Today I would like to introduce you to Ruth Walleyn, the woman behind the fab shop Couleur Locale. She has one of those inspiring life stories: She is from Belgium, went on a trip to Djibouti twelve years ago and fell in love. Ruth and her husband Hendrik didn’t only share a passion for traveling, but also love for interiors. In 2013, she sold her house, quit her veterinary practice, and opened Couleur Locale Conceptstore. Only a three years later, she and her husband own three beautiful brick and mortar shops and a great online shop. They also travel the globe to scout products for Couleur Locale. Pretty cool, right?
Couleur Locale is a filled with their discoveries, fab finds and unique items that will add warmth and character to your home. Looking at the beautiful and inspiring images on the site, you will not only feel like redecorating, but you’ll also get a serious case of wanderlust! Plus: Many Scandinavian interiors are decorated with unique and personal items such as travel souvenirs (like this place or this place), so it’s nice to know about a shop where you can find those treasures even if you can’t afford the trip across the world.
I wanted to know more about Ruth and her story, and she agreed to answer a few of my questions:
Q: What is the concept of Couleur Locale?
A: Couleur Locale Concepstore was created mixing vintage and design from the four corners of the earth. Things that make you smile and take you to other places.
Q: What inspired you to start your shop?
A: Twelve years ago we traveled to another continent for the very first time. We took a challenge and went to Djibouti, a fairly unkown country in the horn of Africa. Totally impressed by the culture, nature and people of Djibouti we kept coming back to Africa. Besides Africa we fell in love with Asia too. While traveling we meet craftsmen. Men and women that have the ability to make wonderful things with no money and few materials. We started buying, a little bit here, a little bit there. Afterwards we bought larger quantities and voila… The store was born! It still amazes us today: beautifully handcrafted things, the people behind it, meeting the locals, and the joy of people when we buy their art. Because of our purchases, a lot of these craftsmen are able to continue.
Q: What sets your shop aside from it’ s competitors?
A: We don’t go by what’s trendy or hip. We go for our own personal mix. A lot of the items we sell or not easy to find, and must be looked for in remote places in for example Madagascar or Kenya. We always try to make beautiful pictures and give lots of attention to the storytelling.
Q: Who or what influences your style? To what do you attribute your wonderful aesthetic?
A: I admire lots of different styles and I’m definitely influenced by them but I will never fully copy one style or try to approach it. It’s always a mix. Location is important too, I like the safari lodges in Africa big time and they are always decorated with style. But that style doesn’t fit Europe. It’s an art to fit all these different cultures together and create a mix that is a personal style that will appeal to people.
Q: How do you find the pieces/products for your store?
A: We go on trips ourselves, off course. When we are in Senegal, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar of Morocco we wander. We look for unique pieces that blow our mind. We go to local markets, talk to local craftsmen in hopes of finding unusual things to bring home. We truly feel like treasure hunters.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you face with running your own store?
A: For me one of the biggest challenges is our staff. It’s not easy to find good personnel. Especially when they fall sick, and we have to change schedules all of a sudden.
Q: What do you love most about having your own store?
A: The traveling, meeting people, decorating our stores, … The thought of selling something from across the planet and making the craftsmen and the buyer happy, that’s what keeps me going.
Q: What are you proud of?
A: We are quite proud of our webshop and our unique style that is very personal.
Q: Do you have any special projects in the pipeline or exciting future plans?
A: We are working hard behind the scenes to extend our webshop and off course.. travel to new countries and discover more of Mother Earth.
Make sure to visit Couleur Locale and bookmark this lovely shop!
For more online shopping destinations we recommend, check out the directory.
P.S Looking for the best gift ideas? Have a look at our 2019 guide for design lovers!