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From three antique moulds to a nationally known company; the journey of one of America's last domestic Christmas family businesses.

Synopsis

In 1984 Gary Vaillancourt gave his wife Judi a gift of three antique chocolate moulds. At home with a broken leg, Judi, a classically trained artist, decided to evoke the detail and beauty within these moulds by adapting the Victorian art form of Chalkware with her passion of history, love of traditions, and skills as an artist. Creating the first contemporary Chalkware figures, she turned a three dimensional canvas into an art form loved by thousands of families of several generations around the world.

Selling out and taking orders at a local craft fair, Gary decided to leave his prosperous job from high-tech to focus on growing this new business venture. Together, driven by their passion of tradition, they embarked on a business with one goal in mind: to create an American made, high-quality, product that would be cherished and passed down for generations. This is their story how their journey has had to evolve from the bustling '80 with the bicentennial revival through the "exporting of America's economy" and how they have survived as one of the last American-made, family-run, Christmas manufacturers.

"On Christmas morning, someones main present is a Vaillancourt Chalkware Santa… and for us as a company, the only thing more special than that is to know that their children will one day cherish that Santa too."

The Project

There are many purposes for this softcover book. For the collector: You'll be offered a rare glimpse into the private life of the Vaillancourt family, including their family traditions and inspirations that have brought nearly 3,000 Chalkware Santas to life. For the romantic: You'll be inspired to see how each piece has a personal story and has affected not only the artist behind it, but each person who receives and gives this special gift. For the businessman: Unlike a "guide to business" these anecdotes provide insight into how a family turned from a 3-person operation out of a home basement to a 20+ company in a 1,500 sq/ft studio, museum, and gallery. How, instead of closing their doors when Chinese imports flooded the market, they increased quality—which in turn increased price—and found success. For everyone: You'll be entertained and you'll fall in love with A Christmas Journey that might not be unlike your own family's journey.

The Schedule & Goal

This project is based on publishing the first edition of A Christmas Journey. Once the first independent edition is published it will then be pitched with a literary agent with the hopes to be distributed with mass retailers including Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com. The cost has been determined by production, marketing material costs and fees. We are one of the last family Christmas companies still based in the United States. It is our goal to educate the nation the importance of quality, the importance of supporting local, and promote the idea that the American dream is still alive. Life is a journey and this story tells that of A Christmas Journey. It is our goal to have this first edition published so it can be given as a gift by Christmas 2013 or sooner.

This KickStarter will end on Christmas Eve morning.

Story Topics

The Vaillancourt Start
 - Their Childhood Christmas
 - The First Christmas Together
 - The Love of Old Houses
 - Colonial Williamsburg
 - Christmas at the Pike

Christmas History
- European Christmas Traditions: Germany, England
- Early Christmas in America
- Chocolate Moulds in Europe

Where Traditions Become a Business
 - The Gift Of The Chocolate Moulds
 - Painting Santa
 - The Early Christmas Shows - "& Friends"

When The Business Becomes The Traditions
 - Meeting The Santa Makers
 - The Collector's

Vaillancourt Today
 - Armsby Christmas
 - Vaillancourt Traditions
 - How the Business Has Adapted

Always Believe
 - What is in store for Christmas and Vaillancourt Folk Art

Appendix
 - Vaillancourt Family Recipes
 - Photos

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

As the Vaillancourt family is so involved in the day-to-day business—from production to wholesale—the most challenging aspect of this project will actually be finding time to sit down and write this story.

FAQ

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    Our eternal gratitude and your name added to the mailing list where you can track progress on the book and read occasional items of interest.

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    Everything in the one above, plus a PDF eBook of A Christmas Journey when completed.

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    A signed first edition (unnumbered) of A Christmas Journey when completed!

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    One signed first edition (numbered) with a hand painted, mouth blown Vaillancourt glass ornament!

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    Two signed first editions (numbered 50 - 100) with two hand painted, mouth blown Vaillancourt glass ornaments. One gift wrapped for gift giving, the other for you to keep!

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    One signed first editions (numbered 20 - 50) with one hand painted Vaillancourt Chalkware Santa.

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    One signed first editions (numbered 20 - 50) with one hand painted Vaillancourt Chalkware Santa, plus two tickets to the annual Collector's Weekend Dinner in April with seats at the head table.

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    Includes the $750 reward, plus one ticket to the annual Painting Workshop where you work with a Vaillancourt artist and paint your own Santa during the workshop!

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    One signed first edition book (numbered 2 - 20) plus one of 19 limited edition Santas with matching antique chocolate mould!

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    This unique item to the highest bidder at the $5,000 level includes the number 1 book, signed by the Vaillancourt family and a special one-of-a-kind Santa painted by Judi Vaillancourt _specifically_ for you!

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Funding period

- (59 days)