Treasures from Afar
Middleton-based online store European Market is part curated boutique, part travel diary
Everyone has a favorite vacation souvenir—a lovely painting from a seaside town, or perhaps that investment handbag you had to have from Bergdorf’s on Fifth Ave. Holding a piece of personal travel history is always satisfying, and that’s exactly online-only European Market’s niche.
When Middleton couple Chris and Sue Ellibee first started traveling to Europe, they would pick up keepsakes and chocolates and bring them back for friends. (They even started bringing an extra empty suitcase to accommodate their treasures!) A few years and trunk shows later, the Ellibees knew they were on to something and started EuropeanMarket.Us.
Part curated boutique, part travel diary, the site currently has items from twelve European countries—Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and France among them. And, yep, all items are hand-selected by the couple.
“We carry things that have some little twist about them; something that you wouldn’t find here,” explains Chris. “Like vintage Swiss Army bags, French canvas bags made with Basque fabrics and German glass ornaments made with molds from the 1800s.”
Shoppers can also read about the artisans or pick up travel tips from Chris and Sue, who’ve been to Europe about ten times since launching the site in 2010.
“We have a story to tell with almost everything we have,” says Sue. “And we hope it comes across in the site.”
Clockwise from topleft
1. Artful Accent
We love this cotton scarf from Germany that works perfectly from summer into early fall. $35
2. Dynamic Duo
“We were looking to do something that would make good use of our talents,” says Chris, a former editor with Better Homes & Gardens and its specialty publications. Sue was assistant art director at Better Homes & Gardens and Country Home and is now a creative director with Lands’ End Business Outfitters.
3. Très Chic
This French canvas satchel is made in St. Jean de Luz, a beachfront town—and one of Chris’s favorite vacation destinations. $177
4. Hot Wheels
Chris carries this leather messenger bag every day. Made outside of Florence, Italy, it sports a racing number and is a nod to vintage Le Mans car races. $280
5. Very Tweet
Even though they’re designed in France, this kitchen towel has a very whimsical Scandinavian look. $16
6. Holiday by Hand
“I’m kind of a Christmas person,” explains Sue. “I love the handmade ornaments we have. They’re hand-blown glass, and made in Germany. The company has a great history.” $10–$20
7. Bonjour, Style
How can you not smile looking at this whimsical Paris serving tray featuring French street scenes? $45
8. Suds Love
This French guest soap set boasts exotic scents like black tea, fig blossom and sweet almond. $26.50
Contact Shayna Mace at email@example.com.
Photos by Martha Busse.