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April 2005

Vendor Spotlight -- Hand-crafted Marketing


“When guests take a piece of Deneen Pottery home with them from a favorite B&B, it helps them remember the pleasure of their stay.  Guests can use our mugs again and again because our pieces will not change no matter the number of times they are run through a dishwasher.” --Niles Deneen

Why hand-crafted pottery is ideal for B&Bs:  Unlike chain motels and hotels, there are no “cookie-cutter” B&Bs. Each property is distinct and special, from the architecture and furnishings to the table settings and bathroom amenities. Similarly, setting your table with beautiful customized handmade mugs reminds your guests how much you care about quality and comfort. They can enjoy a mug that looks and feels great, while keeping their coffee or tea nice and hot. Guests appreciate the fact that you’re spoiling them with the highest quality in traditional stoneware.  Meanwhile, you’ll be able to enjoy the fact that they are remembering the name of your inn with every sip. Give them the opportunity to buy these same mugs to take home, and you give them the chance to remember your property on a daily basis.  Unlike a postcard or brochure – quickly filed and forgotten – Deneen Pottery / Cloth & Clay stoneware will be used by your guests for years to come.  While each one is different, the distinctive look of our mugs encourages guests to assemble a collection from their favorite inns.


  •  “I see the mugs as a great advertising tool. Guests who purchase a mug end up using it as a favorite mug at the office, in the car, or at home. When their friends or relatives look at the mugs they also learn about my Inn." -- Julie Rolsen, Garth Mansion

  • "Because my guests use the Eagles Mere mugs made for us by Deneen Pottery / Cloth & Clay, they make a physical connection, and are much more likely to buy a mug to take home.” -- Peter Glaubitz, Eagles Mere Inn

  • "I had no idea how sought after and highly coveted these mugs would be by our guests." -- Jim Fabien, Seven Pines Inn

  • “I’ve sat at dozens of B&B breakfast tables, listening to the guests talk about their favorite inns. When I ask for the names of those B&Bs, folks rarely remember them. If each guest had brought home a special mug, they would know and recommend those properties!” -- Sandy Soule,


More than mugs: A variety of high-quality accent items  will help you brand the high-quality experience of a stay at your inn, and puts your name in your guests’ hands.

Do not disturb signs: Use these on your doors, and offer them for sale. Guests can take them home for mornings when they don’t want the kids waking them up and would rather be cozy in one of your beds.

Ornaments: Use these as turndown gifts, hang them around the necks of wine or Champagne bottles, include them in gift baskets, and sell them in your gift area. Guests will remember your inn every year when they decorate for Christmas.

Wine coolers: Store them in the freezer and they will keep a bottle cool for up to two hours. No ice, less mess, and an elegant way to brand your inn.

Soap and lotion dispensers: Eliminate the waste and cost of plastic bottles while promoting your brand, not that of a giant detergent company.

About Deneen Pottery: At Deneen Pottery/Cloth & Clay in St. Paul, Minnesota, making stoneware mugs has been a family tradition since 1971. For the past 17 years we have specialized in making coffee mugs and other stoneware pieces for bed and breakfasts.

“I started making pottery at Luther College under Dean Schwarz who was a student of Marguerite Wildenhain (1896-1985),” explains Peter Deneen. “I learned about the Bauhaus School founded by Walter Gropius in Germany, after World War I. The main thrust of the Bauhaus movement was to create an environment that would nurture the bond between art and industry. Marguerite studied at the Bauhaus with the master potter Max Krehan and the artist Gerhard Marcks from 1919 to 1926 where she became a master potter. After being introduced to Marguerite at a college workshop, Peter and Mary applied and were accepted to her summer pottery school in northern California. “My wife and I spent six summers at Marguerite’s school. It was from Marguerite and her Bauhaus training that I learned to see how form follows function, and how design and beauty can become one,” he explained.

An accomplished master potter, Peter has surrounded himself with talented potters. With complete control of all phases of creation and production, Peter has developed a line of pottery in the academic and professional spirit of the master/apprentice tradition. Deneen Pottery mugs are hand-thrown one by one, in a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. Twenty-four pairs of hands will work on each piece during production until it is ready for shipping.

Glaze-Engrave™  is Deneen’s signature process, developed by Peter, and now under the careful eye of his son Owen Deneen. Original studio art is cut directly into the clay and filled with glaze, achieving a distinctive and detailed image. Creations include mugs, dinnerware, serving pieces, signs, magnets, ornaments, coasters and bud vases. These items are available in a virtual rainbow of colors, matching every decor. Customers can even choose a marble glaze, giving each piece two tones. Marble glaze colors are achieved by dipping each piece of pottery three times in various glazes. The variation occurs from the thickness of the glaze that goes on each piece and the temperature of the firing in the kiln. Stoneware is fired to 2100 degrees, unlike earthenware, which is fired to 1600 degrees and is not nearly as durable.

Niles, Peter and Mary’s eldest son, is in charge of sales and marketing, and says that since it’s a family business each person pitches in to do whatever necessary. He believes the values of Deneen Pottery are the values of most B&Bs. “Our stoneware is synonymous with the B&B experience—high in quality, unique in style, and distinctive in appearance—to leave a lasting impression,” he said. “Innkeepers truly appreciate our pottery,” Niles explained. “They reorder because the pottery is both attractive and functional, but also because it reminds guests of a wonderful overnight experience. When guests buy a piece of our pottery to take home with them from a B&B they enjoyed, it helps them them remember their stay,” Niles said. “It’s something they can use again and again because our pieces will not change no matter the number of times they are run through a dishwasher.”

For more information on Deneen Pottery or to order a collection of your own, visit ( or call 1-888-646-0238.

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