NeoCon: IzzyCritters Positive Partnership

June 18, 2007
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CHICAGO — A playful partnership between Grand Rapids design shop Studio Z and Spring Lake manufacturer izzydesign is opening up new ground for both companies. The partnership has created izzyCritters, a line of stuffed animals made with Studio Z’s Jacqform woven textile technology and distributed under the izzydesign brand.

All proceeds from izzyCritters are donated to a variety of children’s charities. The characters — including Puck the African Penguin, Penelope the Giant Panda, and eight other endangered species — became available initially as an izzydesign promotional giveaway at last week’s NeoCon trade show.

Izzydesign founder and President Chuck Saylor said izzyCritters is an opportunity to expand the brand in a positive way.

“I’ve always thought that izzy was not just about selling furniture,” said Saylor. “If we build our brand enough, I think we can sell anything. It’s great if we can do that with the intent of helping children and endangered species.”

The line also showcases the Jacqform process. Jacqform minimizes sewing and can all but eliminate waste in the weaving process. With less sewn seams, material made with Jacqform should prove more durable than traditional woven fabrics.

Studio Z, led by founder and lead designer Anna Zaharakos, this month launched its new Digital Collection, a portfolio of designs that can be printed on interior space dividers, windows, privacy screens, tabletops and other applications using Portage firm Agio Imaging’s GlassPix technology.

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