23rd November 2011, 2:26pm
Christmas retailer branches out to launch own range of festive decorations
A glass bauble from the Squared Rose range A company which started life growing Christmas trees will launch its own range of hand-crafted festive decorations at this year's Lincoln Christmas Market thanks to the design expertise of the University of Lincoln.

Squared Rose is the first brand to be developed by Fizzco Limited and has been created in collaboration with product design specialists from the University's School of Art and Design.

It includes more than 30 distinct glass, ceramic and paper products which aim to combine the quality of traditional Christmas handcrafts with the style of contemporary design.

Each element, from the ribbon and cap, through to the tissue paper and cardboard packaging, has been expertly designed and hand-produced. Almost all materials have been sourced from the UK, with glass blown in Sunderland and paper manufactured in Hull.

The inspiration behind Squared Rose is the recognition that decorating the Christmas tree marks the start of the festive countdown for many families and the quality and distinctiveness of the decorations themselves are vital to creating that sense of occasion each year.

Designer Suzanne Tsang said: "We wanted to make a product that people look forward to taking out every year and putting up on the tree. We wanted to bring back that sense of ceremony and intricacy that many people still associate with Christmas. It's all about the quality of the experience."

The Squared Rose range will go on sale for the first time at the 2011 Lincoln Christmas Market, which will attract around 250,000 visitors from across the world to the cathedral city over four days from 1st December. Feedback from market-goers will be used to refine the products, which will go into full-scale production next year and will be sold through a dedicated Squared Rose website.

Fizzco Limited, based in Fillingham, Lincolnshire, is a major stockist and e-retailer of Christmas decorations. It operates eight websites, including ChristmasTimeUK. Corporate clients include Canary Wharf, BBC and Ralph Lauren. The family-run business started out growing Christmas trees and its sister company, Fillingham Trees, is still a prominent grower and wholesaler of trees.

The collaboration between Fizzco and the University of Lincoln is a Knowledge Transfer Partnership. It began in January 2011, when Suzanne was appointed KTP Associate, and runs for two years.

KTP supervisor Stewart Bibby, Senior Lecturer in Product Design at the University of Lincoln, said: "The project is about much more than design. We've attended international trade fairs, from Harrogate to Frankfurt. We've sourced materials and located specialist manufacturers all over the UK. We've designed and built a new website. To go from an empty sketchbook to marketplace in less than a year is a real achievement. Work to refine and develop the range will continue long after this year's Christmas decorations have come down."

The Squared Rose range will be launched at this year's Lincoln Christmas Market, which runs from 1st-4th December, and will also be available online from 1st December 2011 at www.squaredrose.com
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