Tucked away in the heart of downtown Tacoma, Enamel Co. is truly a punster's paradise.
Mugs emblazoned with 'Owl I want is you to go away' (featuring an image of owl) 'I'm a Wreck' (accompanied with a sinking ship) and one of my personal faves - 'I Feel Stabby' (with you guessed it - a unicorn) are just a few of the funny, punny pieces here.
But the coolest thing about thing about them - may just be the unique canvas that they're created on.
"I didn’t really know anything about enamel wear and I saw one of the mugs at a coffee shop and it was just so cute and I wondered how they made them," said Karen Simpson, artist and designer who started the biz after becoming smitten with the super sturdy material called Enamelware.
"I think its retro and classic and beautiful and ecological and inexpensive - and I just love it," she beamed.
If this stuff looks familiar, it may be because it's frequently used for camping.
"It doesn’t break and it's timeless, it’s wonderful," explained Erin Laycock. She's another part of this tight-knit team, along with shop dog, Charlie the doxie.
Karen and Erin are the perfect pair, literally finishing each other sentences but also, each bringing an entirely different skill set.
"Karen is the brains behind the operation. I have brains too but we do different things," Laycock pointed out.
According to Simpson "She [Erin] runs everything in here!"
Bottom line, "We have a lot of the yin and the yang but then we crossover and it's beautiful," stated Laycock.
A lot of their products give a real P-N-W vibe like their 'Take a Hike' 'Be More Pacific' and Sasquatch mugs.
"Look at where we are, its so beautiful here," exclaimed Simpson. "It’s the most perfect place in the whole world and you cannot [not] celebrate it."
You could say that when it comes to witty sayings - their cups 'runneth over'! So how do they think of this stuff?
"I love puns, and I'm a giant nerd," confessed Simpson, "And sometimes I'm a little anti-social."
She showed us a few of her faves like "I love to kill you with kindness, but all I have is this blunt object filled with scolding hot liquid," "Ask me about my social anxiety," "Hey you, please go away" and "Next week has been exhausting."
They decorate plates, pans, mugs and more in their headquarters in Tacoma. The process starts with Simpson's creative design, captured on a kind of decal. Then Laycock prints it, places it on the mug and puts it in a special machine. "Pop her right in – in three minutes we have a mug!"
So what beverages do these two like to put in their mugs?
"Tea," stated Laycock.
"Of course yours is tea, said Simpson. "My favorite thing to drink out of the mug is wine!"
The duo are really drinking in all the fun things that come with creating a company.
"Our mugs are just a little token that brings joy to people," said Laycock. "Everybody needs joy and it feels really good to be a part of that."
Added Simpson, "Getting to have an outlet for some of my anti-social or just pun loving humor. It's really neat to have an outlet to be able to make fun, pretty things and also run a business and support my family."
Enamel Co. products are available on their website and at stores nationwide.