Speaker, Author
& Playwright

Laurie Nienhaus

She boldly took it upon herself to contact Benjamin Press.  The very kind Bruce Richardson was willing to look at And Then It Was Teatime and if he didn't think it to be a project he could take on, he'd refer it on as he did with Pearl Dexter's Tea with Presidential Families. Laurie thought to herself, "If Benjamin Press could not take on the quite excellent Tea with Presidential Families, perhaps I'd best forge ahead on my own."

This woman then found herself gathering a collection. But it wasn't enough. Her creative spirit and her fondness for needle and thread tugged at her until she could no longer ignore it. She began creating her own handbag designs. And so the vintage inspired pattern company, Montana Moon, was born. She loved this name as it spoke to her of her fascination with the moon and of her love for her little girl, Torie Montana. Little did she realize that to others the name reflected only the possibility of western wear. But that's another story.

And so Gilded Lily Publishing was born. Always managing to combine a love of history with the world of tea, this small and passionate company is dedicated to keeping a gentle hand on the past and to living the life of true tea adventurers. Our books and products, our speaking programs, and our theatrical works strive to be both educational and hugely entertaining. And, if we can accomplish all this with wild laughter and while wearing vintage reproduction clothing, it's a good day at The Lily Pond (as the office of Gilded Lily Publishing has fondly been dubbed). And that, my friends, is - hopefully - not the end of the story.

Lessons were learned. Opportunities rippled and quickened. Laurie was now in demand as a speaker. Her Gilded Lily research led her to book and program ideas. Then, injuries from a 2007 car accident for a year threatened to shanghai her life. She was spreading herself thinly. Something had to give. She sold The Ladies' Tea Guild and gave up her own local chapter. Her life was given back to her by Dr. George Petryk of the Adio Wellness Center. She continued to be in demand as a public speaker and continued developing tea and history programs. And she began a book.

There was much to be learned. Laurie quickly saw the utter folly of saying, "I don't want to see this publication (The Gilded Lily) until it lands at my door. I want to be surprised." Imagine the shock of realizing that, while most history lovers were enamored of tea, not all tea lovers loved history (this remains hard to fathom). And how could any one even ask if The Ladies' Tea Guild was cousin to the Red Hat Society?

But who can explain why life twists and turns as it does? The proprietress of The Ladies' Tea & Rhetoric Society suddenly found herself unable to continue. The magical world of The Ladies' Tea & Rhetoric Society unexpectedly crumbled and crashed. Laurie found herself contacted by women from Canada to New York to California. "Would you begin a similar organization? We would support it."

Still enchanted with the world that was The Ladies' Tea & Rhetoric Society and unable to imagine how she'd justify the real estate these vintage repro gowns occupied in her closet without such a world, she said yes. The Ladies' Tea Guild, The Gilded Lily Quarterly, Designs by Lady Montana and GLily.com was born. Later would come Sweet Willa's Review and the blog, No Cobwebs Here.

Through efforts to market this niche company via the then fledgling on-line world, she discovered a community of Victoriana lovers. One evening she received a call from one of these Victoriana lovers - a woman also with entrepreneurial dreams. These two women, separated by thousands of miles, began conversing back and forth. Laurie was asked to begin the first chapter of this woman's heart's desire, The Ladies' Tea & Rhetoric Society. It wasn't long before handbag patterns were flying off the shelf. Vintage reproduction gowns were made and worn at lovely afternoon tea events. Laurie's work began appearing in the organization's publication, Bustle. All was bliss.

There was once a woman, whom we shall call Laurie Nienhaus, who was given the gift of a vintage handbag. And so the story begins.

The Story