|Story In A Teacup|
Story In A Teacup
To see this article as it appeared in the Winter 2000 issue of "Southern Lady", please click here.
With no two alike, vintage teacups cover the table at which Lou Souders sits. A lady standing on the opposite side of the table opens one of the pretty cards that accompanies each teacup and reads the message inside. Suddenly tears flow from her eyesthe words have so tenderly, so exactly expressed what she wants to say to someone special.
This scene is not unusual for Lou, founder of Teacup Traditions (TM), a company that sells vintage teacups and saucers along with a beautiful message specifically written for one person to give to another. "I call them stories," says Lou about these messages.
The first "story" she wrote was when her daughter Helen, now a mother with two children of her own, was a teenager. "She just needed to be encouraged," explains Lou. "She needed to see that I saw her potential and that God had a purpose for her life." So Lou bought a teacup and, using it as an analogy, wrote a loving letter to give to her daughter along with the cup. "And she was encouraged," Lou says. "She's kept the teacup on her dresser all these years."
Based on the same idea, Lou later chose teacups to give as wedding gifts, pointing out how marriage was like a cup and saucer, made separately but united in purpose. Daughter Helen reminded her of this when three years ago they were brainstorming ideas for home-based business for Lou. "Everybody has always loved it when you told the marriage story at bridal showers," Helen told her. And with that, Teacup Traditions was born.
Lou borrowed the letter she had originally written to her daughter and edited it to make the letter appropriate for any mother to give to any daughter. She then finely tuned her story for a bride. As time went on, she added other stories as well. (She composed the mother-in-law daughter-in-law stories on a napkin riding home from a ball game) Today, Lou has versions for a friend, bridesmaid, baby, mother, grandmother, granddaughter, sister, wife, teacher, and more. "Women need relationships," states Lou.
"We need to focus back on relationships-what they mean-and begin to express that." With her business established, Lou naturally needs many vintage teacups and saucers. Though at first she sought them at flea markets and estate sales, she now has many "friends" who collect the teacups for her. "They go up to New England, Canada, and all over," she points out.
Because of the popularity of her teacups and stories that go with them, Lou has even expanded her line to include handkerchiefs-though not vintage ones. These new handkerchiefs may be given to the mother of the bride or groom, the story card says, to wipe away "bittersweet tears" as the mother's daughter or son marries. There is also a handkerchief to give to someone who is hurting, perhaps because of a death, illness, or divorce. Packaged with a simple Bible verse, "it's a way to reach out personally and say I love you; I care," says Lou.
And reaching out is what Lou's business is all about. People often need a tangible way to express feelings so deeply felt they are difficult to say and Teacup Traditions gives them that way. "There's a need out there," says Lou as she tells her story of teacups, "and I'm so blessed to know that I'm the vessel that's helping fill that need."
From Southern Lady, Vol. 1, Num. 2, Winter 2000
© 2001 Teacup Traditions