Our upcoming Spring 2019 edition marks a major milestone: twenty-five years of Bas Bleu! We mailed our first catalog in 1994, and the ensuing quarter-century has been an unforgettable journey made possible only by the support of our wonderful customers. In the coming months, we’ll celebrate our silver anniversary with special features—in our catalog, on our website, and here on the blog—including an interview with Bas Bleu’s founder, behind-the-scenes peeks into our warehouse and call center, profiles of our editors, special discounts and products, and more. In preparation for this monumental event, our editors recently spent an afternoon sorting through old Bas Bleu “family photos” and taking a walk down memory lane! We had so much fun, we’re sharing some of the pictures and memories with you. (Please don’t judge our photography skills; these snaps were shot by an amateur, not the pros who photograph our products!)
Home sweet home: Founded in Atlanta, GA, Bas Bleu “lived” for ten years in a single brick building tucked between downtown and the Georgia Tech campus, before our fulfillment operations moved to Ohio in 2007. The neighborhood was a bit dicey at the time, but has since become very fashionable. Maybe because we moved out?
Our founder: Eleanor Edmondson launched Bas Bleu in 1994. She admits that the company’s early days were “hard, very hard,” but “the emotional response from customers was so strong that we knew we had struck a chord.”
Number crunching: During Bas Bleu’s first decade, our accountant pulled double duty as a professional musician who played regular late-night gigs. He may have snuck in a catnap or two during the day, while he was paying the bills!
Call Center: Back in the day, our call center staff included full-time agents, part-timers working their way through school, and even a few Bas Bleu staff members’ relatives who were recruited to help out on busy days.
Those book reviews: In the beginning, our chief copyeditor was our founder’s husband, whose eagle eye for detail and accuracy was all the more astonishing considering he was trained not as a writer, but as an engineer! He always edited catalog copy in red pen. And though his corrections made Bas Bleu’s book reviews better, our editors regularly accused him of “making the copy bleed.”
All grown up: These two youngsters began working at Bas Bleu within months of graduating from college. Over the years, they worked their way up to become Bas Bleu’s brand manager (Christie, left) and our senior buyer and marketing director (Ann, right).
Which books to choose?: Some things never change! When faced with so many great options, book-selection meetings can become a little overwhelming…
Lunch time: As with any family, so much of our day was—and still is, if we’re being honest—centered around meals. (Our Atlanta warehouse was located just blocks from Coca-Cola headquarters. You’d be hard-pressed to find a Pepsi!)
Picked and packed: A rare quiet moment in the picking area of our former Atlanta facility, where individual items were pulled to fulfill customer orders. Though our Ohio warehouse is considerably larger than our Atlanta one was, the picking area is still kept to a manageable size for the sake of efficiency…and to save our staffers from running across the warehouse all day!
Amazing customers: When not one, but two of our packers lost rings in boxes that were shipped out, the ladies were heartbroken. But then both rings were returned to Bas Bleu—by separate customers!—when the order recipients discovered the jewelry in their boxes of books. It’s proof positive we have the best customers in the business!
All hands on deck: When our team was smaller, it wasn’t unusual to find a member of the office staff lending a hand in the warehouse on busy days. Mike was our IT guru…when he wasn’t unpacking T-shirts!
Long-term staff: Several Bas Bleu employees (including editors Ann and Katherine, pictured here) are human “boomerangs,” beginning their careers at Bas Bleu, moving on to other jobs, then eventually returning to our catalog family. As our brand manager says (with affection), “You can’t get rid of some people!”
Packed to the rafters: Our original warehouse in Atlanta didn’t hold nearly as much as our current one in Ohio, which measures 57,000 square feet! But this was a major step up from the closet where Eleanor stored company stock during Bas Bleu’s first year of business.
Bluestockings on staff: A longtime member of our Atlanta warehouse team, avid reader Wendell was never without a book, using each break in his daily shift to catch up on his reading.
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