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InedibleArt founder Barbara Fellman created the first soft-sculptured pizza prototype in 1978, initially as a joke, while she was still an art student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.
It's wasn't under years later in 1992 that the idea turned serious and evolved into a complete line of PizzArt products, with many variations on a theme:
To add to the novelty, there were different toppings that the customers could order, including the "designer" toppings such as fresh tomatoes, shrimp, asparagus, broccoli, chicken and pineapple.
PizzArt was a hit from the beginning. The first PizzArt items were displayed in a gallery setting, then soon after expanded into the retail arena at gourmet kitchen and specialty gift shops. Everyone wanted a piece of PizzaArt - or two or three for gifts.
The test marketing phase proved that the concept was sound. However, the challenge was to transition from clever concept to viable business. It became difficult to keep up with the deamd because of the labor-intensive process involved: from hand painting to individually quilting each topping and assembling the pizza took approximately two hours. Soon there were more orders than one person could sew alone, and the costs involved with subcontracting the work made the retail price prohibitive.
The First Shipment
The question became, "How do you create a real business by mass producing the PizzArt at a lower cost..yet still retain the quality associated with hand painting and sewing?"
The answer took several years of research. The only logical conclusion was to produce the items overseas at a lower cost. For simplicity sake, the line had to be reduced to two items- a PizzArt pot holder and hot pad - with four regular toppings: pepperoni, mushrooms, green pepper and olives.
The process of coordinating the production took over 2 years from initial contract to receipt of the first shipment of 6,000 in November 1997.