Bas Bleu Family Photos

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!)

brick building with door covered by blue awningHome 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!

group of seven women in a retail call center

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.

sheets of copy paper with typed text edited in red pen

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.”

two young women smiling for camera

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).

two women at table filled with books, looking exasperated

Which books to choose?: Some things never change! When faced with so many great options, book-selection meetings can become a little overwhelming…

group of people around a casual dining table covered with cups and takeout dishes

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!)

metal shelves stacked with books

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!

two women displaying wedding rings

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!

man unpacking box of t-shirts

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!

two young women smiling for camera

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!”

warehouse filled with metal shelves and cardboard boxes

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.

man sitting on loading dock reading a book

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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20 thoughts on “Bas Bleu Family Photos

  1. Congratulations on your 25th anniversary.
    Wonderful photographs you shared.
    Hopefully, you will celebrate with an anniversary dinner with your full staff with more happy pictures.
    Continue to March into the future with your wonderful company of special treasures for us in the Bas Bleu world.
    Kind regards,
    Barbara Pitt

  2. This is great! Congratulations on your 25th Anniversary and here’s to many more. This trip “down Memory Lane” is a great way to see how far you’ve come (but how much customers still mean to you!).

  3. Congratulations on 25 years! Your catalog, books, and other products have given me much pleasure over the years. Here’s to the next 25 years!

  4. Such fun memories but obviously not without struggles along the way. And you’ve certainly come a LONG way! I joined your fan base somewhere along in the 90’s and have been a staunch advocate of your wonderful catalogs and merchandise not to mention great books and reviews. Congrats on, not only surviving, but showing that you don’t have to be an Amazon to bring the best to your customers!

  5. My Mother discovered Bas Bleu a longtime ago. I remember her either telling me about your company and maybe giving me a membership (?). We both enjoyed the reviews by the customers. She has passed away, but I continue to purchase items for my children (now teenagers) like she did for me. Congratulations on your 25th. I can’t wait for your 50th!!

    • Thank you, Melanie. It means so much to us when our customers share our catalog with the people they love!

  6. Congratulations.
    In my next life, I will be available to join your family of BOOKS.
    I am somewhat elderly, a bit homebound and a super fan of books. I love that I can order my gifts from you since I can’t get out to do so. You are Awesome.

  7. Over the years, I’ve purchased many of your books as gifts. The books’ recipients have commented later, “remember that cool book you gave me about….?” Thank you for finding some unusual, entertaining, and informative books that have become cherished additions!
    Congratulations on your silver anniversary!

    • That’s music to our ears, Charlotte! Thank you for supporting Bas Bleu…and all of our “odd little books.”

  8. I absolutely love Bas Blue and will enjoy celebrating this special year with you and all of us who enjoy your products.

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