A couple of Christmases ago, Joe Parenteau wanted to buy his mother some affordable, quality tableware after she went through a massive kitchen renovation.
But he found it impossible to find modern and beautiful pieces that were within a reasonable budget.
That’s when he decided to create a line of artisan tableware, Fable, alongside Tina Luu and Max Tims. The co-founders made it their mission to create home essentials that would make something simple, such as enjoying a meal at home, a memorable moment.
“We started making some designs in Vancouver, and then started to look for producers around the world,” Parenteau told the Straight on the line from Greece.
A lot of research had to be done: from figuring out the style to learning the differences between stoneware and earthenware to choosing where the products would be produced.
There was also the self-doubt of whether an online-only tableware retailer could even compete against traditional brick-and-mortar shops that sold dishes and cutlery.
“We launched a preliminary line in the spring. It was a very, very small batch,” explained Parenteau. “We ended up selling it out over the course of the next coming months, and we were able to learn a lot from the customers.”
The Fable trio took into account what their customers enjoyed, what they wanted to see more of, and what they wanted to see less of.
“We took that feedback and we innovated on the product,” said Parenteau. “We changed manufacturers, and kind of moved some things around.”
The current products featured on its website include minimalistic pieces like low-rim dinner plates, pasta bowls, cereal bowls, serving bowls, and side plates. The items are characterized by its black or speckled white hue, finished with a semi-matte glaze. A collection of stainless steel cutlery and serving spoons in various shades and polishings are also available.
Fable’s tableware items are made in the Tagus Valley region of Portugal, where artisans use locally sourced and recycled clays. All are dishwasher, microwave, and oven-safe.
A unique feature that the local company offers is the ability to add personalized touches: engravings on the bottom of its plates and bowls.
“We heard people wanted to put their last name on plates or a special date for somebody as a gift,” said Parenteau. “We do some of those elements that are just a bit different than anyone else that is doing for your tableware today.”
The local start-up is also a business that gives back. When consumers purchase from Fable, the tableware brand will donate to Mealshare, a non-profit that aims to end youth hunger.
Most households will most likely have its fair share of plates, forks, and knives. Fable knows the dinnerware market is saturated, and they aren’t looking to revolutionize home dining in any means. They are here to help home entertainers elevate their dining scene, and bring something to the table that people can talk about.
“The point of dinner is to have a conversation, and mingle with other people about the interesting things,” added Parenteau. “We’re hoping our plates can bring more of those conversations.”