Editor’s Note: I originally connected with L.A. Baker through twitter. I remember at the time thinking how well some of her designs would look on the café tables I help manufacturer. However, after learning more about her, her illustrations and the storyline of polka dot junction I had to get involved her project. I really think she has something special happening on her website which includes the interesting storyline of polka dot junction. My hope is that you too will take the time to enjoy her work and experience the fun and interesting narrative of polka dot junction. You will notice that the proper name polka dot junction is lowercase. That is part of the style on her website and carried into this article.
For those who haven’t visited the polka dot junction website know that much of her work goes well in coffee houses and tea shops. For example, the junction’s decorative pillows and towels can help to create an eclectic atmosphere feel; giving that special area you are decorating a special decor. Also, many of their small products like their mugs and plates would make a nice addition to your gift shop area. Their products might be what you see first when you visit the site, what will keep you and others coming back is the unique storyline of polka dot junction.
When coming to polka dot junction, says L.A. Baker, “Visitors can expect to find my illustrations and designs on home and gift items along with a narrative. There is a substantial dose of humor.” She goes on to say… “The recurrent themes include some of my interests, past and present avocations such as dance, Pilates, bike riding and the beach. I am hoping to eventually add an audio link so that I can narrate because I love voice over work.”
Baker goes on to say that the theme of the site can be summed up on the home page as ‘the crossing of an urban environment, the beach and your best frame of mind’ (this is all virtual of course). The very first person to pick up on the storyline was Shawn Larson, owner of CafeTableTops.com who also became my web and marketing consultant. In the conversation of expanding the storyline through the website he asked if I would like him to help develop the storyline for me, I said: "oh no, that story has been in my head for 10 years, I will do it!”
As far as the name goes explains Baker, “I wanted a name that captured the mood of my work. There is an overall whimsical quality to it which is inherent in polka dots. As for "junction", I like the word and the whole name "polka dot junction” also plays on the name of a popular TV show when I was growing up called "Petticoat Junction". I identify quite strongly with being a baby boomer and love the music and culture of that time. I probably reference it too often, but it brings me pleasure, oh well!”
Getting to know the characters are an important part of understanding the storyline says L.A. Baker. There are several fun characters that you will get to know when you visit the website, connect on her Twitter page or read her blog on the internet. To start, says Baker, we have the mayor who happens to be a dancing jester cat and appears on many of the designs. There is a group of rather grumpy beagles who only come out in the rain, a colorful yet not very diverse community of witches and all of the witches have cats.
Those same characters can be purchased on polka dot junction that features these same whimsical characters along with some standard illustrations. These items include home and gift items such as accent pillows, bathmats, mugs, and plates. Also tee shirts, tote bags, and greeting cards. Some are theme-oriented, some are geometric patterns, some are floral and some are abstract. Pilates, bicycles or witches are the most frequent purchases.”
“Who would enjoy this site?” Developing that niche audience can be a challenging task says L.A. Baker “I do sell items for men but imagine that it would mostly be women shopping on my site. Along with fellow baby boomers, I am hoping to find an audience of seniors as well as younger generations. I would say anyone looking for unique gifts that cannot be found anywhere else. I have found that designs and items that target a specific niche such as Pilates, bicycles, holiday cards and witches seen to do well in terms of sales.“
After visiting the site one could see those who enjoy coffee, tea, ice cream and fun foods will have a lot of buying options at polka dot junction. “Items like “mugs would fit well in a coffee shop . . . also plates, napkins, decorative pillows, greeting and note card, ceramic ornaments. I have several designs with cupcakes, some with ice cream, seasonal and holiday themes. I also have some items with an actual café theme. ‘hearsay from the junction” is the local paper on my site and could prove to be coffee shop reading material.”
Regardless of your tastes, Baker hopes “that readers would stop by if not necessarily to shop, but to meet the residents (story characters), and get a sense of the junction and of course, I would never turn down a sale!”