What are the two things that come to mind when you’re trying to choose wedding gifts for your bridesmaids? Something pretty, and something you can customize are both usually top of the list. Well, we’re about to introduce you to a business that combines both of those things! Marbella Dish is a business based out of Calgary, Alberta. The dishes are small polymer clay dishes made by hand, and with great care and love, in some spectacular colours and styles.
They are perfect for keeping your wedding and engagement ring safe when you need to remove them. Plus, they’re a pretty gorgeous accessory for your kitchen countertop or bathroom shelf!
We sat down with the amazing lady behind this creative idea to learn a little bit more about her, the business, and how it all started.
Tell us a little about yourself!
Hi, I’m Alexandra!
I’m a wedding and branding photographer, and founder of Marbella Dish, currently living in Calgary, Alberta. Although I was born in Switzerland, I was raised in a small town outside of Salmon Arm in British Columbia called White Lake before going to school in Halifax for my business degree.
My husband and I met in high school… yes, we’re high school sweethearts! We have an Aussiedoodle called Jasper and he’s the BEST!
In my free time, I love taking road trips, travelling and going on spontaneous adventures! My other loves include freshly baked bread and being able to physically touch a photograph. It’s so timeless!
I love design and I’m always drawn to simplicity and symmetry.
How did you first get started with making trinket dishes?
Each time I took my ring off and put it “somewhere safe” or “somewhere I’ll remember” I felt like it was a huge disservice to something so meaningful to me. After all, I was taking it off to protect it, not to hide it away.
I wanted somewhere to put my ring (and eventually my other jewelry and trinkets) that wouldn’t feel like I was just shoving it away in a drawer. So I wanted something that could sit out on a table and not only show my appreciation for my treasures, but also add to the overall appearance of my home – so we made my first Marbella Dishes!
How did the business start to take off?
Through Instagram! The dishes were a big crowd please with fine art photographers. A lot of them started using the dishes in their work, mainly for styling or flat lay images which gave Marbella Dish great exposure through their profiles, too.
Since then it’s been growing and growing on Instagram and Etsy!
Do you offer any specific wedding/bridal packages?
I do offer custom calligraphy on dishes that are really fun for bridal gifts to say “Mrs” “Hers” “Bride”, or calligraphy specific to bridesmaids!
Have you noticed trends in wedding gifts changing at all over time? If yes, in what way?
Not so much over time, but I do see a change season to season! During the summer months I get a lot more requests for color and blush tone. During the winter I had a lot more black/darker designs like Onyx or Marble or gold edge dishes.
Generally, I would say the majority of clients go with more neutral options.
Who usually buys your products as wedding gifts? And who do they gift them to?
My main clients are actually photographers! I get photographers who purchase these dishes for their own styling kits, and I get photographers who purchase custom dishes for each of their wedding clients as a thank you gift. They’re usually customized with a client’s last name!
I do get bridesmaids or grooms who purchase for the bride as a gift, but more often I get brides who are purchasing the dishes as gifts for others, or for themselves.
How would you describe your philosophy when it comes to working with customers to organize their wedding gifts?
I’m very open and honest about my work, and I am always up to trying new things! I love working with clients on custom orders to deliver their vision.
How would you describe the aesthetic of your designs?
I would say Marbella has a very feminine, playful, elegant and handmade aesthetic!
I definitely strive to have the dishes represent and capture the romance of a wedding, but also want them to add to the overall appearance of a home!
Do customers use Marbella Dishes for anything other than jewelry?
Customers mainly use them for jewelry and as a flat lay styling accessory – I have had some people say they use their Marbella dish for keys, bath bombs and other trinkets. They hold up well in water – as long as there is no calligraphy!
What are the most frequently asked questions you hear from customers?
What material are they made of?
Are your dishes ceramic?
They’re not, they are a super lightweight and durable polymer clay dish
Do you make custom orders?
Do you offer wholesale pricing?
How do you make Marbella Dishes?
They are hand made from polymer clay! I mold the clay into a marble pattern and, to preserve the pieces, I harden the polymer through baking.
Do you have a favourite design or color scheme to work with?
I love neutral designs like Shell, Sandstone and Earl Grey. Those are also the most popular designs.
Sandstone is probably my favorite to work with for weddings. It has a blush tone to it but is still very timeless and romantic.
What positive feedback do you hear most frequently from customers?
The dishes are super lightweight and fairly durable. They hold up great in water so they are awesome to have near a sink.
Is there anything else you would like to mention about your services, products, or brand?
One thing that throws people off sometimes is just how lightweight they actually are! From the images, they seem like a ceramic dish and that’s not accurate.
They are handmade and have their own perfect imperfections 😉
“This is so beautiful! Words cannot describe what an awesome styling piece this is. I was afraid it would be incredibly fragile and maybe break without extra special packing, but it is lightweight and seems pretty sturdy. Photographs for fine art shoots like a DREAM!”
“Absolutely love my new jewelry dish! It doesn’t scratch my pieces when I put them down like porcelain does. Looks fantastic. Thanks again!”
You can contact Alex about her beautiful Marbella Dish here.