German-born engineer, Heida Thurlow incorporates Lentrade Inc. in Houston, Texas on October 22nd 1971. After graduating as the only female in her class Heida set off to Texas to find work in the Oil Industry but soon discovered no one was willing to hire a female engineer. Passionate about cooking, Heida chose to start a kitchenware company and named it after her maiden name of Lehnert. The company's first products were two enameled peices of cookware - one dubbed the "Steam-a-Fry" and the other being a covered roaster with innovative off-set handles. Both proved to be a smashing success and the Roaster remained on the market for over 45 years.
Heida introduces a new line of German-made Enameled cookware pans under the brand name Lentrade Gourmatique. She attends the International Housewares Show in Chicago in an effort to find new retailers but after the first day of the show she had experienced very little success. That night, Heida went to the magnificent mile of Michigan Avenue and bought a stylish blue had that would match the cookware she had on display. As fate would have it, the next day Heida and her hat caught the attention of Chuck Williams, founder of Williams-Sonoma. Chuck loved the look of the cookware and ordered it for all of his stores. That was the beginning of a beautiful working relationship between Heida & Chuck which propelled Heida's company to new heights.
Heida's company grew steadily in the early 80's. Most notably due to the introduction of her first stovetop Teakettle. The teakettle featured an innovative Hohner Harmonica whistle which hit two notes as the water came to a boil. This kettle was among the first items Heida introduced in a variety of fashionable colors. At that time, adding strong, solid colors to kitchenware products was rarely done but the trend caught on quickly. This teakettle is still in our assortment and today is referred to as simply the "Classic" kettle. It has become an icon of stovetop teakettle design and it has been copied by countless competitors over the years.
Heida registers the brand name "Chantal" and the company, as we know it today, is born! Always an admirer of Coco Chanel, Heida likened the name of her brand after her icon. Chanel's reputation as the feminine standard of style is a fitting likenes for Heida as she was the first woman to found and run a company in the Housewares industry within the US.