There was once a woman, whom we shall call Laurie Nienhaus, who was given the gift of a vintage handbag. And so the story begins.
This woman then found herself gathering a collection. But it wasn't enough. Her creative spirit and her fondness for needle and thread tugged at her until she could no longer ignore it. She began creating her own handbag designs. And so the vintage inspired pattern company, Montana Moon, was born. She loved this name as it spoke to her of her fascination with the moon and of her love for her little girl, Torie Montana. Little did she realize that to others the name reflected only the possibility of western wear. But that's another story.
Through efforts to market this niche company, she discovered an on-line community of Victoriana lovers. One evening she received a call from one of these Victoriana lovers - a woman also with entrepreneurial dreams. These two women, separated by thousands of miles, began conversing back and forth. Laurie was asked to begin the first chapter of this woman's heart's desire, The Ladies' Tea & Rhetoric Society. It wasn't long before handbag patterns were flying off the shelf. Vintage reproduction gowns were made and worn at lovely afternoon tea events. Laurie's work began appearing in the organization's publication, Bustle. All was bliss.
But who can explain why life twists and turns as it does? The proprietress of The Ladies' Tea & Rhetoric Society suddenly found herself unable to continue. The magical world of The Ladies' Tea & Rhetoric Society unexpectedly crumbled and crashed. Laurie found herself contacted by women from Canada to New York to California. "Would you begin a similar organization? We would support it."
Still enchanted with the world that was The Ladies' Tea & Rhetoric Society and unable to imagine how she'd justify the real estate these vintage repro gowns occupied in her closet without such a world, she said yes. The Ladies' Tea Guild, The Gilded Lily Quarterly, Designs by Lady Montana and GLily.com was born. Later would come Sweet Willa's Review and the blog, No Cobwebs Here.
Lessons were learned. Opportunities rippled and quickened. Laurie was now in demand as a speaker. Her Gilded Lily research led her to book and program ideas. Then, injuries from a 2007 car accident for a year threatened to shanghai her life. She was spreading herself thinly. Something had to give. She sold The Ladies' Tea Guild and gave up her own local chapter. Her life was given back to her by Dr. George Petryk of the Adio Wellness Center. She continued to be in demand as a public speaker and continued developing tea and history programs. And she began a book. And then a play.
More of each would come. A scribbling woman had emerged. And that, my friends, is - hopefully - not the end of the story.