Friday, 8 October 2010

Friday Follower - Anabel

Friday Follower is a little late today but I promise you that this post is worth the wait. I am proud to present to you the lovely Anabel Fournier all the way from Bolivia, South America.

Anabel is a very talented children's clothing designer who shows her collections at trade shows in Paris and New York (now that's something to aspire to).

Anabel and I have been following each other's blogs for as long as I can remember. Her blog And So I Whisper is a feast for the eyes with beautiful photography of Bolivian street scenes, Anabel's home life as well as glimpses into her design business. We'll let Anabel tell us more.

Who is Fournier?
Fournier designs and produces a luxurious line of clothing and accessories made with the finest baby alpaca wool, organic cotton and pima cotton.

How did you start your business?

I founded Fournier as a poverty alleviation project in the Summer of 2002 while living in Bolivia, and after researching rural women’s survival strategies in the face of extreme poverty. The point of the was to settle on a project to help the community make long lasting improvements in their own standards of living.

Fournier operates in a socially responsible manner, starting by building trusting relationships with the artisans and suppliers and providing people all along our supply chain with wages that enable them to live comfortably. We are ensuring that producers and everyone along the supply chain has good working conditions, a decent wage and a realistic path out of poverty.

Do you have any formal training?
I am a graphic designer. My love for fashion and beautiful things has taken me to different places to get trained in fashion design. My knitting knowledge comes from my grandmother who taught me how to knit when I was 10 years old.

You use the skills of local artisans. Was this easy to organise?
The local artisans have the knitting skills but I guide them each season into what needs to be done for the collections. Starting the project took me over a year. At the beginning it was only me and a couple of knitters in the garage of my house.

What inspires your collections? I find inspiration everywhere, but most of all from my children and my travels.

Where can we buy your designs?
I am working on setting up a web store to sell internationally. Until now Fournier has been selling mostly wholesale in the United States, Europe and Japan.

Is there something interesting about you that you would like to share?
I love cooking. For two years I had a small restaurant in the Panama highlands. My husband is from Panama, so after getting married we moved to his coffee farm in Panama where we lived almost two hours from the nearest city. I used to get bored during the day so I started baking cookies and cakes and selling them during the weekends at the local supermarket. After a few months and much success I decided to open my own restaurant coffee shop. It was lots of fun but very long hours and no days off... Now I bake for my family and friends almost every weekend.

Thanks Anabel, now I know why you have so many delicious recipes on your blog. Your berry ice cream and kiwi sorbet looks good as a colourway too! It's so inspiring to find out more about your business and learning how you made your dream a reality.

Please visit Anabel over at And I So Whisper. I have particularly enjoyed reading recent posts that introduce Fournier's local hand-knitters.

Images courtesy of Anabel Fournier.


Mystica said...

Thank you for the links. There is beautiful stuff going on here. Those necklaces! the colors and the textures.

Unknown said...

Thea, what gorgeous photos on this blog. Great to see profiles of her artisan locals. I love the nautical necklace...Terese

And So I Whisper said...

Thank you Thea for featuring my work on your lovely blog!

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