Nora and Les Mire are an Acadiana couple who bring heart and compassion to the community. Their gift shop, Cajun Creations Gifts & More, is stocked with wonderful handmade soaps, lotions, and other bath and body products. After speaking with Nora, it is crystal clear why shopping local is such an important and beneficial endeavor.
What is the origin story of Cajun Creations Gifts & More?
“One time, my husband and I were on a trip and we happened to stop in Hot Springs, Arkansas. We were heading down to visit with Les’ son. We were out shopping that day in a resale shop, and my husband saw this soap display with a soap called “monkey fart.” So, he went over and picked it up and – as men do – he giggled about the name. He put it down, walked around, picked it up again, put it back down, and he did that two or three times. He came and showed it to me and we ended up buying it. He said to me, ‘any 50-year-old man that will pick up a bar of soap... well, there’s gotta be something to that.’
So we spent the car ride home brainstorming how we could do something creative with soaps as a business. I’ve always done crafts, embroidery and sewing, and I thought I could add onto that. We researched what it would entail to make soap, and that turned into us making soaps, bath bombs, lotions, beard oils, and all kinds of bath and body items. We would research items that were trending and then discover how to make them.
We started out in a flea market in the area and did really well, so we decided to open a store in April of 2017. Since opening the store, one of the things we get the most joy out of is having someone come in and ask for something that will solve a specific problem, and then we’ll research ways to help them out.”
That’s wonderful that you put so much effort into helping customers. What else do you provide in the customer experience?
“When a customer comes in the store, whether they buy something or not, or whether they buy a two-dollar item or spend $250, I try to treat everyone as if they’re the most important person walking in the door. We’re family-owned, and I want customers to feel like they’re a part of that family. I like the customers to be able to walk around, enjoy smelling the different fragrances, and not feel hounded. You should walk in and be able to ask questions or share stories and ultimately feel like a friend.”
Have you had any special moments with customers?
“Last week I embroidered the initials on clothing that a stillborn baby would be buried in. The clothing was brought in by the cousin of the lady who had the baby. I did the embroidery, and I stayed after hours to make sure it was done perfectly. I wrapped the clothes in tissue with a pink ribbon and boxed it with ribbon. When the lady came to pick it up, she started crying and I started crying. She had brought the clothes to me in a Ziploc bag and I told her, this mother who has been through so much doesn’t need her clothes in a Ziploc bag. I didn’t have to box it up, but that was important to me.
After the lady paid, she asked how much it would be to add a cross on the blanket. I told her not to worry, and that I would take care of it. You know, it’s just heartwarming to do something extra for someone in need. We also just like to do extra for our customers in general whether there’s a need or not. When people check out at our store, we try to give them a little something. When we bottle lotions, we’ll have a little extra that’s not enough to make a full bottle, so we’ll make these little one ounce bottles that we give out as a gift with a purchase.”
Why do you think it’s important for people to shop local?
“People should know that they’re making a difference in my life. At the big chain stores it’s all dollars and cents. We started the business in 2015, and I have yet to make a salary. Every dollar we make we turn back around and put back into the business. It’s making a real difference in my life when people shop local. For example, when I have $30 sale it’s a huge deal. However, Walmart makes a $30 dollar sale, and it’s just another sale.”
What do you love about Acadiana?
“It’s a nice quaint place – a ‘little big town’ you could say. It’s friendly and it’s easy to feel like a part of the community.
Being a business owner, I like to give back to the community. We’ve donated gift baskets for different charities, and we have our photo booth that we’ve donated to foster children's’ Christmas parties and Tim Tebow’s Night to Shine foundation. It’s a chance that we can give something back, and we truly enjoy giving back.”
When you shop at local Acadiana businesses like Cajun Creations Gifts & More, you are supporting people like Nora who truly have a passion for their community. You can find Cajun Creations Gifts & More and other local businesses on Towny. Towny is your FREE resource for exploring Acadiana, choosing local, and getting rewarded for doing so! Want Towny on your phone? Download the app!