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Feb 1, 2009
by Judi Perkins
The initial incarnation of Twisteez was made from discarded telephone wire. Rabinowitz's parents were art teachers who recycled the wire by bringing it in for their students to use in art projects. Eventually, the interest in Twisteez was so great, the Rabinowitzes had wire manufactured in a thicker gauge specifically for the craft market and had it delivered on large reels.
"If you went to our workshop, you would have seen Twisteez sculptures everywhere," says Sandy Rabinowitz. "We are all artists. My father can put together a monkey going down a vine in about five minutes." Sandy Rabinowitz illustrates children's books, is an equestrian artist and plays with Twisteez herself. "I have woven baskets with them. I love to make gingerbread houses with them and I have made whole forests on cakes by wrapping them around candles. I have even woven them into people's hair," said Rabinowitz.
Naming what can be done with these packages of colored wires, however, does not begin to fully convey the possibilities. Fortunately, Rabinowitz Design Workshop went online in 2004 with Twisteez.com, a colorful and inspirating website, designed and constructed by Rabinowitz's sister, Abbie.
The site's Basics navigation button on the entry page provides product definitions and myriads of clever figures. The examples show how Twisteez wire can be combined with clay, beads, buttons, washers, or virtually any other item around the house to create almost anything one can imagine.
"You can take a wire strainer from your kitchen and weave the wire in and out," said Rabinowitz. "Or get a cardboard box and cut it into one inch squares, and incorporate that into an animal, a flower, or some other design." Rabinowitz has even discovered that Twisteez works well with duct tape, which comes in a multitude of colors. "You can form leaves and petals with the wire, then fold duct tape over it and cut the edges."
The Beyond the Basics page demonstrates further possibilities. On the left are categories: Fun, Coils, Figures, Jewelry and Mobiles. Clicking on a category displays an array of inventive examples, including how to incorporate corrugated cardboard into the mobile designs. The Gallery page shows more still: woven baskets, murals, faces, animals and sculptures of multiple shapes, sizes and complexities. Also showcased in the Gallery are the results of a Halloween mask contest that a magazine sponsored. Red devils and glittery Mardi Gras masks, skeleton faces and vampires dripping red wire blood all evidence the glee with which these wires can be assembled into whatever configurations a person can conceive.
Perhaps one of the best sections of the Twisteez website is the lessons area. Sandy created the lessons, but the whole family has developed the figures. Pick a shape and the instructions to make it appear, along with step-by-step illustrations.
Rabinowitz has been working with Twisteez since she was very young. "As children growing up, that is how we earned our money - we helped my parents with Twisteez," said Rabinowitz. "There are pictures of us when we first started the business. My parents got a huge order, and I remember we had piles of Twisteez boxes ten feet high in the living room."
She explains how the market for Twisteez has continued to grow over the years. "Twisteez has a continual market. It is a product that people buy again and again." There is no art talent required to have fun with Twisteez, nor is there an age limit. "This is a product that people of all ages find entertaining. This is why buyers keep coming back for more, making it such a profitable product.
Twisteez is only sold wholesale, and can be found throughout the U.S. Currently, their largest customers are distributors of school supplies, as well as individual craft stores and party supply stores. Recently, Oriental Trading Company, a well-established retailer of arts & crafts, teaching and party supplies, became a regular buyer.
Twisteez comes in three different size packages: TW 50, consisting of 50 pieces of wire, each 30 inches in length, is $4 a package. TW 200 is the equivalent of four TW 50s, and is $14 a package. TW Long consists of 50 wires, each 60 inches long, and wholesales at $8 a package. There are 13 assorted colors in each package. Recommended mark up is 100 percent.
Twisteez wires are made in the U.S., as are the other products designed by Rabinowitz's parents, which are available on twisteez.com: the Candymelter, the Waxmelter Palette, the Waxmelter Electric Batik Pen, Squeeze Pen, Little Dipper Paint Pen and a set of Chopstik stamps.
"Twisteez inspires creativity in people from ages 4 to 104," said Rabinowitz. "I cannot imagine going anywhere without Twisteez. They are not only useful for craft products, but also for holding things together, for bundling, decorating and packaging. They are very addictive! Once have used them, you say, 'Where's my Twisteez?'"
Minimum Order: $100.00. Quantity discounts available.
For more information, contact:
Rabinowtiz Design Workshop
8 Carmel Road
Bethany, CT 06524
Topic: Company Profiles
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