Old Europe Duvet Company - the beginning
In the Summer of 1964, my husband Bob and I were fortunate to have 2 months of holidays together. We excitedly planned a trip to Europe where we arranged to rent a Volkswagon and to alternately camp and stay in low cost hotels suggested in the book "Europe on $10 a Day".
Travel was so very different in those days. In preparation for the trip, I made 3 dresses on my sewing machine, all "shift" (shapeless sack) style, to wear in the cities. Pants and shorts for women were not allowed in cathedrals, museums, and restaurants, and were frowned upon on the streets. On the plane, Bob wore a suit and tie and I wore high heels and nylons with my unflattering yellow dress. The stewardesses were meticulously groomed with perfect hairdos and flawless makeup. To be accepted for their job, they had to be graduate nurses and were chosen because of their attractive appearance, pleasant personality and trim figures. I was in awe, wishing I could be as perfect.
Camping was great fun and staying in the small cheap hotels was a wonderfully broadening experience. Many had circular staircases winding up five flights. Most had bathrooms down the hall to share with other guests, some strange and questionable. We washed our feet in the bidets in the rooms, not knowing what they were for. We were young, open minded and flexible. We loved every minute.
The one experience that changed my life in years to come was a small hotel in Luxembourg. We walked into our room and were amazed by the giant pillow perched on our bed, hugely fluffy and fat. We just stared not knowing what it was. Covering this mound was a beautiful, fine cotton, white, pillow case, crisply ironed. We didn't know whether to treat it as a mattress and lie on top, or climb under. We decided it must be a substitute for a blanket and we climbed under. However, because there was no sheet, we thought we must climb right into the big pillow case as well. And that is how we slept, so cozy and warm, in contrast to other nights we had spent in a tent.
Throughout the rest of our trip there were more beautiful duvets - quite a variety- some heavy as lead, and some light as air. We took many photos of duvets hanging and airing out over windowsils all over Europe, the customary way to freshen them every morning.
The vision of that very first sight of a duvet in Luxembourg remained prominently embedded in my mind for years until the mid 80's when I decided to try making a duvet with some fluffy goose down supplied by a friend in upholstery. It took a few years to perfect my different weights for the different models, and turn my hobby into a fullfledged, world renowned business.
I am retired now, and my business is in the very capable hands of my daughter-in-law Nicole. Happily it is still in the family and growing year by year.
Old Europe Duvet is famous for personal customer attention, and our faithful followers return year after year for this individual service and for our unique impressive, handmade product.
Interestingly, I still have the very first duvet I made almost 35 years ago, still fluffy and airy, just as impressive as the one we first experienced long ago, travelling in Europe
Betsy Horn - Founder of Old Europe Duvet Co. 1939-2021