What the Traveler Saw

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1508 E 55th St Chicago, IL 60615


Nearly every experience in Laurel Stradford’s life led to the moment she opened her own store in 1999. As a child, she hung a map of the world on her bedroom wall and listened to the stories of Aladdin and One Thousand and One Nights, which inspired a lifelong interest in travel. She later worked as the executive director for special programs for Africa and Europe at Revlon International, which afforded her the opportunity to see the world and taught her how to speak to elephants in multiple languages. After penning a book about her overseas adventures titled What The Traveler Saw, Stradford opened a store with the same name. There she stocks internationally sourced candies, luggage, home decor, and clothing from countries including Morocco, India, Ghana, and Turkey. In many cases, proceeds from the items benefit their country of origin—bowls made in Indonesia aid in the tsunami-recovery effort, and a Haitian oil-drum sculpture benefits victims of the 2010 earthquake.