Often people ask me how I got Coca-Cola to let me use their iconic glass bottles to make my jewelry. And I answer, “they came to me and commissioned me to create a line of jewelry for them using their bottles!”
This is the story of how that happened.
IT STARTED WITH A PHONE CALL (remember those?)
Around 2006 or 2007 I got a phone call in the studio that I will never forget. I The Caller ID flashed "Coca-Cola" and I just thought it was someone who worked at Coca-Cola needing a gift for their mom, friend or significant other.
When I answered, the woman on the other side introduced herself and said, “I’m the Director of New Product Development and Hard Goods Purchasing at Coca-Cola, and we would like you to do a line of your jewelry from our bottles.”
Honestly for a second or two I thought it was a friend prank calling me but it was real. Coca-Cola was about to open their new World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, in a LEED certified (environmentally low impact) building, and they were looking for sustainable items to sell in the gift shop. They told me they had been trying to figure out a recycled jewelry line when someone mentioned my name and business since I was already creating recycled jewelry. They came to me to do what I was already doing for them. (easy!)
From the phone call, we set up a time to meet in person to go over the specifics. I was excited yet terrified when I went for my first visit to the headquarters with my jewelry samples. As a graduate student turned artist I’d never worked in a corporate setting and I knew nothing of corporate protocol. But thankfully, the team at Coke were amazing and so kind, walking me through all the steps of a licensing agreement and product submission -- which means my work is an official part of Coca-Cola history with jewelry samples in the historical vaults along with the Polar Bears and Rosy Cheeked Coke drinking Santas.
15 YEAR RELATIONSHIP WITH COCA-COLA
My line of jewelry made from recycled Coca-Cola bottles was a huge success! Now, I have an almost 15-year relationship with Coca-Cola and I've made all kinds of things from their bottles. Everything from jewelry to chandeliers to lighting for some of their corporate partners.
I also was a featured artist who got to embellish the 'Coca-Cola' themed dolphin as part of a public art exhibit when the Georgia Aquarium opened a dolphin exhibit. I also embellished a giant Coca-Cola bottle with recycled glass when Coke recognized me as one of the Top 10 artists in Georgia.
It really is amazing that a company as large as Coca-Cola could take the time to work with a small, independent art brand like Smart Glass. And equally amazing that an independent artist like myself could be in my studio doing what I do, creating, and following my bliss, and one of the largest companies in the world would call and ask to work together.
LIMITED TIME COLLECTION
The original jewelry pieces I made for Coca-Cola used their old fashioned glass bottle in which their logo was embossed into the glass. These embossed logo bottles were used at the World of Coca-Cola when it first opened in 2007, but the company has since transitioned away from these bottles and has moved to printed labels instead.
But these bottles represent a unique product line and collaboration for me and I have hoarded every embossed logo bottle I could find! After years of making this jewelry, I still have a small, dwindling stash that I want to share with you!
This November, for our Product Of The Month, we are featuring some of these early pieces made from the embossed logo. Get ‘em while you can, when my stash is gone they will be gone, and just another part of Coca-Cola history.
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ABOUT SMART GLASS
Smart Glass Jewelry is an artist's studio based out of Atlanta, Georgia specializing in upcycling post-consumer glass bottles into wearable, beautiful jewelry. Smart Glass Jewelry reclaims glass beer, wine, saki, vodka, whiskey and gin bottles to create their colorful and sustainable designs.
ABOUT KATHLEEN PLATE
Kathleen Plate is the talented artist behind Smart Glass Jewelry. Born and raised in Cathlamet, a small town in Washington State, her small-town roots are evident in her minimalist, “keep it simple” design philosophy. Now residing in Atlanta, Georgia, you’ll find her every day in her studio, tinkering and creating, and hitting the occasional dumpster at night.