To be successful, I’ve realized, is to love your work and have a passion for it. In my 26 years of business, I’ve met many women who share the same feelings about their work. On April 25, we will be recognizing many of them. Since it’s our 10th anniversary of recognizing extraordinary women, we have added a Hall of Fame honoring past winners who have survived and thrived in their fields.
Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting two passionate business women who for 28 years have built their luxury brand by providing fine linens for babies. Blauen Ltd. was created by Margaret Scheffs, who named it for the town in Switzerland where she grew up.
Margaret, who came to America as a young girl, comes from a heritage of tailoring. Her grandfather was a tailor in Europe and her mom would find fine fabrics and create designs for her to wear.
Since Margaret’s business was self financed, she decided on creating small items made for babies to keep expenses down. Sewing baby pillows and bedding was manageable. She was brought up on fine fabrics, so she chose the softest, finest Egyptian cotton and embroideries from Europe. Many of the fabric mills in America would not accommodate her small orders, so she shopped the European mills who did.
With a few samples in her bag, she bought herself expensive shoes, an Yves Saint Laurent outfit and designer bag as she made her way through the high-end baby boutiques on Madison Avenue. On her first day out, she got a $25,000 order from Au Chat Botte, who was to become a client for 25 years and helped launch her business.
Margaret doesn’t like to brag, but her partner, Kate Benington, shared with me that some of their clients include such bold-face names as Caroline Kennedy, Barbara Walters, Julio Iglesias . . . need I go on? You get the picture. But as everyone in business knows, there are bumps along the road and Margaret had hers.
For five years, she helped her daughter battle her illness. During that challenging time, her staff kept her going. Their love of her and the passion they all felt for their work propelled them forward. Now Margaret is back full time and looking to create new lines of bed linens for adults too. Brilliant colors are filling the workroom as ideas for organic linens are being tested. I’m ready to buy!
I was so impressed with these two women, who have built a brand and are ready to expand upon it, thereby keeping their love of their work going. Oh yes, Josh and Tracey’s baby will be a Blauen baby! Can’t wait!
For the location of a boutique nearest you, call 718-729-3548, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.blauenltd.com.