As the United States and China keep working toward a trade deal, small businesses in Houston are feeling the sting from the tariffs imposed on Chinese goods by President Donald Trump.
One such business is cookware company Chantal. Heida Thurlow founded Chantal in 1971, after moving to Houston from Germany.
“I moved to Houston because I fell in love and I have a degree in mechanical engineering so I thought, ‘well, it’ll be easy to get a job within the oil tool companies,’” Thurlow said. “But 40 years ago it was not something that they were interested in hiring, a young female engineer.”
But Thurlow loved cooking and couldn’t find cookware that was both functional and looked nice at the same time, so she decided to make some herself. She designs tea kettles, pots and pans, baking dishes and travel mugs and has them made in countries like Germany and Thailand.
But it’s her electric tea kettles from China that are now causing an issue for her business. Thurlow had just ordered 30,000 of them from her Chinese manufacturer. But then the Trump administration announced new tariffs on over $100 billion worth of Chinese goods to take effect in September.