The traditional linen and soft furnishings of Provençal can effortlessly create a timeless look that is both old-world and elegant.

There are many elements that contribute to the French style of decorating. The traditional linen and soft furnishings of Provençal can effortlessly create a timeless look that is both old-world and elegant.

And that’s where textile expert Julia Trafford comes in.

Her Australian wholesale imports business French Linen launched in 2014 as an online retail store after a fortuitous journey through the narrow, meandering lanes of Nice, France.

It was here, in a tiny shop front, that she discovered the art of fine French tablecloths and napery.

Annual buying trips to Europe have since uncovered many contemporary designs of beautifully embroidered and affordable table linen, manufactured by genuine artisan suppliers.

“Throughout my travels in France, I noticed how tablecloths and napery were present everywhere,” Trafford told the Australian Gift and Homewares Association (AGHA).

“My French friends always brought out a crisp tablecloth, with the effect that no matter how simple the meal, pretty French linen turned a baguette and cheese into an exceptional dining experience,” she said.

“I wanted to bring the magic of French linens to Australia at an affordable price so that they could be enjoyed by all. My passion for soft French tablecloths and beautiful napery remains just as strong as it was on that warm day in Nice.”

French Linen rolled out its new Christmas collection at the 2017 AGHA Melbourne Gift Fair, where the business exhibited for the third consecutive year.

The quintessentially chic Epic Linen range offers a warm and casual feel that will fit into any home, with a selection of pure linen tea towels, table runners, tidy boxes and storage boxes.

Accompanying bed sheets and bath towels will also be launched in time for the Australian summer.

“Exhibiting at a gift fair is the fastest way to engage with a large group of homewares retailers and the AGHA team were exceptionally helpful,” Trafford said of her experience at the Melbourne Gift Fair.

“There really isn't a more convenient way to meet multiple retailers and stockists from around Australia. The AGHA account managers organised a stand for me, helped me prepare over the phone, assisted with all the paperwork, and dropped by during setup to make sure I had everything that I needed.”

According to Trafford, French Linen is now going gangbusters, with a roster of twenty-six retailers across Australia.

Her stockists tend to be high street retailers who are very knowledgeable and take a hands-on approach to their customers.

“Many of our stockists have been in the retail industry for many years and I have benefitted enormously from their suggestions and advice. Because we are a small organisation, we value their support of our business and will always go the extra mile for them and their customers,” she said.

In addition to becoming a trade show stalwart, French Linen has also gradually introduced several marketing initiatives such as its first full-colour catalogue and fabric swatches. A new made-to-measure service is also becoming very popular.

“I would certainly recommend the AGHA Gift Fair to other retailers as it is a very cost effective and efficient way to get your product out there to a motivated audience. It’s a wonderful way to catch up with my customers face to face every year or to start the conversation with new ones.”

To find out more about French Linen click here, or to find out more about AGHA Membership click here