Kalalou founders Doug and Susan Williams began a fledgling import business in 1984 after a vacation in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. They wanted to bring the beauty and style of Jamaican baskets to the U.S. In less than three years from the fateful Jamaican vacation, the little basket idea would grow from vacation to avocation to vocation to viable industry. They named their company Country Originals, and it would make Inc. Magazine’s “500 Fastest-Growing Privately Held Companies” two years in a row (1991 and 1992). They would be listed in Entrepreneur Magazine as one of their “51 American Success Stories” representing Mississippi. And, their own state awarded them the coveted “Business and Industry Super Achievers.”
Today, Country Originals is known as Kalalou, doing business in over nine countries with over 1500 products. It is a new name that represents the unique product mix that fills their ever-expanding catalog. The word Kalalou is Creole in origin for a type of soup that is never made the same way twice, much like many of the company’s artisan products. The soup is made in a social environment of family and friends with many stories being told over the chopping of ingredients. Much like the making of the soup, the company’s catalog has printed many stories of Doug and Susan’s adventures as they grew their company. The company, Kalalou…a whole new Country Originals, is still owned by its founders, Doug and Susan Williams.