Home London The Croydon company creates a variety of Christmas decorations

The Croydon company creates a variety of Christmas decorations

The Croydon company creates a variety of Christmas decorations

The founders of the company, which makes inclusive Christmas decorations – often inspired by the powerful “black perfection” – said it’s been an educational and inspiring process seeing the positive impact they’ve had in the fight for diversity.

Natalie Duvall, 39, and Alison Burton, 50, from Croydon, south London, founded jewelery company March Muses in 2019, inspired by their daughters.

Ms Duvall, who is also the company’s creative director, told the PA news agency that a question her seven-year-old daughter Sofia had while decorating the family Christmas tree in 2018 led to the birth of March. Muses.

“Can Christmas Angels Have Brown Skin?” she asked her mother.

Ms. Duvall replied, “Of course they can have brown skin. Why do you even ask such a question?” while they hung white Santas, white elves on the shelf, and white angels.

“And I thought, oh, okay, so you think angels can’t have brown skin.”

She said she turned to places like Amazon, John Lewis and Etsy to try and find all sorts of Christmas decorations, expecting to find “a bunch”.

“There weren’t any, apart from one in America which cost around $40 (£33.60) including delivery,” she added.

“And I just thought, I’m not going to have New Year’s that way – it made me really sad – and I wanted to make sure that wasn’t the case going forward.”

March Muses was born in 2019, a name that means a lot to the couple.

“We were both born in March, we’re March babies, and we were inspired to create this line by our daughters — they were our muses, our inspiration,” said Ms. Burton, who is the company’s director of projects, PA.

“And a lot of our figurines were inspired by people we think of as great black people.

“We have two tree tops – one named Chaka, like Chaka Khan, we have Mariah, like Mariah Carey, the Queen of Christmas, and figurines named Diana, like Ross, and Aretha, all of whom were also born in March “.

The tree, based on the All I Want For Christmas Is You singer, which seems to be a staple of the holiday charts every year, holds a special place in Ms. Duvall’s heart.

“It was the one I enjoyed designing the most,” she said.

“It took quite a few times to make the dress, so it didn’t look like a toilet brush, but it turned out great and it only took 10 days.

“I just look at her and think, ‘I love you.’ She just sparkles and is so beautiful.”

The design process was educational and initially led to some “horrible, horrible patterns.”

“We were lucky to find a manufacturer in China who brought our vision to life, but because we were asking them to do something different – non-white Christmas decorations – we had to be careful about the language we used,” Ms Duvall said. .

“When we originally said black, we got an angel who was literally as black as coal, and I thought we need to change our language, we need to say African-American, and we started to get closer to what we wanted.

“It was a lot of work, a lot of horrible, horrible patterns, a lot of weird hairdos, including one with a widow’s peak and some 1980s hairdos.”

However, Ms Burton said the process of trial and error eventually led to them being able to “refine” their finished product while learning a lot.

They also appeared on Dragon’s Den this April, where they received investment from Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones.

She added that it was all worth it to see the “super excited” reactions of both women’s children.

“They’ve been involved in the process from the beginning, so when the samples came in, they were really excited to see them, and they’ve seen the business grow bigger and bigger over the years and we’re introducing more angels,” she said. said.

‘Oh my God, they look like me’ are some of the things they’ve said to me.”

However, she added that now they see them as normal, which was an even more surprising reaction to her.

“This is exactly what we want, we want this to be a reaction,” she said.

Customers also gave “brilliant” feedback on the variety of the product range.

“We have a very diverse customer base because we have figures in lighter and darker skin tones.

“So we cover so many bases – whether you’re mixed race, from the Asian community, Latino, our figurines will suit anyone who has a bit of melanin.

“And some people buy them as gifts, maybe not from that background, because they just want to champion diversity.”

March Muses have also started creating items, including wrapping and tag sets, greeting cards and cake toppers.

With the FIFA World Cup taking place in Qatar from November 20th to December 18th, the couple wanted to mark the occasion with a touch of positivity by including an angel footballer in their range.

“After seeing the racism shown towards the players at the Euros, we thought we needed to do something positive and support the team so that this time football will hopefully come home,” Ms Duvall added.

March Muses jewelery can be purchased from Selfridges and Liberty London or from their website: https://www.marchmuses.co.uk/


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