“I wonder where those little hankies will lead…”.
In this simple question lie two understatements. The first applies to any entrepreneur and implies that any project is limited in its reach by those who support it. The second is that as we launched TSHU, few people thought we would be where we’re at today, selling our “little bouts of fabric”.
The question is also right on point to awaken any ego. 8 months have passed since our official launch and I felt it was important to remember the story that led to this point and started out with a trip.
July 2013, we fly to France and stop for a brief visit with Uncle Robert in Moulayrès. Standing arrogantly in front of the house, a sign reads “Chez le vieux conhards”*.
Nostalgic, Uncle Robert speaks of his life journey, starting with his roots, the war, an escape, happy moments, quarrels, successes, family and adventure. A full life.
Heart full of memories, he wants me to leave with a token of him, of the past. My feet are too big for his fancy Swiss shoes and I end up leaving with old embroidered handkerchiefs. They have served, and they will serve again.
Back in Montréal, we use and wear Uncle Robert’s hankies with a purpose; proudly as one would wear a gift charged with such memories. The nostalgic gesture becomes a new way of life, changes our daily habits and leaves no one indifferent: a young couple using another generation’s handkerchiefs!
The impact on our consumption and our environment leads us to wonder why the traditional hanky – so elegant and useful – has been completely abandoned. What would it take to bring it back in style?
What if the handkerchiefs could boast unique patterns and bold colors?
What if they had a distinctive shape?
What if a tree could be planted for each hanky sold?
September 2013… what if the idea became a real project? Hence, TSHU was born.
Determined that this idea would not remain in our heads, we took a leap of faith. Leaping towards a dream, hurling ourselves furiously in an industry that we knew nothing about, headed towards TSHU.
March 2014 – 6 months later – our first handkerchiefs were leaving the nest – as if they didn’t completely belong to us any more. They quickly found themselves on friends and family – and soon in stranger’s pockets.
After the excitement of our first sales – “real” work was finally about to begin.
With each trip comes a milestone, and moments that are necessary to look back on where we’ve been and where we’re going. It’s been 8 months since the great departure, about one year since the idea took form.
The road traveled?
- TSHU has shined throughout Quebec, in the media and in different entrepreneurial contests.
- Hundreds of our hankies have been adopted and the equivalent in trees planted.
- A presence in some thirty points of sales, recently including the renowned department store SIMONS.
- The conviction that we are touching people with our handkerchiefs and our story – a great recipe to change the world.
We now need to set back in ship with always the same question behind us: “I wonder where your little hankies will lead…”.
In lieu of next milestones, we’re proud to invite you to visit our new website – and a blog that we’re launching to broaden our horizons. The real journey is beginning. Warm thanks to Strategio for their precious support and professionalism.
So, where will our little hankies lead? As far as they want… As far as you want – because TSHU, it’s about you!
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* Literally: the old bugger