Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Laura Ingalls Gunn

Like so many, I was blown away reading Laura Ingalls Gunn's post "Ultimate DIY" this week. It's a real Horatio Alger story, and a tribute to her determination, perseverance, character and faith. Little did I know that she is related to THE Laura Ingalls Wilder (4th cousin) of Little House on the wonder she is so determined! I come from a pioneering family myself, so I understand the drive...

Little by little, class by class, step by step, she accomplished her about notch by notch, how about lantern by lantern...? Stack up your individual accomplishments and you have really have something. I am so inspired by Laura! I took this shot in Paris:

I immediately emailed her, after I dried my eyes :) OMG Congratulations! What can I send you? I love to give.....

A brief exchange of emails and Laura and I arrived at the Giveaway. I LOVE giveaways! In a few days I will hit two years from the launch of French Basketeer; I have given away a lot of merchandise. Most of the time I have been rewarded when I had a spontaneous instinct to give, though that's not the goal.... I gave Monica at the kennel a basket; one of her clients saw it and bought 50 baskets "for Christmas." I always give for non-profits when asked. I hope everyone can open their hearts to give, and make it a natural response.

Meanwhile, as I mentioned, it will soon be two years in business. It hasn't been easy, it's been a lot of work, much more than I thought, but this is a passion for me. I have times of discouragement. But when I see 111 posts this evening on Laura's Blog saying how much people like the baskets, I am so encouraged! You are only seeing them online, wait to you see them in person! Today I got a call back from a Laguna retailer with whom I had left some samples; she loves the product, but they sell Chinese baskets for under $15. It's a different animal, my baskets vs Chinese; mine are fair trade and they last a long time; I pay a good fair wage, no children are involved. Laura is inspiring me to persevere in my business, to focus on my goals and be persistent...

Meanwhile, the Giveaway is mainly the Eze, here with baby lettuce:
Or the St Remy. The St Remy I carry now has brown leather handles and covered corners; this is the basket you see all around Paris in stores; I did a post about that a little while back. We call it "the shopper" shape. It's a no-fail classic..... here are the brown handles; I prefer them to the black simulated leather ones I used to carry:

With a zip pocket:
and raffia trim:
the corners I mentioned:
These baskets are all made by women, in Madagascar, which is the 13th LEAST developed nation in the world. Don't they do great work on handicrafts? I am going to carry more of their products, stay tuned. Bonne chance a tous!


  1. Oh Andrea! Now you made me all misty!

    Often in life when you give of yourself you receive 10 times more.

    I think of the women that you are richly blessing by promoting your fair trade products. Such happiness.

    As we all know you get what you pay for. The $15 bag will last only a few warm weeks. Yet a French Basketeer tote will be enjoyed for many endless summers.

    Be blessed.

  2. Laura is a doll! Your totes are beyond compare in quality and style, LOVE them!

    xo Lidy