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How would you like to own an Elton John Gnome, endorsed by the rock legend himself? Garden Fun is offering our readers a discount on the Gnomeo & Juliet figure through the 23rd of March (see the News Page for details). Meanwhile, the company’s owner, Lior Noy, is sharing the story of how it all began with

EJW: How did you get started in the business?
LN: Over a dozen years ago and through a series of random events, I stumbled into a love for whimsical garden décor; the more silly and colourful the better. was born out of a love for these items and I started a company, sourcing and selling funny statues, ridiculous dodo bird stakes, wacky birds like GeekyBeeks and Nerdynecks and other unique items for the home and garden.
With some previous experience with online start-ups and retail sales, quickly became ranked and recognised as one of the top online destinations for Unique Garden Gifts and Whimsical Décor Items.
EJW: How about your involvement with gnomes–especially the one portraying Elton?
LN: My love affair with garden gnomes began with the iconic Travelocity Gnome and his hysterical commercials, and a wonderful movie Amelie that showcased an adventuring gnome. In 2011, by the requests of customers, I finally decided to flood our site with dozens of garden gnomes. Only a few weeks after I did so, I randomly discovered, like kismet, there was a Disney movie about gnomes coming out that year. Leveraging our site experience and sales relationship with Travelocity, we became the exclusive online distributor of all the gnome characters in the Gnomeo & Juliet movie, and shortly after became also known as a significant source with the largest selection of garden gnomes online.
There was, however, one character from the movie we were never able to produce or source–the maestro of all the music, the elusive Elton John Gnome. He became my white whale of gnomes; the gnome I would constantly catch myself dreaming about for our Gnomeo & Juliet collection. Beyond simply being a fan of Elton John’s music, as a fellow pianist myself who attended a Music Academy for Piano Performance, this musical character appealed to me on a much more personal level than the other character. Plus what a fun and awesome thought to honour Elton with his own celebrity gnome in our collection!
EJW: What has it been like to work on the Elton John and Sherlock Gnomes projects?
LN: We were able to make contact with Rocket Pictures and coordinate a long process of sending Elton’s camp product samples to review. Each time we had to send a shipment, it was in multiple units, so it became very costly. We received many requested changes and updates from Elton and his team through a liaison at Rocket Pictures I was in contact with on a regular basis . . . more glitter, more rhinestones, changing colours etc. By far, the longest sample and edits process we have ever experienced.
There were many times when I felt the project would not be completed. At some point, I heard through the grapevine that David Furnish loved one of the recent samples that was sent over, and I knew we must be close. It was clear that Elton had particular tastes and wanted his gnome to match a specific vision of his eccentric flair and excitement.
A plate was signed so his authentic signature could be added to the side of each unit, and we were set to go! And then unfortunately, everything went silent for quite some time. . . .
My liaison at Rocket Pictures no longer responded (I found out later he had left the company), the making of the sequel {Sherlock Gnomes} to Gnomeo & Juliet got postponed multiple times, the manufacturing license had expired, and I was left only with my own excitement and a product sample.
To shorten a long story of endless calls and emails, and even flying annually to Las Vegas for meetings to kick-start the project, I was finally able to get in touch with the Director of Licensing at Paramount Pictures, as they were now assisting to push along the new sequel film Sherlock Gnomes, coming out March 23rd. At first sight of our Elton Gnome, they were absolutely blown away, and with that newfound enthusiasm from Paramount and their direct line into Rocket Pictures for approval, they were able to give us a jump start on getting our contact paperwork in order, and further helped us move this amazing collectible Elton Gnome into production. Along the way, we were even able to sculpt, paint, approve and produce a couple of other new characters from the new movie, including the lead ornament Sherlock Gnomes.
It is with great pride and enthusiasm that will be releasing these amazing items in conjunction with the release of the new Sherlock Gnomes film. The Elton Gnome has been in the works for nearly 5 years, and we are thrilled to offer him to all his fans.
Each unit in this Limited Production run will also come with a Certificate of Authenticity. We look forward to making even more characters from this movie, and who knows, possibly some additional celebrity gnomes in the future!

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