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Why is your site called Dandelion Chandelier? What does that mean? Where did the name come from?

I get asked that all the time, and on the occasion of debuting our new logo, it seemed to be the right moment to share how we chose this name, and what it has come to represent for us. We’re just over six months old, and we love our brand name even more now than we did when we launched it on August 1, 2016.

Last year, in midsummer, we spent a fair amount of time brainstorming about appropriate names for a site about modern luxury (some of them too awful in hindsight to share with you). After leafing through several design publications and websites, a team member shared a photo of something that I’d never seen before: a dandelion chandelier. A catalog description of the one in question included the following text: “it exemplifies the value of craft, innovation and the time spent to make the chandelier; it is unique and visionary; experimental and risk taking.”

What does a dandelion chandelier look like? You can find pictures of them on our Pinterest board at the end of this post. They’re midcentury modern lighting fixtures, and their defining characteristics are their round shape, their sturdy metal “hub and spoke” industrial infrastructure, and the small bulbs at the end of each spoke that radiate light in all directions. They’re meant to evoke a dandelion gone to seed, ready to be wished upon. Some people say they also resemble fireworks, or sunbursts, or supernovas. They take months to craft, as they are only made by hand – to order – and they are reasonably hard to find. Dandelion chandeliers are frequently hung in clusters, often 3-4 together, sometimes of differing sizes.

At the start of this decade, the co-founders of Studio Drift – an Amsterdam design collective known for creating dreamy and poetic visuals with high-tech design elements – hand-made a series of phosphorus bronze chandeliers with LED lights and real fully-opened dandelion seed heads (also called “clocks.”) Designers Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta named these works “Fragile Future:” they were intended to represent nature, minimalism and technology. In 2015, one of the works in the series was part of the “What is Luxury?” exhibit at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

And that was the spark that led to our name.

At first, we weren’t sure. Was it too long? Was it too whimsical? Would people think we were a lighting store? We slept on it, and the next morning, we were unanimous. We loved it.

In the months that followed, we’ve learned a lot more about dandelions: how they represent resilience and the ability to triumph over adversity; how they have the power to both soothe and stimulate; how their seeds can travel to the far reaches once they become airborne and have enduring impact once they settle into the ground. With the passage of time, instead of degrading, a dandelion becomes more beautiful and ethereal, ultimately embodying that hopeful moment of anticipation when we’re wishing for a secret dream to come true.

We’ve also thought a great deal about the layers of meaning underlying a dandelion chandelier. It’s both fragile and strong; both grounded and soaring; it scatters light in the darkness; it represents both modernity and history; it’s unusual and rare, but it’s not unattainable. It’s got elements of the masculine and the feminine, of the old world and the new; it’s both soft and hard; both natural and constructed. It demonstrates the possibilities that emerge when dissimilar elements are combined.

Just like modern luxury.

When we started the work of developing our logo, it forced us to think about what we want our site to stand for. We came up with four attributes: shining, smart, fresh and elegant.

We believe our logo captures all of those ideas. We love that it both radiates energy, and also allows ideas and energy to easily enter in. As an open circle, it’s inclusive and inviting. It’s transparent, hiding nothing. It could be a seal of approval. A badge of honor. Or a micro-burst of joy.

Our tag line, Choose to Shine, is similarly meant to speak on many levels. The sources of shine are many: sunlight, moonlight, stars, fireflies, mirrors, light reflected on water, a genuine smile, eye-catching accessories, the hand of a craftsman (or woman), ice on a frozen lake, the finish of a luxury automobile or a yacht, the face of a vintage watch, a champagne glass, sterling silver cutlery, diamonds, a crystal chandelier. Some of these sources are organic and uncontrollable – they just naturally occur.

But radiating light can also be a choice that each of us makes. In dark times, we can choose to shine. Or not. We can aim high. Or not. We can bring our A-game. Or not. We can wait for someone else to flick a switch. Or we can bring the light.

We here at Dandelion Chandelier are hoping to live up to our name.

A dandelion chandelier radiates light, and we hope to do that. We also hope to scatter about some knowledge, some laughter, some provocation, and some inspiration. We hope that our ideas may travel, like dandelion seeds, and fertilize new ground. We hope to cluster together with others who are shining a light in the darkness. As often as possible, we’re going to choose to shine.

We really hope you’ll join us.

Pamela Thomas-Graham

Pamela Thomas-Graham is the Founder & CEO of Dandelion Chandelier. She serves on the boards of several tech companies, and was previously a senior executive in finance, media and fashion, and a partner at McKinsey & Co.