Everything started 14
years ago when I met my husband in Portugal. Hi there. My name is Cristina Chabot, and I am Portuguese. You might ask, what is this Portuguese woman doing in the U.S.? That would be my marriage to Mark, an American. Even though I was born in Africa, and have lived in several countries, thi
Everything started 14
years ago when I met my husband in Portugal.
Hi there. My name is Cristina Chabot, and I am Portuguese. You might ask, what is this Portuguese woman doing in the U.S.? That would be my marriage to Mark, an American. Even though I was born in Africa, and have lived in several countries, this has been a very different path.
I have three sons, two of them adults. One of them has sent me down another path, that of grandparenthood. Finally a girl, when I had lived for so long in the middle of a boy’s toys world.
Eight years ago, we moved from North Carolina to Georgia. However, changing homes is not the same as changing countries. I had previously been to the U.S. On a trip, but it is one thing to visit a country, and another to live in it. There were some very hard moments, but today I am much more at home with the help of my husband and son and my parents-in-law.
I needed a way to overcome my homesickness, to be connected on a daily basis to warm my Portuguese heart. I thought, ‘I am a kindergarten teacher, so I can be one here,’ but it was not so simple. It would have taken two years of schooling to get my equivalence, but with a young child, my husband working changing shifts, and not willing to go to school again, I just said no.
Then I thought, ‘I love art, and Portugal has a lot of art.’ I started making calls, talking with artisans. I had some money saved, so I decided that on my next trip to Portugal I would bring home six pieces of Portuguese ceramic, to see if anyone would be interested. Well, it was the beginning of my company, and I was excited. I had never been in this type of business, so I learned, and am still learning a lot about it.
After the six pieces, I returned to Portugal and started looking for reliable artisans. Quality, quality, quality, was my number one request. It took some research to find the twelve artisans I finally worked with. Then I needed a name for my company, and because I love colors, my father-in-law suggested Colors of Portugal. I took it with not a blink. I had a name, I had the products, so I needed a place to sell them. I went to a local flea market, and rented a booth. When I received my first shipment, sent by ship across the Atlantic, opening the boxes had the excitement of opening birthday gifts.
The different products I had in my booth were very appreciated, and I was selling them. After five years in North Carolina, because of my husband’s job, we had to move to Georgia. As you can guess, it was hard to pack everything and move again.
In Georgia, I decided that a virtual store would be best. My friend, Nancy Long, designed a web site for Colors of Portugal. There, you could choose the pieces you wanted, put them in a basket, and check out. They sold very well, and we did well building the customer’s trust. I packed the pieces with care (I didn’t want to deal with insurance and complaints) and was successful with it.
With the current economic hard times, Colors of Portugal has decided to change directions. Of all the artisans we represented, we chose to go with just one, the one which was the most innovative, had shown itself to be best in packaging, and was responsible and intuitive. We have a real time connection with them (Skype), so we can place the orders quickly and accurately. They are very well known in Portugal, and have the support to help us meet our goal of providing the most prestigious Portuguese ceramic, with a very personalized customer service. I believe we will make a difference in the market.
I am not looking to race with my competitors. I focus on selling the most personal and genuine Portuguese ceramics.
To all of you,