It all started with a search for lace, trim and embroidery to complete a standard catering napkin. Sometimes one wants a hint of fabulous in a place (a napkin) and can find it following the thread from Chicago to an unexplored region (Tamil Nadu, Chennai, South India).
The idea to travel to Chennai was sparked by an Elle Decor article describing the quirky Chennai apartment of Jean-Francois Lesage whose legendary embroidery family worked on couture collections for greats such as Coco Chanel to Karl Lagerfeld. The creativity, luxuriousness and exoticness of the location and the apartment appealed and it seemed like embellishment was a way of life here. We could certainly find trim for a napkin here!
Landing in Chennai after a 13 hour stint in Mumbai airport, groggy with jetlag, our search for ground zero of lace was slightly hindered by the closing of major companies due to the celebration of Diwali, Festival of Lights, as well as internet research leading to relocated, never to be found, facilities. Our well meaning driver followed many a dead end, leading to nowhere, only to be told that a facility had moved. We were moved to find our embellishment and we did!
Pulling off the side road, we pulled into what looked, from the outside, like an abandoned dusty strip mall with piles of stitched white bags stacked up to the rafters . I must say I was skeptical of what we would find and the owner was skeptical of who we were. We explained that we were launching a new business called “The Storied Table” and were interested in wholesale lace to make our basic napkins and dining table runners dazzling. We later came to understand we had discovered LACE NIRVANA A.K.A. Baba Trading Company! He discovered he had found excited buyers of his product and we were eager to write down style numbers and do business!
He treated us to an afternoon of going through deliciously handsome wholesale laces that could be sewn to our standard catering napkins. We left with a catalogue of products, a picture with his family and a new wonderful friend we can do business with! Looking forward to getting some samples sewn up for our 2015 brides! If you love lace like we do, please stay tuned!