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An invitation to a dinner party hosted by Fruitsuper founders Sallyann Corn and Joe Kent sometimes lands guests in an impromptu focus group.
When the art school sweethearts think up new designs, “we usually know when we’re onto something,” Corn says. Sometimes, though, they need a little extra feedback. So they invite a bunch of friends over, surreptitiously place prototypes on the dinner table, and wait.
The Chinatown–International District design studio specializes in products that elevate everyday life—surprising and delightful versions of items most people would never think to improve upon, like their Lift Trivet, which in the absence of a hot dish, passes easily for decor. Or their Anywhere Vases, simple steel-and-cork shapes that support everything from foraged fern fronds to farmers market bouquets, transforming mason jars and even beer bottles into botanical displays.
So when they quietly set out early mock-ups of the vases in their apartment dining room, “our friends were like, What is that? Tell me everything,” Corn says. Now, Fruitsuper counts the perfected vases—three shapes of just the right weight, dotted with holes in various sizes and patterns and lined with cork to keep them stationary on any vessel—among its core products. “The things that we kind of reach for in our daily lives,” Corn explains.
“Most of the products that we come up with are something we want for ourselves and we can't find, and we realize that we can't be the only people that are looking," Corn says; Anywhere Vases were born because they wanted an “insanely expensive bunch of tulips” to look as good on the table as it did in their heads. They wanted a stockpile of beautiful vases to fit in their limited cabinet space. They wanted a works-for-anyone gift that could easily turn an unassuming stem into a dramatic centerpiece.
Slotted into the triangular vase's single opening, a floppy wildflower picked on a late summer walk brings a bit of gravitas to a neglected water glass—and, as is Fruitsuper’s ultimate mission, makes life “a little easier, a little sweeter, a little more fun.”