her grandma!


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