We started Designer Crackers out of a love for the craft of handmade unique Christmas goodies. We have maintained our high standard of quality even as we have grown, and employ a team of 5 to help us make the crackers. We love seeing the smiles on people's faces, and knowing that our crackers and party bombs help to make your occassion extra special.
We trust that you will enjoy our crackers as much as we enjoy making them!
Natalie Bruckner visits a small Wareham company that makes luxury Christmas crackers for the rich and famous. (Article in the London Evening paper, December 2006)
When Sue Hamilton at Designer Crackers in Wareham answered the phone just 2 weeks before Christmas [several years ago], she didn't expect to be speaking to 10 Downing Street. Sue says "It was our busy time of year and the phone rang. A woman at the end of the line said she wanted a pack of specially designed crackers. When I asked her name she said 'Major', it didn't click that it was Norma Major until she said the delivery address would be 10 Downing Street."
But having dealt with some rather prestigious clients, including Royalty and A-list celebrities on a number of occasions, this kind of request is nothing new.
Sue runs a very bespoke Cracker service, making hand-made luxurious crackers. 14 years ago, Sue took a trip to London to meet with the buyers for Harrods. "I'd made some Christmas crackers for a friend, and she suggested I approach Harrods, so I did." Sure enough, Sue soon had to recruit a team of helpers, to make these custom crackers.
Today, everyday is Christmas for Sue as she carefully selects suitable gifts, decorations and paper to suit the taste of her customers. Her clients include a number of top department stores in London.
She says it's a niche market, and one that, as far as she can see, will never die. "The British are very traditional when it comes to Christmas. Crackers have become a big part of the family Christmas dinner. Although just like fashion, we have had to move with the trends over the years. We now offer a more diverse range in electric blue, shocking pink and gunmetal grey. But when most people think of Christmas crackers they envisage bright reds and greens, and covered in holly and acorns."
Admittedly, the gifts, just like our expectations, have had to change over the years. Today a thumble or a miniature plastic hairbrush just won't do. "We have everything from cigar cutters and champagne stopppers, to elegant ladies manucure sets or travel shaving packs for men."
And at £9.50 for a luxurious cracker, or £24.50 for a cracker containing a Diesel fountain pen, the market has changed. As Sue and her 5 helpers - and of course Lotti the dog - get busy with glitter and glue, 'the Cracker lady' glances up to me and says: "It takes about 30 minutes to make a hand-made cracker. It's not easy, but we do love seeing the end result and the smile on people's faces."
That'll make you think next time you rip one apart and throw it with the rest of the rubbish in the recycling bin!