White Lily Glass combines functionality and creativity with beautiful fused glass coasters, platters and bowls. From her small, home studio artist and lifelong Wisconsinite, Jennifer Spink, creates pieces that celebrate the spirit of Madison.
Location: Oregon, WI
Product: Fused glass products
Established: April 2009
How White Lily Glass got started:
An accountant by day, Jennifer was looking for a creative outlet during the stressful downturn in the economy. Always open to experimenting in different types of art, she registered for a stained glass class and then moved quickly to mosaics and fused glass workshops. After trying fused glass, she was hooked but discovered that it was an expensive hobby and started an Etsy shop to support her new diversion.
Jennifer’s first thought was something fun and perhaps, kitschy. But her first ideas had all already been taken. An article she read suggested combining three memorable words so she brainstormed ideas based on some of her favorite things. Lilies of the valley, Jennifer’s favorite flowers, ended up being the inspiration for White Lily Glass, LLC.
Growth of White Lily Glass:
White Lily Glass started by selling pieces directly on Etsy and at Orange Tree Imports and grew organically from there. Focusing sales efforts mainly in wholesale, White Lily Glass now sells in a half dozen shops and a few online stores in addition to her own website.
“The sky is the limit,” she said, “no limitations,” is the way she describes the company’s future. Still, while she appreciates the creative outlet the business provides, Jennifer enjoys being an accountant.
The glass industry has faced setbacks as many US suppliers have closed or relocated their production facilities. Color selection is an important component in Jennifer’s work—Badger red and the signature orange, yellow and green of the Memorial Union Terrace chairs, for example. Jennifer has had to rely on her personal stockpile during the transition to new suppliers. Another challenge she faces is balancing White Lily Glass with her fulltime job and family.
Keeping her hobby fun:
Turning a hobby into a business can be a challenge but Jennifer keeps things interesting by allowing herself creative time to explore different techniques and pieces. She enjoys experimenting with different textiles and soldering them into her fused glass pieces often using her creations for personal gifts. “You’re only limited by your own imagination,” she says.
Jennifer and her family enjoy road trips around Wisconsin and the U.S. where they explore small towns along the way—trying new restaurants, browsing shops and finding ice cream cones for the kids. A special Wisconsin tradition, Jennifer also likes to try different supper clubs (and old fashioneds) around the state. The next one on her list—Ishnala Supper Club on Mirror Lake.