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Meet Stephanie Chretien of Third World Imports

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Chretien.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Third World Imports was the brainchild and dream of my sister, the incomparable Evelyn Cotton Hubbard. She fell in love with the continent of Africa 30+ years ago.

And because of her love, she endeavored to spread that love to her family and friends through sponsored trips and a collection of arts and artifacts. On one of these trips to West Africa, I was encouraged to begin an appreciation of art and artifacts starting a collection of my own. Her collection became Third World Imports a small business started in a flea market booth moved to a house in midtown Houston and now again moving to online marketing and sales.

Evelyn passed away November 2012 one week after my return to Houston. It was my intention to return to Houston from Phoenix, Arizona to help my sister with the business and her health issues. We just had no time to finalize the plans for going forward with the business. We knew we needed an online presence for marketing, inventory, sales and accounting to take Third World Imports to the next levels. I have taken on the responsibility for furthering the business as she would have wanted.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The first step was to inventory, not an easy task. However, friends and family were extremely helpful. The major issue was the lack of documentation. For many years the business was a one-woman show – a part hobby of art and travel. She always had a full-time job as well as many charitable endeavors.

My biggest challenge was finding full-time employment in a city where I had not lived but only visited in 30 years. The money, funding necessary to maintain the Midtown Houston property taxes and home values. I failed after hanging on for 5 years.

Modernity is the next step. I believe that the interest in African Art is due a renew. I’m working local artist to update some the decorative pieces with color and stones. We have an inventory of bronze which is being marketed to those customers that want to expand their collections.

Third World Imports, LLC – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Third World Imports is a collection of cloth, wood, bronze, and ivory tribal art and artifacts.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Credit card processing was one of the areas that my sister stated was a problem. She had a processor that was extremely difficult to work with. I was able to quickly research services and automate the process. And most of all provide credit card processing for a beloved charity -The Houston Ebony Opera Guild for the past 5 years.

Contact Info:

  • Phone: (713)526-1980
  • Facebook: Evelyn Hubbard Cultural Center, LLC

Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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