October 20, 2014
Text by Maria LaPiana
Design-led and inspired by timeless historical models, Juliska has made its mark on the tableware market-—and it’s just getting started.
Juliska’s tagline is “Possibly the most beautiful tableware in the world.” It’s succinct—and spot on.
“We came up with it right out of the gate,” says Capucine De Wulf Gooding, who founded the company with her husband, David Gooding, in 2001. She’s reminded of something a friend once said: “David’s so English. If he were American he’d say, ‘It’s the best tableware in the world.’ Period. But being from England, he wouldn’t want to assume anything.” She laughs.
The “almost factual history” on the company’s website will make you smile. Juliska’s wares—from glass and dinnerware to linens and lighting—will make you swoon. Selling through 600 premium retailers around the country (including Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bergdorf Goodman) and beyond, the company is fast becoming a leader in tableware design in the U.S.
It all started when, while traveling in Europe, the couple fell in love with Bohemian glass. They started collecting the handworked pieces (produced by a melding of glass-blowing techniques from the fifteenth to seventeenth centuries) and were soon inspired to manufacture authentic reproductions. They sold them under the name Juliska (a Hungarian diminutive of Julia) as a way of honoring the heritage of the glass.
The company is best described as “design-led,” with an aesthetic that resonates with so many, according to Capucine, for two reasons: history and philosophy. “Our collections are based on patterns that have stood the test of time,” she says. “All of them are different. We go from pewter stemware to bamboo to Country Estate dinnerware inspired by toile. They don’t even look like they come from the same company.”
It’s the way Capucine and her creative team interpret a pattern that makes a glass or a plate so timeless and broadly appealing. The recently launched Field of Flowers line, for example, was inspired by botanical drawings from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Capucine says they studied many of them, cut out images of the ones they liked, pieced them together to create a “bouquet,” and voila! A new collection was born.
The Goodings source products all over the world, but they’ve established headquarters and a flagship store in the shadow of I-95, on Canal Street in Stamford.
Capucine was born in France and raised in the States; David left his native England to attend college in New York. They met in 1997 and married a year later. They couldn’t be happier about having adopted Connecticut as their home. They’re bringing up their children (“three girls, scalawags, ages eleven, ten, and seven,” says their mother) in Shippan Point, on the southern tip of Stamford. “We consider ourselves very fortunate to live and work here,” she adds. “We absolutely love it.”
She and her husband care deeply about everything Juliska—from photo shoots and copywriting to merchandising to the team of professionals they work with. “I like to think that’s what makes us different, she says. “It all shows a lot of love.”
Juliska’s products are manufactured wherever the couple finds the best artisans and craftspeople. “We follow the craft,” Capucine says. “If we know the best ceramics are coming out of Portugal, that’s where we’ll go. We make our Bohemian glass where they make it best, in the Czech Republic and Poland.”
They also strive to price their wares so that they are affordable for many people “We know what our customer feels comfortable paying,” says Capucine. “It’s hard to keep our prices down sometimes, but we look at materials and go from there.”
What’s next? “We definitely want to grow, wherever we can add value and bring the Juliska lifestyle to others,” she says. But the company’s growth is measured. “We’re introducing a small, edited collection of wood furniture, some dining tables, and armoires,” she adds, “inspired, as always, by fine craftsmanship and techniques.”
“Our customers say Juliska makes every day pretty for them, that it’s an everyday indulgence,” says Capucine. And that, in the end, is the company’s simple mission. •
Juliska Flagship Store