How long has Alivan’s been in business?
The business was started by my Great-Great Grandfather (I am named Finneas after him) in the year of Eighteen Hundred and Seventy Three when he began by making his own wands from his home. Wizards would come from across the globe to acquire Alivan’s wands for more than 70 years from my Great-Great Grandad, Great Grandad and Grandad. My father began expanding the business to serve more magical folk in the middle 1900’s and then about 25 years ago I took over in the family name. In response to exceeding demand we moved our main outlet to alivans.com and have been shipping to wizards, witches, muggles, and collectors worldwide since 2001.[/p]
What inspired you to enter the wandmaking business?
Great-Great Grandpa Finneas began the art knowing the need for high quality craftsmanship and finishing when it came to wandmaking. His belief was that all wizards would recognize great quality and want the finest wands available…we simply continue this tradition today.
How many wand makers does Alivan’s have?
We currently employ between 6-10 Master Wandmakers depending on the time of year. To become an Alivan’s Master Wandmaker strict guidelines must not only be met, they must be exceeded…and because of this only the finest craftsmen will ever work for Alivan’s. This ensures that every Alivan’s wand is of a quality that would make Great-Great Grandad extremely proud.
We’ve noticed each wand is handcrafted – how long does that sort of thing take? Without giving away any trade secrets that make Alivan wands what they are, would we be able to get an overview of the process?
We start with blocks of handpicked hardwoods which are then cut to the length of the particular wand. The wood is then taken by individual wandmakers for carving and turning to the desired design. Once turning is complete the wands are sanded for perfect smoothness and then hand finished with our own finishing ingredients. Finally…the wands are again smoothed by hand and checked carefully for any imperfections. The total time for one individual wand to be made is approximately 2-4 hours.
Clearly fans of wizarding novels will recognize certain wands that are similar to the ones their favorite characters own. What is the most popular wand?
Currently our most popular wand is the solid Holly – as Harry Potter himself is written to use a wand of Holly this one is very desireable.
Just a small question about demographics – what are they like? Are there mostly wizards or witches buying?
It is a great mix actually…many wizards and witches…but also aspiring wizards, apprentices, muggles, and collectors are known to admire the Alivan’s line. This is probably the most fun part of our business. We are able to satisfy the most magical wizards but at the same time we can put a smile on the face of imaginative children and adults everywhere.
What kind of wand cores are most frequently used?
Many magical creatures and plants are used but the most popular are taken from the Phoenix.
What sort of wands can we look forward to seeing in the future? What kind of woods are being looked at for potential new wands?
We have just added quite a few new wands to our collections…they are Ash, Bloodwood, and a Wenge/Curly Maple combination…in the near future you can look for a solid Hornbeam wand, Palm, Red Wood…the great thing is that we are always expanding the line and looking for beautiful woods to use.
Are there any plans to introduce custom wands – by having the wizard choose the wood type or core type and leaving the rest up to Alivan’s?
Because custom wands were made quite frequently by my grandparents it is important that we continue to do create wands to the specifications of our customers…we currently are only taking custom orders at certain time of year however. The idea proposed by this question is a great one though and I will be looking into offering this type of product through www.alivans.com in the near future!
We’ve noticed that Alivan’s is not only a supplier of wands, but brooms as well. What type of qualities do you look for in new broom types, and how often are new models added?
Ahh….I was wondering when you would ask about the brooms…this is a part of our line that was developed by myself only in the last 10 years. The brooms are quite magical in appearance and are one of my favorite pieces (they are hung all around my castle…Scarlet Falcon is my broom of choice). New brooms are developed at a slower pace than wands and for the most part they come to be based on requests and comments from our wonderful customer base.
Thanks to Finneas for taking a moment out of his busy schedule and answering our questions.
Our staff personally recommends witches and wizards in need of a backup wand would do well to pick up a Finneas’ Choice Wand. We have also found the lightweight house scarf ideal for those long broom flights or Quidditch matches (they are also perfect for wandering bookshops just before midnight waiting for the latest wizard adventure to hit the shelves).