“We did a lot of door knocking,” Jules Vertrees says of the early days of Verve Culture, the company she founded with her mother to sell artisan kitchen products sourced from small-scale makers around the world. “These traditions are passed down from generation to generation,” she says. “We’re really passing on their stories.”

The company launched four years ago, starting with products from Mexico.

“We had a driver—who was also our translator—whose neighbor’s cousin happens to make molinillos (a traditional wooden utensil used to make cocoa and other hot beverages). They said, ‘Let me take you to my neighbor’s cousin and see if they can help.’”

Since then, Verve Culture has expanded to Thailand and Morocco, and offers everything from a Mexican Hot Chocolate Jug and Handblown Glass Pitcher to Thai Curry Kits.

For Vertrees, Verve Culture was an important break from her career selling mass-produced goods to big-box stores. “It was just plastic,” she says. “We are all about telling the story. Because we truly believe that the more people learn about other cultures the more harmonious the world’s going to be.”

See more from Verve Culture here in the Milk Street Store.