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There are two types of people in this world: those who sit down at a restaurant and look at the menu to sort out their order, and those who immediately flip over their dinner plate to learn more about where it's from. I’m squarely in the latter camp -- a lover of details and touches that only a discerning eye notices (and appreciates!). And yet, for far longer than I care to admit, I maintained a fairly humdrum set of dinnerware at home from Bed, Bath, & Beyond, leaving the elevated stuff to my favorite restaurateurs around town.
But details really do matter, and as we start our re-entry into life-after-lockdown, I was eager to refresh my dinnerware from generic white to something clean, refined, and chic -- an authentic representative version of ‘me’ that I would be equally proud to put down for a cozy dinner party or just for weeknight meals for my fiancé and I.
Enter Year & Day, a five-year-old SF based company helping make it “easy to set a table you love.” I’ve been using Year & Day’s ceramic set for about a month now, and I'm very pleased with the upgrade.
A New Frontier Out West
Year & Day’s founder Kathryn Duryea made a cross-country move to the Bay Area and noticed a major gap in the tableware space while she was outfitting her new home. She observed two ends of the spectrum -- at one end the fairly drab white plates you’d find within labyrinth big box retail stores, and at the other luxxe fine china you’d be lucky to have someone purchase off your registry only to never use it out of fear of breaking or scratching. There was nothing inspired in the middle, which is where Year & Day wins in spades.
And so Kathryn seized on her entrepreneurial spirit, locating a factory in Portugal known for ethical craftsmanship of ceramics and launched her business less than a year later. Her goal was simple: create an elegant brand of dinnerware products people would be proud to use and display while along the way solving shopping pain points millennials had no patience for.
California Inspired Upgrade To Everyday Dinnerware
In addition to most of our household income going towards eating at Los Angeles’ best restaurants, I am an avid home chef. I went through the full cycle of cook-from-home pandemic life. After cooking (and cleaning!) so many meals these last few years, I was burnt out and uninspired as of late. And then my Year & Day dinnerware collection arrived, and everything kind of clicked, and inspiration struck.
We got the Big Plates (4 for $52), Big Bowls (4 for $52), Small Plates (4 for $44), Small Bowls (4 for $44), and Mugs (4 for $44) in delightful pink colorway called ‘Daybreak’ as well as a darker more dramatic ‘Midnight.’ The first impression was very strong -- the weight of the ceramic is perfect, not too heavy, not too light -- a just-right feel in your hands that screams quality craftsmanship. A quick rundown on the set:
- The Big Plates are perfectly sized workhorses for any meal, and at just under 11 inches in diameter offer plenty of surface area for a perfectly plated Instagrammable moment.
- The Big Bowls are ideal for stir frys, rice bowls, pasta night and the like -- the Big Bowls literally inspired me to dust off my Stir Crazy cookbook and fall back in love with its healthy stir fry recipes.
- The Small Bowls are a perfect ice cream bowl size if you’re in the market for a refreshed set to add some excitement to your nightly scoops of Phish Food.
- The Side Plates are a nice size for a ‘small plate,’ over 8 inches in diameter and a great option for dessert or a side salad.
The set features a semi-matte glaze which is a clean and smooth detail, and the plates have a slight curve to them on their edge which make for an attractive stacked look for anyone with open-shelf cabinetless kitchens.
You know how sometimes it takes a new pair of running shoes or a refreshed Lulu set to get inspired to get back in the gym? That same refreshed feeling came over me when our Year & Day arrived. I was motivated again to get back into the kitchen, donate our old dinnerware to those in need and put our beautiful new set to use.
A Seamless Shopping Experience
One of the things I admire about Year & Day is what I call the ‘get it’ factor. I’ve reviewed dozens of products for The Quality Edit and I’m still pleasantly surprised when a brand seamlessly understands their customer and leverages the best of the DTC playbook to deliver value literally to your doorstep. As Kathryn Duryea hypothesized -- I can’t recall the last time I stepped foot willingly into a Bed Bath & Beyond store (thanks, Mom for the bounty of those 20% coupons, but they’ve been sitting in my glove compartment for years).
We’re living in a frictionless, internet powered commerce revolution, and Year & Day is here to win. Complete with a ‘Build My Complete Set’ quiz that asks questions about your living situation (party of 1, 2 or more?), lifestyle (rarely home nomad or dinner party hostess with the mostest), and color preferences, Year & Day makes shopping for a dinnerware set stupid easy and dare I say...fun.
While I feel for my UPS driver, bulky (and fragile) purchases like this make me so grateful the order comes directly to my door -- no schlepping to the shopping center, fighting for parking, queuing in line, and several flights of stairs of our walk-up apartment. Instead Year & Day comes thoughtfully packaged and protected for safe arrival, and I haven’t broken a hint of a sweat in the process.
Table Settings Designed For A Modern Life
As you can probably tell by now -- I’m a big fan of my Year & Day ceramics set. The products are high quality, well designed and manufactured with a high bar for ethical and sustainable practices in mind. The accessible price point is a win as well, and the ability to mix and match their 4 colorways provides countless permutations to fit any aesthetic.
Others have taken notice, too -- the brand’s praises have been sung across Vogue, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times among several others. Just as impressive as the actual look and feel of the product is how dialed-in the brand is with how consumers like me think about researching, shopping, and ultimately purchasing.
All in all, It’s quite refreshing to see a brand talk the talk and ultimately deliver in spades. As we turn the page from summer to fall, with holiday gatherings right around the corner, now is the perfect time to refresh your own dinnerware with chic new digs from Year & Day.
5 More Reasons To Love Year & Day:
- In addition to its signature Ceramic set, Year & Day also offers beautiful Flatware in 4 finishes as well as other home goods like Glassware, serving pieces, and tabletop pieces like vases and candles.
- Clean, sustainable sources: Year & Day sources local clay in mineral-rich Portugal, conserving energy and resources by recycling clay scrapes from the factory floor.
- A high-temperature method of single firing ensures a vitrified glaze surface, which means consistency in color and quality, allowing the ceramics to be dishwasher, microwave, freezer and oven safe up to 480 degrees.
- Ceramics are free of lead, cadmium, and other heavy metals. All of Year & Day’s suppliers meet CA prop 65 requirements.
- Perfect for a wedding gift, you can add Year & Day products to your wedding registry at Zola, Blueprint Registry, and Thankful Registry.