Retroviral is a range of six high quality mugs decorated with unexpected biological motifs: the microscopic structure of virus particles! If you'd like some science with your coffee, help us get this collection into production... and score some conversation-starting mugs while you're at it.
Yep, those aren't just abstract geometric patterns... they're viruses! Virus particles are often symmetrical, always tiny, sometimes spherical... and surprisingly good-looking in spite of the havoc they can wreak. Retroviral mugs provide some food for thought to go with your tea-break.
The collection is an artist’s spin on scientific information
The virus drawings are based directly on Scanning Electron Microscope imagery... but the bright colours and patterns are pure artistic license. Each mug showcases one virus, and includes the magnification plus a snippet of trivia.
There are six designs in the Retroviral mug collection:
1) SMALLPOX RETROVIRAL MUG
2) MEASLES RETROVIRAL MUG
3) INFLUENZA RETROVIRAL MUG
4) HERPES (HSV-1) RETROVIRAL MUG
5) HIV RETROVIRAL MUG
6) RABIES RETROVIRAL MUG
The more you pledge, the more mugs you get! Choose from receiving ONE, TWO, THREE, SIX or TWELVE mugs.
You can see details for all pledge options on the right sidebar.
Who is Thefty?
Hello! Thefty is a homewares label by me, Helena Maratheftis. I'm a London-based designer/illustrator with an academic background in biology. I am interested in what happens when science and design get smashed together, which is how the Retroviral Collection came to be! Thefty products are designed to punctuate your homes with vivid jolts of colour and pattern. I aim to create beautiful, memorable and useful objects with an edge.
I launched Retroviral in 2014 with three mugs, and the response was brilliant. The range was stocked by London’s iconic Wellcome Collection shop, Thefty was showcased by online retailer Folksy as a “Folksy Favourite”, we supplied scientific conferences and had hundreds of orders on Folksy and Etsy from all over the world. The support Thefty has received so far has been super wonderful, and I'm very excited to expand the Retroviral collection.
Craftmanship & Product Specifications
Retroviral mugs are made from high quality Fine Bone China. They are decorated using traditional methods in Stoke-on-Trent, the famous “potteries” of the UK. My digital illustrations are made into silk-screened ceramic decals which are applied to the mugs by hand. It’s a pleasure to support this heritage and craftmanship.
- High-quality Fine Bone China: strong, durable and frankly rather fancy
- Generous 375ml capacity
- 9cm (approx. 3.5 inches) tall: Not too big, not too small
- Microwave safe
- Dishwasher safe
- Sturdy packaging boxes and 3 layers of padding in total
Supporting Global Health and Research
We share a portion of our profits with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a premier research institute whose mission is to improve global health. The LSHTM has projects and partnerships in over 100 countries, with scientists working on vaccines, treatments and cures. Thefty is proud to contribute to the LSHTM’s mission to improve health and health equity in the UK and around the world. Five pence from each mug sold is given to LSHTM.
N.B. Kickstarter explicitly prohibits charity fundraising in campaigns. As such, none of the proceeds from Kickstarter pledges will go towards LSHTM donations. However, we will still be making this 5p-per-mug contribution out of our own pocket.
How far along is the project?
We are at the very last stages of production.The full set of pre-production prototypes has been finalised* and approved, meaning that all six designs are ready to go. We have three brand new designs (Smallpox, Measles, Influenza) as well as three relaunched designs (HIV, Herpes, Rabies). All that’s left is to raise the funds in order to greenlight production.
* You might spot that two of the prototypes (Herpes and Rabies) have some lettering cut off at the top. Rest assured that the final versions will be intact! We are working with digital proofs for these two designs as they are reprints, and so the physical proofs were made for colour testing purposes only.
How your pledges will be used
Meeting the minimum quantity requirements from manufacturers is a big ask for a small business, which is why we’re here on Kickstarter. Your pledges will cover:
- production of the screenprinted decals
- cost of blank mugs
- hand decoration and kiln firing of the mugs
- courier costs from Stoke-on-Trent to the Thefty HQ in London
- packaging materials (boxes, padding and wrapping materials, stickers etc)
- Kickstarter fees
- the postage costs of delivering the mugs to you!
If we reach the Kickstarter goal, we will launch all six designs into production. If we exceed the goal we will be able to order more of each design.
Receiving your rewards
After the campaign is (hopefully!) successfully funded, we will immediately greenlight production. We are scheduled to receive stock sometime in May. Backers should receive their rewards between mid May and late July 2018.
We’ve set realistic dates to avoid disappointment, especially as we won’t know the level of demand until the end of the campaign. We would rather surprise you with early delivery than make you wait longer than expected.
Please note that a survey will be sent out after the campaign ends, where you can tell us which designs you want. This is standard Kickstarter practice. Make sure to look out for the survey in your inboxes! If we don't hear from you within 30 days, we will assume you don't have a preference for which design you receive, and we will choose for you! (This applies for the reward levels of ONE MUG or TWO MUGS only, as the other reward tiers already specify which mugs you will receive.)
International backers will be responsible for any applicable tariffs and customs fees.
Thank you for your support! Please share this campaign and make Retroviral... GO VIRAL!
Risks and challenges
This is frankly a low-risk Kickstarter campaign. I have worked with mug manufacturers, packaging suppliers and online customers for 3+ years, so I know what to expect from this process. I have launched this campaign at the final production stages where there are unlikely to be major setbacks or delays.
1) Unexpected production delays. There is a royal wedding (Harry and Meghan!) in the UK this Spring which is increasing our manufacturer's lead times (seriously!) but we have accounted for this as much as possible.
2) Delays to due breakages in transit from the manufacturer. Again, very unlikely.
The biggest challenge is reaching the Kickstarter goal, but we're very excited to take it on!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (26 days)