One of the big mysteries for us here is the ”Sure Touch” line of paint brushes put out by Jo Sonja’s. That is Jo Sonja’s company and not Chroma which manufactures or imports the paint. Some family feuding out there apparently led to the quitting of the family ship by David Jansen a number of years ago, but the basic product line has been the same. David and Jo Sonja Jansen published a number of beautiful books together and they all used the Jo Sonja brushes. The brushes are just beautiful quality. They are made at the best brush factory in Japan and come individually wrapped. And they look great too; nice deep blue opaque handle with gold writing and a gold ferrule. Yet, as a wholesale item it has never taken to the hearts and minds of the teachers and shop owners. The pricing is actually cheaper than Loew-Cornell which would be the closest comparison but ditto at the sales end.
About six years ago, Jo Sonja’s introduced a series of brushes called ”Possibilities” which was backed up by the Vicki Rhodes book ”Creative Possibilities” that sold well and Vicki travel taught to back up the concept with the aid of Chroma. And they sod really well, but people just wanted to buy the Possibilities brushes and not touch the rest of the line. Its all very strange. But the brushes remain a near unique proposition given the quality, the pedigree of the name and the respectable pricing. It does remind me somewhat of the Betty Byrd brushes we carried before that line was scuttled. About 80-90% of the sales were in a brush called a ”Miracle Blender” that bore the name of Ronnie Bringle. She had some lovely decorative painting books and popularized the smushing technique with these brushes, but the rest of the line was pretty ho-hum in terms of sales even though pricing was O.K. and the quality was from that same Japanese factory.
Go figure. The decorative brush business today seems dominant in some measure by companies like Princeton that make some decent looking brushes, but out of India or China they are not quite in the same league as what painters were willing to pay for in the past.