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The Making of Magnolia Exclusives

by Magnolia
Published on January 17, 2024

Beauty has many forms, and we often find it in little imperfections and details done by hand. Whether it’s time-honored technique that keeps a lost art alive or the modern creativity of makers who surround us, there’s a joy in creating something new by blending what’s worked well before with our own take.

That’s the heart behind our Magnolia-exclusive decor, kitchen, and furniture pieces—each intentionally made to live well with you and only available at magnolia.com or Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas. Many feature our maker’s mark (a symbol of originality crafted with care). Many are concepted by our Design and Product Development Team and in-house artists. And many are custom-made through the craft of talented artisans around the world.

We sat down with Casey Green, our senior director of product design and development, to learn about the process behind our exclusive pieces, from initial inspiration to final reality.

Magnolia: Share a brief overview of your job and the inner workings of Magnolia’s Design and Product Development Team.

Casey Green: Our small team consists of me, two designers, and two product developers. One half of our team draws, designs, and makes creative decisions—like measurements, textiles, and colors—while the other half deals with numbers and matching our designs with production partners. We dream big, but also have people who execute—and that’s what makes our team work so well together.

Inspiration for our exclusively made pieces can come from anywhere. Jo loves antiques, so we spend lots of time exploring vintage shops and antique fairs to take note of special details—like a unique embroidery stitch, wood carving, or dish color—that we want to incorporate throughout our product collections.

What does the process look like to create a Magnolia-exclusive piece—from initial inspiration to final product?

Each season, we work with Jo to create an overall vision for the collection. We sit with the seasonal theme of Magnolia Journal and talk through how we can tether our products to the story we’re telling. We strive for relevance, not trends—going back to the basics and what remains tried and true. We ask: What will guests like for the foreseeable future?

We strive for relevance, not trends—going back to the basics and what remains tried and true.

After we have a plan, we spend a couple weeks sketching out ideas and reviewing them with our Merchandising Team to make sure we’re aligned. Then, we get technical with details, measurements, and materials so our vendors can get started creating samples. Once we have the samples, we carefully review them with Jo so we can refine the details and make any needed design pivots.

Our two product developers prepare everything for production—which is a lot more extensive than people might imagine. They make sure we have all the packaging worked out, the importing codes set up for customs, etc. It’s hundreds of little details that can't be overlooked, and it takes about 15 months, from start to finish, to hold the final product in our hands.

How do you go about finding skilled artisans, vendors, and makers around the world to partner with in production?

Our team has great relationships with suppliers and works hard to place each of our exclusive designs with the right production partner. We recently took a 10-day trip to India to visit some of our vendors and learn about their specialties. We sat with skilled makers as they threw clay, glazed and fired handmade pots, and carved wooden lamp bases by hand. We took note of who excelled at woodwork, who honed block-print technique, and who worked with terracotta clay in an interesting way.

Our love for a hand-done element was definitely reinforced on this trip, as each piece was made by someone using their artistry and hands to create something beautiful. These are not highly technical, advanced factories—they’re communities of people.

Many of our pieces feature original hand-drawn motifs and watercolor designs. Who creates all this beautiful artwork?

We have a fine artist who works on our team, Shaina Page. Oftentimes, the little flower icons or watercolor designs you see on our kitchen pieces and textiles are done by her. She creates original designs, then we make them into repeating patterns or artwork that we send to our vendors for product application.

How do Magnolia-exclusive products differ from other pieces in the collection?

The clearest answer is you can only get it at Magnolia. We take a lot of time each season figuring out what is missing from the world and strive to create unique products that our guests will want to keep for years to come. We work to balance form and function—wanting each item to feel special and make your home more beautiful, but also make your life easier and more seamless.

We take a lot of time each season figuring out what is missing from the world and strive to create unique products that our guests will want to keep for years to come.

Magnolia-exclusive products are oftentimes a limited run, meaning we produce them in very small quantities. There may only be 500 units of an item out there, which is special to think about—you could be the only person in your city or state with that specific piece in your home.

Do you have an all-time favorite Magnolia-exclusive product you’ve had a hand in developing? If so, tell us about it!

I adore our Rustic Glass Stacking Tumblers. These came about when Jo was designing a lot of open shelving in kitchens, and I wanted to help find a way to use the vertical space well. These tumblers are tapered at bottom (which allows them to be stackable) and feel great in your hand. My family uses these every day, and I give them as gifts every chance I get! The double bonus is that the tapered section measures exactly 2 ounces, so you have a built-in measuring tool if you like making cocktails or mocktails.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


Explore more of our exclusive pieces (including furniture!), each crafted with intention and care:

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