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" Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand and Merlot in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 

"WOO-HOO, what a ride!!!".

Mavis Leyrer, Seattle

(80-something)

 

About Great Green Apple

 

Picture of Susan at Lake Tahoe in 2004

Lake Tahoe, CA.

2004

This website is the culmination of a 30 year journey that started one summer in 1975. I was finished with my M.A. and headed for a Ph.D. in lit and language in an ivy-covered brick building, when I happened to design some fabric pillows one June afternoon.  I took them to the flea market in Sausalito, and sold them all in the morning.  The next weekend I came back with twice as many, at a higher price, and sold them all. Local people had shops, so I started making and selling into shops, the designs getting bigger and more intricate, until I created wall-installations, ceiling installations, and free-standing screens.  By this time I was also applying for some well-respected juried craft shows, and was lucky enough to get in.  Graduate School was a distant memory, and I was having the fun of my life. For 10 years I worked with fabric and fiber creating "environments", and meeting some of the most wonderfully talented people imaginable.

 

Finally in 1985-86  I opened a multi-media art gallery featuring 45 artists (and of course my smaller pieces).  The gallery lasted until the stock market crashed in October of 1987.  The gallery closed in Dec. of that year. We had a wake.

As that door closed, another opened, and a friend, who had designed an interesting hearth-related product, asked if I would help him market it (since on-the-ground maketing was what I had been doing now for a decade). So I took up his product, we put a small company around it, and pitched it to the world, while adding new products around it to create a larger "buy" opportunity for retailers.  After 2 years my friend was bored with the project, so I bought the company and changed the name.  From 1990-2001 I built the company to $1M with 50 employees all specializing in craft-style handmade items for the hearth and garden (many of which you will find on this website).  Many of the ceramics you see here that I love so much have that same soft, flowing quality that my fabric work had in the old days. For me it has always been not only how something looks, but also how it feels. I closed the big company and departed from wholesale trade shows in 2001, just barely out the door before the new Chinese vendors set up major showrooms and drove the pricing to unsustainably low levels. 

In the calm between 2001 and 2003 I started designing this website, with the sole purpose of selling at wholesale pricing to online retail customers, while continuing to work with my home-based artists in Mexico.  I sell nothing from China except the baskets that hold the hearth products, and I buy those from American vendors who import directly. The site launched in 2003. Apparently it is working, because we are growing, and once again I am having a lot of fun doing it.

Picture of Susan in the backyard 2005

Meryl & Bobby (my Giraffes)

move to Conneticut

December 2005

This website is all about the hearth and garden, with everything from one-of-a-kind folk art and some really comfortable cotton clothing called Manta to laze around in or garden in (that many of us remember from the 60’s and 70’s), to hearth firestarter baskets for a really special holiday gift. Our ceramics will be mainly about animals, because I love animals and natural habitat. I intend to flirt outrageously with whimsy, outright silliness, and imagination on the site. Occasionally there will be stories from, and about Churchill, our “hedgehog in residence”, and he will undoubtedly have gardening tips and walking tours through special gardens as time goes by.

Also, I will introduce you to some American Craftsmen, whose work I love and respect both for design and originality. We will have links for you to their sites if you see something that tickles your fancy. This will be a growing list. Eventually we hope it is a place you come first to look before you buy that next outrageously wonderful garden piece, and you can buy it from the designer who made it. Our favorite concept!

I hope you enjoy this site. It feels to me like the beginning of another 30 year journey!

NOVEMBER 1, 2007  A Moveable and Ongoing Feast

(with a courteous nod here to E.H.)

How times flies.  I was right about this, you know.  You guys are just the cat's pajamas, the bee's knees, the chocolate sprinkles on my Saturday and Sunday. I have talked to SO MANY of you, shared in your stories, celebrated special events, helped with special occasions, and listened while a nostalgic blouse purchase preceded a mastectomy.  Every day you add to my joy that the world is filled with substance and heart, fighting for daylight, and that honesty and consideration trumps greed every time.  I definitely was right about this.  The next decade definitely will be a moveable feast.

JANUARY 2, 2010  I am beyond tickled.

2 more years at this, and even 2008 (and now 9) in the rearview mirror

have been wonderful.  2009 was a huge surprise, and we came into 2010

stronger than ever.  It was all you guys, coming back, sharing us with friends and family (the referrals make me positively giddy), and again sharing stories and events with me. I LOVE the notes you leave with your orders - some of you are old friends by now.  I hope to continue to find cool things for you, different and unique, to add a little silliness and elegance to your lives. I thank you for the support, and the notes and stories. I have a very full cup. You are my heroes.

  Spring 2011  My 65th year.

JANUARY 22, 2012     PHEW!

2010 just flew by, and was an amazingly good year, then 2011 roared into life and we were humming right along until LL Bean decided to ship fatwood free, passing almost all the fatwood shipping costs onto their clothing customers (yes, that is the reason a lot of the clothing went up 40-60% - many customers were paying for OTHER customers shipping).  We fell off the cliff for a couple months, as I refused to ask my clothing, glass and ceramic customers to pay for shipping for my (beloved) fatwood customers.

It took about 2 months, but we recovered about 70% of that business, due I am sure to the ethical and moral compasses of my stellar customers, who GOT it!  So we ended up close to 2010 levels (close enough) and the beginning of 2012 has started with a bang!  YEA!  I love all the notes, and silliness, and pictures of dogs and kids.  My customer base, you folks, are just amazing, and I am SO grateful.  Can't wait to get to Mexico this year and find some cool new things for you!

 

About our techies . . .

Betazed joined us August of 2011, and bring a LOT knowledge , web design and back-end wizardry to our ongoing endeavor.  This just got too big not to be in the hands of pros.

  The Logo for BSS Inc.

"Betazed Solfware Solutions Inc."  can design anything, from websites to software and apps, not to mention keeping all my bells and whistles running smoothly,

www.betazedsoftwaresolutionsinc.com     704-754-5969

_________________________________________________________

If you have any questions about the website please refer to the following:

For ordering and sales questions, please email us at
sales@greatgreenapple.com

or call  503-482-0006

To place a fax order, or ro order by phone, please go directly to

HOW TO ORDER on the lefthand navigation bar above.

 

Other than those wonderful retailers we have been working with (at wholesale) for years, and with whom we will contiue to work, we have decided we like working directly, and that is where we are going to put our time and resources. We no longer produce a wholesale catalog.

Thank you for taking the time to read all of this.  Wow.

Susan Holsapple

Founder

HSB

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