Thursday, February 2, 2017

Celebrating 10 years of existence - La Tuile à Loup

I first wrote about Eric Goujou and La Tuile à Loup in December 2015.

When Goujou contacted me recently regarding the newsletter he publishes about the boutique, he sent me the issue that describes his celebration of his tenth anniversary in business. I found it so inspiring that I asked if I could republish it here. He graciously consented and I'm happy to share it below.

Eric Goujou inside La Tuile à Loup

10 Years at La Tuile à Loup
26 Nov 2006 - 26 Nov 2016

by Eric Goujou

I can’t believe it has already been 10 years since I replaced Marie-France Joblin as owner of La Tuile à Loup. This well-established boutique created in 1974 has certainly come a long way from being a showroom in Paris, of French pottery and traditional French artisanship, to THE BOUTIQUE, known for its exigency that promotes quality and taste – a boutique known throughout France and well beyond.

My love of the “arts de la table”, interior design and home décor has been part of who I am for as long as I can remember, so it seemed as if it was my destiny to take up where Marie-France left off, grabbing the reigns of ownership of La Tuile à Loup – a place with so much history and where I was already a long-time client. I had no regrets when I left my corporate job for this more labor-intensive line of work.

To some it may have seemed a folly that I, an amateur in the arts of pottery, would consider taking over this already prestigious house. After all what did I know about running a small business? The artisans and artists who had a long history of working with the previous owner were certainly on their guard as they waited to see if I would make it through the night, so to speak. Even some clients did not hesitate to “put me in my place,” reminding me that they knew more about the boutique than I did due to their long history of patronage.

I tried not to take offense. I simply rolled up my sleeves and got to work to prove not just to others that I could do it, but also to myself. I observed, I listened, I learned to really look at the pieces that I didn’t know of before – I even learned how to create pottery myself, not anything that equaled the artistry of these longtime masters, but enough to increase my knowledge and appreciation. My knowledge increased, as did my appreciation for particular themes such as the animal motifs and shapes used by a few of the artisans I work with.

But I didn’t do it all alone. With the help of my assistant Maguy, who has been at la Tuile à Loup for 24 years now, I also learned about the world of art sales. I can’t thank her enough for her patience and devotion.

Today, 10 years later:

I must pay tribute to all the artists and artisans who work tirelessly to create the beautiful pieces that adorn the boutique’s shelves, to my own personal delight as well as that of my fellow art lovers – you, my clients.

Which brings me to YOU. How could I not thank you as well? La Tuile à Loup is like a SELECT CLUB to which each of you have a lifetime membership. I can easily think of at least 100 of you who regularly have been coming through these doors for over 25 years. It's thanks to your loyalty and dedication to the finest quality that La Tuile à Loup is able to continue to exist – that the artists and artisans can continue their work that remains singularly exceptional. I say it with every purchase I ship out to you and I will say it again here, your purchases help to preserve the savoir-faire of a traditional art form.

The challenges ahead:

Over the last few months, I have been looking towards financing the future of La Tuile à Loup – to bring it to the next level. Over the last 10 years I have been able to discover and refine what La Tuile à Loup has to offer in the world of home décor and look towards what else it could bring to this milieu. I am currently working on two projects that I hope will see the light very soon.

For me the most challenging part of my task that I will never relinquish, is to continue to stand by the quality by which you have come to know and respect this boutique, without compromise or shortcuts. Many people have a hard time understanding why artisanal creations sometimes carry such a hefty price tag. It’s true that today it is very possible to buy dishware at any price. Why would you buy a single plate costing 100 euros when you can fine a plate elsewhere for only 20 euros with the latter certainly looking adequate enough on the surface? I mean if you really wanted to, you could find a plate for even less than 1 euro.

The answer, for me, is value and I don’t mean financial value. It all really depends on what we want - the choice is an individual one. What sort of lifestyle do we wish to live?

Personally, I compare the artists and artisans with whom I work to renowned surgeons who live by their reputations. It’s their years of experience that allow them to give the best of themselves on a daily basis. They certainly deserve to be compensated at a just price and their work should be appreciated for what it is – ART. I often call up this example to remind myself and any who remain in doubt of the value of these works.

This is not about charity. Maybe you could say that it is philanthropic. It is certainly an ART DE VIVRE. A little something exceptional giving added value to our purchases beyond just the object itself.

I love the idea that I am assisting my clients in the creation of their history or legacy. I invite you (and your friends) to join me at the table I have set at la Tuile à Loup, where craftsmanship and elegance abound. Perhaps you will find inspiration.

Thank you for your continued patronage. For more of what is available at the moment at our boutique, please check out our blog. Happy browsing!

From La Tuile à Loup Paris,

Yours truly,



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R.Ewen said...

I enjoyed reading more about this fabulous shop located near our fractional-owned apartment in the 5th. I first heard of this shop from David Lebovitz's blog which showed a lot of the pottery on display in the store. It was nice to hear Mr. Goujou speak of buying quality made artisan pottery to enrich one's life experiences:

About Beauford Delaney said...

Thanks for commenting, Richard. I read David's article as well, which is why I was quite interested when I was first invited to do a story about La Tuile à Loup in 2015. It is truly a magical place!